Indian students complete summer research program at UA Little Rock

Nine college students from India completed six-week internships in cutting-edge research areas at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock this summer. The students also visited Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Arkansas Governor’s Manson in Little Rock. Pictured, from left to right, are Yash Dutt Sharma, Yashshree Anil Patil, Tanya Gupta, Rajeev Sugandhi, Shubham Gupta, Sachin Sharma, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Seshadri Mohan, Rahul More, Rahul Sharma, Vatsal Gala, Mohan Patle, and Varad Anil Deshpande.

A group of nine students from India completed internships in cutting-edge research areas at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock this summer. 

Dr. Seshandri Mohan, professor of systems engineering, initiated the international exchange program between UA Little Rock and Vishwaniketan, an institution affiliated with the University of Mumbai in India.

Participants included Rahul Sharma, Yash Dutt Sharma, Shubham Gupta, Tanya Gupta, Yanshshree Anil Patil, Mohan Patle, Varad Anil Deshpande, Vatsal Paresh Gala, and Rajeev Kishore Sugandhi.

The partnership brought Vishwaniketan students who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science, information technology, and mechanical engineering to Little Rock for a six-week research internship from June 19 to July 29.

Upon completion of the internships, the students returned to their home universities to complete their degrees.  Their completion of the international research internship will give them an advantage on their resumes.

UA Little Rock has previously conducted similar exchange programs with Pondicherry University, SRM University, and Don Boscoe University, all in India. Mohan said many of the students who participated in these internships returned to UA Little Rock to pursue a graduate degree.

“The students say they are enriched by this experience beyond what they expected out of it,” Mohan said. “They understand how to take responsibility and pursue research internships. Hopefully, some of them will return to UA Little Rock.”

The students conducted research and experiments in four areas: robotics mentored by Dr. Andrew Wright, associate professor of systems engineering, and graduate assistant Trigun Maroo; entity resolution mentored by Dr. John Talburt, professor of information science and Acxiom Chair of Information Quality, and graduate assistant Yumeng Ye; machine learning mentored by Dr. Mariofanna Milanova, professor of computer science; and Internet of Things mentored by Mohan and graduate assistant Hadi Salman.

In the Internet of Things project, interns Mohan Patle, Yashshree Anil Patil, and Shubam Gupta built devices that can be used in smart homes. According to Mohan, Internet of Things refers to devices that are connected to the Internet. Currently, the world contains more than 12 billion internet-connected devices, a number which could increase to 50 billion by 2020.

Students programmed smart sensors to perform a variety of smart home functions. They programmed pressure sensors that could be used to build a smart refrigerator, range sensors that can detect motion to know when to activate lights, and a rain sensor that could be used to control shutters.

As part of the machine learning project, interns Vatsal Gala and Varad Deshpande helped build a system that can predict the sentiments for commercial products by analyzing images and reviews posted on an ecommerce website.

“Thousands of websites are selling millions of products online showing their images and stating the description of the product,” Milanova said. “The opinion mining is done by extracting various features from text and images that depict various sentiments. The most important part of the project was to train the machine on this set of extracted features and calculated data so that the machine can predict the values of sentiment for a new product (entity).”

In the entity and identity resolution project, interns Tanya Gupta and Rahul Sharma used an open source software package called OYSTER that was developed at UA Little Rock to determine when records in an information system are about the same entity or different entity.

Entities can be students, patients, customers, products, and locations. Entity and identity resolution is especially important in health care so patients can receive the proper treatment.

“If you don’t bring together all of a patient’s records of diagnoses, tests, and previous treatments, it could easily lead the patient’s healthcare providers to make the wrong treatment decisions,” said Talburt, who mentored the interns. “Conversely, mixing the information together from two different patients could have many adverse consequences as well.”

Gupta and Sharma took to OYSTER so well that they are considering using OYSTER to start a small business in India to help companies with entity resolution and data integration problems.

In the upper right photo, nine college students from India completed six-week internships in cutting-edge research areas at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock this summer. The students also visited Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Arkansas Governor’s Manson in Little Rock. Pictured, from left to right, are Yash Dutt Sharma, Yashshree Anil Patil, Tanya Gupta, Rajeev Sugandhi, Shubham Gupta, Sachin Sharma, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Seshadri Mohan, Rahul More, Rahul Sharma, Vatsal Gala, Mohan Patle, and Varad Anil Deshpande.

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