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[Need Review] Statement of Purpose - MS in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (Summer 2022)

VJain 1 / -  
Dec 2, 2021   #1
I am applying for MS in AI and Data Science. My interests are in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and NLP.

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Motivation for MS:
Ideally, I wanted to do a Ph.D. right now with some professor. I even had an offer for Ph.D. in mathematical Machine Learning. However, I am not confident on what topic should I focus on going into the future in my career. As I mentioned earlier, I am interested in HCI and NLP, but not sure what application to work on in these fields. That is why I wanted to do a master's to give me some time, knowledge & experience before starting my Ph.D.

Possible Improvements:
- I am concerned that the beginning of my SOP is not too strong. Initially, it made a lot of sense, but after trimming down to bring it under the acceptable word-limit, it might not feel naturally coherent. I need a few new eyes to go over it.

- I feel the flow between the project paragraphs is not there. I wanted to demonstrate that each project I did was inspired by my previous works and it was done with a clear career goal in mind.

Any other tips will be much appreciated.

Statement of purpose

As Ray Kurzweil mentioned in his book "Singularity is Near", we are entering into "Epoch 5" (The Merger of Human Technology with Human Intelligence). I feel excited about what Ray describes as 'Epoch 5' where the focus shifts toward merging technology with human intelligence to create an age of Artificial Intelligence. I want to contribute to that age of evolution.

In my career, I aspire to develop ground-breaking interfaces through which people can access the newest technologies. I'm especially interested in Virtual Agents, as a means of communication between users and systems. Virtual agents are being deployed in many applications, from Chatbots to Interviewing agents to NPCs in video games. I believe a greater understanding of human interactions with the virtual world, especially the virtual agents, will enhance the user's experience with them. Last year while working on behavior generation in virtual agents, I experienced the multitudinous complexity of the field. From Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to Multimodal Perception to Image Processing, a wide range of modern AI technologies are being used to develop these systems. Therefore, I am applying for a Master's degree with a major in Artificial Intelligence to help me prepare for my future goals in research.

The informatics department at xxxx University is one of the best in whole Europe, so considering it for my masters is a no-brainer. The Data Science and AI course especially caught my eye due to the flexibility that it offers. I am especially interested in 'Stammvorlesungen DSAI' lectures like Neural Networks: Theory and Implementation, Artificial Intelligence, and Image Processing and Computer Vision. In addition to these, I'm also excited to explore Human-Computer Interaction and Computer Graphics lectures in 'Stammvorlesungen Informatik'. While I have taken fundamental lectures in these subjects as part of my undergraduate program, I aim to deepen my understanding of these lectures and better understand the domains of Cognitive Computing and its application in Behavior Interaction, and Interface Engineering.

I have a keen interest in the work done at xxxx xxxx Laboratory led by Prof. Dr. xxxx. Their impressive work on optimizing users' interaction with digital frameworks in real-world applications is visionary, and it aligns with my future research goals.

The research at xxxx xxxx Group led by Prof. Dr. xxxx is also fascinating. I have discussed their work on the synthesis of 3D pose sequences from input surface text on numerous occasions in our lab. In my current project, we are exploring animation generation from a behavior description in virtual agents, and Dr. xxxx's work has provided us with notable ideas. I would love to discuss with him the possibilities of implementing their work in a practical application on virtual agents supported by behavioral planning for finer results.

Throughout my bachelor's, I have been exploring various areas of Artificial Intelligence. I believe in the "Learning by Doing" theory. During my four-year bachelor's course, I did three summer internships, two major semester-long projects, and a five-month research internship, along with multiple individual projects.

My first major research project was with Dr. xxxx at the University of Delhi in 2019. This project was motivated by my hunch to explore unstructured data in digital space. I believed that structuring this massive amount of data can improve linguistic analysis in digital media, especially in the Indian media space. After discussing with my colleagues, we decided to develop an efficient and robust machine learning model based on Multinomial Naive Bayes (MNB) to categorize articles. We also compared this model with other machine learning models such as Logistics Regression(LR), Support Vector Machine(SVM), K-Nearest Neighbours(KNN), and Random forest(RF). The results of this work were published in Springer's International Journal of System Assurance Engineering and Management (2021). This was a great opportunity for me to learn how to research novel ideas and to put them into solid work.

For my bachelor's thesis, I wanted to continue working on research projects in machine learning. It was then that I approached Dr. xxxx at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM), Spain, for my thesis project. The purpose of this project was to build a comprehensive overview of theory, algorithms, and applications of supervised learning under the situation called covariate shift. I started studying conventional methods for covariate shift adaptation such as Importance Weighted Empirical Risk Minimisation (IWERM) and its variants. However, testing these methods was a challenge since we do not have the probability distributions of the data in the wild. For that, I generated synthetic data to introduce the covariate shift in a controlled manner for testing. To verify the efficiency of these methods, I started with classic supervised algorithms such as Logistic Regression, later moving to a more advanced 0-1 Loss Minimax Risk Classifier (0-1 MRC). This was a unique experience for me to work at an international research institute where every other person was an expert in their field. My discussions with other researchers on their projects such as Spatio-temporal data modeling, feature mappings in scarce data scenarios, and the seminars I attended were most interesting.

Currently, I am working as a Research Associate at the Multimodal Perception Lab (MPL) at IIIT Bangalore led by Prof. xxxx. I was impressed by the work done on 3d animations and pose estimation in Indian Sign Language at this lab, and after I expressed my future goals to Prof. xxxx, he suggested me to join the Virtual Agent development project. In this project, we are developing a realistic avatar that can hold a natural and logical conversation with a user. A crucial part of any conversation is the co-speech gestures and expressions associated with it, and my job is to develop a system that can automatically generate these Non-Verbal Behaviors (NVB). This work is an amalgam of Behavioral Psychology and Natural Language Understanding, which has been a new and exciting challenge for me. During this project, I have had multiple sessions and insightful discussions on behavior modeling with leading researchers in the field like Dr. xxxx and Dr. xxxx, who have been very supportive of our work. In this work, I implemented the SAIBA architecture for behavior generation, as well as conducted a study on Beat and Deictic types of gesture generation.

My multitasking abilities, determination, perseverance, and leadership skills make me a suitable candidate for the graduate school. Throughout my bachelor's, I was continuously working on multiple projects, managing others' projects, and participating in sports and extracurricular activities, along with academics. None of which affected my GPA adversely. I have developed great confidence in my time management skills. I have demonstrated teamwork and leadership qualities as the Project Manager (PR) of the Robotics Society of my college for 2 years. As PR, I was involved with every project ongoing under the society to review their progress and to help them in gathering financial and intellectual resources. Moreover, I mentored a group of three interns on Swarm Planning and Formation Control under the xxxx Robotics Internship Program during the summer of 2018. I was a member of my college's football team as well as an active member of the music club as a pianist. Furthermore, I had volunteered at several college events as a core organizing member. I believe that all this experience will aid in my active contribution to the graduate program.

In the future, I would want to see myself as a researcher in the industry, particularly in the applicative field of Human-Computer Interaction. Presently, I aim to pursue my Ph.D. soon after my Master's degree. For that, I want to actively look out for intriguing ideas as candidate topics for the said Ph.D. Thus, with the aim of gaining more clarity and focusing on my career goals in the long run, I am applying to this program that can act as a bridge between my past and future, and help me make more concrete decisions.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,686 4759  
Dec 2, 2021   #2
Your statement of purpose feels over extended and needs to be whittled down to only 750-1000 words. It tends to be more of a personal statement already rather than a purpose focused essay. Do not mix the information requirements for the 2 different essays. For one thing, you should remove the introductory paragraph because it does not really represent a unique thought that serves a foundation for your purpose. Do not use the innovative ideas of others as a part of your purpose. Rather, excite the reviewer through an exciting representation of your future purpose. That is what makes your statement of purpose exciting and interesting to the reviewer.

About your desire to be mentored by a specific professor, you do not indicate how your inclusion in the research team or class setting of this professor will be an asset to the professors continuing research efforts in a specific field or topic. Simply wanting to discuss is not a purpose. A desire to offer your talents and skills to improve the research work or class discussion would be a more relatable and convincing purpose addition. Be specific about your related research goals.

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