I discovered my passion for writing after I quit my day job. So I began to write fiction stories, self-help books, and articles, blogs, etc.
Keily was back in UT-Austin after a 4-week long enjoyable vacation in her home country. She tried hard to think about how she could come across a continuing Ph.D. thesis topic from her MSc program. But no ideas came to her. She thought of discussing the matter with Dr. Mili.
Two days later, when the semester began, she was punctual enough at Dr. Mili’s office. They both discussed a long hour in which direction Keily’s Ph.D. thesis topic should move. Finally, Dr. Mili said it was high time that Keily handled multimedia objects.
“Multimedia objects could be images, audios and/or videos”, she explained.
She further added, “Start storing images in a traditional database. Then query different images to the database to find out if a match can be found, much like the way you did with the string database in your M.Sc. program. It will be more complex and the algorithms will have to be modified. First of all, in this train of thought, try to come up with a thesis topic. We can modify it as you go along with the topic depending on which direction you take. But we do need to start with a topic in hand.”
"All right”, said Keily cheerfully and hopefully.
Keily did some research over the web on multimedia objects and their retrieval from a database. She tried long hours researching for 2-3 days in a row until she hit upon the following topic:
“Similarity-Based Image Retrieval from a Traditional Database Application”
“Excellent Topic”, acknowledged Dr. Mili after Keily met her with her thesis topic.
She further said, “Try with various categories of images and then if you have time, you can work on different audios and videos.”
“Okay”, said Keily.
Keily immediately set down to work on her Ph.D. thesis. As per Dr. Mili’s suggestion, she had also taken the course “Computer Vision” which would help her thesis this semester and beyond.
After a week went by, Keily made slow progress. She couldn’t get a fingerprint images database to work properly.
She knew the basics well but somehow felt she needed help. She thought of the Deshi guy who had taken the "Data Mining" course and now was in her "Computer Vision" class.
She called him up and planned to meet him in the 2nd floor LAB of the Computer Science complex. As he approached accordingly, Keily lit up with happiness. She immediately described briefly what she was trying to do and where she was failing. The guy, Shakhil worked around a few minutes and eventually solved her problem. Keily was most grateful to him and thought of buying him Starbucks coffee, and he agreed.
After enjoying the coffee, they split for their destined places. Keily was back in her apartment. She cooked herself a meal, showered and had her lunch.
She sat down at the computer again. Her first roadblock in her Ph.D. thesis was overcome. “What would be next?” she wondered. She tried querying the database with fingerprint images and tested if similar matches showed up. They didn’t, and nothing showed up.
Calling her Deshi friend at every step of the way would look rude. “Try harder, Keily”, she said to herself. Two weeks went by. Keily had no real luck. When she thought of a new distance measure for similarity-based image retrieval from her knowledge of data mining and refined and optimized the codes, yes, she started getting results, and Keily was excited. Yes, she was happy to confess to Dr. Mili about her progress that similarity-based retrieval of fingerprint images was working for her database.
Dr. Mili was excited too and asked her to demonstrate it in her lab, and she did, uploading content from her flash drive.
Next, she tried several distance measures for similarity-based retrieval of facial expression images and programmed it as perfectly as she could. She showed it to Dr. Mili, and she had further demands and suggestions. Keily took note of them.
At some point, Keily could go on no longer. She felt stuck and no way she could proceed. She thought of the smart deshi guy, Shakhil once again. They met up and looking at her program, he traced the problem in 45 minutes and rectified it. Keily was full of gratitude. He had helped her out of a big crisis once again. She offered him a cold drink and had one herself.
Together they shared stories of their lives, past and present and finally, they departed smiling happily.
Keily gave a finishing touch to all the requirements demanded by Dr. Mili for this part of the similarity-based retrieval of facial expression images from the database.
Two years had already gone by. Grace had extended her Ph.D. program, and this semester, she was going to graduate, her thesis documentation being almost complete. Grace called Keily to be present at her Ph.D. graduation ceremony. Keily promised she would. On a hunch, she called Lucy to get her updates.
“I didn’t need extra time like Grace”, Lucy admitted. “Hopefully I will complete my Ph.D. dissertation defense this semester.”
Keily was feeling sad that her long-lasting friends were soon going to depart from the university and go for promising careers. Yes, this was life. “I will also make it like them”, Keily promised herself.
To share her feelings and get emotional support, she called her family back home. She described briefly the current situation she was in and how she was going to lose two great friends who were going to graduate. The last semester was going to be difficult without their company.
Her Mom said, ”Don’t worry, Keily so much. It is our belief you will make it. Regarding your friends, keep in touch with them through phone calls and be updated about what careers they are going to pursue. Keep yourself informed if you can get a job in their area. Be open about making new friends even if the next semester is going to be your last semester. We will pray for you.”
Natalie added, “Don’t worry at all, Keily Apa. I know you will be triumphant at the end. Keep yourself together while we pray for you here.”
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In her final semester, Keily makes a draft broad view of the main headings for the “Table of Contents” of her M.Sc. thesis. Professor Mili modifies it for the better and gives her ideas about possible subheadings. Keily works hard to make it a good thesis dissertation. She presents her thesis on the defense day and gets applauded for it. To read more, click the above title.
© 2020 Rosina S Khan