In Search of the Complex
College of Science graduate discovers passion for machine learning, artificial intelligence
At 24, Shaswat Babhulgaonkar not only earned his master’s degree in computer science from Cal State East Bay this May, but he has also achieved noteworthy accomplishments in his chosen field.
Babhulgaonkar has co-authored a peer-reviewed research paper, presented his research at an international conference in Seoul, South Korea in 2020, and served for a year in Cal State East Bay’s Pathbreaker Program.
“As a young master’s student, it was a great experience to be able to do research and present it,” he said. “I learned a lot from the conference.”
An international student who hails from the small city of Vaijapur in the state of Maharashtra, India, he served for two semesters in the master’s student research program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is currently seeking his dream career as a machine learning engineer in the software industry and wants to remain in the Bay Area / Silicon Valley region.
“I’m someone who is interested in solving the more complex problems in the industry,” Babhulgaonkar said.
Under the mentorship of the Berkeley Lab’s Mengsu Hu and East Bay advisor Zahra Derkhshandeh, he co-authored and published the project titled, “Machine Learning Prediction of Fracture Growth as a Result of Hydro-Mechanical Coupling in Geological Media.”
“During my internship, I learned about the importance of research and how machine learning is applicable in the geosciences,” he said. “I enjoyed coming up with ideas of how to develop software in a machine-learning model to solve problems.”
Pathbreaker Program advisor Ruth Tinnacher, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a project scientist at the Berkeley Lab, says that Babhulgaonkar has been exceptionally successful and productive from an academic perspective. Meanwhile, he points to professors such as Tinnacher as a major part of his success at Cal State East Bay.
“Each professor has a unique way of teaching, explaining their experiences,” he noted. “They are passionate about their interests, and they have backgrounds and skills in the professional world as well as academic excellence.”
After college in India, he set his sights on the East Bay master’s program thanks to an alumnus friend’s recommendation and its location in the Bay Area close to Silicon Valley.
“The program is flexible, and you get to explore many interests,” he said. “[My] professors have been doing significant research in the areas I’m interested in – machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence."