Wenduan XU

What motivated you to do a PhD?

The motivation to do the PhD has been shaped by a combination of random events and fateful predisposition. When I first started as an undergrad, like many others, I had little idea of what research is really about. However, in a hindsight, each of the coursework in the School of Informatics at Edinburgh was carefully designed as mini research projects (which were infamously known to take up all of one’s time if you really dug into them). I thoroughly enjoyed those projects and the “tortures” that came with them rather than spending time studying for exam materials which were quite distasteful. The format of those projects also really resonated with the obsessed part of me that just likes finding the root causes and getting to the bottom of things. This, combined with the chance of stumbling up the right research area and the inspirations from one of the leading researchers during my Masters (also at Edinburgh), had naturally made the decision for me.

What impact of the funding did the funding you received have?

The PhD was supported in full and made possible by the Trust, which asked nothing in return for an unrestricted grant. My debt to them is unbounded and I will always be grateful for the openness, kindness, fairness, and generosity, which I shall try to achieve personally. The scholarship has also enabled me to pursue my own ideas during the PhD and to become a researcher.

What does your current work entail?

Since finishing the PhD, I have been continuing doing research in language-related artificial intelligence technologies.

What advice would you give to students thinking of applying?

Think of the PhD as training in grinding a problem as much as you’d like within the constraint of a few years, and the end result is that hopefully you will become more endurant with ample perseverance and (meta)-problem solving skills, both of which are required in any creative work.

Awarded: PhD Scholarship

Field: Computing

University: Cambridge

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