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AMSI scholarship recipient profile: Chuanqi Zhang

Chuanqi Zhang

University of Technology Sydney

For the past few years, Chuanqi Zhang got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees both in mathematics at Wuhan University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively. His fascination with mathematics began in high school, because he found it easier to work out the maths puzzles than others. During university,Chuanqi Zhang been addicted to doing mathematical science research with collaborators and dreaming of being a principal investigator in mathematics in the future. Currently, He is a PhD student at the Centre for Quantum Software and Information, the University of Technology Sydney. His main research lies in the computational complexity problems on quantum algorithms and graph theory problems with respect to quantum information.

Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community (think how you would explain your work and studies to friends who don’t study maths)

Formally, the mathematical area that I’m studying in is called theoretical computer science. I design algorithms and analyse the complexity of them, like looking for a way to make computer programs run faster. For the broader community, we can see kinds of AI algorithms having become more and more common in our daily life, such as speech/image recognition, natural language processing, and recommendation system. The knowledge I’ve learned can help such technology be more efficient and more useful for people.

How did you get into mathematics/statistics/data science? Was there someone or something that inspired you to this field?

I would say it is because my outstanding performance in mathematics during high school encouraged me a lot and brought me a huge interest in it. People always tend to be fascinated with what they feel good at.

You received a scholarship to attend AMSI Summer School 2022. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend, fully participate in the program and meet others studying in similar fields?

This scholarship is more like an honour other than financial assistance. It is quite important to my participation and study from the perspective of pursing to be a qualified honour student.

The purpose of Summer School is to give students an opportunity to develop their mathematical skills, meet like-minded people and network with potential employers. What was the most valuable part of the program for you? Was it the course content or the people you met? Do you have new ideas for your work/research or see it in a new light?

I would say the course content was the most valuable part of the program, just as what I had expected. Through all the lectures  systematically, I got familiar with the key concepts and theorems in computational complexity theory, which helped me connect my current research to some branches of mathematics that I’ve learned, such as combinatorics and algebra. The course brought a lot of new stuff, including some fun complexity problems, and also laid a solid  foundation for me.

Summer School included a special Careers Day program which aims to help give students an idea of the kinds of career paths available to maths graduates in industry and private sector research areas. Were you previously aware of the types of industry opportunities available to mathematical science graduates? Would you consider working with industry? Do you feel better equipped to explore career options in the mathematical sciences after attending AMSI Summer School?

Yes, I was previously aware of the types of industry opportunities available to mathematical science graduates, but up to now I’ve not had any thoughts on working with industry. I did learn a lot about careers and job opportunities, especially for maths graduates, from AMSI Summer School. Though, I’m always focusing on pursuing an academic career with enthusiasm, which is currently my biggest dream.

AMSI Summer School was held as a virtual event. What was the biggest positive from your point of view holding it in this format and/or the biggest challenge?

I always prefer the virtual format because the recordings are so important to my study! Without recordings, I could possibly miss a lot of stuff in class. As for the challenge-wise, I would say it is more difficult to connect with each other than that on campus. However, I love the student-run Discord channel, which overcame this difficulty in a way.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for Summer School in 2022? Should they apply and why?

I would recommend everyone still in consideration should apply for ASMI summer school, because they would definitely benefit from the lectures, the events, or the connections a lot. ASMI really does a good job on every aspect and is certainly value for money!

Where do you want the mathematical sciences to take you? Where do you see yourself in five, ten years time?

As I said, I’m always dreaming of exploring a career in academia, so I would like to apply my mathematical sciences knowledge to research within a higher education context. I hope I will enjoy mathematics all the time and make significant achievements to benefit the broader community as a good researcher in some years.

Any other feedback/comments you would like to provide on the AMSI Scholarship or AMSI Summer School 2022?

Thanks for everything that AMSI has done for us! If possible, I will participate AMSI Summer School again!