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Master of Science in Computer Science - Statement of Purpose for applying Uva

waynelee0319 1 / -  
Nov 25, 2018   #1

University of Virginia SOP

Since I was a child, I have already been addicted to the world of science fiction. After reading I, Robot, written by Isaac Asimov, I started to imagine that how strong the robot could be in the future and how would I harness this technology between utility and morality. While in information science class in high school, I found myself having a great interest in the computer. I understood that learning should never be limited in class since we only had one information science class per week, I learned more about Microsoft office, Flash and Photoshop by myself. Driven by the passion for Robotics and Computer Science, I chose to study Automation under School of Control and Computer Engineering as my undergraduate degree. With around four years' hard work in Automation major, I am more than confident to get more rigorous training at a graduate level and extend myself to Computer Science with the track of Robotics.

During my four-year undergraduate study at xx University, I got the opportunity to study in an environment full of active learners and creative research ideas. My undergraduate education had also well prepared me with solid academic competence via extensive courses, including 'Discrete Mathematics', 'Introduction to Artificial Intelligence', 'Software Engineering', 'Introduction to Database & Network Technology' and so on. Except 'Introduction to Artificial Intelligence' and 'Software Engineering', which had unchangeable time conflicts with my compulsory courses resulting in missing grades from attendance I got quite good grades on most courses. Moreover, my undergraduate major in Automation has also offered me hands-on experience in Programming, including C/C++, Python, Java, and SQL. With a clear understanding of my goal in advanced degree and career life, I refreshed my knowledge by taking Coursera classes with an emphasis on machine learning and database. So far, I have completed 'Introduction to Databases', 'Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python' and 'Data Structure and Algorithm', which provided by Peking University. Due to my great performance in my coursework, I have obtained the third-class scholarship, which designed for the top 15% of students in the college.

Last semester, I have participated in the project of Design and Real-time Simulation of PID Closed-loop Control System. As the role of team leader and software developer, I developed all code in Python and C to build model according to PID control system and achieved data visualization successfully. After that, we compiled and executed the program in an industrial personal computer (IPC). In this process, I spent substantial time in constructing the multi-parameter mathematical model to create a more accurate simulation on an oscilloscope. Despite the intense workload of model parameter modification, every attempt has taught me more about concepts. Eventually, our project was a success and stood about among the class, which is the winner of the most excellent project in that semester. This experience helped me to apply theoretical knowledge about the control systems and programming in application areas, which consolidated my programming skills.

As a student and young researcher in automation, I also have a great ability to solve problems, which combined knowledge from both software and hardware. Earlier in 2018, I started my course project focused on serial asynchronous communication for file transfer. Even though it was challenging, I thoroughly analyzed the general principles of serial communication and the working principle of chip 8250 with my determination. I made C++ program for stimulation and figured out how to run 32-bit program on 64-bit operation system. Based on the requirements of the course, I design two-machine file transfer program using assembly language as well. Moreover, I borrowed a special data cable to connected RS-232 interface on one computer to another computer and then the system worked perfectly. These projects considerably cultivated my passion for computer science.

In order to tackle the real-world program, I attended a summer research of machine learning supervised by Professor Shuai Jiao. Since I have laid a firm theoretical foundation, I could understand relevant theories in a short time. Before I joined the research group, I have learned some machine learning methods from Andrew Y. Ng's videos and finished reading supplemental corresponding publications. During the internship, I implemented an auto-scoring machine of film reviews at douban.com by web crawling and tested several machine learning methods using famous datasets from kaggle.com, such as 'Decision Tree Model', 'Naive Bayesian Model', ANN and etc. While I was doing the final research project 'real-time news classification', I found that the project required high accuracy and efficient in addition to basic data collecting and cleaning. I spent a large amount of time learning new methods in algorithm theories with my team members and testing it again and again. Finally, we developed our own scripts to achieve high accuracy and efficiency.

Those experience not only consolidated my skills but also shone a light to a broader horizon on computer science where I had never seen before. In order to have more understanding of development in robotics, it is vital for me to pursue an advanced degree. I see myself working as a robotic design engineer at Boston Dynamics or Hanson Robotics shortly after my graduation from the University of Virginia. In ten years, I aim to be an industry leader to develop my own products.

My background and professional goals align with Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Virginia (UVA), which is my dream program. In addition to UVA's great location and excellent alumni resources, college of Computer Science has always been famous for its solid training and extensive experience. What's more, the excellent curriculum design and a wide range of electives also attract me a lot. For example, in special topics (CS4501) in Computer Science, I am offered many interesting topics in my interested field. In capstone research, I could get the change to tackle the real problem in advance.

Given my extensive academic background, in addition to my passion for computer science, I am confident that I am a great fit for Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Virginia.

Holt [Contributor] - / 7,489 1927  
Nov 26, 2018   #2
Zewei, are you planning to take a masters degree that does not have a professional background requirement? If so then this essay is acceptable. The problem, is that there is no reference to what your professional goals are that motivated you to study a masters degree immediately after completing your undergraduate degree. The essay is too long in the sense that you are going way too back into your past a child when the focus should start immediately with your college studies.

Do not confuse the Coursera discussion with your formal studies. Separate the two specially since your academic courses won you a scholarship, which means you might have what it takes to academically perform without the need for professional experience. That part of your educational background tends to get confusing because of the merged academic discussion.

This is a tremendously informative essay. The problem is, I cannot really judge which of these sections you can safely eliminate because you did not post the SOP requirements along with your essay. For that consideration, you are on your own. Try to develop the reasons / purpose discussion more than the presentation of your qualifications. This is after all, a statement of purpose, not a personal statement. Balance the professional purpose with the academic goals and a 5 year career plan. 10 years is too long for this type of presentation and requires further studies beyond a masters degree.

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