Imagine that as an Anita Borg scholar, you are given the opportunity to give a 5 minute speech to a group of high school students to encourage them to pursue degrees in Computer Science. Remember, the students want to know what is exciting and interesting about the field. Please prepare a speech to give to the students. (300-500 words) How much is 125 * 127125? Most of us are going to use a calculator to find out. Pascal, at the age of 19, built the first calculator in 1600s to help his busy father with accounting chores. It was a machine that automated a complex task, it solved a problem or simply put, it made a math student's life easy! Calculator may not be the first computer, but it did pave the way for inventing them. Automation, solving problems and making complex tasks seemingly simple, in my opinion, is one of the most important goals of Computer Science (CS). At present, use of computer science is so pervasive that to count its applications, I may need a computer! It drives our daily lives. Today, something as small as a cellphone or as massive as a plane relies on critical CS concepts to function properly. For instance, a field called computer architecture dictates the combination of simple electronic components to build cellphones. Our smart phones use algorithms to schedule execution of various apps we run simultaneously. Similarly, flying a plane, coordinating its arrival or departure is determined by an algorithm. And if you enjoy spending time on Facebook or Google, you are using platforms built by (not so old) CS students! Computers are synonymous with playing games, but scientists are using them to solve real-world problems too! Technology is playing a major role in improving access to health care, education and information. People in countries like Africa can use mobile phones to detect diseases or follow up with doctors across the world for medication. Systems have been built to teach critical skills to physically-disabled children. Soon, to improve standard of education, 220 million students will receive tablets in India. Use of computers is not limited to our planet! Our journey in space today, is spearheaded by computers. Astrophysicists can now model the structure and evolution of stars. Soon, planets and stars will be discovered by a computer program written by an astronomer! Robots, the ones we see in sci-fi movies, are not fiction but a reality now. A skillful combination of CS and electronics, robots are used in space, operation theaters and very soon will also deliver stuff you order on Amazon! We are such terrible drivers, that engineers built a robotic car that can drive better! Years ago, when I couldn't get into an architecture school, my father lured me into studying CS, saying that in future, even buildings would be impossible without computers! He was right, eventually I worked on biologically inspired algorithm to design multistory buildings with optimal exit doors! In future no matter what you choose to do, CS will either help you do it or will do it for you. As Nicholas Negroponte says 'Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living. 'Studying CS was not my first choice but it is by far the best I have made. And it is so intriguing that I continue studying it! 2. Please write an essay on a technical project you took part in, or on a piece of research you undertook, where your contribution and involvement was key to its success. When writing your essay, please remember that the CS professional reviewing your application may not share the same technical expertise or knowledge of your particular research field. Please make sure to explain all technical terms and processes accordingly. Your essay should include the following sections: The problem your project or research is trying to solve, the solution that was chosen, the technical challenges you faced, your contribution to the success of the project and why you consider this project successful or innovative or both. (400-600 words) Scientists or Corporations protect their inventions or discoveries against infringements by filing patents. With a patent, they can take legal action to stop others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission . Patent Search is critical not only for the inventor but also the patent office since its necessary to ensure that no such invention has been patented before and its truly novel. The language, terminology and length of patents make the problem all the more challenging. In summer 2010 my thesis advisor asked me to participate in a Cross Lingual Patent Retrieval competition in Vienna. Although I had been working on patents for some months, I had little experience in building systems for competitions. The collection size was over 250Gb and since the competition was being hosted for the first

With my advisors help. evaluating projects and solving doubts of undergraduate students. By observing this process. The details of the competition and our submission can be found here. I logged the queries they used and the process by which they found relevant documents. I also designed a novel way to search patents. However. Our system stood first in recall and 2nd in precision. with 2 competitions . hence I could not track its performance. I improved the UI and the rate at which documents were retrieved. Technically improvement in the system was only possible when I had enough data to evaluate it. my professor still insisted that I work on the system and think of ways to improve it. I got an Idea. This had three problems. if possible in German and French too.TAC-KBP and TACSummarization task. problems that I liked but had little time to work on. The project. Secondly. seek help and build scalable systems. Please provide 1-2 examples of a time when you exhibited leadership. Feel free to examine the ways in which you acted as a role model to the members of your broader community. Although. I contacted 2-3 lawyers and people who dealt with Intellectual Property. I populated a list of competitions. Impressed by the outcome of the projects. With the help of another student. or your university. (400600 words) Teaching Assistantship (TA) is an inevitable duty/job of a graduate student at every university. This was a significant setback. spanning a year and a half. Meanwhile. I released the list of projects. The following year we participated in not one but two patent retrieval competitions. I had 80 students (20 groups) to work on interesting problems. To my surprise. we ran into several network issues and I could not show or test the system. your technical community. Information Retrieval course at IIIT Hyderabad covers the fundementals of web search and information extraction. I did not have a user friendly interface. we improved the search performance significantly. To make the course more interesting. . I recieved google travel grant to participate in irf 2012. While discussing this with a friend. I discussed the monotony of the job with my professor and asked him if we could modify it. The competitions ensured that we push the state of the art and build scalable systems. With his permission I sat down to think what our research group could benefit from. I was slightly taken aback. Firstly I did not try to create data manually to test the queries. the category labels assigned manually to a patent. since I had neither learnt how the system was performing nor did I gather any data for future reference. Thus. I shortlisted 20 projects. papers and required data from premier conferences. First. For two months I worked on the system but with no queries to test it. And any problem can be broken down to subproblems. taught me to prototype quickly. And finally.time. Publications and novelty of work distinguishes one lab from another. how could I make this course a learning experience and engage the students to create something useful. they learnt very little about other concepts such as summarization or sentiment analysis. When I was asked to TA Information retrieval course in Jan 2011 at IIIT Hyderabad during my masters. We improved the algorithm a bit and submitted results to clef ip 2012 track too. On the day of the competition. Previously for this course. he was supportive of the idea. 3. I did not take any patent officers or lawyers feedback on the system. the enthusiasm these projects generated and the vigour with which students implemented them was outstanding. it did not leave room to experiment with other problems. A research group thrives on the problems its trying to solve. Although my advisor warned me that it would increase my workload (these projects required significant background reading and students would need help at several junctions). two TAs and I mentored groups that were working on papers we liked. With the meta information. Second. since I had alot on my plate that semester and TA work just added several hours of work that wouldnt help my thesis. I asked them to evaluate my system. Explain what you were trying to achieve and how you were influential. we dint win patolymics. I found evaluating the same project for 80 students quite tedious and uninformative ordeal. all the students worked on the same project (Search engine for Wikipedia). One performs mundane tasks like grading marsheets. With other TA's and my professor in confidence. they had no training data for the participants. the software required to build it already exists. The category approach was effective in retrieving complex patents. i recieved encouraging remarks for our system. And finally. There were several problems that I had overlooked previously. students would download and re-engineer it as per the problem.

This concept has now become a standard in the courses offered by our lab. Their work was appreciated by several people at the university. Two projects were extended in the summer and one group even published in a premier conference. guiding those students helped to fix problems in my system for a competition. Becoming a TA was not an achievement. the one I happily embraced again on returning from an internship at Microsoft. Teaching assistantship may not be a big responsibility. it was an experience. we did not win either competition. I learnt that one could use any situation to their benefit. The second time around my advisor encouraged me to take initial lectures on index construction and compression. Although.my professor asked us to organize a poster session and invite other students and faculty as well. Although. I learnt about IR more as a TA than when I had taken the course. This little TAship and teaching experience in the academia sealed my decision to pursue a PhD in information retrieval .

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