I recently applied to Georgia Tech's Online Master of Science in Computer Science and was asked to write a “Statement of Purpose” as part of the process. It allowed me to express my academic and career intentions for the next few years. I think about my mission in life constantly. My purpose is a living, breathing idea. It was a valuable exercise outside of the application process so I thought I’d share the essay. Let me know what you think!

Statement of Purpose: Please give a Statement of Purpose detailing your academic and research goals as well as career plans. Include your reasons for choosing the College of Computing as opposed to other programs and/or other universities.

Cognitive computing gives people super powers. Augmenting our intelligence with machine intelligence gives us the ability to predict the future and make the best decisions possible. As the field of machine intelligence progresses, more and more super-human abilities become available to us. I am out to bring these super powers to the masses through cognitive computing products and services. Attending Georgia Tech would be an excellent catalyst to help me achieve this.

I currently architect and develop web services and full-stack applications. My goal is to start working full-time on interactive applications that exhibit human-like intelligence. One way to make these applications intelligent is to have them consume machine learning and cognitive computing web services. These services could be custom built by me or provided by SaaS APIs like Microsoft Cognitive Services or IBM Watson Services. To apply the best cognitive services to a given problem, I need a deep understanding of their underlying algorithms and techniques. I also need to learn how to architect applications and services for scale.

The front-end development skills I have learned so far are targeted at building typical web app and native app user interfaces. Moving forward, I plan to focus more on natural language and brain-computer interfaces. With the power of machine learning, natural language processing, and data, I could create user experiences that are contextually, socially, and even emotionally-aware.

Georgia Tech's Online Master of Science in Computer Science provides courses that would teach me how to best integrate machine intelligence into my applications. The Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence course is a perfect overview of how to create cognitive systems. The course in Machine Learning would teach me how to apply the right algorithms and models to the right problems. The multiple courses on Algorithms, Complexity, and High-Performance Computing would teach me how to optimize and scale my applications. Each of these courses covers an essential component to implementing intelligent web services in production applications.

The Specialization in Interactive Intelligence completely aligns with my desire to become a cognitive computing expert. There are several courses in this specialty that would help me create user experiences that exhibit human-level intelligence. The course on Natural Language would help me incorporate natural language understanding features into my applications. The special topic in Computational Creativity would help my applications be more expressive and adaptive. When I first saw this specialty, I immediately knew it was a great fit.

The Georgia Tech Online Masters in Computer Science is my first choice for many reasons. Besides the awesome courses that are available at Georgia Tech, there is a ton of groundbreaking research being performed by world renowned professors there. I would love to work with Professor Charles Isbell and the rest of the pfunk research group in The Laboratory for Interactive Artificial Intelligence. Their research spans many areas I am interested in including interactive entertainment, deep learning, and computational neuroscience. In addition to these points, the program hit the top of my list because it is affordable, online, and produced by one of the world’s best ranking universities.

Driven by the many challenging problems society is facing, I want to use my skills and knowledge to help people live amazing lives. I strive to make the most positive impact on existence as possible. I plan to use machine learning and natural language processing to improve the health, performance, and productivity of people. Leveraging data, I want to create software to help people live the most impactful lives possible. I want to bring unprecedented capabilities to people by extending their minds into cognitive computing systems. This graduate program would be a core part of my strategy to meet these goals.