TL;DR: I am a computer science undergraduate student who desperately wants to do reserch in artificial intelligence, particularly in the fields of neuro-symbolic reasoning and multimodal learning.
Why I Build
Debugging code and chuckling at errors have amused me since sophomore year of high school and might have been doing so for longer. (Thanks Codecademy.)
Google holds ultimate responsibility for piquing my interest in the field. From a very early age, I understood just how my generation would be the first . A friend introduced me to Google products, and then Android. This would later convince me that yes, I, some random middle-class kid growing up in North Las Vegas (then Converse, Texas) that I, as cliche as this sounds, could have a meaningful impact on those around me (but notice how I didn't say change the world).
Some time in high school (likely sophomore year), I started building Android apps. Funnily enough, my first attempt involved the creation of a personality-filled AI chatbot that could make me feel less isolated as an angsty teenager. Much to my chagrin, my project did not progress further than a few ImageViews and TextViews put into a RelativeLayout, but I understood one thing: I wanted more.
In essence, the question isn't why I program; the question is why I build in the first place despite all the setbacks and feelings of inadequacy it may bring.
Because helping people with code is fun.
I get the most satisfaction out of building projects I know could have a meaningful impact on my and others' lives, even if I never finish them in the first place. I'm more of an idealist than I care to admit, but there's nothing a little bit of cold, hard code can't fix.
With each new skill I learn, whether it's knowing how to use a specific feature in the Android SDK or some useful but bloated web framework, I possess another tool in my proverbial toolbox of knowledge.
So that's why I build: to help myself help others, all while laughing at myself for misplacing a semicolon.
What I Do
Firstly, I am a student at The University of Texas at Dallas studying computer science.
At UTD, I am a research assistant at the Center for Engineering Innovation working on the Polycraft World team as part of SAIL-ON, a DARPA-funded grant for research for open-world novelty. Specifically, Polycraft World is now being used as a platform for RL research but as an environment that constantly creates new scenarios from which an agent can learn in contrast to more standard RL environements that use hardcoded
I am a technical coordinator on the HackUTD team, a division of the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) at UTD. My role is to maintain the division's website and any technical infrastructure needed to host HackUTD such as an application portal and a platform for judging.
I am also the secretary and a technical coordinator for the Artificial
Intelligence Society (AIS) at UTD. As
secretary, I organize the club's information and, in essence,
make it universally accessible and useful do houskeeping. As a
technical coordinator, I organize and present technical workshops
for various topics in AI, such as using reinforcement learning to play
Where I Am
In no particular order, I can be found at the following places for the following reasons:
- My personal website (williecubed.me) to see the perpetually unfinished website containing a holistic display of my identity and everything (yes, everything) I work on.
- My portfolio website (projects.williecubed.me) which is more like a resume or curriculum vitae that summarizes my work for, let's say, a potential employer or research advisor (wink wink, nudge nudge).
- My GitHub (@WillieCubed) for a disappointing list of unfinished projects.
- Email (email@example.com) for general inquiries.
- Twitter (@WillieCubed) for some of my musings on AI, CS, and everything in between.
- Instagram (@williecubed) for the casual, lighthearted adventures of a college student.