Imagining a future with virtual humans, I have always asked myself “How would a human being perceive or interact with a virtual one?” I believe the answer to this is interdisciplinary involving Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology, and UX. Trying to find the answer to this question I stumbled upon SARA the Socially Aware Robot Assistant and understood that HCII at CMU is finding answers to the same question. Current AIs like Siri or Cortana fail to consider the social perspective or more aptly the emotion of the interacting human, hence I want to build on my machine learning skills especially intention recognition to contribute in this particular field. The research work being done at HCII aligns with what I want to study, therefore I’m applying to this Masters course at CMU.My interest in Machine Learning began when I trained a machine to mimic core properties of the human auditory system during my undergraduate studies. For better revision, I audio recorded lectures but they had a lot of background noises which my brain had filtered out. I wanted to apply this feature of the human brain to machines. Hence, I created an unsupervised machine learning algorithm using SVD(singular value decomposition) which separated multiple sound sources and helped me single out the lecture audio. To enhance my machine learning skills I did my senior year thesis project on detecting abnormal human activities in surveillance camera frames. Along with feature extraction algorithms, I achieved low false alarms (0.0083) with high accuracy of 98.33% for the data-set. Understanding the vast potential of machine learning, I have wanted to specialize and further my knowledge in this field ever since.As a Research & Development Engineer at Works Applications Co. Ltd, Singapore, I gained first-hand experience in real-world software development, researching and designing both user interfaces and complex back-end architecture. Working here, I have developed a deep interest in UI/UX. I worked on various projects aimed at reducing user inputs and automating business scenarios making use of open source NLP projects such as mit-nlp and open source material design frameworks. I realized it gives me joy to make a software easy to use and I want to further develop my skills in this area.Working for the past three years, I have also gained valuable leadership & communication skills collaborating with different teams spanned across multiple countries. I believe my undergraduate studies, self-motivated interests, and industry-hardened skills in large-scale project development have given a diverse background and prepared me well for graduate school.The unique opportunity given by The Human-Computer Interaction Institute to choose electives from different departments at CMU will help deepen my technical skills and the core curriculum of the course will grow my innate talent of optimizing user interactions. During the first two semesters, I will take several courses in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and UX. Applying what I have learned and working alongside people from different disciplines will give me a thorough exposure to comprehend the problem of intention recognition in virtual humans. With an existing experience in how to design, develop and test a product from scratch, I believe I’ll be a contributing team player in the capstone project. After my master’s degree, with the help of CMU’s entrepreneurship clubs and HCII’s collaboration with Tepper school of business, I want to start-up in the field of Cognitive systems and contribute to the development of smart virtual humans, enabling humans and machines to interact more naturally. Hence I believe HCI Masters at CMU is the perfect place for me.