Aishwarya Srinivasan, a Data Scientist at Google, talks about the mere excitement behind building solutions that are able to solve real-world challenges. At Google, she builds machine learning solutions for customer use cases, leveraging core Google products including TensorFlow, DataFlow, and AI Platform.
Prior to this, Ms. Aishwarya was leading AI and ML initiatives at IBM, where she works cross-functionally with the data science, product, and sales organization to research AI use-cases for clients by conducting discovery workshops and building assets to showcase the business value of the technology. She has also worked on a project with the United Nations Environment Program on addressing the sustainable development goal of life below water. The project’s goal was to estimate the total marine litter worldwide and use this information to better facilitate clean-up initiatives at beaches. Statistical methods to establish a baseline of the estimates and applied Bayesian estimation algorithms to extrapolate were used to do the same. Crucial questions like the amount of plastic pollution advancing over the next few years, the concentration of plastic waste across different countries, and the effectiveness of clean-up activities were addressed. With this information, better policies could be built, and initiatives were taken to effectively reduce marine litter. As a result, this project received much appreciation and was highlighted by Forbes in a news article.
How it all started……
She began her journey with a research that focused on cloud computing and how data science services combine in a multi-cloud environment. Soon, she started working on predictive and prescriptive modelling in finance, auditing, and social media use-cases. While Ms. Aishwarya was pursuing her undergraduate studies, personalization applications like chatbots and recommendation systems, caught her interest. She says that she has never restricted myself to a specific domain or kind of modelling technique and has always liked to explore new domains and learn new algorithms.
Ms. Aishwarya holds a Master’s in Data Science from Columbia University. It was during pursuing her Master’s that she explored working on an open-source machine learning package – Scikit Learn. She also worked on a research project with Dr Minjae Kim, to predict acute kidney injury based on patient health records and inter-operative patient data. “It was an extraordinary learning experience as I could think out of the computational perspective and had to wear a subject matter expert hat” she recalls. After joining IBM, Ms. Aishwarya worked on many industrial use-cases, and one of the major learnings is that data quality issues are a real challenge. She says, unlike college assignments, measuring the effectiveness of your solutions isn’t dependent on any model metric but is more about what business value it creates. She is very focused on expanding her horizons in the machine learning research community, which recently made her win The Patent Award in 2018 for developing a Reinforcement Learning model for Machine Trading.
She has been an ambassador for the Women in Data Science community, originating from Stanford University, where she works to empower women in the field of data science and organizes events to spread awareness.
As a person who believes in giving back to the society, Ms. Aishwarya has founded a nonprofit organization called Illuminate AI that aims to provide mentorship, career guidance and educational support to thousands in the community. There are about 5000 members in the Illuminate AI community with whom she shares career talks, offers mentorship, offers educational resources, organizes technical deep dive learning sessions along with interview preparation sessions. She has collaborated with O’Reilly, deeplearning.ai and Packt to offer free educational resources to the learners. She is working on bringing together a broad network of interdisciplinary researchers, nonprofits, governments, and corporate actors to identify, mould and scale solutions that engender positive change. The AI Education Project is working to bring crucial yet fundamental knowledge about artificial intelligence to communities who are on the fore front of automation and economic disruption. Ms. Aishwarya is working to build various courses and educational sessions for high schoolers to dive into the space of data science and get engaged to work on real-world problems.
Aishwarya is also an ardent writer and likes to share about her experience in the field and education through her LinkedIn. She has over 280,000 followers on the platform, and she was also spotlighted as a LinkedIn Top Voice 2020 for Data Science and AI, which features Top 10 Machine Learning influencers across the world.
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