jeanne-marié loveday (phd).

tbc - something in the direction of image parsing

Often I’m asked why exactly I did my masters in Applied Mathematics. The answer is simple, I really enjoy doing Mathematics, and in particular, applying it to solve problems. Then I get the ‘you must be crazy’ looks. In truth though, Mathematics really is all around us, and with it you learn an appreciation for the intricacies of life. And how extremely difficult some problems actually are, although they seem really easy at first glance.

As I was finishing up my BSc (honnours), my supervisor already knew I was wanting to do my Masters in Computer Vision. She heard of the MIH MediaLab bursary, which was brand new at that stage. A month later, I was one of the first four students who started in the MediaLab, back when there was no coffee machine yet.

At that stage, graphical models was still a new-ish area that our department was looking at. So I ended up researching graphical models, with an application in computer vision (finding coplanar points in a sequence of images).  Graphical models is the marriage between statistics and graph theory (Michael Jordan, no, not the basketball player, said this at some point). When Tiberio Caetano came to the University to come give a workshop on graphical models, he told us that all problems could be solved by using graphical models. This might be true, but at the same time, during my research, we just again realised that graphical models might be able to solve all problems, but it’s not necessarily the best method.

After finishing up, I went out into the big wide world, and started working at MIH SWAT. I then had a brief detour with teaching high school kids mathematics, realised my mother was definitely right about that one, and by some miracle came out alive at the other end. The MediaLab had another grand opening (of the new facilities, and my, they have improved…), and my husband told me that he had rarely seen me as excited as I had been when I was at the lab. The passion that I had for computer vision and its applications came back with a vengeance. So here I sit, again. A new venue, new people, but the same ideal.

Apart from the mathematics, my life has revolved around music and dogs most of my life. And at last I live in a house where I can practise violin (I’m sure our neighbours in our flat wouldn’t have appreciated it) and have my two border collies sleep at my feet (or on the bed). Which directions life will take from here on out I don’t know, but for now, I’m happy and content with playing around with images for the next three years. Although I don’t have a specific research topic at the moment, the general idea at the moment is looking at image parsing. Which is a lot like natural language processing, but for images.

My contact details: jmsloveday@ml.sun.ac.za