Student Spotlight: Shrinath Deshpande
Shrinath Deshpande is a Ph.D. candidate conducting research under Professor Anurag Purwar. In nominating Shrinath for the Fall 2019 "Student Spotlight," Prof. Purwar stated, "He is an important member of my Computer-Aided Design and Innovation lab, where we are not afraid to try new things and remove the barriers between the disciplines to solve problems. Shrinath is probably the first to bring together Machine Design and Machine Learning to create smart methods for AI-driven mechanism design. He is curious, hard working, and thinks deeply about his research. I could not have asked for a better PhD student." Shrinath also received recognition as a "Culture Catalyst" for his dedication to meaningful research during an Engineering internship at Autodesk.
Here is a little bit about Shrinath:
Share a little bit about yourself.
I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. I was born and brought up in India, and about four years ago I came to the land of opportunities. For my doctoral dissertation, I am developing a framework that can empower mechanical designers to innovate kinematic machines using Artificial Intelligence. I live in a world of possibilities and become excited about concepts, challenges, and difficulties. I love to make new friends, travel and learn about different cultures. I like to read, paint, sketch, and play cricket.
Check out my personal website to know more.
Tell us about your internship experience with Autodesk and how you ended up being recognized as a "Culture Catalyst"?
This past summer I joined Autodesk Research as a research intern in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics Research lab in San Fransisco. It was an incredible experience. Every day was filled with intriguing discussions, fascinating ideas and lots of delicious food. The work culture and the team were filled with intelligent, dedicated and humble people. It was the highlight of the internship.
I achieved my goal for the internship and initiated a new research project. The cherry on the top was when I received the Research Intern Culture Catalyst award for my work during the internship.
Why did you choose to attend Stony Brook University? And to pursue a Ph.D.?
I was intrigued by research conducted by the department in the fields of computational design and robotics. I initially applied for the Master’s Program but received an offer for a fully-funded Ph.D. program. The offer funneled my innate desire to learn and explore new technological terrains.
What type of research are you conducting? What are your research goals?
My goal is to empower young engineers with tools for innovation. I am developing a machine learning framework that assists engineers to design machines by simplifying the user experience and giving them higher-level control of the mechanism design process. My quest is to remove the unnecessary cognitive load and let the designer focus on the important aspects of the problem.
When do you plan to graduate? What do you plan to do after graduation?
I am planning to graduate in May 2020. After graduation, I plan to work in the industry. I have a strong inclination to work in the fields of machine learning, robotics, and automation.
Are you involved in any activities, clubs, or professional organizations?
I am currentl y serving as Secretary for Chapin Apartment Resident Organization (CARA) which represents the graduate students living in Chapin Apartments. In the past, I was secretary of the Indian Graduate Student Association (IGSA), a student club that organizes Indian festivals for the graduate students.
What advice do you have for incoming Ph.D. students?
I would say, Ph.D. provides a unique opportunity to expand your horizons. It is the time to be fearless in exploring the areas out of your comfort zone. It is crucial to get the most out of great opportunities like the 3-Minute-Thesis competition provided by the university to help you build your soft skills.
I am very fortunate to have Dr. Anurag Purwar as my Ph.D. advisor. I have learned so much from him. It is because of his trust in me and constant support that I was able to research in an area completely new to our research community.
Did someone inspire you to become a Mechanical Engineer?
My parents provided me with an environment that led me to develop an interest in science, especially physics and math. I had a large collection of various toys such as crossbows, RC cars, etc. which made me curious about how they work and can be built.
Can you share a fun fact about you?
Although I am not a great cook, I love plating the food. I like to indulge in Philosophy, Geography, and History. I am fond of watching movies and I love to watch my favorite movies/shows repeatedly to the point that I learn the dialogue sequences by heart.