Postcard from... Sheffield Education

Befriending bots

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Working with real-world clients and programming robots to play football, gave Palash insights into artificial intelligence

As a technology enthusiast, the rapid progression of artificial intelligence over the last decade greatly interested me. That, coupled with my proficiency in Java and C++, led me to pursue artificial intelligence and computer science. I set out to look for a university where opportunities are endless, culture is diverse and education is of the highest quality, and I zeroed-in on the University of Sheffield.

Throughout my course, I have had several real-world tasks to enhance my programming ability and creativity. Working with real clients in the first year taught me the importance of user satisfaction and professionalism. Further, we were given the chance to program robots to play football and perform speech and facial recognition on humans. The lecturers provided the right balance of practical and theoretical knowledge to allow us to achieve our goals.

Interesting mix

I could opt for a psychology or a philosophy module in my first year. This was an opportunity to learn more about human behaviour to make future programmes more “intelligent” and human-like. This choice was unique to my course and gave me an alternative perspective into modern “intelligent” computing.

Besides helping me achieve academic excellence, the university has helped me grow — with over 400 societies, and a range of sports and activities on offer, our £20 million Students’ Union had been voted the best in the U.K. by the Times Higher Education Survey from 2009-2018.

The Indian Society is one of the most predominant cultural societies at the university, and organises various large-scale and small-scale events each year.

As a member of its committee for two consecutive years, first as a sports secretary and currently as a treasurer, I have encouraged member participation and assisted with students’ familiarisation to foreign surroundings. This has sharpened my social skills and helped boost my confidence.

My experience has better equipped me to attain my future goals and aspirations. It has taught me that every challenge is an opportunity waiting to be conquered and hard work and sincerity go a long way.

Palash Surana is a student of M.Comp Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, University of Sheffield, the U.K.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 12:27:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/befriending-bots/article30059008.ece

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