Back in 2020, computer science student Eve Myadze-Pike started reading complex research papers to learn more about her field. She kept coming across the same name — Dr. Alper Yilmaz, a professor in Civil Environmental and Geodetic Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State.
She didn’t know him at the time, but she was captivated by his work. Now, Myadze-Pike is a machine-learning intern at Ubihere, Dr. Yilmaz’s company, and is constantly encountering new opportunities to immerse herself in the field of artificial intelligence.
The opportunity to intern at Ubihere came at the perfect time for Myadze-Pike. She knew it was important to have an internship experience but wanted her role to be focused on AI. Soon enough, she landed an interview with a company that was doing AI research. One of the interviewers just happened to be Dr. Yilmaz.
“Once I realized it was him and I had read his papers, I was so excited that I had the opportunity to work with him and continue to work with him as I grew in the company,” Myadze-Pike says.
“With Ubihere, just because it was in AI, that was where I was really passionate. It just was everything that I wanted in an internship and once I actually got the interview and met the founder, I knew this was the only internship I wanted.”
Myadze-Pike received her internship offer the same day of her interview and immediately started learning all she could about the company. She hadn’t yet taken any AI classes at Ohio State but she knew that was where her passion lied. “AI, I feel, is the future. It is going to change the world,” she says. “I just realized that in every aspect of society, AI has the ability to improve and change and revolutionize the world, and so I wanted to be a part of that.”
Once at Ubihere, she was able to utilize programming skills she gained from her coursework while also learning new skills necessary for AI-based projects, including computer vision and machine learning. “On a day-to-day basis, it’s a lot of coding. Being a CSE major really helps me with that aspect,” she says. Her work includes training models to do object detection and developing model deployment strategies, which utilizes her skills in software development. Then, she uses other programming languages to take the trained model and put it into a product.
While Myadze-Pike had learned Java and C++ in her coursework, she learned many other programming languages independently based on what her internship work required her to know. “From school, I would say I learned how to learn, but from my internship, I learned what to learn, so that’s how I could focus in on YOLOv5, because that was what was necessary. We also need the optical character recognition, so that was another skill that I developed solely from my internship. It was a matter of, ‘What do they want me to learn in order to develop the best solution possible for this contract?’ and then I went out and learned it.”
Myadze-Pike is actively pursuing additional experiences to advance her computer science education and career. Aside from Ubihere, she holds a position in Dr. Yilmaz’ Photogrammetric Computer Vision Laboratory at Ohio State, where she is working to develop a system for detecting wildfires and, eventually, a remote sensing pipeline that involves drone deployment for responses to natural disasters. “When the unexpected occurs, decision-makers and first responders need vital information on the level of structural damage incurred and the status of crucial infrastructure. Drones can supply the aerial imagery required for damage assessment,” she says.
Her experiences helped her secure an internship in December 2022 with the Air Force Research Laboratory. “For the Air Force, my area of research involves image-to-image translation using generative adversarial networks. This research has applications for remote sensing systems mounted on aircraft and spacecraft,” she says. She will continue working with the Air Force through the summer.
Even throughout her many other ventures, Myadze-Pike remains grateful to Dr. Yilmaz and appreciative of the opportunities she’s had to build successful faculty relationships that help her achieve her goals.
“What makes The Ohio State University such a phenomenal institution is having access to world-renowned researchers. At Ohio State, I can learn, grow and conduct research with one of my academic heroes,” Myadze-Pike says. “Dr. Yilmaz gave me this piece of advice: Never close any door. Right now, you may not be interested in a certain field, but don’t say, ‘I’m not going to do this, I am not going to do that. I am only going to focus on one thing, and it’s this one.’ You never know what the future may bring. So, never close any door.”