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.