Gracias Precog

Hi All!,  As I am about to finish my B.Tech in Computer Science. I feel this is the perfect time for me to pen down my story of association with Precog. It’s an experience described in 3 Stages:

Stage 1 : Getting Introduced to Precog                      [First year, Second Semester]

It was during my second semester in Probability and Statistics(P&S) course when I got introduced to Precog Research Group. P&S was my  first course taken under Dr. PK. I clearly remember, while Dr. PK was  taking our class, I saw Prateek Sir entering lecture hall from the front-right door and he was carrying our quiz question papers. Along with the  quiz papers, I had noticed that the  T-shirt  he was wearing had a logo named “Precog”. And then within next few minutes,our head TA, Srishti Gupta entered the hall wearing the  same  T-Shirt. I wondered what is so special about “Precog”. Is it a conference , company or a brand?? (That time, I had no clue of research groups @ IIIT-Delhi).

After attending all my lectures, I sat  down in the cafeteria and searched about “Precog”.And that’s when I realized that Precog is a research group which is run under  Dr. PK. I had looked each and every page of Precog website. Then I skimmed through personal websites and LinkedIn profiles of all core members.In short, I “stalked Precog” for about an hour. After looking at the projects like “Finding Nemo” or “Call me Maybe”, I felt very motivated towards working on problems related to social media particularly.And so, I decided to do projects in this field.

Stage 2 : Approaching Precog -The First time.     [Second year, Fourth Semester]

As I had stalked Precog, I knew who were the core members and whom to contact first. I remember spending an hour with Paridhi Ma’am  in the common room of Girls’ hostel talking just about Dr. PK and projects in  Precog. She told me to mail Sir and ask for an appointment .She focused that my mail should be “short and effective” enough to impress PK Sir. So, I had emailed him hoping that he would consider my application.And Yes! he called me for an interview. During my interview, he marked that there would be a selection process where I would have to submit my resume  and SOP…Isn’t somewhat similar to MS application? Oh Yes! except that, you don’t need LORs here.

On PreCog website, there was a section where I had uploaded all my required documents. After 2 weeks or so, I got a mail with the subject “ Application Decision”  from Niharika Sachdeva. With a lot of excitement, I opened the mail which stated“I should apply again next year.” I felt dejected at that point of time. But then, I decided to look for other opportunities in Security field. So, I landed up having an internship in CERC@IIITD under Dr. A V Subramanyam.

Stage 3 : Finally Precog-ger!!                                                 [Third and Fourth Year]

In the fifth semester, during Foundations of Computer Security course, one of my batch mates told me about PreCog openings.I applied again but with not much expectations. After few weeks, yet again, Niharika Ma’am had sent me a mail but this time, with  a different subject as “Interaction and interview with Precog member”. So, now finally after two rounds of interview, I had a chance to do BTP under the supervision of Dr. PK. My BTP project was on “Detecting Obscene Content on YouTube” where I had worked  with  Payal Bajaj from Adobe Research, Bangalore, and Rishabh Kaushal. My work mainly focused on real-time detection of obscene content on youtube videos used for parenting purpose using Deep Learning. I had developed Deep CNN model to detect abrupt transitions having obscene content in cartoon videos in real-time with 81.4 % accuracy. I must say, this period of BTP was knowledge gaining plus fun-filled experience.

I would like to highlight the following  points about Precog and why I still cherish my times here:

  • People over here are friendly and they treat you like a family. You can crack jokes, ask for help anytime and do party.

  • The knowledgeable-cool bunch of researchers works on interesting- complex problems.

  • Dr. PK  helps us in  dealing with professional matters and always intends to show us the correct path. Thank you Sir!

  • When you are at PreCog, you will realize the actual meaning of  “Workload” And I  mean it.

  • Apart from project-related emails, Dr. PK  used to send us inspirational quotes. I have jotted down a few them:

             a). “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.”

             b). ”Good Scientists Solve Problems, but Great Scientists know What’s Worth                          Solving”                      

  • Fun- part : You will be a part of  “Pizza Parties” and BBQ visitsSo it’s like “Work Hard  & Have Fun”.

I would like to owe my sincere gratitude to PK Sir, Rishabh Sir, and all PreCog members for helping me throughout.Now, time is approaching  to  leave IIITD and move on to pursue higher studies at UMBC.But this couldn’t have been possible without being a Precog-ger.

This blog isn’t enough for me to pen down my learning experience@ PreCog and with PK Sir. So here are some  pics to describe my association:

Meetup with Dr.PK
PSOSM poster session