I hope March went well for you. If you felt like it didn't, reply to this email and I'll share some jokes that are sure to make you laugh :)
Welcome back to your monthly pulse on what I've been up to. In the past month, I've begun a 3-month long quantum finance project, deployed an SMS-based search engine for rural South Africans, attended the world's largest AI conference, all while deepening my understanding of happiness, life, and virtue.
P.S. I'm looking for a summer internship to get more involved in the QC space — it would mean so much to me if you shoot me an email if you hear of anything!
QOSF Mentorship Program
Got accepted! Now it's time to go deep.
The QOSF mentorship program (3-4 months) pairs quantum computing enthusiasts with industry and academia mentors to build interesting projects together. Out of over 800 applicants (most of whom undergrads and graduate students), I had zero expectation that QOSF would admit me—a high schooler—as one of the 40 mentees accepted into the program. Nonetheless, I was excited to hear the news, and I couldn't be more thankful for this opportunity :)
Looking back at my QC journey since last September, I've been exploring the space through building a wide range of QC projects. Although I've learned a lot through that approach, I'll use this mentorship opportunity as a vehicle to dive deeply into one specific topic within quantum machine learning in the coming months.
Under guidance from my mentor, Yunong 😀 (a research scientist at AWS Braket), we'll be exploring the application of quantum generative adversarial networks (QGANs) in portfolio optimization. That's a lot of words, I know. The gist is to build a project together that explores the applications of QML in finance—inspired by the QHack project I worked on last month.
I look forward to keeping y'all updated as it progresses!
An SMS-based search engine project to expand internet access to rural South Africans
Context: As part of TKS, my team and I prepared a recommendation deck for UN Women to close the digital gender divide (slide deck).
What happened: In South Africa and Ghana, the vast majority have access to mobile devices but not the internet. We can't imagine our lives without access to the wealth of info on the web, so my team (Om, Shawki, Michael) and I built an SMS-based text search engine (Unity Search) that allows anyone in South Africa and Ghana to text our number (+1-647-371-0591) to ask any question as if it was a google search (you can try it right now🙂).
How does it work? We used a state-of-the-art AI language model developed by OpenAI (GPT-3) to index and summarize the results.
What do the locals think? We piloted our prototype in Eastern Cape (South Africa) and Kumasi (Ghana) with around 30 locals. They loved it! We had over 300 messages received in 2 days. The word cloud I've placed above actually shows some of the messages we've received :)
What's next? In a few weeks, we'll register local phone numbers and WhatsApp integration to make it accessible to everyone in both Ghana and South Africa.
I'm so thankful to Bo, an event coordinator at MIT Tech Review, who granted me a $1000 scholarship to attend EmTech Digital! I found the talk by Ilya Sutskever (Chief scientist of OpenAI) to be especially exciting. He discussed OpenAI's short-term and long-term research projects beyond GPT-3 and into the multi-modal learning space, which I thought was sick. Beyond the talks, I drew an immeasurable amount of value through simply being able to listen to and network with the leading minds in AI: from Ilya Sutskever to Andrew Ng (founder of LandingAI).
The following pieces of content expanded my thinking. I thought it would be valuable to share them with y'all as well.
Wow. Reading this lead to a 3hr-long philosophical discussion with a few friends. Not only was this well written, but it spawns ideas on the ethics of having an opinion, objective truth, and more mind-bending concepts that will leave you in awe.
A beautifully crafted opinion piece by Tariq Fancy on the hidden dangers behind the sustainable investing movement. Along the way, he sheds insights on free-market thinking and long-term sacrifice.
"Pay attention to your experience in this moment. Thoughts and feelings seem to arise out of nothing and seem to dissolve back into nothing. And yet this nothingness is the very thing that is aware of everything. It's the reality of consciousness. And it can only know itself directly. So whatever you are up to right now, spare a moment to marvel at this. As a matter of experience, you are identical to perhaps the greatest mystery in the universe." — Sam Harris
In the next month, I hope to grow by investing more time distilling my QML insights into brief articles so that others can follow along with me on my learning journey. As far as KPIs, here's what you can expect from me—
Hit an 80% mark on the Euclid mathematics contest (it's like the Oxford MAT but on steroids)
Build a prototype and start drafting a paper on my QGAN research with my mentor
Publish 2 articles spreading my learnings
Quote I'm pondering...
"If you worked as hard at doing difficult things as you did avoiding them, you'd become unstoppable." ~Shane Parrish
Thank you for reading! Do feel free to shoot me an email to let me know what you think on any of the above :)
P.S. I came across this on Reddit and had to share: painkillers are the "Mute Notifications" option for the body :O