Meet the Researcher: Jefkine Kafunah

Jefkine is a CONFIRM PhD Student based in National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

“Join now! Pursuing a Ph.D. is a worthwhile experience for the curious mind. STEM has numerous possibilities and applications.”

Tell us a bit about your research...

My research focuses on improving the reliability of deep learning applications meant for safety-critical manufacturing systems. Modern-day industrial systems such as ones deployed in pharmaceutical, agrochemical, petrochemical plants, oil refineries, among others, have increasingly become safety-critical due to the essential nature of goods produced coupled with catastrophic consequences linked to failures from onsite systems. For this reason, the research objective is to develop reliable systems that exhibit minimal failure rates while also incorporating fallback strategies to counter impending failure incidents.

Could you give a real-world application of your research?

COVID19 pandemic has brought to fore the importance of process industries such as chemical and pharmaceutical plants in sustaining the well-being of humankind. My research applies to safety-critical systems deployed in these facilities, ensuring improved safety and reliability in their everyday operation.

What did you study as an Undergraduate?

I completed a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from the Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology, Kenya. During my undergraduate studies, I gained valuable skills in mathematics and computing. Following my interest in Artificial Intelligence, I completed several certification courses, including a certificate in Machine Learning from Coursera.

What made you decide to go into research?

Having gained some industry experience early on in my career, I developed a strong interest in research and innovation as a competent method of solving real-world problems. This interest made me seek to implement artificial intelligence-based solutions into practical manufacturing applications, beginning with improving the safety and reliability of the already existing solutions.

What do you enjoy most about being a PhD Student or Post-Doc?

As a Ph.D. student, I am well equipped by the university to pursue my research interests, including the support and guidance of my supervisor. Additionally, Confirm Smart Manufacturing and Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics provide the requisite support and resources, making research achievable and fun.

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

Join now! Pursuing a Ph.D. is a worthwhile experience for the curious mind. STEM has numerous possibilities and applications.

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