I chose SFU because it has an outstanding reputation in computer science and a strong Data Science Research Group.

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Student Profile: Brandon Lockhart

February 11, 2021
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Computer Science master's student in the Faculty of Applied Science

I am a master's student and aspiring data scientist with an interest in business intelligence. I completed a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Victoria, and during that time I started to become interested in data. Through various projects and a co-op work term, I saw how data-driven decisions can improve business practices and positively affect people's lives. Throughout my master's studies at SFU, I have learned about many fascinating aspects of data science which has inspired me to pursue it as a career. In my free time, I like to play volleyball, table tennis, and piano.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU because it has an outstanding reputation in computer science and a strong Data Science Research Group. I was also very interested in the research performed by my supervisor, Dr. Jiannan Wang.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

My research uses machine learning to derive explanations for database query results. For example, a company's revenue may be unexpectedly higher in June compared to May, and the data analyst may seek an explanation for this phenomenon. One method of deriving an explanation is to find subsets of the input data that are contributing significantly to the unexpected result. For example, sales of a particular product may be significantly higher in June compared to May, which could result in the total revenue being higher. Searching through all data subsets is tedious and time-consuming, and so we developed a novel machine-learning-based technique to automatically find the best explanations.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I am particularly enjoying working with my excellent supervisor, Dr. Jiannan Wang, and my research collaborator, Jinglin Peng. I am also enjoying contributing to a Python library, called DataPrep, which is produced by the Database Systems Lab at SFU. This library is focused on simplifying and speeding up the notoriously difficult and time-consuming task of preparing data for analysis.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

NSERC CGS Masters Scholarship - Awarded May 2020 DBMiner Graduate Scholarship in Computing Science - Awarded December 2020 Both of these scholarships have enabled me to focus solely on my research and be able to afford the high cost of living in Vancouver.

Contact Brandon: brandon_lockhart@sfu.ca

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