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Application to AI as an engineer


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I graduated with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, and have applied to many universities in the US and Canada in order to do a masters in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. However, due to many circumstances, including but not limited to being rejected by most of these universities, I am currently doing a masters in chemical engineering. My research work in both undergraduate and graduate levels was in process control, and I am published.

My question here is that since I am still very much interested in pursuing a career in artificial intelligence and/or robotics, do you have any advice on how I, as an international student, could go about doing so when I finish my masters? What should I do in order to improve my chances of being accepted into the field?

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This is an extremely open ended question, and honestly I am not sure what to write. At the outset, I have a BS in systems and chemical engineering, and focused on optimization, data mining, and control (some process control, some networked control for smart cities). I think it is definitely possible to switch to a "more AI' field. (AI is a spectrum and not a single field)

What I have observed is that AI is extremely broad. You can almost attach an "intelligent" prefix to anything which improves previous capabilities/results since no one really knows what intelligence is. That being said, one way to narrow down on interest is to look at AI and AI-related journals/conferences and identify some 2-3 venues which have publish most of the type of work you want to do. For me, the choices were ICRA/IROS, AAMAS, and CDC. For someone interested in vision, it could be CVPR, ECCV, NIPS etc. You can pick research communities like this, see which type of people publish regularly in such venues and apply to them. For example, AAMAS is mostly CS, ICRA/IROS is both CS and EE, CDC is mostly EE. So if these conferences interest you, a natural choice will be either CS or EE.

Also, I think it might be a tad easier to get into EE programs than CS due to your background. If you are interested in hardcore CS areas of robotics/AI like vision, knowledge representation etc. the path is likely to be more difficult. On the other hand, if control, filtering, SLAM type of topics in robotics are your pick, you can get away with EE for which you stand a better chance.

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