The QUT Centre for Data Science is celebrating its graduates. Meet Chintan Advani who just graduated with a PhD!
My research is about understanding how people decide which routes to take when they drive in cities. To do this, I’m using a lot of information from actual car movements on the road. I’m using smart computer programs to help me figure out how we can make transportation in cities better.
How did you come to do a PhD on this? Did things change along the way?
During my master’s research, I engaged with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi traffic sensors to extract essential traffic congestion performance metrics within both urban and motorway settings. When embarking on my PhD journey, my original intention was to expand the application of Bluetooth sensor data to tackle a fundamental transportation challenge: estimating travel demand across extensive networks, often referred to as the Origin-Destination matrix.
However, as I delved into the Origin-Destination problem, it became evident that a crucial prerequisite was an accurate and robust route choice model. This realization prompted a shift in the focus of my doctoral pursuits, leading me to concentrate on the empirical modelling of route choices.
How was your PhD journey?
My journey through my PhD has been a mix of tough challenges and exciting moments. Like any student, I’ve faced things like experiments not working, papers being rejected, struggling to manage my time, and even feeling like I didn’t belong sometimes. But dealing with these challenges has actually made me better at researching, solving problems, and managing things.
And you know what? The feeling of getting that first email saying a paper I wrote got accepted, or seeing people citing my work, is just amazing. It makes all those tough times totally worth it. I’d gladly go through it all again just to experience that sense of achievement.
What else did you do at QUT besides your PhD?
During my time at QUT, I’ve been actively engaged in a wide range of activities. I’ve taken part in writing circles, attended HDR support meetings, joined in multicultural events, enjoyed sports events, participated in coding programs, and benefited from industrial workshops. I’ve also had the privilege of attending insightful expert talks.
Additionally, I’ve successfully participated in and even secured victories in hackathons and competitions like the 3-Minute Thesis and VYT. My engagement extended to various centres, including the Centre of Data Science, and I’ve been an active participant in the QUT Commercialisation Club for valuable learning and networking opportunities.
I’ve enthusiastically joined and taken pleasure in activities organized by QUT clubs, such as SEF-HDR and the QUT Guild. Alongside my PhD work, I’ve contributed as a sessional academic tutor at QUT, providing academic support. Moreover, I’ve had the chance to immerse myself in real-world experiences through industrial and commercial internships.
And lastly, amidst all these academic and professional endeavours, I’ve managed to forge meaningful friendships and enjoy some wonderful moments during coffee and bubble tea breaks.
How was your experience with Centre of Data Science?
Being part of the Centre of Data Science at QUT has been really amazing. I’ve learned a lot and got tons of new ideas for my research from their expert talks and seminars. The people in the group are super knowledgeable and have been helpful in guiding me.
The Centre’s networking events have been awesome too. I’ve made connections with people in different industries, and we’re now working together on a bunch of research projects. The centre has also supported me financially for attending a conference, which has been a big help. I was even honoured with an award for the best student publication, highlighting the centre’s dedication to motivating and supporting students.
What are you doing now?
I am currently working as a Post-Doctorate Research Fellow at QUT. Soon, I will be transitioning into the role of a Senior Traffic Engineer with one of the city councils.