What attracted you to Carnegie Mellon?
I applied to Carnegie Mellon because of its outstanding academic reputation and felt that I would receive a higher quality education at this institution. I also thought that graduating from CMU would be an accomplishment in itself (definitely true!), and that my ties to CMU will prove to be beneficial in job hunting, graduate school applications, and many other of my future endeavors.
What was your favorite class and why?
Looking back, my favorite computer science class was 213, Systems Level Programming. I liked that the instructors were creative with the assignments ("the bomb", etc.) that made learning the material more fun.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
I would say that my favorite professor was Klaus from 15-129, a combination Introduction to Programming / Modern Mathematics course. This was my first "hard-core" computer science class freshman year and it really kicked my butt! I found the assignments in this class to be extremely difficult and the pace was much faster than what I would have liked, but Professor Klaus was always willing to give you extra time or give you an extra assignment to prove yourself. Also, his passion for computer science and for teaching made him an inspiring instructor.
What was the best thing about living in Pittsburgh?
Besides academics, I loved the diversity in ethnic foods in Pittsburgh. Even though I live in New York City now and have thousands of restaurants to choose from, I still think that Pittsburgh is home to the most authentic cultural food I've ever had: the best Thai food is hands down Spice Island, the best South Indian food is Udipi, and Pittsburgh is also the home to an awesome little Philippino restaurant (I forgot the name of it though!).
What opportunities do you feel you had at Carnegie Mellon that you wouldn't have had at another university?
One of the greatest things about going to CMU was that I was able to meet exceptional people and had the opportunity to work with them on various projects throughout my four years there. I am sure that once these people become established in their fields, they are going to introduce innovative ideas to the world and I can say, "Yeah! I went to college with him(/her)!" =)
How do you think Carnegie Mellon helped prepare you to meet your professional challenges?
To be honest, my first semester at CMU really kicked my butt! High school was a breeze and all of a sudden, upon beginning classes at CMU, I had to struggle to complete my projects and pass my tests. As much as I wished I was more "naturally talented" or smarter, I think the challenge was beneficial to me since it made learn how to push myself and made me build confidence in my abilities. This confidence and willingness to take a challenge, not to mention a committed work ethic, are all qualities that are essential in being successful professionally and so far they have proven to be invaluable to me.
What advice would you have for incoming students in the field of computer science who were worried about the difficulty of their program?
I would tell them that it's perfectly normal to feel nervous about beginning school at a top program at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. But I would remind them that they were accepted to the program and that by being accepted the admissions board believes they are capable of being successful in the program. And much like everything else in life, even though it may not always come easy you have to work at it and not be discouraged when things aren't going your way. It's very important to maintain a positive attitude and not shy away from courses that interest you but seem harder. Then you can prove to yourself that you can do it even though it seemed so difficult in the beginning, and that confidence will help you get through your future challenges.
The advances in the field of computer science have led to a digital revolution. We've seen the birth of the personal computer, the fruition of Moore's law, the rise of the Internet, to name a few. What do you think we'll see next?
I see computer science playing larger roles in the field of security. Especially in this age of terrorism when security is of top priority, I believe that instant fingerprint confirmation, retinal scan, and improved ways of keeping data private will be in the next wave of technological innovation.
Describe your current position and it's roles and responsibilities.
I work in a technical project management role at Merrill Lynch in New York. I am in charge of an infrastructure migration project which entails managing and coordinating communication and efforts from groups across the firm in completing tasks for the project. In addition, I work with our clients in designing technical solutions to their business needs and work with my team in implementing the agreed solutions.
What research projects are you currently working on or completed recently (e.g. describe your work on the e.g. Information Awareness Interface. What is it? Why is it important? What impact has this project made or will make in the field?
The type of *research* we do involves ways of processing and executing trades which varies depending on the technical capabilities of our clients. It is important because the degree of personal handling of trades can be defined by these processing flows and can thereby cater to a client's needs more closely. In addition, different regions around the world offer different ways of processing trades and so far these methods have remained isolated. With technological advances at financial firms, clients will soon be able to trade globally using process flows offered globally, allowing the clients much more flexibility in choosing what they want to trade and how they want to trade it.