My statement of purpose for getting into the PhD program at IITB

While getting into the PhD program at IITB I was asked to give a statement of purpose as a common practice world wide. I am not sure whether anybody really read it or not, but I really meant what I wrote :)

Statement of Purpose (SOP) for admission to the PhD Programme in Computer Science & Engineering at IIT Bombay in the field of Machine Learning/Data Mining/Data Analytics

“The role of brain in a human body can never be overstated. Similar, in my opinion, is the role of the intelligentsia in the society. I strongly believe that the best brains in the world should be contributing to the field of research and education and in this way make a tangible contribution to the society. Though I do not claim to be among the best brains in the world, but as an illustrious alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, with numerous awards and achievements to my credit (including the Institute Silver Medal for being the topper at IIT Kharagpur, Star Award for outstanding performance at BMC Software, “VIT Shri” Awards at Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune for being the best teacher) I certainly can compete with them and thus have a strong urge to contribute, especially in areas like governance and security which can have a tremendous impact on society.

I have done my BTech in CSE from IIT Kharagpur in 2004 after which I worked for six years in Oracle, Bangalore and then for about two years in BMC Software, Pune. The fruit of these eight years in industry came in the form of a calling - to work for a cause bigger than myself. Not wanting to leave Pune, I joined Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Engineering. This was my first step towards returning back to academia. Vishwakarma Institute of Technology is an autonomous college affiliated with University of Pune and is among the premiere colleges in Maharashtra. Because of the need of the hour at that time, I had to pursue my MTech from the same college. People say I am a perfectionist. I agree. Whatever I do, I like to give myself completely to it. Coupled with God’s grace, this has turned out to be a great combination so far. Thus during my MTech also I secured first rank in the department as well as in the institute.

Now after four years of observing the academia closely, I find myself prepared and geared up for taking the next step, which is of pursuing PhD from IIT Bombay. Being a graduate from IIT Kharagpur, doing MTech from Pune University was a situational compromise for me, but I do not have any such constraints right now. Not only IIT Bombay is close to my home at Pune, being one of the best and most sought after institute in the country, it is my destination of choice and I want to leave no stone unturned to be given an opportunity here to prove my mettle.

My MTech work was about automatically recognizing user personality from Facebook status updates. I have been working in the area of Data Analytics for a couple of years now (have a couple of publications and have guided several major projects). My projects have included topics like “automated rating in web applications using collective intelligence”, “creating ACO and PSO based classification and clustering modules in Weka”, “group recommendation and community detection in Facebook”, “ask answer service on Facebook” and a few others. I have now developed a strong affinity for Data Analytics, especially its intersection with Machine Learning. Together they have a potential to change the way we live, for better. Working on real world problems which can touch the lives of people is what excites me and I look forward to working on such problems during my PhD. Given an opportunity, I am confident of making a significant contribution to the field, to IIT Bombay, to our nation, to our society and to the world at large.”

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Vishal Kaushal
Research Scholar | ML Consultant

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