Statement of Purpose Essay

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Information technology has changed and continues to change the ways people live in today’s rapidly changing world. Growing up in such an era had instilled in me a natural thirst for new technologies. Learning more and more techniques gave rise to my eagerness to become one of those prominent researchers who change the world with their outstanding research. However, neither my necessity of research skills nor my insatiable appetite for technologies is satisfied by my undergraduate education. So here I am applying for a Ph.D. degree.

When I was a freshman, I majored in Information Management & Information System. Since only the technical part of the curriculum could attract me, I changed my major to Computer Science at the beginning of the second year. Although such a decision would entail huge risks, I enjoyed the freedom to follow my mind. Generally speaking, it takes 3 years to complete the core courses of Computer Science and I managed to finish them within 2 years. Although my study of Computer Science started one year later than other classmates, the gap was entirely eliminated by my 2 years’ overload. My ability, persistence, and arduous effort resulted in the Academic Excellence Award to confirm my readiness for graduate study. And as shown in my academic transcript, my grades have gone up every semester and I have a feeling that I have not yet hit my climax.

As far as I know, doing research requires solid technical skills and extensive project experience. Taking this into consideration, I intentionally chose courses that feature challenging course projects to hone my skill. This strategy turned out to be fruitful. I got A’s for all the project-oriented courses. My understanding of various domains, such as OS, compiler, NLP and open-source community were strengthened. These course projects have instilled in me confidence of my ability. Furthermore, they equipped me with various kinds of technical skills. For instance, the experience of developing a small compiler turned out to be invaluable when I was working on a research project related to program analysis. Besides all those technical skills, there were also communication, teamwork and leadership involved. These elements, as I understand them, are very much in need in the course of pursuing a Ph.D. degree.

The inconvenience I encountered while doing course projects gave rise to my interest in Software Engineering. When I was a sophomore, I started my independent research project under the guidance of Prof. Lu Zhang. The project concerned fault localization. To help developers handle bug reports, researchers have investigated approaches to bug-report-oriented fault localization, which tries to find among the entire code base a small subset of source files that are likely to be related to fixing each bug report. Some pioneer work on this topic tried to apply IR-based feature location techniques and BugLocator, proposed by Prof. Hongyu Zhang, stood out as the most advanced approach. One...

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