Nana Ye’s STA299 Journey

Hi everyone! My name is Nana Ye, and I am finishing my second year at the University of
Toronto as a statistical science specialist and cognitive science major. I am grateful to participate in an ROP (Research Opportunities Program) project with the guidance of Professor Tyrrell during the summer of 2022. This project provides me with a valuable opportunity to learn about machine learning and understand scientific research. I would love to share my experiences with you all!

My project is analyzing the effect of additional attention gates in U-Net for knee recess
distention ultrasound segmentation. The recess distention area detected by the ultrasonic signal is similar to the image background and the ultrasound image often has a large amount of noise, distortion, and shadow which causes blurred local details, lots of dark areas, and no obvious division. Thus, I wanted to see whether implementing the additional attention gates in standard U-Net would improve segmentation accuracy. Prior to this project, I had not learned about machine learning; therefore, being able to implement a machine learning model on real-world patient data is exciting and challenging.

The journey of my ROP had a rocky start. I started off hoping to do a different project that dealt with comparing Vision Transformers and Convolutional Neural Networks on segmentation tasks for objects located in different regions of the image (central and non-central). However, when I was searching for a ViT model, I struggled with its implementation on my dataset and since ViT is new in the lab I could not get much help with its implementation from others. Thus, I made the decision to change my project. Professor Tyrrell was supportive of my decision and provided me with several articles to read which led me to my current project. When I was worried about falling behind because others were already training their models, Professor Tyrrell encouraged me that understanding what is feasible in a given time frame is also a valuable lesson. Atsuhiro and Mauro also offered me lots of help along the way. When I was having a tough time understanding the technical aspect of image processing, Atsuhiro scheduled a meeting with me to
explain the concept and answer all my questions. With their help, I was able to finish my first research project in machine learning and obtained promising results.

Overall, it is a completely unique experience from other lectures at the university. Researching as an ROP student in Professor Tyrrell’s lab gives me the opportunity to do a research project from the very beginning of doing background research and picking a topic to the very end of analyzing the results and revising the report. In the entire process, not only did I learn technical knowledge about machine learning and medical imaging, but also, I learned to manage the timeline for a project efficiently, think critically, and problem-solve independently. I feel privileged to be one of the ROP students in Professor Tyrrell’s lab and gain such worthwhile experience that would benefit my academic career.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *