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Study Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship - Artificial Intelligence w/ application in Aerospace

Rizwan89 1 / 4 2  
May 5, 2018   #1
Greetings from Pakistan!
I am Rizwan and I am planning to apply to Fulbright Scholarship program. My intended area of study is Artificial Intelligence with the applications in the field of Aerospace Engineering. Below is the Study Objectives essay I have written. Kindly indicate whether it is a well formulated essay or do I need to amend it to include less of my academic/profession career information and more of technical knowledge about my future research?



The Merger of Technology with Human Intelligence

Ray Kurzweil is right in his book "Singularity is Near" (published 2005), we are near the end of 'Epoch 4' (Technology) and entering into `Epoch 5' (The Merger of Human Technology with Human Intelligence). Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence has been the foundation of the rapid socioeconomic, industrial and technological growth witnessed in the last several decades. Furthermore, the need for more dependable and self-reliant systems and the recent advances in data science and automation, it is imperative to focus attention towards artificial intelligence to ensure future progress. In a sense, human and socioeconomic development is inseparable from computers and machines. It was this basic relationship that attracted me towards this field. Being a person of unusually keen foresight I decided to focus my attention on "Artificial Intelligence".

Throughout my life I have always looked for challenges that test my innate abilities to the extreme. Starting from securing top position in secondary school to the nomination for "Rector's Gold Medal Award" for Best Final Year Project in my undergraduate studies, I have always enjoyed and accepted these challenges with great vigor and zeal. 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 this age of evolution. Thus, a M.S. degree in Computer Science (with emphasis on Artificial Intelligence and applications in Aerospace Engineering) is the logical culmination of my passion for Artificial Intelligence and Aerospace Engineering in general. I am interested in study of both artificial intelligence as well as systems. On the artificial intelligence side, I am particularly interested in evolutionary methods for developing intelligent behavior. On the systems side, I am most interested in distributed systems, and especially non-proprietary, dynamically connected systems.

Owing to my keen interest in design process, during the undergraduate study at College of Aeronautical Engineering, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), I was a nominee for the Rector's Gold Medal Award for my project on "Design, Development and Fabrication of a RC Aerial Platform for Reconnaissance and Surveillance". The design process, from Request for Proposal to a complete conceptual design, fabrication and successful operation of the platform was one of the most satisfying experiences in my life. It is in search of more such experiences that I wish to continue my education further. Apart from the major field subjects, Computer programming has always been my forte. Having developed a sound understanding of computer programming while completing my pre-requisites, I strengthened this particular area by developing MATLAB and FORTRAN codes for solvingincompressible flow over any NACA series airfoil using Prandtl's Lifting Line Theory, during the degree. My passion for computer programming and the ability to break down the mathematical models into small constituent modular problems in a logical and methodical way is evident from my perfect 4.00 GPA in all the mathematics and programming courses.

My current occupation as an Assistant Director Airworthiness in the Airworthiness Directorate of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) further adds to my credentials, it has broadened my horizon by providing me with an opportunity to not only study the aircraft systems but also the policy making for regulating the design and type certification of such systems. Furthermore it has helped me to identify the constraints faced by the engineers while designing these systems and the available room for improvement. The two problems which I identified during the course of my job include: (i) achieving better fuel economy and (ii) the need to accommodate the increasing air traffic density without compromising on safety. These problems have motivated me to further explore the field of aerodynamics with a focus on formation flight of commercial airliners for increased aerodynamic efficiency and then designing an intelligent and self-organizing autopilot system for making such a flight possible. My existing knowledge on Aerodynamics, Turbo machinery, Aircraft Stability and Feedback Control Systems, Computer Programming and ICAO Regulations and Policies will be of great assistance to me in achieving excellence in the study of these problems.

The fuel economy which can be achieved by formation flight comes at a cost of a compromise on minimum vertical and horizontal separation between aircraft as well as the need to have a pilot at controls for close proximity flying. Both the problems can be addressed by developing multi-agent autopilot based on distributed but dynamically connected systems. These self-learning and dynamically evolving systems may be trained on the available flight datasets or wind tunnel models. In the final phase these systems may be implemented on research models for only controlling the inputs to the aircraft but mutually and dynamically assist the other systems in the formation. Such systems can help the airlines in achieving a better fuel efficiency and at the same time accommodate more aircraft at the same Flight Level (FL). Moreover, similar algorithms may be developed to improve the conventional autopilot systems by making them learn through in-service experience.

Aiming to be at the forefront of technology, I deem MS training critical for my career goals. And I intend to gain deeper insight into AI as well as accumulate versatile experience across disciplines during my graduate studies. Though the choice of academia or industry can only be made after I have acquired a better understanding of both fields, one thing is for sure: I will continue with my research career upon graduation. Equipped with all the qualifications needed for the rigorous Graduate Studies program, I genuinely hope to inherit the spirit of learning and shape the future of technology.

Holt [Contributor] - / 7,485 1927  
May 6, 2018   #2
Rizwan, I have to be blunt here and tell you that nothing in this study plan is applicable to the requirements of a Fulbright Scholarship Study Plan. For starters, the study plan is exactly that. A presentation of the topic you wish to focus on for your research as a MS student. This is written in the same manner as a college thesis proposal. That means, you need to indicate specific information such as:

1. What do you propose to do during your research? Does it have a justifiable professional relevance in your part?
2. Why is this project important or significant to you on a personal or professional basis?
3. Is there a specific university and university professor who inspired this research? Do you hope to work with that professor as a mentor?
4. What is the relevance of doing this study or research abroad? Make sure that you fully explain why you cannot do this research within your home country. Be convincing.

5. Don't forget to explain the methodology as part of the study plan. If you need to interview people or participants, explain how you plan to do this.

6. Where do you plan to conduct this research or study in the U.S.? How does this study help the US? Will it have an international impact by the end of your research?

7. How can your host community help you complete this project? Be specific about your timeline.
8. How will the research help your country benefit from the research or study?
9. What is your ultimate professional goal that will be enhanced by this research or study?
10. Explain how the available resources in the United States will help you achieve all these goals.

Think about your study plan long and hard. It must be intricate and complete within 2 pages. Expect the unexpected questions and respond to it. Review your statement with a fine tooth comb. Make sure all 10 points are addressed and you have not missed nor under explained or over explained any aspect. No exaggerations allowed. Just be academically and technically specific at all times.

Now, since you are an ESL student taking a masters degree in the US, part of the study plan, should include a discussion of how you plan to improve your English writing and speaking skills in the US. No, it should not be as trivial as attending English classes and speaking in English to classmates. You need to show a deeper interest in improving your language skills than that. Talk about engaging in community activities that will help you hone your language skills. Be socially active in the improvement of your English skills.
OP Rizwan89 1 / 4 2  
May 6, 2018   #3
Thank you for such a thorough review about the plan and being specific about all the amendments i need to incorporate. I need to ask one thing, do i have to EXPLAIN the specific research project that I'll be doing, in detail? Is it expected of a bachelor's student to have sufficient knowledge about the project they shall be undertaking during masters degree? Or should i include a generic overview of the project to show that i have a very basic understanding of the subject?

Furthermore, if I may ask, can i remove the stuff (such as the quotation and information regarding my programming and design skills) from 1st, 2nd and 3rd paragraph and make that a part of my Personal Statement?
OP Rizwan89 1 / 4 2  
May 13, 2018   #4

Study Objectives for Fulbright Scholarship

Hello from Pakistan!
I am Rizwan Malik and I am applying for Fulbright Scholarship for Masters degree program in Artificial Intelligence with its applications in Aerospace Engineering. I uploaded the study objectives earlier on and after incorporating all the recommended changes i have fully revamped it.

Prompt: Write a clear and detailed description of your study/research objectives, and give your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this field. Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan fits in with your previous training and your future objectives. This statement is an essential part of your application and is required. Do not mention specific U.S. universities at which you would like to study. (The words limit is restricted to 750)

Aviation industry would not be what it is today without the use of computers. Computer Science has been the foundation of rapid industrial and technological growth witnessed in the last several decades. It has revolutionized every sector of technology. With my academic background of Aerospace Engineering, professional experience of civil aviation and my passion for Computer Science I am eager to undertake graduate studies in Artificial Intelligence (AI) with its applications in aviation industry.

My interest in aerodynamics and design process motivates me to explore the prospects of formation flight for fuel economy. With increasing competition in aviation industry and global concerns for carbon footprint, it has become imperative to focus on fuel efficiency. One of the areas which requires further study and exploration in this regard is formation flight of commercial airliners. Airbus conducted its test formation flight with 05 A350XWB in 2014 with promising results. However, the primary concern stems from flight safety regulations. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has detailed regulations about the minimum distance for commercial airplane operations. AI based self-learning intelligent flight control systems capable of controlling formation flight can possibly address this concern.

The research would start by studying and correlating the aerodynamic effects of types and positions of various aircraft in formation. It would then proceed to the study of primary flight control laws for enabling a steady flight under these effects. However, the need to keep the aircraft safely in a tight formation would require real time feedback and coordination which translates into the need to have an AI based flight control system. I am particularly interested in evolutionary methods for developing intelligent behavior utilizing distributed systems, and especially non-proprietary, dynamically connected systems enabling the aircraft to interact and determine their flight parameters in real time. Ideally, the system would be capable of supervised learning from already available datasets as well as from in-service experience. My existing knowledge on Aerodynamics, Aircraft Stability and Feedback Control Systems and ICAO Policies will assist me immensely in study of these problems. Apart from major field subjects my ability to break down mathematical models into smaller constituent problems in a logical way has let me score perfect 4.00 GPA in all the mathematics and programming courses.

The research will have far reaching impacts not only on aerospace and AI industries but also on civil aviation and environmental protection. Studies conducted at NASA indicate potential fuel savings ranging from 10% to 15%. Even the most conservative studies estimate savings of millions of gallons of fuel a year which means far less carbon emissions along with a lower operating cost. Furthermore, with the global air traffic doubling almost every 15 years there is a pressing issue of air traffic congestion. The RVSM requirements can be reduced with development of IFCS employed for formation flight. Hence, this multifaceted research will provide solutions to a wide variety of problems.

While the world is making progress by leaps and bounds in the field of AI and spending billions of dollars annually, Pakistan has just woken up to the reality with a meager allocation of around $3.3 million annually. Currently there are no specialized institutes offering the opportunity for advanced research in AI. Moreover, there exists a wide gulf between academia and industry in Pakistan which deprives the students from rich experiences of learning by applying the classroom knowledge to real world problems. On the other hand being at the forefront of technological innovation and through decades of public and private investments, the US currently leads in AI research. The conducive learning environment which the US universities provide, along with advanced computational facilities, help translate ideas into reality. The exposure gained by the collaboration between highly reputable academia and a burgeoning AI industry in the US will be immensely fruitful upon my return to Pakistan.

Recently the government of Pakistan inaugurated National Center of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) as a first step towards joining the ranks of developed nations leading the world in this field. Under NCAI 06 labs are being established for conducting research in various fields of AI. The AI sector of Pakistan is still in infancy thereby offering growth potential in every aspect ranging from something as rudimentary as modernizing the irrigation system to something as ambitious as Space Program 2040. Upon my return to Pakistan I aspire to work with NCAI to become a part of a team aimed at promoting this seemingly alien technology in Pakistan and bringing a change in the lives of common people.

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