KAUST Prospective student: Fernando Patricio Zhapa Camacho

-By Taruna Rapaka

Fernando likes to play chess, watch series and read adventure, thriller, and history books. He feels ardor for the secrets and techniques that history hides and constantly tries to discover them via analyzing or watching documentaries. Fernando is a 23-year-old Information Technology graduate from Yachay Tech University in Urcuquí, Ecuador. He has planned to continue his academic career at KAUST under the supervision of Professor Robert Hoehndorf. Fernando believes that KAUST presents the best environment to take a look at, research, and live. Additionally, the KAUST research effect is excessive, that's evidenced by getting worldwide 119th within the 2020 Nature index, therefore he thinks it is a great area to pursue his dream of turning into a top scientist.

What was your main subject at university? Why did you choose it?

I worked on Tropical Geometry. I chose it because it is a relatively new and growing area in Mathematics. I like Tropical Geometry because it provides a different way of constructing operations like sum and product and structures like polynomials. I worked on the implementation of a software package for Tropical Geometry computations using the Functional Programming paradigm.

When did your interest in Computer Science arise? What are your research interests?

My interest in Computer Science appeared weakly in high school. However, it was not until I discovered the power of combining Computer Science and Mathematics that I decided to follow a Computer Science bachelor program. My bachelor’s thesis was about implementations of Tropical Geometry algorithms. Also, I have worked in implementations of Wu’s algorithm which, from the point of view of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, works as a geometric theorem prover. From now on, I would like to expand my research in the fields of Description Logic, Knowledge Representation, and Natural Language Processing.

What is your further outlook? Who will be your supervisor at KAUST?

I have defended my bachelor’s degree. I plan to continue my academic career at KAUST, where I was accepted for the Master/Ph.D. program in Computer Science. I will be under the direction of Professor Robert Hoehndorf who works in applications of Computer Science in Biology. In the more distant future, I expect to pursue a Ph.D. program and a postdoc.

What are your hobbies? What are you passionate about?

I like to play chess, watch series and read adventure, mystery and history books. I feel passion for the secrets that history hides and always try to discover them through reading or watching documentaries. I play soccer, go cycling and try to learn things from different areas of knowledge via scientific divulgation.

Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue a Master's/Ph.D. at KAUST?

I would like to suggest to them to be sure what their research interests are. I think that having that clear can give you more chances to find the correct program and advisor. For me, KAUST is a great place to develop your ideas and collaborate with others.