Tuesday, June 22, 2021

IIIT-Hyderabad student completes special programme at Massachusetts

Hyderabad: A Final year BTech (Hons) student at the International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad, Bhaktipriya Sridhar Radharapu, has completed an Undergraduate Special Student Programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

According to an IIIT-H statement, selected students get to spend a semester at MIT and take classes like regular MIT students. They also enjoy most of the benefits that all students have which includes access to all of the academic facilities, student support services, recreational activities and student clubs.

The statement says that Bhaktipriya, back from a semester at MIT as a special student where she learned Cognitive Science and Computation, was brimming with ideas and talks of a world where she “..would want AI to augment human intelligence so it can assist us, to make things easier, especially where it can get mechanical…in areas like healthcare, and cyber security.”

Bhaktipriya, while in her second year at IIIT-H, had juggled between two internships – a full-time one at Google Hyderabad with the Apps for Work team and a remote internship (after work hours and over weekends) at the Linux Kernel.

She had also opted for an internship at le CNAM (Centre d’etudes et de recherche en informatique et communications), Paris.

Still driven by the research bug, and having gained enough exposure both at IIITH, as well as at Paris, she applied for the Undergraduate Special Student Program at MIT. Bhaktipriya signed up with the largest on-campus laboratory, the CSAIL – Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and had the fortune to work with Josh Tenenbaum, professor of Cognitive Science and Computation.

Bhaktipriya also got the opportunity to teach as a teaching assistant for a Deep Learning course.

The founder of the Hyderabad chapter of Lean In, which encourages women and girls to participate in and be represented in industry, she had invited her mentors to speak on areas like OpenSource, Industry, Leadership, and Research. She says there is now a significant spurt in the number of applications from girls towards these avenues.

Bhaktipriya has also participated in the LinuxCon 2016 in Toronto, with 15,000 attendees, where she was not only the youngest speaker but also the youngest Outreachy Panel Member. She was also the recipient of The Grace Hopper Scholarship India 2016 and presented a talk about OpenSource at The Grace Hopper conference. More recently, she was a member of a panel at The IEEE Women In Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC) 2017 in San Jose, California.

A student of Carnatic music, she is an avid chess player too, being a national level player in Kuwait and at IIIT in the first year, represented Telangana to win a bronze medal.

“I want to explore the industry a bit more and apply whatever I’ve learned so far. I’m interviewing with some companies that do Applied AI, and some R&D labs,” she says about her future plans.

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