When Jun Wang was growing up in Anhui Province in China, his parents encouraged him to become a doctor. Instead, his early interest in physics led him along the same path as his father, an electrical engineer.
Instead of doing brain surgery, Wang is now finding other ways to get inside the human mind by exploring intelligent information techniques. His parents are still happy.
Wang anticipates earning his PhD in electrical engineering in 2010. He interned at Google this past summer, and the company selected him as a recipient of one of their Global Intern Scholarships. His research is in the areas of image search, machine learning, and hybrid neural-computer vision systems.
“The most exciting thing is to design the algorithms and software that can somewhat mimic human intelligence,” Wang says. “Now, in this era, one of the most emerging needs is to search what we need, and summarize what we have, in the sea of the Internet.
Expected graduation date: PhD in Electrical Engineering 2010
Hometown: Anhui Province, China
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump and Kung Fu Panda
Favorite spot in NYC: Central Park in the spring
Hobbies: Badminton, squash, swimming and cooking
“With his broad training and creativity, Jun has been extremely successful in working with our collaborators to solve challenging problems in broad disciplines, including Web-scale image search, hybrid neuro-computer vision systems, and biomolecular image informatics,” Chang says.
Wang says people want more than just the ability to search for documents. “They also want to search for rich media, like images and video, which is what I have been working on in the past three years for my PhD degree,” he says.
His best experiences at Columbia Engineering have been all that he had hoped to find.
“The flexibility of courses selection from different departments really helps to broaden and enhance the background,” Wang says. “Besides EE courses, I have chosen courses from different departments, such as statistics, applied math, and computer science.”
Wang’s Google award is a $10,000 scholarship for his last year in the program. The recipients are selected from the 2009 Google interns worldwide after a comprehensive review process, which takes into consideration academic, internship, and leadership accomplishments.