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

I am Vahideh Hayyolalam, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science and Engineering. I started AI when I was involved with NP-hard optimization problems in cloud computing during my master’s. I got familiar with meta-heuristic algorithms and then introduced my own algorithm BWO accordingly. Then, During my Ph.D., I started working on Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Federated Learning. As a result, I’ve published more than five papers related to the impact of edge intelligence on connected healthcare systems, heart disease detection using machine learning, and so on. The full publication list is available in my Google Scholar.

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?

I started with meta-heuristic methods/algorithms for dealing with NP problems. These methods are able to find near-optimal solutions in a reasonable time, while by deterministic methods, it is impossible. I found it so interesting that AI facilitates solving problems compared to ordinary methods. Then, I got familiar with Machine Learning methods which are so efficient in solving various problems.

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

I am currently working on Federated Learning, defined as distributed machine learning. In federated learning, each client trains its model locally on their own data and only shares the model updates with other participants. In other words, participants keep their data private while benefiting from other participants’ model updates, which is more interesting than traditional machine learning with a central dataset. More specifically, I am working on communication- efficient client selection for federated learning.

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?

I believe that AI is a huge technological revolution that has a considerable impact on many different fields. But, its effects on healthcare attract me more since it directly affects human life. For example, AI enables remote patient monitoring, which reduces hospitalization. Many surgeries can be done using AI, which is safer and more accurate than traditional surgeries. In this regard, we published a paper that uses deep reinforcement learning to handle various amounts of patient data based on the type of disease to assist patients. Also, we published two different papers for detecting Heart disease and Diabetes in advance, respectively.

Can you share a memorable experience or achievement from your AI research journey so far? What did you learn from that experience?

When the first time idea of BWO came to my mind, I thought it is so simple and stupid idea. Then, after a while, I worked on it with my advisor’s motivation, which led to a novel meta- heuristic algorithm. Although the procedure was long and challenging since it was the first paper I started to work on it, I did it in the best way. I learned that we should not underestimate any new idea that comes to mind. Also, sometimes the procedure of research work lasts a long time. We should keep ourselves motivated and not give up.

How do you stay updated with the latest developments and research papers in the field of AI? Are there any particular resources or platforms you rely on?

I usually follow the updates from scientific research resources like publishers. So, I use their notification feature, which notifies me by email whenever a new paper in my specified field is published.

What advice would you give to aspiring students who are interested in pursuing a career in AI and considering graduate studies?

Just be motivated and never give up. Do not let anything demotivate you. You should only follow up on your goals. Also, keep yourself up to date with newly emerged AI-oriented technologies since it is developing rapidly.

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

The book I like so much and read many times is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
Movie: “Léon: The Professional” But more than movies I like TV shows and my suggestion is: “Breaking Bad”. If I have time, I watch it over and over again.