March was ACSE Alumni Month and although we may now be in April, we have one more very exciting alumni profile to share with you.
This profile comes to us courtesy of Cuauhtemoc Anda (Temo for short) who is originally from Mexico and currently studying and living in Singapore. He is studying for a PhD in Machine Learning and Intelligent Transport Systems at the ETH Zurich while being based in the ETH Future Cities Lab, Singapore.
What AS and A2’s (or equivalent) did you study?
I did the BSc Mechatronics Engineering at Tecnólgico de Monterrey in Mexico City. My modules were calculus, physics, programming, numerical methods, control engineering and automation processes.
Why did you choose ACSE?
The department of ACSE is the only department in the UK dedicated to Control and Systems Engineering. It was clear that the level of specialisation in the department would allow me to interact with leaders in the field. The first class lectures and engaging laboratory sessions kept me highly motivated for the challenges of pursuing the MSc. The MSc I chose was in Computational Intelligence and Robotics because it is a multidisciplinary MSc, the study plan is the perfect mixture of Control Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience and Robotics.
Focus of your PhD?
Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) algorithms are being used to take advantage of the new big data phenomenon we are living in. New data collection mechanisms based on ubiquitous digital devices, enhanced computing power as well as sensing and communication technologies have a significant potential in the field of urban planning, specifically, in the planning and management of transport activity.
The aim of my PhD is to use Big Data sources such as mobile phone data and Singapore’s Public Transport Smart Card data (i.e. equivalent to Oyster Card in London) along with Machine Learning algorithms to improve the planning and operation of public transport, transport infrastructure and transport policies in the city of Singapore.
One of the objectives is to help improve current state-of-the-art transport demand models based on evolutionary algorithms (like the ones used for Swarm Robotics) with the inclusion of new data sources.
What are you most looking forward to about living in Singapore?
Being in one of the leading cities in Asia and getting to know a completely different culture.
I want to keep doing projects (in the public or private sector) to improve the cities livability and society in general, through the combination of the latest sensor and communication technologies with data analytics and A.I. algorithms.
Favourite things about ACSE?
The ACSE lecturers are excellent and made attending lectures a delight. The lab sessions provided us with everything we needed and we had the opportunity to use the learned lecture content in practical sessions. For instance, in the module of Rapid Control Prototyping, we were all given a take-home helicopter kit, each of us had the opportunity to apply our gained knowledge in control systems to design and implement a control algorithm to make the helicopter fly.
How has studying at ACSE helped you?
Studying at ACSE has acted as a career trampoline – broadening my career possibilities post MSc. I have become confident and prepared to start/continue my professional career in the academic or commercial sector. ACSE has helped me to develop both technical/engineering foundations and professional aptitudes.
Most challenging aspect of your study so far?
Being away from my family and missing real Mexican food.
Most rewarding aspect of your study so far?
The most rewarding part of my study so far has to be successfully completing my MSc and attending the ACSE graduation ceremony. Knowing that my family from Mexico were watching and were proud of me and my achievements was a great feeling.
Favourite part of living in Sheffield?
My favourite part of living in Sheffield was the student life. I particularly loved the alternative/rock vibe found in many of the pubs and clubs, the quirky shops and the street art – there is a lot of expression in the city. Plus, it is the perfect sized city with everything conveniently located for students. I also liked that you got to meet and socialise with people from all around the world.