Week 1

Prior to starting my DREU virtual program at UIUC, I met with my two mentors to discuss project ideas. I decided on a deep fake generation project, which is a project in Dr. Wang’s lab. Dr. Khurana said she will still stay connected to serve as a mentor for other topics, such as graduate school, so it is great to have two mentors!

On Monday of this week, I met with Dr. Wang and discussed next steps. I began reading related papers and prior work that has been done so that I would be ready on Wednesday to meet the rest of the project group, including three PhD students, and discuss next steps for the project as a whole. This week I also attended the weekly CS REU Lunch & Learn event on networking and learned about how networking plays a role in graduate school and beyond. It was a great event to learn about how networking is an important skill to cultivate and practice early on in my career.

For the rest of the week, I explored some open-source methods for deep-fake generation for us to possibly use in our project. I worked on trying to run them locally to get a sense of how they worked, and also to see if they could be used for our purposes in terms of generating specific styles within images. I will soon gain access to the lab’s servers to run these on their GPUs since deep learning for image generation is computationally intensive.

It was a great start to the program, and I am excited to learn more!

Written on June 19, 2020