Statement of Objectives
Applicant: XXX Program: AI/Robotics, MIT

Please explain why you are a good candidate for graduate school. You should describe why you wish to attend graduate school, what you would like to study, and any research experience you have. Describe one or more accomplishments you are particularly proud of that suggest that you will succeed in your chosen area of research.

I started learning computer programming the first year in my middle school. The year was XXXX. The next year, I learned through the Internet about the Cog developed by the Humanoid Robotics Group led by Prof. R. A. Brooks at the CSAIL of MIT’s Department of EECS. Equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of interacting with man, Cog definitely captured my imagination. Then, through the Discovery Channel, I learned more about AI and robotics. In the process, I also read Bill Gates and his Microsoft.

All those events marked the beginning of a decade-long robo-mania inside me. Indeed, mania is the exact word that can do full justice to my whole intellectual and emotional commitment to robotics. Every morning, I would wake up with aspirations for an increasingly powerful robot and excitement over a wonderful prospect of robotics. All day long, only when I feel that I am filled with such aspirations and excitement would I consider myself physically normal and healthy; otherwise, I would feel abnormal and sick. This explains why I could work for 72 sleepless hours on the computer designing robots and only a temporary loss of vision could force me to stop. Such an addiction to robotics is more than a passion. It is definitely a mania, a monomania.

This (mono) mania is certainly a beneficent one. In the summer 20XX, having just completed my junior middle school, I launched my first AI project—“RealSpace” AI-based Education Software. Its core technology was Natural Language Processing, allowing a 3D cartoon character on the screen to understand and communicate with humans through dialogues (voice) and displayed sentences in English. The improved versions of the software and its attached video stream decoder (VSD) were both awarded Grand Prizes at Nanjin City Programming Competition in 20XX. My technologies were very advanced for that time—my software became the prototype of the “Little i” that a company has now commercially developed through several rounds of financing worth tens and millions of US dollars and my VSD foreshadowed the core technology as used by various online video software and websites. My achievements were covered by a local print media Young Talents and, when asked what I would like to do in the future, I said that I would like to study computer science at a most prestigious university in the United States.

I made the statement in all seriousness and all my academic efforts ever since then have been devoted to preparing myself as a qualified student worthy of the prestige of such a world class university. That is why, from the very outset of my academic career at the Department of Computer Science, XXX Institute of Technology, I have taken every aspect of my academics with a rare seriousness, which has resulted in an equally rare achievement—both my overall GPA and major GPA reached 4.0/4.0 even by the most rigorous American standard. This required a sustained willpower as my performance throughout the four-year undergraduate program is very well balanced and, with tremendous initiative, I have taken more computer courses than any of my classmates—out of a total of 60 courses, 50 courses are computer-related, covering all the major fields of computer science and giving my an unusually solid knowledge base. In particular, I have excelled in two categories of coursework—computer algorithms/mathematics from which I derived immense pleasure from the mental challenges that they pose, and designs/course projects in which I have turned out the most outstanding works heretofore (invariably winning the highest scores of A+). What is special about my studies is that, among more than one hundred books on computer I have read, 95% are in English. While reading recent research papers, I have exchanged views with leading computer scientists in the world. As a result, I have kept myself abreast with the latest ideas and technologies in the international academia.

In pursuing my aspirations as a computer scientist, I have not been alone. My talents in AI and robotics were duly recognized and encouraged by the departmental authorities and my advisor and I was authorized to organize various teams to participate in academic contests of various kinds in and outside Jiangsu Province (where XXX is based). Even as a freshman, I enjoyed the privileges of a faculty member—I had the exclusive use of an office and access to adequate funds to carry out research. As I came to meet more and more AI and robotics colleagues, I organized an intercollegiate robotics research team, attracting elite students from Southeastern University, Nanjin University of Technology, China Science and Technology University, Nanjin Agricultural University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. By the time I was a junior student, XXXX allocated a generous sum of fund that allowed me to set up the Robotics Lab that became the jewel of HHIT within a year. In the 20XX National Education Assessment, my Lab was open to professors and specialists on the assessment committee from across the country and was highly evaluated. Together with my colleagues, I have been working on numerous projects and the largest fund I have received for a single project reached nearly 100,000USD, far beyond that of doctoral student or research professor in an average Chinese university.

My research projects started with XXXX Intelligent Software Company. When I learned about the RoboCup International Competition, the most influential international contest in the field of AI and robotics, I initiated the R & D of RoboCup 2D Simulation Program which is based on the Multi-agent System. In 20XX, it won the second place by defeating 8 international teams. RoboCup offered me a valuable international platform to interact with my international counterparts and our annually improved versions kept winning prizes until in 20XX in the RoboCup China Open we reached the height of our honor—by defeating the previous year’s international champion, we were second only to the new champion—the BrainStormers from Germany.

As a matter of fact, I had already started developing physical robots by the end of 20XX with the aim of studying AI by endowing my robots with sensory faculties and interaction behavior. Having developed a 4-feet robotic dog, I shifted to the development of Humanoid Robot whose AI is more akin to human intelligence. By Jan. 20XX, I succeeded in developing a number of kid-sized humanoid robots. Subsequently, I launched the virtual "PESITECH" Personal Robot Company which commercialized the robots through technology transfer, product development and outsourcing. The project won the 1st Prize for "Challenge Cup" National Business Plan Contest of Jiangsu Province.

With accumulated experience in developing humanoid robots, I started to focus on the improvement of specific technologies. Such technologies include the Human-like Bipedal Walking Using Toes Joints (together with the algorithm to generate human-like bipedal walking gait) and Integrated Humanoid Robot in which the integration of sophisticated technologies have introduced greater perfection and stability to those small-sized robots. My greatest research breakthrough came in the first half of 20XX when I worked on my thesis “Research and Development of Vision-Based Autonomous Humanoid Robot”. My research was designed to address the problems inherent in the CMVision, which has only realized the basic algorithm of image segmentation but has failed to include advanced algorithms of object recognition and location. The algorithm as I have developed allows robots to recognize objects under the changing intensities of light-rays, thus significantly improving the conventional object recognition technology based on color characteristics. Compared with CMVision, my algorithm demonstrates better recognition effects without consuming too much extra computing resources and my technology can serve as a key foundation for robots to work in real-world situations. My thesis is written in English and it has been published in Chinese version.

In my decade-long career in AI and robotics, I have participated in dozens of major competitions and contests (in which I have prevailed over Master’s and doctoral students at home and abroad), involved in dozens of projects (in which I am the team leader, project manager and key developer), won dozens of honors and awards (including those in mathematical contests of modeling), and have been the co-author of a book Complete Manual: Mobile Devices and author of four research papers. I have been a research assistant and a teaching assistant on robotics and robot control system and I have led commercial projects. Last but not least, I have also taken an active part in extracurricular activities and voluntary services. My recent interests encompass Surgical Robotics and Medical Image Processing and ShoePrint Analysis and Recognition. Sometimes, even I myself marvel at the sheer energy with which I have undertaken all those events and a monomania is what I can account for it.

Having been following Prof. Rodney A. Brooks’ cutting-edge research on AI, I am most intrigued by the burning question he raised in 20XX—What is it that lets matter transcend itself to become living? In seeking an answer to the question, I hope to focus my future research on Perception Technology and Cognitive Science in an attempt to explore “What exactly is intelligence?” and “How to create/develop true Artificial Intelligence?” If we can understand how intelligence came to be developed from an evolutionary perspective, it is more likely that we can define intelligence and its mechanisms.

At MIT, Prof. Rodney A Brooks, the great AI and robotics master, is pondering over those questions. At the Robotics Lab of XXXX, a young Chinese student is pondering over the same questions. Now, I would like not only to pay my tribute to the great master but also to join his Humanoid Robotics Group. In the most unparalleled teaching and research environment of MIT, receiving guidance from a world-class supervisor and collaborating with some of the best minds in the field, I am sure I would bring out the best of my potential. Now, standing at the threshold of the world-class research on AI, I am ready to be ushered into its sacred palace.


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