Francisco Rojas, PhD student, received the Disting..
KAIST Computer Science Ph.D. Student Francisco Arturo Rojas (http://mind.kaist.ac.kr/Francis) (age 32) who is advised by Professor Hyun S. Yang (http://mind.kaist.ac.kr/professor.php) since the spring of 2010 received the Distinguished Paper Award at the international CyberWorlds 2014 (http://www.cw2014.unican.es) conference which took place at the royal Magdalena Palace in Santander, Spain in October 6-8. He presented two full papers, and the paper that won the award was titled “Safe Navigation of Pedestrians in Social Groups in a Virtual Urban Environment”, which was additionally co-authored by the founder of PsyTech LLC (http://psychologicaltechnologies.com), Fernando Tarnogol, a licensed psychologist who with a hired team of developers created the city virtual environment with vehicular traffic for which the crowd simulation research work was applied. The crowd simulation featured in this paper is the most up-to-date extension of ongoing two-year research work at the Artificial Intelligence and Media Lab (http://mind.kaist.ac.kr/crowdsimulation.php) of KAIST in making non-playable virtual characters mimic how real people move together in real life in social formations, with previous versions published at conferences such as Computer Graphics International (CGI 2014) (http://rp-www.cs.usyd.edu.au/∼cgi14/program/papersessions.php) in Sydney, Virtual Reality Continuum and Its Applications in Industry (ACM SIGGRAPH VRCAI 2013) (http://www2.mae.cuhk.edu.hk/∼vrcai2013/program.html) in Hong Kong, and Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2013) (http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/∼casa2013/?p=schedulespeakers) in Istanbul. The crowd simulation realism results were positively evaluated by many individuals via the original Oculus Rift headset for developers. Furthermore, the virtual reality application itself for which the research is applied, called PHOBOS (http://phobos.psychologicaltechnologies.com), is actually meant to be a professional exposure therapy tool to be used by doctors for the treatment of many patients’ common phobias and anxiety disorders, such as fear of heights, flying, public speaking, being confined in closed or small spaces, crowds, and spiders, among others. Since October 7 there has been a crowd funding campaign by PsyTech LLC at INDIEGOGO (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/phobos-anxiety-management-vr-platform) in order to continue development of the product which is currently in its early stages. So far the campaign has generated over ＄1300 for which Francisco himself is actually a stakeholder given his major research contribution to the project. The funding campaign will close on November 25 this year....Read more
Makao Talk： Undergraduate Student Spotlight
Donghwan Kim, Taesoon Jang, and Cheolho Jeon are the members of the team that placed first in the Kakao-KAIST Hackathon. 1) How did you get to join the Computer Science (CS) department? Taesoon: I had my first programming experience after I came to KAIST and kept programming for fun. When it came time for me to declare my major, I chose CS over chemistry, mainly because I really enjoyed the CS101 course and the CS department info session. Cheolho: I also had my first programming experience after I came to KAIST. In choosing my major, I knew I wanted to learn something that will be useful in the future and chose CS. Donghwan: I had originally intended to major in electrical engineering, but I changed my mind and chose CS because I enjoyed programming. I like the logical thinking process involved in programming and seeing the end result in an executable program. 2) What was your academic path like up until joining the CS department? Cheolho: I have an academic path that is different from most people here at KAIST. I attended junior high and high school in China and came here in the Spring of 2013. I remember I had a bit of hard time as a freshman while adjusting in the new setting. Taesoon: I graduated from a science high school in two years, which is an academic path commonly found among my peers here at KAIST. Donghwan: I graduated from Jang Young-Sil Science High School, which is where I first learned programming. 3) What was your childhood dream? What are you doing now to achieve that dream? Taesoon: When I was really young, I wanted to become a scientist. After I grew older, I wanted to become an entrepreneur, retire early, and then explore the world. I gained some entrepreneurship experience while taking the last three semesters off, and I would like to try it again in the near future. Donghwan: When I was young, I wanted to succeed, make a lot of money, and gain respect for my work. Now, instead of that kind of success, I want to do work that I can enjoy while collaborating with my friends. Cheolho: My dream was to have fun in life while helping to make the world a better place to live. I am having fun in life now and I expect it will be so in the future. I believe there are many ways to make the world a better place from where I am, such as doing research and creating a useful service. 4) What are your strengths? Taesoon: I work with a can-do spirit rather than fear of failure. Even if I do not know something well in the beginning, I have learned that confidence always leads to better end results. Cheolho: I think my passionate attitude about work is my strongest point. I am passionately driven to complete any project that I started, though the end result sometimes turns out to be rather unexpected. Donghwan: My strongest point is the ability to block out all the outside noise and sharply focus only on my work. 5) What are you passionately working on in the field of computer science these days? Cheolho: I am working on building a strong foundation of CS knowledge by studying hard and working with other CS people. Taesoon: I would like to get to know people of various backgrounds in our department, because they can become not only my friends but also coworkers someday！ Donghwan: I am constantly searching for what I want for my professional career. I try to participate in many different activities, and I am doing an internship this semester. 6) What values and future prospects do you see in your current work? Taesoon: The interaction I get with different people in the CS department will prove to be valuable in the future. They are all very intelligent and highly likely to succeed, so I look forward to working with them after college. Donghwan: My current internship is a great opportunity to explore my future career paths. Although I cannot measure its exact value, I am content and enjoying the internship as it is. Cheolho: The value of my current work will depend on how well I get it done right now. Also, networking with a lot of CS people will prove valuable in my future life as well as career. 7) What were your happiest and most disappointing moments, respectively, in the CS department? Donghwan: My happiest moment was when the project I worked on all night finally produced successful results. Any CS student can probably related to this moment of joy. My most disappointing moment was when I felt that course materials were too difficult even after trying hard to follow them. Taesoon: I personally cannot think of the most disappointing moment. My happiest moment was when my ideas got accepted by others during a project brainstorming session. Cheolho: My most disappointing moment was when the PA I worked for days failed. It consumed a lot of time and ruined the score in the end. I have had many happy moments so far, and the best one was successfully developing an application during Kakao-KAIST Hackathon. 8) What do you think is the best thing about studying computer science? Taesoon: With even just a small bit of knowledge, there are so many ways to apply it and make a difference. Cheolho: I think the ubiquitous nature of computing is the best thing – I will never go hungry as long as I have a laptop to work with. Donghwan: CS is attractive because it has technologies with potentials to make the world a better place. It is much more accessible than other engineering disciplines, such as electrical engineering and bioengineering. By studying CS, one gains access to the power to change the world in a positive way. 9) What would you like to say to those interested in joining the CS department? Donghwan: As Eric Schmidt once said, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, get on, don’t ask what seat.” Cheolho: Mmm… CS is really fun. It doesn’t have to be a painful subject if you manage it well. I did not have any CS knowledge before entering KAIST, but I am doing fine now. The initial learning curve is not too high, so don’t be afraid to try！ Taesoon: Many people mistakenly assume that studying CS takes some special skills and give up before trying it out. If you enjoyed CS101, you should consider joining the CS department. I believe genuine interest in the subject is more important than special skills. 10) What are your future plans? Taesoon: After graduating, I would like to get a job abroad or in Korea, become an entrepreneur, or go to graduate school. Cheolho: I will go to graduate school or work in the industry. Until then, I would like to learn and experience as much as I can here at KAIST. Donghwan: I will fulfill the military service requirement by going to graduate school or working in the industry. Afterwards, I would like to find career that will allow me to make a positive difference in the world....Read more
Jaepil Huh, Student Spotlight
1) How did you get to join the Computer Science (CS) department? My high school friends who graduated before me significantly influenced my decision to join the CS department. I graduated from a science high school, where the curriculum was much focused on subjects such as math, chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, and CS. I personally found CS to be most attractive, because it allowed me to study at a more flexible pace and use the computer during studying hours. Whenever I got lost in my studies, my upperclassmen friends were there to help me get back on the right track. I was especially lucky to meet one friend, who took the time to pass on his knowledge of fundamental algorithms and problem solving skills. I cannot forget the joy of learning CS concepts from my friends in the winter of 2013, a year from which I chose to join the CS department. 2) What was your academic path like up until joining the CS department? I graduated from Gyeongnam Science High School in 2 years and entered KAIST in 2004. After graduating with a B.S. in CS, I entered the Master’s program in 2008, and then the Ph.D. program in 2010. I am currently studying under the advisement of Professor Sungeui Yoon. 3) What was your childhood dream? What are you doing now to achieve that dream? Most children would name a job title when asked what their dream is, but I was different. My childhood dream was to do work which allows as many people as possible to make a living. In retrospect, that dream sounds thoughtful and embarrassing at the same time. I cannot exactly tell you what I am doing not for that dream, but I should work harder to get closer to making it come true. 4) What are your strengths? I laugh easily. Though, I should probably tell you something that is related to my CS skills: I believe I am good at thinking outside of the box when approaching a given problem. Of course, any idea that comes from outside of the box needs to be validated and is often proven wrong, but a really great idea comes by from time to time. 5) What are you passionately working on in the field of CS these days? I am currently studying image search, which is about searching an image database for images similar to a given image. More specifically, I am focused on scalable searching techniques which can deal with big database. I am passionate about developing, implementing, and evaluating a more accurate and faster method of image search and presenting it at a top conference. 6) What values and future prospects do you see in your current work? Currently, most of the online search is based on text, but image searching is expected to gain more attention in the future. The trend is evident in the rapidly increasing number of images in SNS and the Internet, which is made possible by the easy access to images from mobile devices. My current research topic of big data image search is an important issue in this trend, so I am working hard to make contributions. 7) What were your happiest and most disappointing moments, respectively, in the CS department? My happiest moment was when my first paper in the image search area got accepted at the most renowned conference in the field. It was all the more meaningful, because that was a time when I was feeling unsure about myself, after just having changed my research topic upon becoming a Ph.D. student. The most disappointing moment was when I found out that a research paper was published on the very topic that I had been working on myself. I was disheartened to find that the contents of the paper, from diagrams to experimental results, were almost exactly the same as mine. I later learned that this sort of event happens often in CS, a field where things progress rapidly. All in all, this is a life of a graduate student whose mood depends on how well the research is going and published. 8) What do you think is the best thing about studying CS? The field of CS is fast, and that is what I find to be the most attractive about studying it. I always have to stay alert to the rapidly changing trend in order not to get behind. I believe I have the energy to keep up with this field, which also plays very important roles across various domains. What’s more, the validation process of new ideas is also very fast in this field. Paper submission, reviews, and rebuttals happen regularly according to the schedule. I like this academically fast and interactive culture in the field of CS. 9) What would you like to say to those interested in joining the CS department? Although I do not believe I am at a position to give such advice, I will just say a few personal thoughts on it. As I mentioned above, because CS knowledge evolves fast, what we need is an ability to learn and adapt to new things rather than acquiring bits of knowledge. If you could also have critical thinking and creativity on top of that, it would be great. 10) What are your future plans? I would first like to express gratitude for this opportunity to participate in the interview. My foremost goal is to earn my Ph.D. degree. I did not decide on specific plans after that, but I am open to continuing my current research and working in the industry....Read more
Gyeongyeop Lee, MSc. Student Spotlight
1) How did you get to join the Computer Science (CS) department? I joined the CS department in Fall 2012 as a graduate student. 2) What was your academic path like up until joining the CS department? I majored in electrical engineering and minored in management science at KAIST. 3) What was your childhood dream? What are you doing now to achieve that dream? When I was in high school, my dream was to become a math teacher. I eventually chose to major in electrical engineering, because I wanted to work with mobile phones. It sounds abstract, but I have always wanted to do something that directly influences people in a close manner. While keeping that in mind, I worked on developing an English education product for smartphones at a small company named Today’s Word. My job as a project manager at that company involved some programming, which I personally enjoyed a lot. Ultimately, I realized that smartphones are products with strong influence on people’s lives, and I decided to study CS with an aim to maximize the positive side of that influence. 4) What are your strengths? I love working with kids. There are three ways in which I am still like a kid. First, I am never calculating when I interact with people. Also, I do not worry about things too much, because I have faith that God is always looking out for me in my life. Lastly, there are so many things that I do not know about yet, so I am open to learning new things. 5) What are you passionately working on in the field of CS these days? I am currently working in the IR&NLP lab and my research involves human languages in the form of text data. More specifically, my research is about searching for bias or falsifications in documents, such as online fake reviews. I have done research which applied past research results from psychology to develop a computer science algorithm. I am working to extend that research, and it is definitely an interesting research experience. 6) What values and future prospects do you see in your current work? Online reviews are known to heavily influence how people make their purchases. Fake reviews can lead to unfair online transactions which result hurt the customers as well as sellers. Therefore, I believe identifying fake reviews can contribute to the online community by providing a better experience for online shoppers and sellers. In this way, my research dealing with natural language can have positive effects on people in practical ways. 7) What were your happiest and most disappointing moments, respectively, in the CS department? I enjoy the moments which I am inspired by new ideas for research. Of course, the ideas may get rejected in the end, but I enjoy the whole process of exploring them with my advisor and lab members. I feel more excited when my ideas appear to be clever and actually get implemented to show promising effects. I remember that my first year as a graduate student had some disappointing moments, when I felt that my CS knowledge was not strong enough due to my background as an EE major. 8) What do you think is the best thing about studying CS? In my field of study, it is possible to implement new ideas and evaluate them with empirical studies without hardware constraints. I feel lucky to be researching in CS, whenever I hear that experiments take months to do in other departments. Studying CS strengthens problem-solving skills, as we search for better efficiency or effectiveness in our solution. Moreover, CS is attractive in the way that sometimes simple solutions, such as brute-force or rule-based methods, work the best, rather than some complex algorithms. 9) What would you like to say to those interested in joining the CS department? Many people believe that one must be excellent in programming in order to study CS, but that is not the complete truth. As long as one is passionate about studying CS, programming is something that can be learned over time. Research in CS evolves fast. In order to keep up with the fast pace, it is important to take the coursework seriously and maintain a proactive attitude about learning new things. I recommend to communicate often and effectively with one’s advisor. Lastly, one must be open to use interdisciplinary or integrated approaches when solving a problem in CS. 10) What are your future plans? I plan to continue my research in fake review and information identification as a Ph.D. student. I am also interested in providing information to users based on their personal text data on websites such as SNS. Another idea that interests me is developing an English writing assistant application for people whose first language is not English. After earning my Ph.D., I would like to become a professor and do research as well as teaching....Read more
Minjeong Yoo, BSc. Student Spotlight
1) How did you get to join the Computer Science (CS) department? I had my first encounter with CS in the introduction to programming course during my freshman year of university. I found it fascinating to see robots move on the screen exactly according to the code that I wrote. I especially enjoyed the logical thinking involved in every step of the programming experience, so I chose to major in CS. 2) What was your academic path like up until joining the CS department? I enjoyed studying mathematics when I was in middle school, so I attended a science high school afterwards and participated in math clubs for several years. 3) What was your childhood dream? What are you doing now to achieve that dream? It may sound a bit too abstract, but my dream was to become a great leader. I have not achieved that dream in significant ways yet. However, I believe that studying and working diligently in my field of choice, CS, will lead to making that dream come true eventually. 4) What are your strengths? My strength is that when I set a goal, I am very persistent in making sure that I achieve it. 5) What are you passionately working on in the field of CS these days? 6) What values and future prospects do you see in your current work? Currently, there is a shortage of people with science and technology background in the area of national policy making. Thus, I would like to utilize my CS background to create effective policies for advancement of science and technology in Korea. 7) What were your happiest and most disappointing moments, respectively, in the CS department? My happiest moment is when I finished my first project. It gave me the confidence that I much needed at the time, when I had just joined the CS department and was worried about my lack of skills. After finishing that project perfectly by myself, however, I was simply happy and felt more confident about my potential to excel in this field. 8) What do you think is the best thing about studying CS? Studying CS develops logical thinking skills, and putting new ideas into action is possible by writing code and implementing prototypes. 9) What would you like to say to those interested in joining the CS department? People tend to be shy about not knowing enough when they come to the CS department and begin learning CS in depth for the first time. I would tell them not to be shy about asking questions to friends or upperclassmen whenever they feel stuck on something. Asking questions and discussing problems will surely lead to better thinking and programming skills. 10) What are your future plans? After earning my degree, I would like to work for a government agency and work hard to make national policies that foster science and technology advancement in Korea....Read more
Huiseok Son, PhD Student Spotlight
1) How did you get to join the Computer Science (CS) department? My choice to join the CS department was, to be sure, a surprising one. When I was in high school, I was just a regular student who liked math and chemistry and knew nothing about programming. That was probably the reason why I did not receive a good grade from the required programming course here at KAIST. It left me feeling that my programming skills are rather inferior compared to those of my peers. On a fateful Teacher Appreciation Day, however, the adviser of my club told me something that changed my perspective. He encouraged me to apply to the Department if what I want to do in my future career is closely related to computer science. This advice motivated me to study harder during summer breaks, and when the time to apply for the Department came, I took the chance and chose the CS department. 2) What was your academic path like up until joining the CS department? I did not have any special academic path until I came to the Department. As I said above, I was just a regular high school student who studied hard according to the given curriculum, and after I came to university, I actively participated in the campus life. I motivated myself to work harder in order to stay competitive amongst my bright peers. As a result, my grades improved quite a lot during those times. 3) What was your childhood dream? What are you doing now to achieve that dream? My early childhood dream was to go to Harvard University, which is a very simple-minded and wistful dream in retrospect. I did not even know what I wanted to major in but just wanted to go the world’s best university. But, as I grew up, I found myself to be the happiest and passionate when I was passing on my knowledge to others. It led me to consider a teaching profession, so I now want to become a university professor. Since that dream took place within my mind, I have always asked myself if I will ever be knowledgeable enough to teach people at university level. That question humbles me and motivates me to work harder in my studies and research. I am also open to meeting and learning from people of diverse backgrounds. 4) What are your strengths? My strengths are my optimistic personality and healthy body. I never let go of optimistic thinking regardless of what circumstances I may find myself in. Such optimism has helped me reduce stress even at times of heavy workloads. I also believe that optimistic thinking often leads to wisdom that allows me to overcome the present hardship. My healthy body is a result of the regular exercise I have enjoyed doing since I was a child. Even now, when I feel stressed out, I would go out to exercise with my friends. Physical strength is an essential factor in one’s ability to do research. 5) What are you passionately working on in the field of CS these days? I am currently working at a laboratory, so I am working hard on the given projects as well as my individual research. I am eager to produce good results with my research soon and go to top conferences and get published on journals. What I really like about going to conferences is talking to researchers from other countries. I find such conversations to be academically enriching and fun！ 6) What values and future prospects do you see in your current work? My current research has to do with smartphones and their user experiences. Thus, if I can produce good results, it would help to alleviate some of the inconveniences that people feel while using their smartphones. Furthermore, if I can pass on the lessons from my current research experience to the future generation, that would be even more valuable of a contribution. 7) What were your happiest and most disappointing moments, respectively, in the CS department? Like most of the CS students, I had my happiest moment when I see that my program is working correctly after locating and fixing a bug after countless hours. Nothing can really compare to that moment of joy, which usually leads me to shout out “Hurray！” The most disappointing moment was when I got my conference paper rejected. Receiving cold reviews on a paper that I carefully composed can be hard to take. It is a humbling experience, but it also strengthens my desire to write better papers and get accepted to top conferences. 8) What do you think is the best thing about studying CS? The best thing is that the people I meet in this field tend to be very open-mined and practical. It is hard to find working environments that are freer than they are for CS-related jobs. People who study CS are always open to learning new things. The fact that computers are ubiquitous in today’s world means that there is more need for people who study CS like me. I find it highly attractive that CS is a field with a vast amount of opportunity to make a difference in the world. 9) What would you like to say to those interested in joining the CS department? I am sure that you are making a great choice for the present as well as the future！ This is a field that never gets boring and always presents new challenges. I would also like to tell those who are afraid of joining the CS department, that it may very well be worth a try. CS is a field of study with a relatively high learning curve at first, but after you open your eyes to all that it has to offer, it is truly an amazing experience. I am personally an example of someone who could not even program to print out “Hello World” during my freshman year, but now happily working on my Ph.D.. So, can your program print out “Hello World?” Then, I would say that you are at a better starting position than where I was. 10) What are your future plans? I want to publish outstanding papers and earn my Ph.D. degree. Although I am not sure where I will be working at afterwards, I do want to spend some time studying in the United States. I want to study in the States, where the best of minds in CS gather to develop and share their ideas, so that I could become a great researcher and professor myself. It is okay if I end up doing with a job other than being a professor, though, as long as I am always learning and improving myself as a person....Read more
Our Ph.D Graduate Appointed as an assistant profes..
Our Ph.D Graduate Appointed as an assistant professor to Michigan State University Dr. Taiwoo Park, who recently graduated with a Ph.D under the co-advisement of Professor Junehwa Song and Professor Uichin Lee, has been appointed as an assistant professor to Michigan State University, located in East Lancing, MI, USA. Dr. Park’s primary research interests are Ubiquitous Game Design and Supporting System, Mobile User Interaction, Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing, Sensor Network and Data Stream Processing System. As a Ph.D student, he was recognized for his outstanding research with an award from the ACM’s CHI conference, which is considered to be the top in the Human-Computer Interaction field In the coming August, Dr. Park will continue his work in the research area of game design, research, and development at the Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media department in the College of Communication Arts and Science. Congratulations on your appointment to an assistant professorship at Michigan State University！...Read more
Taiwoo Park Won ACM CHI 2014 Honorable Mention Awa..
Taiwoo Park and his five co-authors including his advisor, Professor Junehwa Song, won this year’s ACM CHI Honorable Mention Award for their paper, “Human Factors of Speed-based Exergame Controllers.” The CHI conference is a highly prestigious conference, ranked at the very top of the MS Academic Search list for Human-Computer Interaction conferences. Congratulations on your award！...Read more