Sun Wha Whang
Could you tell us a little about yourself and about your studies before coming to Imperial?
I’m originally from South Korea and have been studying in the UK for the past eight years. During my A-levels, I really enjoyed studying maths and science. This led me to take my undergraduate degree in Theoretical Physics at Imperial. It was a great opportunity to cover various areas in the field as well as to be challenged with new concepts.
Throughout my undergraduate degree, I had opportunities to work on programming, mainly in python. While coding physical simulations, I realised one of my passions lies in coding. I also got interested in data science and machine learning, and wanted to learn further in these areas. Hence I chose to do my master's in artificial intelligence.
What attracted you about the MSc in AI?
The variety of options the degree offers is definitely the part that attracted me the most. There are so many options over different areas in the field that I can personalise my degree to exactly what I'm most interested in. I also really like it that the degree offers advanced topics in the second term such as Deep Learning and Machine Learning for Imaging, which I find very interesting. I think the degree is structured well so that it prepares you with the more basic understanding of AI and Machine Learning in the beginning, then leads you smoothly into harder and more interesting topics.
I also really like it that many of the modules are heavily lab- and practical-based. I think any theory or maths behind an algorithm is much better understood when you get to compute it yourself, and this degree provides plenty of opportunities for that.
What are you enjoying the most?
I’m really enjoying the Robotics practical sessions at the moment. I get hands-on experience using raspberry pi and get to build the entire robot! The freedom in designing my own robot and also coding for the robot to be able to locate itself is very exciting. The fact that I get to work in groups is also nice as I can collaborate with others and this is often a lot more fun; we also end up with much better ideas!
The degree has students from very diverse backgrounds. It’s very interesting to talk to other students as everyone has different experiences, and we get to combine all our experience to achieve better understanding throughout various parts of the degree.
What are you finding more challenging?
I think choosing the right amount of options is very important in this degree. The MSc in AI is great because it has so much to offer and you can do almost as many options as you’d like. But that also means the MSc could be intense. I found it important to balance choosing between the large number of interesting modules, and having the time and effort to do each module well. This was especially the case as I wanted to do practical-heavy modules such as Robotics. I think it’s key to know how much time is available to you and to prioritise what is really important. That way I think the degree stays very interesting and involved but you can also have breaks.
What do you do in your spare time?
I really enjoy doing yoga and pilates! As much as I love coding, I also like to do something completely different to keep healthy. I like yoga because it makes sure my body is relaxed after hours of coding, working on AI projects or theory. Having an hour in the morning doing some yoga or pilates really helps to clear my mind and gives me a fresh start for the day!
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
I think this degree will provide amazing variety and opportunity for students who want to learn different aspects of AI and machine learning. But that also means the degree is busy and the learning curve is steep. I think prospective students should be aware that time management is central and should know how to split their time between different modules.
The degree welcomes people from diverse backgrounds, and this means that in some areas you'll have more knowledge and experience than your fellow students, and in other areas, others may know more. But the degree guides you through well, and you should take this as an opportunity to communicate with other students on the degree and learn from the different skills and knowledge everyone has.
Also, don’t forget to experience what living in London has to offer!