Indian Trail, North Carolina
College:College of Engineering and Computer Science
Degree Program:Computer Science PhD
Research Focus:Machine learning and computer vision
Matias Mendieta has always been intrigued by the complexity of human intelligence and sensory systems. With an affinity for building and tinkering, he aimed to channel his interests into artificial intelligence and computer vision, developing useful technology inspired by what we observe.
Toward the end of his undergraduate studies in computer engineering at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Mendieta came across a TED talk on the object detection algorithm YOLO (You Only Look Once). “I found this absolutely fascinating and further pursued an understanding of such technology and related topics through online lectures and course materials,” he says. “My interest in artificial intelligence and computer vision continued growing, and I soon sought research opportunities in these areas.”
Mendieta’s senior project, designing and building a distributed vision system for smart city applications, led him directly into the electrical engineering master’s program, where he continued to improve on this system. After completing his master of science, his passion for computer vision grew stronger, so he applied for a PhD at UCF. “I was happy to make the transfer and really enjoy it here,” he says. The opportunity to get involved with the Center for Research in Computer Vision (CRCV) and its faculty was an alluring prospect.
Currently, Mendieta is researching machine learning and computer vision, programming computers to learn from image data and perform valuable tasks with that knowledge. His research has taught him to trust the process and to embrace failure. Due to the exploratory nature of research, failures of one or many approaches tried at a problem are likely. “It’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like nothing you try ever works,” he says. However, this is all part of the journey. “A lot can be learned from such failures and may lead you to valuable insights and solutions.”
Mendieta has received significant recognition for his work at UCF. His most recent work helping facilitate the development of strong machine learning models that can be trained without requiring access to private data was accepted to the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference (CVPR 2022) and nominated as a Best Paper Finalist. This research has impactful applications in various fields, such as medicine, where data often cannot be shared with other entities. Mendieta also received offers from both Amazon and Meta for research internships this past summer, choosing to accept the former, and is currently finishing up a research project with the company.
“UCF is preparing me for my dream career by providing the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research in computer vision and share it with the world at top-tier publication venues,” Mendieta says. After graduating in May of 2024, he aims to secure a position as a research scientist in the computer industry. When he is not busy researching, he enjoys trying unique sports like kiteboarding and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
- Nominated as a Best Paper Finalist and presented at Computer Vision Pattern Recognition conference (CVPR 2022)
- Interned at Amazon
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