Xin Chen is a graduate student from China working toward her PhD in Computer Science. Her research focus is multimedia data mining. She explains, “Given a large multimedia database, I use data mining and information retrieval techniques to search images and videos based on their content. Specifically, I try to find out the semantic content of images and some interesting events in the videos. This is different from the most popular search engines on the Internet, which search based on texts. Even the image search by Google is actually based on texts, that is, the captions of images. My research on content based retrieval does not depend on annotations. It has the advantage of being able to deal with images/videos with incorrect annotations or no annotations.”
Research can be difficult and rewarding at the same time. Xin looks within for her motivation. “My biggest motivation has been the passion within myself to keep learning and exploring. I worked for two years before I joined the PhD program. When the job itself was not fulfilling anymore, I sought another way to acquire knowledge and to fulfill myself.”
Choosing UAB for graduate studies was an easy decision for Xin because the Computer and Information Sciences department has a strong doctoral program in data mining and her advisor’s research interests were perfectly matched with her own. She also considers her advisor, Dr. Chengcui Zhang, to be her greatest influence here at UAB adding, “Dr. Zhang taught me how to conduct independent research. At the beginning, it was really hard. So when I had problems or became stuck somewhere, we discussed together. She can always point me to the right direction. Her encouragement and confidence in me has been a driving force throughout my PhD program.”
Aside from having a paper accepted at a conference with an acceptance rate of only 9%, Xin has an impressive list of honors and awards that include the following:

  • School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean's Award, 2008
  • Outstanding Graduate (Doctoral) Student Award in Computer and Information Sciences, 2008
  • 2nd Place in the Student Research Competition, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Mar. 2007
  • 2nd Place in the IEEE Alabama Section 2005-2006 Prize Paper Competition
  • Passed the PhD Level I exam with distinction, Jan. 2006
  • 1st Place in the Alabama Academy of Science Student Paper Competition, Mar. 2005
  • 1st Place in ACM Mid-Southeast Conference Student Research Competition (Doctoral Division), Oct. 2004

 Xin’s advice for other Graduate Students:
“Don’t let the passion within yourself die just because someone else does not agree with it.”

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