“It was nice to know that all of the SUTD students can get exposure to this level of technological design and scientific research at an undergraduate level.”


In this article, we have Ganesh Chandrasekaran from the University of Maryland, College Park to share with us his SUTD International Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (iUROP) Summer experience!

1. Why did you decide to come to SUTD for exchange?

I came to SUTD through a multidisciplinary program in my university called QUEST. The goals of SUTD strongly reflect those of QUEST, except at the scale of the entire university. I am also very interested in theoretical neuroscience and neuromorphic engineering. I saw from the iUROP list of projects that my current professor works on neuromorphic chips. I was excited to see this, because it is not very easy to get exposed to a relatively new field. I took the opportunity because of a combination of these two interests.

2. What do you like most about SUTD?

I was so excited to see so many research labs! SUTD has a very diverse set of labs, ranging from cognitive, chemical, mechanical design, and electrical design. It was also nice to know that all of the students can get exposure to this level of technological design and scientific research at an undergraduate level.

3. Tell us more about the project you are working on.

I learned about the boundary between engineering and neuroscience by exploring brain-inspired computing, neural networks, and machine learning in general. While there is great progress in the field of machine learning algorithms, bottlenecks seem to appear in the form of computational demand. Neuromorphic chips, which are hardware analogies to software neural networks, are a promising solution to this issue. I was also able to learn about the process of research in general. The production of new knowledge demands tremendous patience and consistency.

4. How was your iUROP experience in SUTD? What have you learn through this experience?

I am very lucky to have been able to work with my professor’s team during my experience. They were very friendly and extremely intelligent. I was able to apply the mathematics I learned in my courses. I learned how to read research papers to delve into new fields within a few weeks. I am surprised by how much I was able to learn about neural networks in a short time and learned that the field is deeper than I ever imagined. Finally, I learned that progress in research takes tremendous patience, and this is really a virtue when producing new knowledge and fundamental applications. I wish I was able to stay longer and contribute and learn more!

Apart from research, I was able to learn about the unique academic culture at SUTD.  The university creates an entrepreneurial mindset through a holistic approach – that is to say, it is not done by taking a few classes on innovation and entrepreneurship. Instead, it is done by integrating ideas of entrepreneurship into all classes and many activities at the school, for example, through the 4-dimensional curriculum.

5. What would you share/advise your peers or juniors in my home university who are interested to come to SUTD for exchange?

I would tell them to make an effort to explore as much of the campus as possible, there is more to it than initially meets the eye! It is a small campus but incredibly dense. And, of course, I would recommend that they get to know the other students. They are very fun, friendly, and have diverse interests.

Find out more!

If you are interested in experiencing what SUTD research is all about, come for an exchange term at SUTD!

Click on this link to find out more about the iUROP programme that Ganesh went through!

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