Computer Science Personal Statement

Divya Rupini is currently a first year undergraduate reading MEng Computing (Artificial Intelligence) at Imperial College London. This personal statement was part of her successful application to Imperial College London and University of Southampton for Computing (Artificial Intelligence) and UCL, Durham University and University of St Andrews for Computer Science.

As a daughter of doctors, I have first-hand knowledge of the limitations of modern medicine. The role artificial intelligence plays in helping the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions is a driving factor in my aim to pursue computer science. In the fight against cancer, conventional treatment requires pathologists to search a multitude of photographs to find a single anomaly. Artificial intelligence could not only carry this out in seconds, it could also formulate combinations of medication tailored to the patient’s circumstance. 

In high school, a peer’s initiative to start the Hour of Code Project kickstarted my interest in this field. Under his tutelage, I learnt the basics of  Python and within a few meetings, I could code simple games using loops and variables. For me, the appeal of computer science lies within the fact that everything made to this day started out as an idea. I remember working for hours on end during my high school Robotics Club sessions, changing the programme bit by bit to achieve the exact outcome that I pictured in my mind, a process I found infinitely rewarding. 

Further reading led me to a university study that modelled the mobility of cockroaches to build a robotic arm. The arm built was a simplified version of the more common and complex designs that allowed for more compliance and could passively adapt to structures with ease. The problem faced by roboticists of computing the uncertainty in unstructured environments was overcome by applying Dr. Robert Full’s theory that the legs of cockroaches carry out computations on their own which produce a self-stabilising mechanism. This information combined with shape deposition manufacturing of robotic limbs and the movement of robots according to the gait of insects catered for robots that moved faster and smoother than ever. My appreciation for nature grew as I realised that countless solutions could be built by taking inspiration from what was already around us. Studying Computer Science, the brain of the robotics field, would allow me to further develop programs that would translate codes into physical manifestation, aiding and reaching more people. 

During an attachment at a local engineering and distribution firm, I had the opportunity to build a clock. Throughout this process, I developed an understanding for analogue to digital transmissions and the functions of logic gates in producing a circuit that transformed a 1 Hz frequency into a display on the 7-segment counter. Further reading taught me that implementing fixed logic circuits were the base of building a general-purpose CPU. It was interesting to watch a physical manifestation of input combinations provided by an integrated circuit. Observing my mentor build and test simple circuits using MatLab grew my interest for the role of computing as I realised the role computing plays in other fields.

To prepare for my course, I am self-studying C Language programming and Python using resources available on Coursera and CodeAcademy. Due to my love and affinity for maths, I directed a maths competition in college for my peers to showcase their mathematical skills and solve challenging problems. As a peer tutor, I help weaker students with their mathematical ability every week. As Event Manager of the college’s inaugural conference, I coordinated a team of 40 students to organise 4 councils and multiple keynote addresses to provide my peers with a platform to debate world issues. My position as President of the MUN Club instilled in me an appreciation for passionate discussion and speech to achieve viable solutions to global issues.

I hope to use my passion for analysis and making connections to eventually pursue a career in AI and robotics in the future. I believe that my pursuit of computing at a university level would provide me with a platform to help people live as best they can. Computing can shape a world of limitless potential -a world that I would not only want live in but help create.

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