Meet the Researcher: Peng Zhang

Peng is a CONFIRM PhD student based at Athlone Institute of Technology.

” If you are considering doing a Ph.D. then do it!”

Tell us a bit about your research...

My research work is related to smart manufacturing. Automated decision making is an important element of Smart Manufacturing.  Manufacturing environments require fast response times between when a decision to alter the process is made and when this change is actually carried out. Moving decision-making from a cloud server into the edge devices (such as a robot used in the manufacturing process or a computer used to control the production line) is a promising way to achieve this. However, the processing power of edge devices is significantly less  than that of the cloud server. For this reason, training deep learning models or deploying trained models over these devices remains a challenge. My research is focused on developing solutions to these challenges.

What did you study as an Undergraduate?

I am from China and I got my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology. I then went on to complete my master’s degree in Advanced Robotics at ECN in France.

What made you decide to go into research?

Based on my undergraduate and master studies in the field of machinery, especially robotics, I have developed a strong interest in industrial robots and humanoid robots. At the same time, my master’s studies gave me the opportunity to get in touch with the research direction of artificial intelligence. Intelligent algorithms and systems are of great significance in the field of robotics but my own knowledge in this field is very limited. I chose to pursue research in the direction of computer science to improve my understanding of this field.

How could your research change society?

My research work is related to artificial intelligence and robots. These technologies can help to complete tasks that humans may find boring or repetitive, allowing humans to focus on more interesting tasks!

What do you enjoy most about being a PhD Student?

What I enjoy most is that I can freely allocate my time to areas of interest. At the same time, I have a good supervisor who can guide my research direction to prevent me from getting lost in a new research field.

Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about a career or research in STEM?

If you are considering doing a Ph.D. then do it!

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