The Center for Statistics and Machine Learning grant their first Independent Work Award to Eddie Zhou

Monday, Jun 27, 2016
by jd7

The Center for Statistics and Machine Learning grant their first Independent Work Award to Eddie Zhou

 

Eddie Zhou

Eddie Zhou has been named the winner of the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning’s first ever Independent Work Award.  Eddie recently graduated as part of the class of 2016 and majored in Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE). In addition to his ORFE concentration, Eddie earned a certificate in Statistics and Machine Learning.  His thesis work titled, “Nested Models and Nonparametric LSTMs in Vision-Based Autonomous Driving and Developing an R Package for Bayesian-Optimized Deep Learning”, was described by one of CSML’s executive committee faculty members as, “three independent work projects in one”. Eddie was advised by Professor Han Liu, Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering and a CSML associated faculty member. When we asked him his thoughts on Eddie winning the award, Professor Liu commented, It is a very well deserved honor for Eddie. Eddie is a great student full of entrepreneurship. Just in one semester, he finished 3 projects with very high quality (along with a wonderful poster presentation). Together with the technical skills developed during his senior thesis training at Princeton over the past year, I am confident to say that he will become one of the strongest and most interesting technical leaders in his cohort.”

 

While congratulating Eddie on winning the award, we were given the opportunity to ask him several questions regarding his paper and the SML Certificate:

 

INTERVIEWER
How has the SML certificate helped you?

 

ZHOU
The program has helped me discover courses in statistics and machine learning at Princeton that I didn't know about, and put me in contact with classmates and researchers with similar interests.  It has also given me a more tangible name for my studies.

 

INTERVIEWER
Has the certificate aided you in finding a job?
 

ZHOU

You'll have to ask my employer if it went into the hiring decision, but I hope it did!

 

INTERVIEWER

How did you decide on your independent research topic? 

 

ZHOU

Towards the end of junior year, my advisor (Professor Han Liu) and I agreed that the work would involve deep learning.  Over the summer, I took the time to brainstorm several potential problems and applications.  When I returned to school in the fall, my advisor and I discussed all of the options, and it turns out that he already had a complex and interesting project ready for me.

 

 

 

INTERVIEWER

Were you surprised by your results or findings?

 

ZHOU

For the first project, I was slightly surprised that the results came out so well, and that the recurrence in the image recognition model was so strong.  On the other hand, I was also slightly surprised that the results for the second project did not turn out as well as I had hoped, and that the nonparametric deep learning method did not prove as successful as it had for other problems within my advisor's research group.

 

INTERVIEWER

How did your advisor assist you? 

 

ZHOU

Professor Liu was invaluable in not only providing direction for each of the successive projects, but also as a near-encyclopedic resource for literature and papers.  He was always available to answer the many questions I asked of him, and I am incredibly thankful for his help and guidance.

 

INTERVIEWER

What do you think about the future of statistics and machine learning?

 

ZHOU

I think the future is bright for statistics and machine learning, especially if experts in each field collaborate.  With the hype of deep learning and other trends in machine learning, many people are unsuccessfully trying to become ML experts without any proper statistics background.  On the other hand, the field of statistics can, at times, suffer from some degree of inertia.  In working together, I think the two fields can make huge strides in solving problems within both academia and industry.