QUT’s Faculty of Science selects two PhD candidates from the Centre for Data Science to represent the Faculty at the finals of the QUT Three-minute Thesis (3MT) Competition.
Mythreyi Velmurugan won the Faculty of Science 3MT competition by explaining her PhD project on assessing and comparing explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) tools.
“Most people have a pre-conceived idea of AI from TV and movies, and it took me some time to realise that I had to not only explain what my research was, but why it was necessary and how the AI we have today are different from what we see on the big screen,” says Mythreyi.
Jack Powers was also picked to go to the QUT 3MT finals. His research investigates techniques to better prioritise patients on public elective surgery waiting lists.
“Australian public elective surgery waiting lists are longer than ever. My research investigates an alternate way to rank patients through incorporating objective criteria such as waiting time and clearly defined clinical factors,” says Jack.
“By running a simulation model, we found that this system has the potential to improve the equity and transparency experienced by patients on the waiting list.”
Mythreyi is in the School of Information Systems. She says the 3MT was a way to challenge herself to find the right language to explain what she does.
“The more I interacted with people outside of my discipline, the more I found that it was difficult to both concisely and completely explain my research and why my topic is important,” says Mythreyi.
“I hoped the 3MT would give me the chance and the space to refine my pitch, and it has.”
Jack is in the School of Mathematical Sciences. He says the 3MT is great practice for learning how to communicate complex research so it’s more accessible.
“It means you have to really strip back on the technicalities of your research and present it in a way that summarises the fundamentals and makes people realise why your research is important and how it will impact them, while not trivialising it,” says Jack.
In addition to helping them better communicate their research, both Mythreyi and Jack say the overall 3MT experience has been amazing and they are looking forward to the finals.
“There were lots of opportunities to get feedback on your 3MT from fellow students at peer and practice sessions. It helped me to really refine and perfect my talk,” says Jack.
“I just loved listening to the other talks at the Faculty of Science event. I was stunned to find out that I was going to be progressing to the QUT finals,” says Mythreyi.
The QUT 3MT finals are 15 September. We wish both Mythreyi and Jack all the best in the competition!