About Me

Academics

I am a PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying computer vision under Professor Jan-Michael Frahm. My research aims to build on the intersection of 3D reconstruction and visual recognition in the emerging area of semantic reconstruction. Previously, I received my Masters degree in electrical engineering from Boston University, specializing in signal processing. My coursework and research has primarily focused on machine learning and computer vision. Most recently, I worked with interventional radiologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City to develop computer-aided diagnostic (CAD) software for the detection of pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Before that, I was a research assistant for Professor Venkatesh Saligrama at BU for projects related to person re-identification from video, visual search, and video retrieval. Please see my projects for specific details.

Aside from my current research track, I am intrigued by the intersection of natural language processing and vision and this area's possible applications to scene understanding and image/video summarization. Specifically, I am interested in two major areas of computer vision: 1) finding a robust semantic representation of images with implications for visual search and video summarization, and 2) motivating scene understanding through object understanding (i.e. understanding an object's role in an image).

I used to want to go into law or government, and my undergraduate degrees from Brandeis are thus in history and Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. I even wrote an honors thesis on the 1882 British invasion of Egypt.

I switched gears as a junior when I discovered computer science and spent 3 semesters as an CS TA, picking up a minor along the way. Two days after graduating Brandeis, I started the transition to engineering through Boston University's Late Entry Accelerated Program (LEAP).

Athletics

I've been a competitive swimmer since I was 5 years old. I estimate that since I started swimming year-around at age 9 (and accounting for quitting 8th grade-freshman year and my college team being cut) I have swum over 9,500 miles:

My career has had its ups and downs. I won the state championships in the 100 breast at age 10, and again for the 200 breast at 12. I quit at 13 and was drawn back via water polo at 15. I wasn't heavily recruited out of high school, but qualified for the D3 NCAA Championship in the 100 and 200 breast in my freshman and sophomore years of college. Facility issues during the recession led to the program being suspended after my sophomore year. I made a comeback attempt as a senior, trying to qualify for Olympic Trials after more or less 18 months out of the water. Alas, it was too little too late, but I didn't miss by much.

Here are some links to my swim times: college, masters

One silver lining of the swim team's cancellation was that I was forced to find a new form of exercise. That year, I trained for and ran my first half marathon (I was always a terrible runner before). I still dislike running, but I've now done 3 halves, a 10 mile race, and numerous 5ks. I'm not a great runner, but my best half marathon is a 1:38:40 and I'm working to improve it.

Now that I can both run and swim, I have begun doing triathlons and have competed in 8 races to date, ranging from sprint to half-Ironman (70.3) distances. My proudest triathlon performance was taking 4th in the 20-24 age group at the 2014 Princeton Half Ironman qualifying me for the 2015 70.3 World Championships.

Other Interests

I am a huge trivia buff. I went through a period of time (and sometimes still go back to it) where I would read trivia books for leisure. In the summer after freshman year in high school, I flew to Cleveland to audition for Teen Jeopardy and made it to the final round of selection, but they picked a different kid from my group instead. The consolation to me was that he ended up winning the tournament. Nowadays they've changed the format, so even if you pass the online test, they only invite a randomly selected few to actually take the in-person test. As a result, it's much harder (and less self-selecting) to get on the show. I'm still trying though. In the meantime, I go to bar trivia nights with friends, and it's always a close fight for a prize. I'm still waiting for the call from Jeopardy though...

I'm also an avid SCUBA diver. Although I haven't been able to go as much as I'd like in recent years, since I got my certification at Seacamp in the Florida Keys in 2004, I have logged over 100 dives and more than 30 hours underwater and have earned a PADI Master Diver certification. At one point in time, I really wanted to work as a divemaster for bit, but unfortunately it never panned out. Nevertheless, I have dived all over the world, including visiting WWII wrecks in Truk, swimming with manta rays in Palau, living aboard a sailboat and diving daily (and nightly) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and of course getting dry suit certified in a 50 degree quarry in New Jersey.

One interest that has been reignited for me in the last few years is chess. When I was in elementary school, I was pretty good. I joined a chess club, spent a summer at chess camp, and competed in and placed at tournaments. But, chess lost the battle with the GameBoy and I never quite took to it. Now, the Chess With Friends app has found me enjoying the game again, and I'm always looking for new people to play against.

I'm also a big fan of classic movies. I've always been interested in history, and movies are a cool link to the past. I would be pretty satisfied if I could somehow find a way to link my professional interests with my cinematic ones. My favorite movies of all time are It's a Wonderful Life and Casablanca, but I will enjoy almost any screwball comedy. I also really like Alfred Hitchcock mystery/suspense films, but less so his horror movies. Part of the appeal of these old movies is their subtlety. The production code forced screenwriters and directors to become masters of implication as they weren't free to show anything remotely graphic or explicit. I think it would be a pretty neat project if producers today tried to make a movie abiding by the old Hays code; I'd be interested to see how it would come out.