Today’s Q&A features Zhenyao Zhu, a PhD candidate who is completing a six-month internship at Baidu Research’s Silicon Valley AI Lab. Zhenyao will soon be returning to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for the final year of his PhD.
Q. Zhenyao, why did you decide to intern at Baidu?
Zhenyao: I was intrigued by the deep learning projects SVAIL is working on. At NIPS 2014, I presented a poster of my paper on face recognition using deep neural networks. Andrew Ng noticed my poster and introduced me to some of his Baidu Research team members. My supervisor, Xiaoou Tang, encouraged me to take the opportunity to work closely with Andrew and the team as an intern.
Q. What kinds of projects did you work on during the internship?
Zhenyao: I contributed to the code base of the Deep Learning framework used by SVAIL. Inspired by models widely used in computer vision, I successfully improved the performance of our speech recognition system by adding convolution and multi-scale learning components.
Q. What have you learned at Baidu?
Zhenyao: I appreciated the internship opportunity at SVAIL because it gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to work in a cool and fast-paced environment. At Baidu, I have learned how to more effectively communicate and build long-lasting relationships with people in the tech industry. In terms of my deep learning skills, I was able to improve my ability to quickly adapt to a new domain, work on a large scale of data, and improve the efficiency of super large deep models. Ultimately, the research experience I gained at SVAIL is invaluable.
Q. What was your favorite part about working at Baidu?
Zhenyao: As a new intern, my teammates helped me to adapt quickly to the Lab. We would often hang out together to solve hard problems and discuss solutions in person. The team spirit and diversity at SVAIL is my favorite part about working at Baidu. As a bonus, my teammates helped me to drastically improve my English skills!