-By Taruna Rapaka
Asaad AlGhamdi is a 24-year-old graduate who will join KAUST in the fall from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Asaad will join the University as a M.S. candidate and member of the Machine Intelligence and kNowledge Engineering research group under the supervision of Professor Xiangliang Zhang.
Asaad first came to KAUST as a visiting student and relished what he saw. One defining moment came when he walked into the main library and observed the endless captivating perspective of the Red Sea through the library’s enormous glass panes. A beautiful campus, a diverse community, and an ability to carry out cutting-edge research are among the many reasons Asaad chose KAUST as the next step in his academic career.
What was your main subject during your undergraduate degree? Why did you choose it?
I majored in computer science because it is something I enjoy, and I am good at it. I also like the flexibility that, with enough domain knowledge, a computer scientist can work on problems in different areas such as medicine, health and others. During my studies, I focused on learning neural networks and machine learning concepts.
Why have you chosen to study a M.S. at KAUST?
A beautiful campus, a diverse international community, world-class faculty, and an ability to carry out cutting-edge research are my reasons for choosing KAUST. My undergraduate research professor, and KAUST alumnus, Dr. Muhamad Felemban, also recommended that I join KAUST.
What are your research interests? When did your interest in computer science arise?
I love working on things that make a quality standard of life more accessible to others while also empowering humans. As an undergraduate, I focused on researching an Internet of Things solution to ensure social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in my graduate studies, I would like to learn more about Natural language processing and its use to gain insights and knowledge about human emotions.
When I was 12 years old, I played online games and made friends of various ages living around the globe. Over time, I started developing 2D games, design websites and become an efficient troubleshooter. I knew computers were my passion and a gateway to an unbounded world where you can be anyone, meet everyone, and create anything.
What are your hobbies? What are you passionate about?
My hobbies are reading (fiction, drama, and biographies), making origami, playing squash, swimming, cycling, traveling, and learning languages and history. I am passionate about teaching and breaking down complex ideas and concepts. I enjoy playing games and watching TV shows, movies and documentaries that simulate my thoughts and imagination. Sometimes I do some reflective writing or make different origami shapes to de-stress from work.
What is your future outlook?
My career aspiration is to become a professor of computer science and become an expert in what I do. I want to be involved in research and work toward getting my first publication as soon as possible.
Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue a M.S. /Ph.D. at KAUST?
Your time is limited; so do not waste it overthinking, tracing and comparing the paths that others have already walked. Follow your heart and intuition, work on what matters to you (while having fun), and you will regret nothing.