Chloe Barnes completed an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Aston University. She graduated in July 2017, and is now in her first year of PhD study.
What is the subject of your PhD?
I am studying in the area of Computer Science, within the ALICE Research Group (Aston Lab for Intelligent Collectives Engineering). I am specifically looking at Self-Aware Computing Systems, what this means, and how we can design these types of systems in the future. The work I am doing has a lot of influence from human psychology, so it is very interesting to see how theories from different disciplines affect and impact my own research in Computer Science.
What motivated you to do a PhD at Aston?
I wanted to study at Aston specifically because I think the department is great; the staff are really supportive and enthusiastic about their research and the subjects they teach. One of my motivations for studying for a PhD was one of the final year modules I took called Computational Intelligence; it gave me an insight into what research can entail and I found it really enjoyable to find novel solutions to the problems given in the coursework. I wanted to learn more about my field and ultimately contribute to it as well - it's definitely living up to my expectation so far!
What have you enjoyed about it so far?
I've really enjoyed the freedom that comes with a PhD, through being given the opportunity to explore my own research interests and the work that is associated with them. I've been able to find something I'm enthusiastic about, and it's also been a great experience to be able to share my interests with others too - both within the university and outside of it. The support I've received from my supervisors has been brilliant and really encouraging; I'm looking forward to the future, and the prospect of hopefully submitting to some conferences over the summer too.
What three words would you choose to describe your experience at Aston?
Challenging, supportive, and fascinating!
Has anything surprised you about studying a PhD?
It's been a pleasant surprise about how welcoming and friendly the student and academic community is, and how many opportunities there are to share ideas. To begin with, starting a PhD feels really daunting, but being a part of a research group and getting involved with workshops has been great to meet academics from other universities and explain my research interests to a wider group of people. I've found this really valuable as it has helped me to expand upon my ideas and have discussions to better my research.
What do you hope to do once you have finished?
In the far future I'd like to become a lecturer as I think the environment here at Aston is very supportive and collaborative. I'd like to inspire other students in their studies the way I was inspired during my undergraduate degree, as that was one of the main motivators for me to continue onto a PhD.