My journey in Technology by Vishnu Manasa Devagiri
This month’s blog post from the series ‘My Journey in Technology’ is from Vishnu Manasa Devagiri. She is a first-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden. Vishnu has also a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering and a master’s degree in Computer Science.
Technology has always fascinated me. Today, technology is playing a great role in the way we lead our day to day life: from medical devices, automobiles, smart buildings, to name a few, technology is everywhere. Machine learning is one area used in many everyday applications including: text prediction, spam detection, personalized recommendations, object recognition, face detection, and search engines. My curiosity about how these things work is the reason why I took up a machine learning course in my master’s degree. That is when my interest in the subject grew and I decided to pursue my Ph.D. in this area.
I have started my PhD studies in February 2019, under the supervision of Veselka Boeva and Niklas Lavesson. My research interests include Machine Learning, Data Science, Unsupervised Learning, evolutionary clustering. The best thing about being a PhD student is that you get an opportunity to work in the areas that are interesting and exciting to you. I am currently working on designing evolutionary clustering algorithms robust to concept drift. Concept drift is a phenomenon where the data characteristics tend to change over time due to various factors. The best thing about being a Ph.D. student in my opinion is that you get the opportunity to investigate in more details a particular area that is interesting and exciting for you. I feel like I get to learn, experiment and explore new things every day.
After starting my Ph.D., the first article I have submitted was an abstract for the poster presentation at womENcourage 2019. I will always remember it as a special moment. Our poster was entitled “Patient Profiling Using Evolutionary Clustering” which discusses an evolutionary split-merge clustering algorithm used to maintain patient profiles. The presented algorithm could be generalized and used in different application scenarios where data is continuously generated to maintain clustering solutions. Even though I have attended some national conferences in Sweden, womENcourage 2019 was my first international conference. The highlight of the event was that our poster was selected among the top twenty! It was not further shortlisted in the top ten, but it was a great learning experience for me. There was a strong competition and many other posters from the conference caught my attention.
Apart from the poster sessions, there were other events such as the hackathon, workshops, panel discussions, and social events offering a wide range of options to the participants. I found that the panel discussion titled “Urban environment and smart cities” was especially interesting. The conference was very diverse, with people who were specialized in different areas of computing. The different sessions and organized events helped me widen my horizon about the ongoing research in different fields of computing.
I had a nice time at the conference. womENcourage is a great platform that gives us an opportunity to get to know people all around the globe and build our network. I am looking forward to attending next year’s conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.
There has been a significant difference between the number of men and women in the field of technology. But times are changing and the opportunities for women in technology are increasing gradually. Diversity awareness is increasing everywhere, thanks to many wonderful celebrations like womENcourage. Events like this provide a platform for women to share their knowledge, encourage and motivate each other. As a result, I hope we will be seeing an increased number of women who are taking up technology as their career choices. There are no limitations to where we as women can reach, be it a CEO of a company, a software architect, a professor, or a software developer, and we should try to follow our dreams. There are many wonderful women around us which we should take as role models, and one day became a role model ourselves to inspire others and hopefully in time achieve a gender balance in computing.