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Student Profile: Oliver Snow
I grew up in the small farming town of Pemberton, BC and have always enjoyed playing outside in the mountains whether skiing, mountain biking, hiking or camping. I completed my bachelor's degree at Quest University in Squamish where I majored in neuroscience and molecular biology. That led me to do my Master's in Stockholm, Sweden at the Royal Institute of Technology where I focused on computational biology and was introduced to machine learning. That then led me to return to Canada and pursue a PhD in computing science where I get to apply machine learning to interesting problems in the life sciences.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I chose SFU partly because of the location in Vancouver and the lifestyle that comes with that but more importantly because of the strong research record of the department and the match of my interests to the work of my current supervisor, Martin Ester.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.
My research uses methods from machine learning and AI to predict the properties of molecules in order to better diagnose disease and find new treatments. In particular, my research aims to leverage the massive amounts of available unlabeled data to train more accurate models through the use of active learning.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
Despite the current challenges of the pandemic and the limitations that has placed on research, I have really enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere of my lab at SFU as well as the quality of collaborations with other researchers outside SFU, both in academia and industry. These collaborations push me to do my best work and also allow me to learn from a diverse group of interdisciplinary researchers.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?
NSERC-PGSD - Awarded May 2020
SFU Big Data scholarship - Spring 2019
Both these scholarships, but especially the NSERC funding guaranteed for 3 years have had huge impact on my ability to focus solely on research without having to worry about the need to TA or have a part time job in order to afford the high cost-of-living in Vancouver. Being awarded these scholarships has also given me the feeling that the work I am doing is valuable and important which motivates me and helps me focus on producing high quality research.
Contact Oliver: firstname.lastname@example.org