Intern Spotlight: Sachin Chhabra

Who is Sachin Chhabra?

I am a Computer Science Ph.D. student at Arizona State University. My area of research is Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and their applications. Before joining my Ph.D. Program, I completed my Masters's degree from Arizona State University with a thesis on real-time Facial Expression Recognition using Deep Learning. Pre-ASU, I worked as a senior software engineer at Accenture, India.

Why did you choose to apply for Systems Imagination's internship?

I chose Systems Imaginations because of its work on finding data-driven solutions for biomedical problems. The medical domain is relatively new to me, but data-driven solutions are something that I continuously strive for. I always found the application of machine learning in the medical field fascinating. It has new challenges, and overcoming each challenge is a step towards better therapeutic solutions. I saw working at Systems Imaginations as an excellent opportunity for me because I wanted to apply what I learned at ASU to a real-world problem. This internship would be the perfect balance of learning something new and applying my previous knowledge.

Tell us about your intern project?

I joined Systems Imaginations during Summer 2020 and was part of a group focused on COVID-19. After several brainstorming sessions, our team decided to build a solution aimed at identifying the possible causes for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We were then going to use those factors to predict the number of future coronavirus cases across US counties.
We decided to utilize passive attributes such as population density, age group distribution, and varying attributes like weather and mobility data. We also included government policies and Twitter sentiments to analyze the response of each county's residents. We trained a variety of ML/DL algorithms like CNN, LSTM, etc. to get the optimal model for the final predictions. We also created a web interface where users could check the impact of coronavirus cases for given attributes. We wanted the project to better to prepare the public in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 and help make more educated decisions to reduce the rate of infection.

What were a few of your biggest takeaways this summer?

Systems Imaginations was not just about work, work, work. Although we were all remote due to COVID-19, we would often connect virtually to have fun activities like innovation game sessions where we would come up with new business ideas. We also had seminars from guest speakers who would speak on a variety of topics related to the medical field and technology. Systems Imaginations, along with Arizona State University organized a virtual hackathon where students would collaborate online to come up with solutions for COVID-19 and our team, the Systems Imaginations Imagineers were selected to mentor the teams. I helped students with forming, understanding, and implementing their ideas. This experience exposed us to different perspectives to approach the problem we were working on, helping to improve our own project.

What were a few of your biggest takeaways this summer?

As a whole, interning at Systems Imaginations was a wonderful experience! The brainstorming sessions were especially helpful to me, where we came up with the problem to solve and found a viable approach to solve it. My major contribution was on data preprocessing, training, and deploying ML/DL models in regards to our summer project.  
I also learned new skills such as handling and processing time-series data and mining data from social media. I also gained a lot from my team members as they specialized in different areas. Lastly, I want to thank SII for the internship opportunity and a great learning experience amidst a global pandemic.

Posted on

August 3, 2020

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