By Yasser Dahou Djilali,

An integral part of the ML Labs PhD Programme, is that all students will be required to undertake a placement in an enterprise, other non-academic establishments, in the groups of international collaborators.  Early February 2022, I had the opportunity to start a 6-month placement at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi.

I am interning as part of the vision and perception Team, which is responsible for designing solutions for image and video processing related projects. The team falls within the AI Cross Centre unit, which is led by leading expert in his field, Prof. Merouane Debbah and the research is at the intersection of product and applied research. Its main goal is to empower TII teams specialised in security, crypto and autonomous robotics with machine learning platforms.

My project is to design, build and evaluate, a video object detection approach for self-driving cars using the intersection of the transformer architecture with self-supervised contrastive learning, using large datasets, so called big science.

TII assisted me greatly in assisting me to relocate to Abu Dhabi, they have offered me a hotel apartment and facilitated the relocation administrative procedure. This helped me settle in really well in my first week and has enabled me to be focused on the internship work straight away.

I would highly recommend PhD students from ML-Labs to apply for internships at TII, if the opportunity arises, as it has been one of the best decisions of my PhD journey so far!