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[CT Spotlight] 2018 Master Program Freshmen Interview(English Version)

October.2018 No Comment

Summer ends and autumn comes. Autumn brought thirteen freshmen to Graduate School of Cultural Technology this year. CT Press interviews new faces in the master program every semester. In this semester, CT Press is publishing the interview in both Korean and English. This article is the English version of the freshmen interview. You can find the article of the same content in Korean at ctpress.kaist.ac.kr

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1. Please introduce yourself briefly.

Taehei Kim: I majored in Asian studies and computer science at Yonsei University.

Ji Young Jun: Hi, I majored in history of art at UC Berkeley. My specialization was digital humanities.

Minjung Jang: I majored in Korean language & literature and media & communication at Korea University.

Sangyoon Lee: I majored in economics and psychology at New York University. I minored in computer science and mathematics.

Jong Yun Choi: Hi, I majored in materials science and engineering at Korea University.

Seungwon Do: Hi, I majored in electrical engineering at Postech.

Minyoung Hwang: I majored in computing at KAIST. After graduation, I founded some startups. One of them attracted investments from SK Telecom and a couple of VCs so I had an opportunity to work in an office located at Silicon Valley. Now I am in Master of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program.

Kyungyun lee: Hi, I majored in computing at KAIST. I have participated in Undergraduate Research Program in Music and Audio Computing Lab.

Jiwon Lee: Hi, I majored in multimedia engineering at Catholic University of Pusan. I am in Visual Media Lab and want to research virtual reality.

Elham Azimi: I majored in mathematics at Iran University of Science and Technology. I am from Teheran, the capital of Iran. Call me Elham or Elly.

Liu Shuo: My major was industrial design and I graduated from University of Science and Technology Beijing. After graduation, I worked at an IT company as a user experience designer for about 2 years. I am from Shanxi Province of China. Please call me Liu.

Moonyeong Son: I majored in business administration and musicology at Seoul National University. I like China and minored in Chinese language and literature. I worked at a game company after graduating from college.

Sukjoo Hong: I majored in printmaking at Hongik University. I like printmaking, graphic design, and visual design so I did some exhibitions when I was in college.

2. How did you come to know our department and why did you apply to it?

Minyoung Hwang: I gained understanding of IT techniques from my undergraduate studies in the Department of Computing. I applied the techniques to achieve the results in cultural technology because I wanted to focus on humane aspects. Supposing I did not found a startup, I would have applied for GSCT after graduation. In short, I have been interested in CT since I was in college.

Seungwon Do: When I searched for laboratories specializing augmented reality, Google showed me Ubiquitous Virtual Reality Lab at KAIST. I knew GSCT from then and finally applied for admission. Moreover, I am interested in HCI as well as AR. There are plenty of laboratories specializing in HCI in GSCT. This school is just right for me.

Jong Yun Choi: I came to know GSCT quite late. Until the third year in college, I intended to do the same major in graduate school. However, when I was developing a device for a contest in the fourth year in college, I found it very interesting. Thus, I searched for an interdisciplinary graduate school where I can apply my undergraduate background. As a result, I found GSCT where many professors do interesting research.

Ji Young Jun: When I studied history of art, I did research analyzing artworks or collecting data using digital techniques. I looked for an institution where I can do that kind of research. I found GSCT and it instantly drew my attention. I was attracted a lot by GSCT’s emphasis on convergence of technology and culture, which allows students like me take part in.

Taehei Kim: I wanted to study in a place where I can find people similar to me. Engineering schools are too focused on engineering. Moreover, I am interested in graphics but I cannot learn it properly in the department of humanities. While I was searching for the best school for me, a professor introduced GSCT to me.

Sangyoon Lee: I was considering many schools including Korean schools but my primary focus was on schools abroad. I was afraid of Korean professors because I attended high school and college abroad. However, I had a vague idea that KAIST might be different from other Korean schools. Moreover, I thought, in GSCT, I will be able to utilize my humanitarian background and learn engineering intensively. GSCT turned out to be not far from what I had imagined. I am enjoying the school life now.

Minjung Jang: Because I like cultural content, I had a vague idea that I want to do something related to cultural content. Through some research, I found GSCT. I applied to GSCT to expand my career options by studying engineering and to find what I want to do specifically.

Kyungyun lee: I have been interested in music and computers since long time ago. One of my friends in Department of Computing said “You seem to be interested in music too. Why don’y you do some research before graduation?”. The friend was taking a course given by Professor Juhan Nam so I started research with Professor Nam’s help. I successfully completed the research and visited conferences with the result thanks to Professor Nam’s enthusiasm. I applied to GSCT because the experience made me think this field is the right field for me.

Jiwon Lee: I came to know GSCT thanks to my advisor, Professor Jinmo Kim, who is the dean of the Department of Multimedia Engineering. In the second year in college, I started working as an undergraduate researcher in Professor Kim’s lab. When I said I hoped to go to graduate school, Professor Kim introduced me Professor Junyong Noh’ lab considering its atmosphere and my research style. After that, I put much effort and finally got admitted.

Elham Azimi: My friend who studied at KAIST introduced this university to me. After that, I read an article recommended by my advisor about Islamic geometric pattern. It was about relationship between applied geometry and architecture. I really liked it. I did some research about the field and finally sent an email to Professor Ji-Hyun Lee.

Liu Shuo: I am interested in HCI. I googled relevant information and found out KAIST made high achievement in the field of HCI. My friend who is well-informed about Korea told me that KAIST is a very good school and I will be able to obtain professional knowledge of HCI in the school. KAIST was my dream school from then. And why did I choose CT? When I participated in Hackathon, I made an AR handbook. From then, I am interested in AR too. Therefore, I decided to apply to GSCT and sent an email to Professor Woontack Woo.

Moonyeong Son: I came to know GSCT when a professor in the Department of Music told me about the school. I am very interested in founding a startup. I did not want to miss the opportunity to study about it while I was working for a company.

Sukjoo Hong: When I studied art, I felt evaluation of artworks is subjective and varies by person. I wanted to find the right answer for art. Searching for ways to systemize and organize art logically, I found out that processing, web design and coding are my things. Therefore, I searched for an institution where I can study both art and engineering and finally applied to GSCT.

3. Which field are you interested in? What kind of research do you want to do?

Taehei Kim: Professor Sung-Hee Lee! Motion graphics attracts me the most. I am interested in reproducing movement of people fast and accurately in a space. I have interests in both animation and human movement.

Ji Young Jun: I am interested in Digital Heritage Lab. I am totally an art person. I want to find out how we can see artworks in a digital perspective rather than as it is. I am also interested in preserving 3D plot or invisible details of art..

Minjung Jang: Visual Media Lab. I am interested in Character Team. I had repulsion towards 3D animation in the past but when I watched Zootopia with my friends, I realized the power of character animation. Like human, the characters show various expressions as if they are alive. From then, I am interested in facial animation. I want to do research on techniques to transfer human expressions to animal characters without awkwardness.

Sangyoon Lee: I am interested in artificial intelligence and deep learning. I was not able to learn them sufficiently because I started to minor in computer science a bit late. I only have vague ideas now. I cannot determine a specific research topic now but I want to improve my skills to apply the techniques I mentioned.

Jong Yun Choi: Developing device with friends, I was captivated by HCI. In detail, I want to do research that turns our surroundings into interface.

Seungwon Do: I am interested in interaction using visual notations. I am participating in a project to assist guitar learning using augmented reality. The research I want to do is hard to specify because I am interested in many fields. I want to narrow it from a big category covering augmented reality, music, and interaction.

Minyoung Hwang: Because I am in MEI program, I would rather talk about what I want to study than what I want to research. I really like the concept of combining humanities and technology. I want to broaden my understanding of both areas until graduation.

Kyungyun lee: Since I am now conducting research on music, I want to do something related to music. To be brief, I want to do research about music & deep learning or music & web.

Jiwon Lee: I am a member of Virtual Media Lab now. When I was in college, I did a lot of research on virtual reality such as mobile HMD, Oculus HMD, virtual environment, interface, interaction, walking motion, VR sickness, immersion and presence, and VR device. I want to do research on virtual reality and create new improved virtual reality.

Liu Shuo: Although I was a UX designer, I am now more interested in AR than HCI. I want to do research on AR, VR, and 3D interaction. I like AR games and I want to study them. AR technology can also be applied to filmmaking. I would like to focus on anything about entertainment.

Elham Azimi: The best part of the project that I am participating in is biomimicry architecture. Biomimicry architecture is inspired by nature to design a building or sustainable city. It is really interesting to me. I also attended a seminar in Iran about geometrical architecture. I want to focus my research in this respect. My primary focus will be on architectural design and computational design.

Sukjoo Hong: Using computer vision and machine learning techniques, I want to assist visual designers or create tools that they can use. Each visual design work has a goal but the process that designers express it is personal and experimental. I want to do research that quantifies and systemizes the process.

Moonyeong Son: I should know what and how programmers think in order to design business strategies that are favorable to them. Thus, I am studying machine learning nowadays. I think obsession to come up with new business idea does not bring a good idea. I am exploring many academic fields for business inspiration.

4. What do you do on the weekend? Do you have any hobby?

Taehei Kim: I am very satisfied with life in Da Vinci Lab! I like jazz and also like going to a jazz bar. Unfortunately, I cannot go there recently because there is no big jazz bar in Daejeon.

Sangyoon Lee: Life in Daejeon is still unfamiliar to me but I like the calm atmosphere. The scope of my interests is very broad. I watch every sports competition and I am interested in exercising, music, and clothes as well. One of my hobbies is to collect shoes.

Ji Young Jun: Before coming to Daejeon, I was captivated by baking cakes. However, because I am now living in a dormitory, I do not have a kitchen. Thus, I should find new hobbies. I also like painting, walking, and watching movies.

Minjung Jang: I am getting to know Daejeon. It is inconvenient to move around because the campus is too large. Thus, I am riding bike. When I ride bike to my dorm after classes, it relieves my stress. I like every type of cultural production including comedy shows, dramas, and animation. My hobby is to watch them.

Seungwon Do: When I did internship in the last semester, Daejeon was too boring. I had nothing to do. However, I am accommodated to this pleasant peaceful atmosphere. My hobby is listening to music, reading webtoons, and travelling. I travelled in almost every vacation.

Jong Yun Choi: Because it is the first time to live outside Seoul and the first time to live alone, my heart is fluttering. I think Daejeon is better than Seoul. I can see more stars at night than I expected. I am very satisfied with it because I like to see stars. It is a very good city to walk at night. If you see a guy with a hat walking on the Endless Road at night, he might be me. I can categorize my hobbies into active ones and inactive ones. Inactive ones are watching movies, listening to music, and reading webtoons. I also like to drink beer alone. Active ones are travelling and riding bike. I also travelled in every vacation.

Minyoung Hwang: I graduated from KAIST so I am a professional Dajeoner. I am a cinephile. I watch almost every film shown in theaters and I am trying to watch many old movies as well. I am writing synopsis for fun and dreaming to produce a short film in the future.

Kyungyun lee: I lived in Daejeon longer than I lived in my hometown. Nowadays, I play a drum and guitar. I usually do exercises but I rarely did them recently. Ah, lastly, I like to drink.

Jiwon Lee: I have various interests and hobbies and one of them is to learn. I am enjoying the process of learning programming languages or how to use tools doing course assignments. Instead, I am paying less attention to other hobbies such as painting, solving logic puzzles, reading books, watching movies, and playing games. However, I am still enjoying listening to music and doing exercises.

Liu Shuo: I like to watch Japanese anime. In the last weekends, I tried to find good places to eat with my roommate. I don’t like sports or outdoor activities and like to stay at home.

Elham Azimi: I like shopping. Even window shopping makes me happy. I am really interested in getting closer to nature. Korea has really good nature but I did not have a chance to go there. I’d like to get closer to nature and do camping.

Moonyeong Son: I like to watch Japanese dramas. Japanese dramas are always completely filmed before broadcasting so you can enjoy them compactly organized in eleven episodes per season. I like dramas about financial crimes. There are many Japanese dramas depicting financial crimes because genres of Japanese dramas are diverse. I also like to watch movies and go to concerts.

Sukjoo Hong: I like drinking coffee. I grind my coffee beans to drink coffee after lunch and dinner in the lab. I also like cats and dogs so I see pictures of them on Instagram. I cannot own one because I live in dormitory now but I like to look on stray cats walking around the campus.

5. What is “convergence”? How will you apply convergence to your research and your life?

Taehei Kim: In my opinion, convergence is not about doing something alone but about people blending together. I majored in two fields but I do not perfectly grasp both of them. Convergence is to study together with people who have different specialties, to learn from others’ knowledge and to supplement their shortcomings. I want to be assigned to Motion Computing Lab. Because I studied humanities, I will concentrate on studying mathematics afterwards. In Da Vinci Lab, I will pay attention to improve my engineering knowledge and when I am assigned to a laboratory from the second semester I will apply my original major to research.

Ji Young Jun: I think convergence is to understand person. I didn’t mean understanding person itself but I meant a phenomenon that a person understands another person. Ultimately, convergence is not about dichotomizing humanities and engineering but about understanding ways of living of different people. In college, I drew paintings and only thought about art. When I meet people with engineering backgrounds now, I feel their ways of thinking are different from mine. For example, I used to think ‘it’s beautiful’ when I see the sky at night. However, nowadays, I am trying to see things in different perspectives, thinking ‘why stars are shining? How large is the space?’.

Sangyoon Lee: I think convergence is intuitive. To achieve convergence, 1+1 should not become 2 but should become 2+α. I will try to apply my humanitarian background in GSCT. To practice convergence in daily life, we need bravery to try new fields.

Minjung Jang: It is important to maintain balance between different fields but it is not an easy job. I haven’t find the exact definition of convergence so I want to find it in GSCT.

Jong Yun Choi: Convergence is to prefer and enjoy interdisciplinary research rather than to focus only on a single field. In daily life, mixing soju and beer is convergence.

Seungwon Do: Only geniuses like Da Vinci can be good at humanities, engineering, and art at the same time. Mastering one’s own field and cooperating with specialists of other fields by understanding them to some extent is also convergence.

Minyoung Hwang: There is a picture of tree in the website of GSCT. The tree is composed of roots indicating humanities and a stem indicating IT. The tree fructify into disseminating culture phenomena. I think this is the identity of CT and at the same time convergence. Fructifying into a startup making people’s life more convenient is my goal and my way to achieve convergence.

Kyungyun lee: Convergence is mixing two different things anyhow. We are practicing convergence in daily basis. Convergence of sciences in GSCT is not the only convergence. Mixing espresso and water to make coffee or meeting a friend is also convergence because they make two different things mixed.

Jiwon Lee: Convergence is to make enhancement from two different things meeting together. A good example of convergence makes good aspects better and supplements shortcomings. I will do my best in every respect including research and daily life. I know doing my best is the most important so I will make steady effort.

Elham Azimi: Relationship between applied geometry and architecture is not direct but not indirect as well. You can find specific relationship between them. I will find the point of convergence between them.

Sukjoo Hong: Photoshop and Illustrator which were used only by experts due to costs and difficulty are now widely used. I want mediate engineers and content producers facilitating application of computer vision or deep learning techniques in the field of visual design.

6. GSCT is an international program that attracts applicants from all over the world. Still, the majority of students are Korean. How can students of different nationalities get along and cooperate. What will you do to blend in with your new surroundings?

Ji Young Jun: When I was attending college in the United States where students with various cultural backgrounds coexist, I had a special experience. In the early semester, most of professors notify that students should not laugh even if other students ask weird or absurd questions. Because diverse students with different culture, ethnicities, and religions aggregate in the United States, a seemingly meaningless question can arouse curiosity of students from different regions. The classroom environment respecting and understanding even absurd questions will make students get closer to each other. Because in GSCT, lectures are given in English and Korean students are trying to communicate with international students, supportive environment has already been fostered.

Taehei Kim: International students should be provided with courses and circumstances to learn Korean language. Graduate school life is considerably long. International students can communicate in English on campus but they cannot do that off campus. Therefore, the school should assist international students to learn Korean so that they can communicate with Koreans off campus to some extent. This will enable them simply enjoy ordinary daily life in Korea and consequently make them truly get along with Koreans.

Minjung Jang: Good communication is essential for different people to get along. It is important that Korean students improve English conversation skills and international students learn Korean so that they can communicate clearly. Belonging to a new group requires a lot of effort from an individual. The burden should not be imposed only on one side and both sides should share the burden.

Sangyoon Lee: My high school established International Day and made students compulsorily interact with international students. Although “compulsorily” is not a very pleasant term, students rarely have opportunity to interact with international students without this kind of events. This policy facilitates communication among students.

Jong Yun Choi, Minyoung Hwang, Seungwon Do: It is essential to foster environment which international students can easily settle in. However, even when good environment is fostered, one’s own intention is the most important. Because GSCT and KAIST offers many English courses, doing coursework might not cause a problem. However, international students may get lonely after courses because the majority of students are Korean. If international students feel the necessity to learn Korean, students and the school should assist them providing Korean lectures of good quality.

Jiwon Lee: It would be better to organize more events where students can communicate with each other. For example, a team project spurs friendship of students from different countries. If students participate in events together and communicate with other students of different nationalities, they will be able to get along together

Liu Shuo: Although I am already assigned to UVR lab, I am more familiar with Da Vinci Lab mates because we take the same courses. Other freshmen are really really friendly to me. They invite me to activities and parties. We sometimes do teamwork together. I think I am having good time with them. Because Korean names are a bit hard for me to remember, I am trying to remember them. If I can call their Korean names, we will have closer relationship. I think there should be more activities for Korean and international students at the beginning of each semester. After we did a lot of teamwork together, I could make some friends. Before that, I felt awkward because Korean students only speak Korean to each other. I felt like I was a lonely island.

Elham Azimi: Although I rarely visit Da Vinci Lab, I have good relationship with both freshmen friends and lab mates. I meet freshmen friends in freshmen orientation and common classes. Because there are many Koreans, it is so natural that Korean students speak Korean language and have closer relationship together. I understand them.

Moonyeong Son: Like professors fixing office hours, students can allocate 30 minutes or 1 hour per week for conversation only in English. In addition, the school I attended operated the buddy system that matches an international student to a Korean student. Buddies help each other as well as spend time together talking and playing. The school invigorated interchanges between Korean and international students by throwing parties where the buddies can gather together. The system becomes ineffective if Korean buddies are reluctant to do their jobs. However, the system was practically operated because buddies were selected through tests and interviews.

Sukjoo Hong: I am collaborating with international students on a project. When we talk about projects in English, there is no problem. However, because Koreans speak Korean to other Koreans, international students wonder whether the Korean conversation is about the project or not. On the other hand, if Korean students try to speak English on purpose during coffee break, international students sense the feeling that Korean students are not comfortable. Even when five students including international students are in a place, two Koreans speak Korean to each other. This problem is hard to solve.

7. Our department is an interdisciplinary department. However, most of students only study their major fields in their colleges. If you have a T (technology) background, how will you improve your C part? If you have a C (culture) background, how will you improve your T part?

Taehei Kim: I particularly lack of math skills. First of all, I will definitely study math in Da Vinci Lab. At the same time, I don’t want to lose the grasp of my major, humanities. Promoting humanities does not mean doing academically special things but it means listening to various opinions with a warm heart. Keeping this attitude is one of my ways to keep my humanities background.

Ji Young Jun: History of art is so extensive that even I suddenly forget some of it. The more one studies, the harder humanities become. Therefore, I will consistently study and read books about history of art not to lose the grasp of the field. On the other hand, I am attending coding academy on weekends and participating in a coding study group thanks to colleague’s kind help.

Sangyoon Lee: I am fortunate to have good colleagues who want to help each other. We already organized study groups focusing on programming and entrepreneurship. This is the key. Not only personal effort but also supports from friends are important. They create synergy that produces way better output.

Minjung Jang: I had a hard time when I entered GSCT because I was not ready and I did not know where to start. After long consideration, I determined priority. I am focusing on learning programming now. Then, I will solve other tasks one by one.

Minyoung Hwang: My position is quite vague. I majored in computing in college and then I was in managerial positions in startups for six years. Now I want to combine those experiences. I am taking courses that are closer to humanities than technology. I will also read papers diligently.

Seungwon Do: I will start from taking humanities courses and reading books. My colleagues have various backgrounds such as humanities, engineering, and art. Communicating and exchanging feedbacks with colleagues are also a process of convergence. Recently I got some feedback on designing. Interactions like this are very important.

Jong Yun Choi: I have no humanities background. All I have is from some books that I read in high school. I will read many books. Moreover, I am taking courses given by Professor SungJu Woo and Professor Jaehong Ahn to study the fields that I know nothing of. I am worried about it but my colleagues help me a lot. I am lucky to have good colleagues.

Kyungyun lee: When I was in college, I practiced convergence of science focusing on music, programming, and industrial design. Now, I want to concentrate on my field covering music, deep learning, and programming rather than to learn different things. I realized from my undergraduate experiences that I am not good at multitasking.

Jiwon Lee: My track was liberal arts in high school but I studied engineering in the engineering department in college. These experiences enable me apply both engineering and humanities perspectives so that I can quickly understand and adapt into new surroundings when I face new problems.

Liu Shuo: I learned programming language by myself while I was working. There are a lot of students with different education backgrounds working together to finish the same project. I need to know some knowledge about programming but some students are more professional than I am. We can work together to finish the task. Industrial design is closer to C than T. In graduate school, I want to learn more programming languages.

Elham Azimi: For the moment, I want to focus more on T part than on C part. I’d really like to learn programming. However, I will self-study history of architecture and industrial design.

Moonyeong Son: In these days, it makes more sense to decide what to study first and then fulfill the requirement for the goal than to study one field first and then determine the goal. After examining existing works or research, one should supplement one’s shortcomings.

Sukjoo Hong: Most of assignments of GSCT courses are teamworks. Their domains are usually C yet methodologies to use are T. Doing the team projects, I can experience how engineering is applied to each field. I can make the most of the experiences when I conduct individual research in the next year.

This article is the first attempt to publish a freshmen interview in English. I hope this article can effectively inform future applicants about what kind of people are admitted to GSCT. If you know students who are interested in cultural technology or KAIST, please let them read this article.

기자: Gyu Hyun Lee(leegyuhyun@kaist.ac.kr), Ji Hoon Kim(kjih0314@kaist.ac.kr)