I am incredibly excited to have been offered admission at CMU and ETH Zurich for MS in Robotics and MS in Robotics, Systems and Control respectively.
I am inclined towards computer vision and deep learning. However, I am also inclined to study/research on these topics with a good amount of mathematical rigor. I would not only like to apply these to engineering problems but would also like to come up with new/different approaches through a thorough understanding of topics like probability, linear algebra and optimization. I am interested in exploring different learning strategies - unsupervised learning, supervised learning and RL for vision tasks(possibly on robots). I plan on studying further and possibly doing a PhD but I would like to keep my options open (depending on funding during MS). Below I have listed pros and cons that I could think of.
Biggest, most well-funded robotics department (Robotics Institute[RI]) and large amount of professors and interdisciplinary work at RI
Great opportunity and extremely well integrated system with industry -> large amount of exposure (more than ETH?)
If I receive funding from the second semester onwards I will only have to pay for the first semester and therefore no need for a huge loan.
People working in my area of interest.
Would burn a hole in my pocket - annual cost-of-attendance ~65,000 USD
Trump and his erratic policies/laws affect immigrant students (i.e. could he stop funding for immigrants, etc.)
There is no guaranteed funding+stipend but most students say that 90-95% of MS in Robotics students receive some kind of funding from their advisor after the first semester. So in any case I need to pay the cost-of-attendance for the first semester from my pocket.
If I do not get funding, I will have to possibly think of doing a well-paid job to repay the loan (=cost-of-attendance for 2 years).
The cost of attendance is very low as compared to CMU. annual cost-of-attendance ~20,000 CHF (1 CHF ~ 1 USD)
The program is different from usual MS programs and is tutor-driven. It has a very flexible curriculum and will be designed based on my interest and discussion with my mentor/tutor.
I think ETH will have a less cut-throat environment as compare to CMU in terms of competition for resources/RA-ship (not sure though)
I will be looking for RA but if in case I do not receive funding, I will still be able to manage the expenses here easier than if I go to CMU and not get funding there.
From what I researched there's not a lot of research in areas of computer vision/deep learning as compared to CMU. They are more inclined towards control and classical robotics, if I am not mistaken.
Expensive city. (but still the total cost-of-attendance is much lower than CMU)
I had several questions I couldn't find answers to.
Are there any chances of a Research Assistantship at ETH that could pay my cost-of-attendance?
What are the chances of PhD in well-reputed universities/research groups and job opportunities at both places? From where would it be easier to get a PhD/research post at the lab of my choice after completing MS?
Will ETH be stronger on the theoretical basis standpoint and CMU on the practical standpoint respectively? Will there be a balance of both or will one university offer a better balance than the other? I personally have the impression that CMU will focus more on the engineering aspect and how to build solutions and on the other hand, ETH will be deeper into the theoretical aspects and less so into the implementation parts. What are your thoughts?
Will the election of Trump affect foreign students in terms of the flow of funding, etc? Or are those things entirely in the hands of the university?
Has anyone have had any experiences with ProdigyFinance? Good or Bad?
It would be great to know about pros and cons I should consider and have missed (in the above list) or any misconceptions I have about the two universities (from the above). Both being top universities I am finding it extremely difficult to separate the two offers and I would love to hear your thoughts on the same. Thanks.