Computer Science PhD graduate awarded Borealis AI Fellowship

Oct 17th, 2023

Madeline Meadus

Dr. Jingjing Zheng is Memorial University’s first-ever recipient of the Borealis AI Fellowship.

Dr. Zheng completed her PhD in Computer Science at Memorial this summer. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Mathematics at the University of British Columbia.

Borealis AI Fellowship 

Founded by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Borealis AI researches and designs AI products and technology to advance the finance industry.

First awarded in 2019, the Borealis AI Fellowship is presented to graduate students across Canada to help advance their research efforts dedicated to machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI).

The fellowship gives researchers funding to advance their research and explore possibilities in ML and AI.

Ten students from across Canada received the fellowship for the 2024 cycle

Fellowship research project

Dr. Zheng’s research project for the fellowship is an expansion of her PhD research, focusing on topics she was unable to explore in her thesis. 

“For this paper, I wanted to find a better defining way for the tensor rank to deal with higher-order tensor cases,” Dr. Zheng said of her research.

Other areas of focus for the project are a non-convex optimization algorithm in low-rank recovery and sparse representation in learning and optimization-inspired interpretable deep neural networks.

The topic for the project is driven by an increase in the storage, transmission and processing of high-dimensional data—such as photos and videos. The research will help form a better understanding of complicated data types. 

Research at Memorial University

While completing her PhD at Memorial, Dr. Zheng's primary supervisor was Dr. Xianta Jiang. Dr. Jiang also supported her application for the fellowship. 

“I strongly encouraged her to apply for the Borealis AI fellowship, as her research closely aligns with the fellowship's supported areas,” said Dr. Jiang.

“With the support of the fellowship, I am confident that Jingjing will continue to excel in her research.”

Dr. Zheng says the support of her supervisors helped her develop her academic writing skills and become more confident with conducting research independently. 

Next steps 

The fellowship project is currently in the writing phase. Dr. Zheng says the paper should be complete in the next month or two.

Dr. Zheng has published over 10 papers in international computer science journals and at conferences. She is exploring her research interests further in her current PhD program.

“My interests are in the mathematical foundations of AI,” said Dr. Zheng of her future research.

Her next steps will be to explore the mathematical foundation of optimization and how this relates to AI technologies.