Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Shivam Srivastava | Chemical Engineering

The University of Montreal, Canada

Research Area: Deep Learning

1. Which University did you get in? What was your research topic?
I did my internship at the University of Montreal. The topic was Deep Learning, I worked on a model named LFADS . If I had to summarize in one line , it would be Deep Lean using L-pad.

2. How did you apply for FT?
I applied for FT through the IR Cell portal

3. Why do you think FT is important?
My main objective was to get the feel of the culture in foreign land , but due to the ongoing pandemic I had to work from home. The meetings with the professors are quite interesting and enhance your brain with a flow of knowledge. The professors are very friendly as well. It was a very good experience.

4. From where did you get the motivation? How did it all start? How did you handle your preparation with your academics?
I decided that I had to pursue non-core at the start of second year only, so at the start of the summer I did a project in Deep Learning ,based on NLP . I gained a lot of interest after doing this project in this domain , so i thought that i should pursue this interest more and more . As i saw that this was a very good opportunity

5. What was the role of CG?
CG plays a very important role. I remember that my TA told me that we selected you as my statement of purpose, communication skills were very good to add on to his I had a good department rank , because of which I got an upper hand in the selection process. CG shows how sincere you are and how seriously you take your academics.

6. How did your university manage everything in this confusion of Covid-19?
In the start they were a bit slow, like I was contacting the TA and the professor but I wasn't getting replies from them timely. But as the project started , the meetings happened quite frequently.The TA really helped a lot, be it in response or in the project.

7. What were the difficulties you faced during the entire process? Did the current pandemic situation affect you in any way?
I didn't get the correct experience , as I wanted to do the whole FT in-person, getting to know about their culture, but working from home did not solve that issue. The main problem was the resources that I had to compute on , initially it wasn't working quite well.The server wasn't working properly . Also my dataset was quite large to work on. However , later somehow I managed to do so , but this wouldn't have happened if I was present physically at the university.

8. If you did a remote internship, what was the communication mode for you to the university?
It was mainly slack and periodic mails to the professor. But if I wanted to contact the TA , it was mainly through slack.

9. How would you describe your overall experience?
If I had to rate my experience out of 5 , I would rate it 3.5..Although , there were many hardships in the end it was a fruitful experience.It was a great learning experience for me.

10. What advice would you like to give to our fellow KGPins who aspire for FT?
You should make your concepts clear. In the interviews the professors grill you on your concepts and assess you on your CV , whether or not we know what one has written on their CV. Also,you have to only apply for projects in which you are interested.