What brought you to UC Santa Cruz?
The most important factor that brought me here was my advisor, Lise Getoor. Aside from that, I was really drawn to the area -- it’s one of the more vegan-friendly places in the U.S. and it’s a college town right on the ocean. The weather is beautiful year-round and it just has a really nice laid-back feel. It’s close to the Bay Area, and that’s an important factor because I’m in the Computer Sciences.
Tell us about your research project(s).
The project I’m working on right now deals with expert identification, which is an interesting topic because as companies continue to grow, customer satisfaction and retention is an important success factor. One of the best ways to solve customers’ problems is by identifying the right people within the organization to work on cases and issues. For example, if a customer contacts a company and claims a product isn’t working, it’s important that the right employee works on this case to resolve the issue in a timely manner and keep the customer happy. Essentially, I’m writing programs to identify the best users to work on certain cases.
What’s the most interesting or unique aspect of your research?
As a company’s workforce grows, it gets difficult to manually keep track of all the cases and all the expertise that exists, so it’s important that some forms of manual labour be replaced by automated systems that can do these tasks optimally. For example, if a case manager knows five people suitable for the case, they can only assign those five people while an automated system keeps track of every single employee in the organization as well as their expertise, work-load, time-sensitiveness of resolution, etc. and can find the best fit for every case. Smart automation is key in such a large scale operation because soon enough, manual processes won’t cut it.
Why is the Baskin School of Engineering the right place for you to be doing this research?
I’ve been interested in data science and machine learning and UC Santa Cruz has a good core set of professors working in these fields. There’s a broad spread of research interests among professors within the department. I also enjoy the interdepartmental collaboration that happens amongst various departments. UCSC also has a small school feel -- being able to see familiar faces in my classes, a nice combination of a tight knit community with broad research interests.
What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not studying or doing research?
I really love the redwoods and the ocean. My favorite things to do in Santa Cruz are hiking in the woods and running along West Cliff. It’s very interesting to witness nature and the different seasons. At Henry Cowell State Park there are redwoods that are thousands of years old and there’s this lovely cross-section of a trunk that’s put up on a board, acting as a visual-aid of a 2,000 year history with markings of important events on the tree rings. Exploring Santa Cruz and connecting with the space around me has been very fulfilling.
What are your goals after you graduate?
In the short term, it’s very cliché. I want to graduate, find a job, work in Silicon Valley for a few years. In terms of long term plans, I think somewhere down the road I want to open an animal sanctuary and a vegan restaurant, at some point.