Openings: I am currently searching for highly-talented students (PhDs, Masters, and Undergraduates) to work or remotely work with me in the areas of computer vision, machine learning, deep learning, and smart infrastructure. Full Gradudate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are available for selected PhD candidates. We may have limited paid opportunities for undergraduate and masters, which means it is likely to be unpaid. Publications will be the primary output of the research group. And developing deep learning systems and tools will be highly encouraged. Please send your CV and transcripts to with the research questions that you are excited about.
Because of the substantial volume of emails I receive weekly for PhD positions, it is impractical for me to respond to each one. Doing so would leave me with insufficient time for research, teaching, and other commitments, e.g., playing & watching basketball games or watching youtube videos. If not receiving my response, you are still encouraged to apply directly to the Auburn CSSE graduate program, expressing a preference for working with me. I will make final decisions after gathering all the candidate information from the application pool.
Quick Info. PhD: There are no PhD admissions in the Summer semester (for international applicants).

What I offer

  1. Individual attention
    We will meet at least once a week. You can walk into my office to discuss ideas if I work with an open door.
  2. Research freedom
    You will have much freedom in the topics you wish to pursue and learn about. But, of course, I will be actively helping you in the process (by sometimes imposing constraints for better optimization). You will be the first author of papers to which you have contributed the most.
  3. Travel
    I will support (as in pay for) your travel to conferences to present any first-author publications from our research together.
  4. Clear expectations and support
    Based on my experience, pursuing a doctoral degree could be a lonely and sometimes confusing experience. Of course, you are somewhat losing your money (in a few years) when you decided to pursuit a PhD, compared to a high-paid job at places such as Silicon Valley. Therefore, I will be clear about my expectations. I fully support recreational activities and taking breaks to promote a healthy and focused mindset.
  5. Mentoring on writing, presentation, and other skills
    A Ph.D. is more than just a sequence of papers. I will help refine your writing, presentation, networking, and other skills to help you become an independent researcher.
  6. Developing your expertise
    According to Dr. Andrej Karpathy, ``PhD is probably your only opportunity in life to really drill deep into a topic and become a recognized leading expert in the world at something. You’re exploring the edge of our knowledge as a species, without the burden of lesser distractions or constraints. There’s something beautiful about that and if you disagree, it could be a sign that PhD is not for you''.
  7. Support for career development
    I would happily help you develop professional connections for internships and full-time jobs. In addition, I will support applications for fellowships and awards.

What I look for

  1. Prior research experience
    If you have prior experience working in research labs, institutions, or universities on topics related to deep learning, machine learning, or computer vision, you would be an excellent fit for my research group. I place a high value on the quality of research work you have conducted as demonstrated by recommendation letters, regardless of whether it has been published.
  2. Programming skills
    Once we have selected an idea to pursue, you will take the lead in developing the prototype. High-quality research requires exceptional programming skills to ensure quick and precise implementations. Having previous experience working in companies like Google, Meta, or Microsoft is a strong indicator of possessing such skills. In addition, you are encouraged to showcase your GitHub repositories if you strongly recommend them.
  3. Self-motivation
    During your time in graduate school, it is not uncommon for no one, including myself as your advisor, to explicitly instruct you on what steps to take next. Therefore, it is essential to have the initiative to take action and experiment without being prompted. Additionally, this self-motivation is crucial in overcoming obstacles and finding solutions to problems that arise during your project.
  4. Tenacity
    The research process can be challenging because things may not always proceed as planned. It is crucial to have the ability to backtrack and persist in working towards finding solutions to problems encountered along the way.
  5. Reliability
    In graduate school, abling to finish what you promised initially or planned to do by a specific date is essential. As you know, being reliable and timely is crucial for successful graduate students.
  6. Face and accept yourself with honesty
    Knowing is knowing, (but) not knowing is not knowing. This mindset is indeed of wisdom. I do not encourage people to pretend to know something they do not know in research activities.
  7. Communication skills
    Although communication skills can be developed throughout your Ph.D. program, it is crucial to begin with a willingness to share and learn from others. Regardless of how intelligent or impressive your work may be, if you are excessively reserved or hesitant to engage in conversation, it will negatively impact your overall success. Therefore, it is recommended to err on the side of over-communicating, rather than under-communicating.

Note that you don't need to have all of these skills, but you do need to show some promise that these can be developed.

Auburn University and the city

Auburn is recognized as one of the “best small towns in America,” with moderate climate and easy access to major cities and to beach and mountain recreational facilities. Situated along the rapidly developing I-85 corridor between Atlanta (GA) and Montgomery (AL), the combined Auburn-Opelika-Columbus statistical area has a population of over 500,000. Auburn has been previously ranked by CNNMoney, USNews, Forbes and recently Livability as one of the best places to live in the U.S.
Auburn University (AU) is a public research university and the flagship university in the state of Alabama. AU ranked #40 among public universities. The computer science and software engineering (CSSE) department is the highest ranked department in Alabama, fourth among SEC schools, a top-50 department among public universities, and among the top 15% of all departments in the nation according to the latest rankings by USNews. The graduate CS program at Auburn is ranked #89.

In addition to being an R1 Carnegie research institution, Auburn Engineering research is ranked among the nation’s top 50 in research expenditures. Remarkably, the university is planning on hiring 500 new tenure-track faculty within 2019-2024!