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Engineering | Undergraduate Research

John Robertson, Travel Grant

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John Robertson, Travel Grant

With a double major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Barrett Honors student and current FURI researcher John Robertson has a lot on his plate. Nevertheless, he took time in March 2016 to attend the 2016 Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence conference to present his research titled, “Data Driven Game Theoretic Cyber Threat Mitigation,” which he has been working on under the mentorship of FURI mentor Dr. Paulo Shakarian. We asked John to give us some details of his conference experience.

In layman terms, what was the conference about?

The Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI-16) [focused] on successful applications of AI technology. The conference [used] technical papers, challenge papers, invited talks, and panel discussions to explore issues, methods, and lessons learned in the development and deployment of AI applications; and to promote an interchange of ideas between basic and applied AI.

What motivated you to present at this conference?

I am very interested in applying novel data mining and machine learning techniques to build practical systems, which is what this conference is all about.

Tell us about some of the presentations you attended.

Google DeepMind founder, Demis Hassibis, gave a technical presentation about their latest work on an intelligent system that is able to both learn how to beat old Atari video games and play the board game Go at a grandmaster level.

I attended a 3-hour hands-on workshop for machine learning algorithm hyper-parameter optimization. What I learned from this workshop is something that I will be able to use regularly in my research for the foreseeable future.

What do you think was the best part of the conference?

Me and a group of five other students got to have lunch with Google Head of Research, Dr. Peter Norvig. I have used Dr. Norvig’s AI textbook in multiple classes at ASU; it was an incredible experience to pick his brain over a two-hour lunch.

Has your involvement with this conference influenced your research plans? 

Attending this conference has reinforced my interest in this particular field of research.

What did you wish you knew prior to the conference?

In hindsight, I would have more thoroughly researched the other presenters at the conference and would have personally sought out the researchers that I found interesting.

Any suggestions for other students regarding conferences?

In addition to learning a lot, you can make a lot of really good connections with top-tier research professors at these conferences.

Thanks for sharing your experience, John!

If you are interested in having your research-related trip funded by a FURI Travel Grant, visit the webpage here.


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