WIMTACH Student Profile: Fu Liang

When Fu Liang learned about an ongoing applied research project collaboration with Emote AI, he jumped at an internship opening. “It is a very good opportunity for me to really gain some industry experience and I want to develop my interpersonal skills and also some industry exposure,” he said. Centered on the development of a computer vision program, the Emote AI project employs machine learning tools to enable users to check the mental state of professional gamers. The project supports Centennial College students in playing the instrumental role of Student Researchers in the development of the program, and for Liang, it stood as his first Artificial Intelligence project.

As a student in the Software Engineering Artificial Intelligence program at Centennial College, Liang has found that his internship has made his studies easier to understand. Currently, he is learning about the theories behind Neural networks in his Artificial Intelligence classes, and luckily, the Emote AI project is also about computer visions that deploy complex Neural networks. As a result, he is able to learn about how to integrate and train complex Neural network models. “Many of my jobs are about integrations of this aspect and actually this helps me to complete the gaps of what I learned because what you learn from school is a theory, but what it links to [in] a real project, in this missing piece is what I learn from [WIMTACH],” he said.

His role enables him to iterate the practical skills he gained from self-learning studies along with the industry-standard knowledge from school. In a regular week, Liang follows a regimented cycle for his development work which often begins with him reviewing the code base and materials about the position in the project. He also reviews the documentation materials from the first phase of the project, and tests functions to ensure that they are running properly using Amazon Web Service Recognize. “I have to figure out what the surface is doing and how I can configure it well,” he explained. He regularly connects with team members from Emote AI to ensure that he is meeting their requirements and then proceeds with development based on the information that he receives. All of this work is followed by him testing his code again. With the repetitive nature of his work, it enables him to really hone in on effective methods in his development cycle. “My learning capabilities are increasing,” he said. “I can see that after working on a real project, I think I have a better orientation about my knowledge.”

Further, his internship has improved his time management skills, and his understanding of how to prioritize different tasks. Explaining that it has been instrumental in his increased development level, Liang added, “Because I got exposures in the industry, in which I have to learn a lot of new stuff, this learning process actually helps me.” For Liang, a major benefit of working at WIMTACH is the opportunity to participate in group learning, to readily get feedback when he requires it, and to defer to the expertise of Centennial College faculty members for directions when he is not making desirable progress in the project. This collaborative learning environment has enabled Liang to gain a better understanding of how to approach a problem and find resources when he encounters challenges. “This is quite hard for you to learn solely from your study or from Chat GPT for example,” he said.

Additionally, the internship has given Liang the chance to work directly with an industry partner which has been helpful for him to enhance his communication skills. While working remotely and understanding that he is not always able to connect with people immediately, he employs his understanding of prioritization to communicate requirements gathering needs as they become pressing, which in turn has improved his communication skills. He explained that connecting with clients has helped him to understand the use of tone in exchanges, individual working styles, and ultimately, how to work better in a team. “You have to know what they need and although you know what they need … you have to deploy your communication skills,” he said. With various learning opportunities like these in his internship, Liang hopes to continue working with WIMTACH to focus on marrying his previous development experience with his working knowledge of Software Engineering and build upon his overall competency in his field.

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