Two computer scientists from the University of Adelaide are helping computers see – with applications out of this world.
Dr Tat-Jun Chin is an award-winning computer scientist, but says he doesn’t consider himself the greatest programmer. “Almost everything you do in STEM will involve some form of computing,” he says.
“If you want to do these tasks well, you need to develop a deeper understanding and intuition about computers.”
An Associate Professor in Computer Science (CS) at the University of Adelaide, Tat-Jun studied electrical engineering in Malaysia before doing his PhD in Computer Vision – developing algorithms that enable computers to ‘see’ (extract information from images).
His PhD research was specifically on facial recognition. Now he and his team are helping develop ‘intelligent satellites’ that can do things like detect space debris and unknown spacecraft.
Tat-Jun says computer vision is “booming” at the moment and it’s a great time to study in the field. His colleague at the University of Adelaide, Michele Sasdelli, agrees.
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computer vision is seeing exponential growth,” says Michele.
Michele’s research in computer vision started with an undergrad Degree in Physics – which led to his early research using AI to study supernovae (exploding stars). He has worked with Nobel Prize winners who discovered dark energy, the mysterious force that keeps the universe expanding, and even did a stint at NASA. His current research involves applying physics concepts to complex AI systems.
Michele’s advice to students? Stick with maths. “At some point in your career you will be sorry otherwise,” he says. He also recommends following your interests. “The best work comes from being engaged with what you do.”
Tat-Jun’s career and study pathway:
>> Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
>> PhD, Monash University
>> Test Development Engineer, Agilent Technologies
>> Research Fellow, Institute for Infocomm Research
>> Associate Professor, University of Adelaide
Michele’s career and study pathway:
BA (Physics), UniversitY OF Pisa
Research Scientist, Cortexica Vision Systems
PhD (Physics), Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Research Scientist, NASA
Research Fellow, The University of Adelaide
This article was brought to you in partnership with the University of Adelaide. It originally appears in Careers with STEM: Code 2019.
Author: Gemma Chilton
Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.