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Alice #4 - Marija

Updated: Mar 8

The machine trainer


Episode 4 of Alice in Wonderlab is all about Artificial Intelligence. Our guide in the world of learning machines is Marija Stojchevska, post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Electronics and Information Systems of Ghent University, in Belgium.



Marija has a BA in Informatics and a MA in Computer Science, with major in Artificial Intelligence, both from the KU Leuven. She works in a team that does research on machine learning with applications in health care.



Her research focuses more specifically on activity recognition based on wearable sensors. You see the wristband she is holding in her hand in the picture? Thanks to that, an app on your phone can detect wether you are walking, cycling, standing, sitting, and much more... Marija is teaching the software how to do that.




She is teaching it how to interpret correctly the signals (the wiggly patterns here above) sent out by the motion sensor in the wristband. This is called 'training a model', or training a machine. It is done by feeding the software a huge lot of data and making it learn to generalise as to what kind of signal corresponds to which activity.



Besides telling more about the applications of this technology in health care, in the episode Marija also explains why she chose a career in Computer Science and she shares her experience as a young woman in a STEM field. Which happens to be different in North Macedonia (her homeland) and in Belgium. She reveals what she likes the most and the least about her job. What her motivations are, what keeps her going. And what she misses the most from back home...


The episode is already available on Spotify and Apple Podcast!




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