Dey's PhD Completion During COVID-19


Hi! Thank you for stumbling upon this campaign page. My name is Somdip Dey  and I am currently a PhD Candidate in Computer Science at the University of Essex, UK. My PhD research focuses on designing and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) on mobile platforms (smartphones) to optimize performance, energy efficiency and reliability of the devices and executing applications. Going forward my research would help battery-operated devices such as mobile phones to last longer and run your favourite applications without worrying to charge the device often.

I am currently receiving the University of Essex's CSEE Scholarship, which pays for Home/UK tuition fees and a stipend towards my living and maintenance cost. However, since I am an international student in the UK I am entitled to pay the international tuition fees  and hence, have to pay the difference in tuition fees (International - UK tuition fees). Usually, I would work part-time while studying full time to pay for the difference in tuition fees, but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world I have lost my part-time jobs and neither I can apply for part-time jobs to support myself financially to pay my tuition fees. Given the fact that I am an international student, I am not eligible to apply for funding via Student Finance England (SFE) nor I am eligible for welfare benefits in the UK.

I am reaching out to you to ask for your financial assistance to help me pay the difference in tuition fee of £10,357 towards and PhD study. For your contribution, I would include your name in my PhD thesis, which I plan to submit before the end of this year (2020). For your gracious contribution, you would also get a mobile app developed by me to help you correspondingly. Please look at the end of this page to know more about how to get the app about you/your company as part of me being grateful for your support.

Even if you are not able to contribute financially, please share this with your friends and family, and your support will be beneficial for me.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help and support.

What I need and the cost?

I need to pay the difference in tuition fees, which is £10,357 (International tuition fees of £15,460 - Home/UK tuition fees of £5,103). I am given a deadline of September 2020 by the University to be able to pay for this difference in tuition fees in order to be able to successfully progress in (and complete) my PhD study and hence, I am reaching out to the community for help.

Who am I and what I do?

I am an engineer and a scientist (well, more inclined towards being a scientist) who loves to build or create technology to help others. I have received my BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from St. Xavier's College, Kolkata, India in 2012 and MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester in 2014.

Even if you do not know my name specifically, some of you may have used my work or is experiencing the benefits of it right now. Some of my noteworthy work to date are as follows:

* In 2012, I developed a unique methodology to stop fake degree and fake student transcript creation by securely embedding the grades and digital information in QR (Quick Response) codes on the degree or transcript. This work was adopted by several institutes and universities around the world to stop the creation of fake degrees. Read more about my work from my interview published in Authority Magazine  and Thrive Global .
* In 2014, I co-developed the world's first crowd food sharing platform, which enables the user to share their leftover food with people in need to reduce food waste. The app also won the 3Scale API award at the 2014 Koding's Global Hackathon. Read more on this topic from my interview published in ThriveGlobal. This work inspired many other entrepreneurs to adopt similar technology to contribute to zero waste movement and reduce food waste.
* Recently (in 2020) I have co-developed an AI-powered free to use smartphone app - nosh (food stock management) - to help people remember the expiry date of stocked food items before they expire. Given the change in the routine of shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, households run the risk of having more food waste as people adapt to new shopping routines. To help people to effectively manage food stock and reduce food waste, nosh was developed. This app has also won the Best Mobile App Design award by BMA. Read more on this project from Business Insider  and Echo News UK .
* Most published research on image encryption and steganography in QR codes and works related to using QR code in the digital education system to date are based on my previously published work. Read more about this research from my Google Scholar profile .
* I co-developed the flagship product of Steanne Solutions, which are currently used to manage physical assets of the councils and government agencies such as Bournemouth council, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and Transport for London. Read more about this product from Steanne Solution 's webpage.
* I co-developed a machine learning algorithm powering millions of Samsung mobile devices while working as a Research Engineer at Samsung R&D Institute UK. My latest work on machine learning in mobile devices has been presented and published at DATE 2020  (Design, Automation and Test in Europe) conference, which is one of the top conferences of my research topic (electronic design automation).
* I have also worked in co-developing the ISO/IEC/IEEE 23026:2015 standard on "Systems and software engineering — Engineering and management of websites for systems, software, and services information", which is the standard practise for developing web applications.

Why I am pursuing my PhD?

The answer to this question is of two reasons (oversimplified). 

1) Because I want to inspire others to pursue science and technology and pursue higher education.

2) Through my research work, I want to develop technology to help others in society.

I was born in a humble family in India in 1990 where my parents worked very hard to provide for my school education so that I can be the first in my family to pursue higher education in a university. When I was in class 3 in primary school I was diagnosed with mild dyslexia after failing my written language courses. I still remember the disappointment on my mother's face when the doctor broke the news to my mother that there is no point in educating me, and also the fact that I was the only child and my parents really wanted me to get higher education. From that day it became my mission to prove the doctor wrong and to inspire other children with or without disability to pursue anything that they want to. I believe in hard work and I also believe that hard work can triumph over any disability and achieve a person's own goals. So, to prove that I can be literate despite my troubles of being dyslexic it became my childhood dream to pursue a PhD.

Moreover, at an early age, I also realised that I am very good at research (investigating facts and reach a conclusion) and creating solutions to problems. Henceforth, pursuing a research-oriented career became inevitable for me. So, far I have published more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers in computer science and that is also enough proof for me to continue my research in computing.

After completing my PhD I want to pursue a career in academia which will give me the opportunity to continue developing solutions to help society and at the same time inspire the next generation to pursue a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career.

How my PhD research can help society?

My PhD research is focused on designing Artificial Intelligence (AI) models/methodologies in mobile platforms such that the executing application can perform its best while consuming least energy of the battery and keeping the temperature of the device low. Through my research, it is possible for you to be able to play games or watch Netflix on your mobile phone without worrying to charge it often. A part of my research also focuses on how we can train and execute AI models more efficiently on the mobile device such that it can do amazing stuff such as detecting cancer using machine learning on a mobile phone.

So far, in my PhD work, I have already published 15 peer-reviewed research papers in top conferences and journals such as DATE, ASAP, IEEE Access. My research has led to inventing several methodologies such as: the world's first mobile computing resource optimization taking user's behaviour and interaction into consideration; the world's first approach to teaching computers to read program source code of applications by just looking at it visually (using computer vision instead of natural language processing); designing a unique methodology to train AI models in low powered mobile devices.

Your help and support towards my PhD will help me to continue pursuing research on the topic and contribute to the growth of the scientific methods in mobile computing.

What is the reason for this funding campaign? And, How I can help you in exchange for your support?

I am not the usual case of a student. Back in 2014 while studying masters' degree, my parents went through a car accident which made my father paralyzed and severely injured my mother. Since then my parents have been financially dependant on me. Therefore, in terms of financial crisis such as the one that I am facing right now I can not reach out to my family for financial help. Moreover, given my international status in the UK, I can not apply for loans or fundings via Student Finance England (SFE). And not to mention that I don't even have a job right now because of the redundancies made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far my performance in my PhD has been excellent, where I have already published (or got acceptance for) 15 peer-reviewed papers/articles in conferences and journals during my PhD. However, the University has given me a hard deadline to be able to pay the rest of my tuition fees by September 2020 to proceed with my PhD study.

To be honest, I am a bit embarrassed to reach out to you, the community, to ask for this kind of help. However, given the necessity of my situation, I am reaching out. I don't want to abandon my PhD study because of monetary issue, especially when I am so close to completion. To show my gratitude for your support I will include every person's name (if you provide your name with your contribution), who contributes (regardless of how much you contribute) to this campaign, in the acknowledgement section of my PhD thesis. 

If you contribute £200 or more I would also develop a mobile app for Google Play Store (Android) or Apple App Store (iOS) to promote you or your company. You can use the app as a digital business card to promote yourself and your work. The app will consist of basic information about you/your work/company along with the information to contact you/your company. You can also have a face-to-face video chat with me over Skype or Zoom to get to know me a bit better and it would also give me the opportunity to personally thank you for your help towards my education. You can also consult with me on technology or technical support for your work during the video chat.

If you contribute £400 or more I would develop a mobile app for both Google Play Store (Android) and Apple App Store (iOS) to promote you or your company. You can use the app as a digital business card to promote yourself and your work on every mobile platform (Android and iOS). The app will consist of basic information about you/your work/company along with the information to contact you/your company. You can also have a face-to-face video chat with me over Skype or Zoom to get to know me a bit better and it would also allow me to personally thank you for your help. You can also consult with me on technology or technical support for your work during the video chat.

If you contribute £1,000 or more I would develop a simple custom mobile app for you (you can choose what you want it to be) for both Google Play Store (Android) and Apple App Store (iOS). The app can not be a game or anything related to violence, gambling, sexual or abusive nature. I will also have a face-to-face video chat with you to thank you personally. Likes other aforementioned contributions, you can also consult with me on technology or technical support for your work during the video chat.

I would also get in touch with you to seek more information to be able to successfully develop the mobile app for you.

Thank you once again for reading and your support!

48700168_1591748151372812_r.jpegMe, holding my latest peer-reviewed publications!

48700168_1591748254265195_r.jpegMe, at 2018 MarioNet Summer School demonstrating my work!
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