Bryan Tor is a fourth-year computer science undergraduate student at the Baskin School of Engineering. Tor discusses his research on natural language processing and fairness in machine learning, his work as a data scientist, his involvement with SASE, and what he’s looking forward to most as he gets ready to graduate this spring.
When did your interest in the computer science field begin?
My interest in computer science began when I started taking computer science classes in high school. My high school had a great program and great teachers, and there were a lot of interesting opportunities available to learn more about computer science. Around that time, I started writing my own personal scripts to automate things I was doing in my home life like board game design. It was a fun way for me to explore more about computer science outside what I was already learning in school. I decided to study computer science further by pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science at Baskin Engineering.
What’s your experience been like learning remotely for over a year now?
Although I miss campus and walking the beautiful trails that surround the campus buildings, it’s been good. I have access to online computing resources to help me complete my computer science curriculum online. I’ve had the chance to tutor for classes in the online format, and I can say that the teaching assistants and professors have really done a good job to make the transition to online as seamless as possible.
Tell me about the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) and how your participation with SASE has shaped your personal and professional growth.
The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) was one of the first clubs I joined. I wanted to meet as many people as possible when I started at UC Santa Cruz. During the first meeting I attended, I got the chance to connect with the SASE officers, who gave me a lot of great advice, answered questions, and provided resources to help me try to get the most out of my UCSC experience. My time with SASE has shown me the importance of mentorship. There is not only a strong community and network at SASE but throughout the UCSC campus. Students are always eager to pass on their knowledge and experiences and maintain a supportive peer network.
Tell me about the research you’ve worked on during your time at Baskin Engineering.
The professors I met along the way at Baskin Engineering helped shape my early interests in machine learning, particularly fairness in machine learning. What I am working on now focuses on natural language processing—how natural language machine learning products work, how they fail, and how we can build more robust systems that are resilient to unfair biases.
You’re currently a data scientist for the biotech company Gilead. What’s that experience been like?
Most of my work is within natural language processing. I’ve been able to leverage the strong skill set I’ve learned through the natural language curriculum at Baskin Engineering. My responsibilities entail applying NLP tools to improve compliance data processes and review.
What areas of the computer science field are you most interested in pursuing after graduation?
In the future, I want to do more research on machine learning. I think there is a great opportunity to test the robustness of machine learning models within the adversarial space. I’m looking forward to seeing how that field develops. Hopefully, I will return to graduate school at some point. I would most likely do a natural language processing graduate program.
What are you looking forward to most as you get ready to graduate this spring?
I’m looking forward to getting the chance to come back to campus to take my graduation photos. It will be nice to walk around campus and the Baskin Engineering buildings and recollect on all the memories I’ve made during my time at UC Santa Cruz. The sense of community is something I really valued during my time at Baskin Engineering and UC Santa Cruz.