Meet KAUST prospective student: Kilichbek Haydarov

KAUST CS M.S./Ph.D. Student Kilichbek Haydarov.
-By Taruna Rapaka

Kilichbek Haydarov is a graduate student who will join KAUST from Uzbekistan. He will join KAUST as a M.S./Ph.D. candidate and member of the KAUST Computer Vision, Content AI research group under the supervision of Professor Mohamed Elhoseiny. Kilichbek obtained his bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering from Sejong University, South Korea. 

Haydarov aspires to be a research scientist in industry or academia and inspire the next generation of researchers.

What was your main subject during your undergraduate degree? Why did you choose

Computer science and engineering. During my last undergraduate years, I joined the Intelligent Media Lab in our university, focusing on anomaly detection and action recognition in surveillance systems. It was fascinating because by making surveillance cameras smart, we could be alert, identify, and even stop, threatening events, such as perimeter violation, fire detection and license plate recognition.

Why have you chosen to study a M.S./Ph.D. at KAUST?

Of course, KAUST has excellent research facilities, an international community, a spectacular campus on the Red Sea's shores, and top minds from all parts of the world. However, none of them inspired me as much as King Abdullah's statement about the vision to create a new "House of Wisdom." From that moment, I got a burning desire to pursue my goals only in this unique place. 

As a Muslim, at KAUST, I imagine myself working with people from different backgrounds, without discrimination and prejudice, to make the world a better place. I may or may not become notable like Al-Khwarizmi, Avicenna, or Ismail al-Jazari, but I will try my best to contribute to the reputation of KAUST, the new "House of Wisdom."

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

Before enrolling at university, I was unsure of what major to choose because there were many options. When I consulted with my family, my mother told me to go for computer science as it was an emerging field. I was a little hesitant, to tell the truth since I did not know much about computers, except gaming and painting. However, I became really interested in the field when I took a programming class during my freshman year. 

I am interested in computer vision; specifically, I want to focus on robotic perception to improve robots and other autonomous systems' ability to capture and understand our environment.

What do you do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?

I am a real chess lover. I often play a blitz game to relax, usually on the internet with other people. It is interesting because this is a mind game; you always need to be a step ahead of your opponent's thinking to win the game. Together with some other interested students, I hope to create a chess club on campus.

Can you give a piece of advice to students who plan to pursue a M.S./Ph.D. at KAUST?

If you are not sure what your passion is, first, try to explore many areas and learn new things. When you realize your passion, join some research group as early as possible since KAUST is a research-oriented university and research experience will be valuable here.