Meet EECS graduate student William Li


EECS graduate student William Li, third year student in robotics.I am a first year graduate student (having completed my Masters in TPP/EECS in June, 2012). I work with Seth Teller in the Robotics, Vision and Sensor Network Group and with Nicolas Roy in the Robust Robotics Group. 

Where are you from and where did you complete your undergraduate studies?

I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Canada, and went to the University of Toronto, where I studied engineering science and majored in biomedical engineering.

What is your research about and why are you excited about your project?

Broadly, I'm interested in applying computer science and artificial intelligence to health care, assistive technology, and understanding human systems and society. I've had a chance to work in robotics, speech recognition, and natural language during my time here; my master's thesis was on spoken dialog systems for wheelchair users to ask for weather, activities, menus, and make phone calls at The Boston Home, a specialized-care residence for adults with MS in south Boston.

What do you like to do outside of research and academics?

I've been lucky to be involved in groups like the MIT Assistive Technology Club and the house government of Sidney Pacific Graduate Residence. We've been fortunate to be able to bring in marquee speakers from MIT and beyond. I also like pick-up basketball and swimming, and I've taken up running recently.

What are your career goals and future plans?

I am interested in contributing at the intersection of technology and public policy. I think there are at least two ways to do this: by making contributions to technology that changes how people live, or by participating in policymaking in areas where understanding the underlying science and engineering is critical. So far, MIT has been a great place to explore both paths.

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