Nafiseh Jabbari Tofighi, MSc student in Computer Science and Engineering

Can you briefly introduce yourself and share your background in AI research?

My name is Nafiseh Jabbari Tofighi, and I am 25 years old. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering at Tabriz University, where I developed a keen interest in the field of computer science. During my undergraduate studies, I discovered the fascinating world of AI research, and it captured my imagination with its boundless possibilities. My focus has been on computer vision, specifically saliency prediction based on AI algorithms. Currently, I am pursuing my master’s degree at Koc University, where my research involves working on state-of-the-art deep learning methods for 360-degree image and video quality assessment.


What initially sparked your interest in the field of AI? Was there a particular moment or experience that inspired you to pursue this area of study?

The spark that ignited my interest in AI occurred during my undergraduate years when I was exploring various computer science disciplines. The limitless nature of AI research, its potential to revolutionize technology and daily life, and the ability to tackle a wide range of complex challenges deeply inspired me. I realized that AI held the key to unlocking countless research questions, and this fascination led me to dive headfirst into the field.


Could you tell us about your current research or thesis topic in AI? What motivated you to choose this specific area?

My current research focuses on the intersection of Computer Vision and Deep Learning, with a specialization in 360-degree image and video quality assessment. The rapid growth of virtual reality technology has made such content ubiquitous. However, the unique characteristics of 360-degree media, such as its immense size, demand new strategies and compression methods for generating, transferring, and strong this data. In this regard, assessing the quality of this specific media becomes crucial. By developing reliable AI tools based on audio-visual features, I aim to contribute to the advancement of virtual reality technology and improve the overall user experience.


What are some of the key challenges you’ve encountered during your research? How have you been able to overcome them?

During my research, I have encountered several key challenges. Firstly, the area I am exploring, 360-degree image and video quality assessment, is relatively new and rapidly evolving. This means that finding specific research studies or established methodologies to build upon can be challenging. To overcome this, I have engaged in extensive literature reviews and collaborated with fellow researchers to gain insights and innovative ideas that help me advance my work.

Secondly, research in this area demands a significant commitment of time and effort. Balancing the demands of research with other aspects of life can be daunting. To address this challenge, I have learned the importance of effective time management and establishing routines.


What excites you the most about the potential applications of AI in the real world? Are there any specific domains or industries where you believe AI can make a significant impact?

The most thrilling aspect of AI’s potential lies in its pervasive integration into our daily lives. Witnessing AI’s widespread adoption and its ability to transform various industries is truly fascinating. One of the exciting aspects of being an AI researcher is that the same novel models I utilize for my research are concurrently employed in crucial AI systems for major real-world projects. This interconnectedness and practical relevance reaffirm my commitment to contributing to AI’s growth and its positive impact on society.


Are there any specific mentors or role models who have influenced your AI journey? How have they inspired you?

While my journey in AI has been heavily influenced by various experts in the field, one individual who profoundly inspires me is Maryam Mirzakhani. Although she is renowned for her groundbreaking contributions in mathematics and not AI, her life journey has greatly motivated me. As the first woman to win the Fields Medal in mathematics, Maryam demonstrated immense perseverance and brilliance, breaking through societal barriers and taboos. Her achievements and the challenges she overcame serve as a constant reminder for me to persist in the face of obstacles, pursue my passions relentlessly, and approach challenges with kindness and determination


A book and movie that you recommend (they don’t have to be related to ai)

For the book recommendation, I highly recommend “Self-Analysis” by Karen Horney. Karen Horney was a renowned psychoanalyst, and her book delves into the fascinating world of self-exploration and understanding. In this work, Horney guides readers on a journey of introspection, helping them explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

For the movie recommendation, I suggest “Passengers.” This science-fiction film combines elements of romance, drama, and adventure, making it a captivating watch for a broad audience.