Computer Science Student Spotlight: Derrick Lau

Derrick LauMy name is Chi San (Derrick) Lau. I’m from Macau and currently a second-year graduate student. Actually, I’ve already been studying at UCO for three years because my undergraduate degree was not Computer Science (CS): I hold a Bachelor of Law! With no prior knowledge in programming, I had to complete prerequisite courses first. I’m very grateful that UCO provided me with this invaluable opportunity to explore a brand-new path. Professors here helped me tremendously and taught me a lot, as otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to come this far so smoothly.

My friends thought I got good grades because I’m smart, but that’s not true. My life is also full of frustrations and challenges. I constantly found myself unable to understand what the professors were teaching during classes. What I could do was to spend twice the time as other people to review and study the topics after class. Hence, I think the most difficult part is to overcome my frustrations because life will not become easier no matter how frustrated or sad I feel. What I need to do is to confront these challenges and keep pursuing my dream in CS.

Dr. Jicheng Fu (Derrick’s research advisor): Mr. Derrick Lau is an intelligent, motivated, and industrious young man who constantly surprised me by his outstanding work. Derrick caught my attention when he took my Software Engineering I class. Being hard-working, he demonstrated the capability to use learned knowledge to solve challenging problems. While many students utilized an existing platform, which partially satisfied the requirements of the course project, Derrick developed his own solution, which fulfilled all the requirements. In my research team, Derrick has been willing to undertake challenging research problems. He is currently developing a self-learning AI planning system, which utilizes cutting-edge techniques, such as deep learning and reinforcement learning, to make self-learning possible. I am excited to see him make progress in research and build a solid foundation for his future career development.