Name: Xiao Liu
Programme: MSc Signal Processing and Communications
Hometown: Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, Southwest China
Why did you choose your MSc programme at the University of Edinburgh?
1. Edinburgh is really like a second home town for me since I spent wonderful years here during my undergraduate degree (as a 2+2 student). The University of Edinburgh is very international, which gave me the opportunity to experience different cultures
2. I wanted to study interdisciplinary courses about machine learning and signal processing. The MSc programme at Edinburgh perfectly matched my expectations as it offered this interdisciplinary aspect.
How would you explain your MSc topic - signal processing and communications - to a non-expert?
Generally, there are many different kinds of signals in the real world like text, image, speech, and so on. The topic of my MSc programme is primarily how to process these signals and how to convey the processed information in effective ways.
In the programme, we explored many advanced technologies and real-world applications such as how 5G works and even the cutting-edge LiFi applications (more than 100 times faster than WiFi).
In terms of machine learning, this programme also provided opportunities for us to learn modern artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like neural networks and machine language translations.
What aspects of the Programme have you enjoyed most?
There are many aspects of the programme that I enjoyed a lot, from lecturing methods to the lab courses.
For me, the most enjoyable aspect of the Programme was the teaching. The lecturers were really nice and patient about answering questions in lectures. And they not only taught us things through written materials, but also connected basic principles with advanced techniques and real-world applications.
After a lecture, the lecturer usually stayed to discuss things with us for a long time. I really learned a lot from these courses and discussions with the lecturers. The skills that I was trained in will benefit my career and life.
Outside of your studies, what were your highlights of being a student at Edinburgh?
I enjoy doing sports and go to the gym very frequently, and the University's Pleasance gym is super nice! The price is really cheap for students and even includes swimming.
The gym is well-equipped with machines, which perfectly matches my needs.
What do you plan to do next? Has your time at Edinburgh helped to shape your career goals?
I am staying at the University of Edinburgh to do a fully-funded PhD in the School of Engineering. My PhD topic will explore healthcare AI, and is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Canon Medical Research Europe.
The MSc programme provided me not only with background knowledge and experience but also the opportunity to do a research project with my supervisor, Professor Sotirios Tsaftaris, within the Research Institute for Digital Communications.
How would you describe an MSc to a prospective student and what advice would you give them?
The interdisciplinary nature of the MSc in Signal Processing and Communications is perfect if you are interested in machine learning but you also want to study something else about signal processing.
The MSc programme is really like a full-time job (without getting paid :D)!
We spent most of our time studying, preparing for exams and working on lab assignments. In the third semester, we focused on the MSc research project and writing the dissertation thesis.