Xi Yun

Xi-Yun headshot alumni

My four-year doctoral study in CS program of Graduate Center at CUNY was an unexpected journey. Professor Susan L. Epstein, my mentor, is the magician who made my fantastic and rewarding journey possible.

The most important thing I learned from Susan is passion. She has expertise in many CS areas and her passion for scientific research is constant. It is easily recognized from the cheerful tune she is humming when she walks to work. During my study in CUNY, I sensed similar enthusiasm from many other professors. Research for them is never a burden. They truly love their work, not anything attached. In my research, passion helped me overcome many challenges and frustrations. And it is still consistently fuelling me in my work today.

I received quite a lot of support from my mentor all through my study in CUNY. Whenever I had difficulty, she would inspire me with a variety of ideas. She has sharp eyes able reveal the meaning of experimental result with a glance. She is also very open-minded and flexible. Indeed, sometimes the research could go in quite different direction from our expectation, but it was good as long as the research had solid experimental results.

In the CS program, I received systematic training, both from the courses and lab work. I was able to develop a rigorous research attitude and proficient problem-solving skills. They consistently demonstrate their value in my current work.

Obviously, one tree doesn't make a forest. The Graduate Center’s CS program has an impressive list of faculty members. For example, I will never forget Prof. Robert Haralick and his mind-blowing courses. He is literally a living legend in computer science with tremendous amount of outstanding work. From his courses, I learned how to observe and analyze a problem from different aspects, which can expose all inner details in a crystal clear way. It was from his class that I got the idea to exploit machine learning to boost constraint search, efficiency which turned out to be the topic of my dissertation.

Besides the faculty, the CS program also provided me with plenty of other resources, and some of them are exclusively only for CUNY students. For instance, CUNY luxuriously owns the one of the greatest super-computing centers in the northeastern US. It is really hard to describe the feeling to play on such a powerful and expensive system for free.

After graduation, I joined Microsoft as a software engineer. As a data engineer, I work in developing monitoring, storage and analytics solution for big data. Now I am on the beginning of a new adventure. With the core values and skills obtained from the CS program of Graduate Center at CUNY, I am confident it will be wonderful.