MBA Interview
6th Dec 2022
Afia Azmi

SOP PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A Statement of Purpose written by a student who wishes to pursue his PhD in computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I am applying to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for admission to the Ph.D. program in Computer Science. I am especially interested in Theoretical Computer Science including the design and analysis of algorithms like Approximation algorithms, Randomized algorithms, Parallel Algorithms and Complexity Theory and Combinatory.

I have a strong background in Mathematics. I was placed in the merit list in Mathematics in school and high school and secured the 1st position amongst 100,000 candidates in the All India Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for the ****. My first exposure to computers came via programming in high school and I found it so stimulating that I decided to pursue a career in Computer Science. At the ****, the excellent facility, faculty and the wide spectrum of courses have given me an excellent command over the fundamentals of Computer Science. I have always been fascinated by abstract Mathematics and I have found.

Theoretical Computer Science just the right blends of abstract Mathematics and concrete Computer Science. My interest in this field has kept on growing with courses like Discrete Structures, Data Structures and Algorithms and Theory of Computation which have been my favorites.

My B. Tech. Seminar (Junior Thesis) included a literature survey on Topological Graph Theory / and my B. Tech. Project (Senior Thesis) is on Combinatory and Algorithms/in which I am attempting to obtain better solutions to various problems like constructing minimal fault tolerant circuits and approximation algorithms to construct maximal planar sub-graph. This has given me experience in mastering abstract Mathematical concepts as well as in designing good algorithms for simply expressed practical problems. My skills and interest in this field have been further improved upon by courses such as Design and Analysis of Algorithms and Geometric Algorithms in which I have been exposed to randomized algorithms for problems in computational geometry. To further improve my command in this field, I have taken Foundations of Parallel Computation and Information Theory and Coding for the coming semester. I am also attending a lecture series on the $P$ vs. $NC$ problem. I strongly feel that Algorithms and Complexity theory are the core subjects in Computer Science and problems in all fields can be handled using these techniques. This area also has a large potential for research and this is what I envisage myself doing a few years from now, preferably in an academic environment.

I am convinced that I should pursue a career in research and teaching. For me, problem-solving is an experience unmatched by anything else. It would give me immense pleasure to be able to contribute something to this subject. My limited teaching experience as a tutor in an introductory undergraduate programming course has been very positive and I would love to be able to teach my favorite subjects and thus get a better understanding of these fields myself.

I have heard a lot from **** alumni and faculty about the excellent faculty in Theoretical Computer Science, the research done in this field and the performance of the students who have graduated from MIT. I am sure that the stimulating academic environment and interaction with the distinguished faculty will prove immensely fruitful and facilitate my development as an individual researcher in my field. I feel that MIT has a lot to offer me, and at the same time, I am confident that I would be able to make a positive contribution to ongoing research work at MIT.

With these long-term goals in mind, my immediate objective is to work towards a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Having decided that I will engage in a career in research, I am aware of the kind of dedication, resilience and resolve I will have to show over the years. I feel that I am adequately prepared for that, both in having the technical qualifications and the right mindset for doctoral level research.

I look forward to joining as a graduate student in your department.

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