Dairui Liu headshot

Insight PhD: Dairui Liu, UCD

Submitted on Thursday, 14/12/2023

My name is Dairui Liu. I received the B.A. degree in software engineering from the Beijing University of Technology. I am currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree with the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, School of Computer Science, University College Dublin, Ireland. My research interests include news recommender systems, natural language processing and explainable AI (XAI).

What do you most enjoy about your research with Insight?
My most enjoyable aspect of working with Insight is the dynamic and innovative environment it provides for my research. The opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology, particularly the advanced servers provided by Insight, enables me to conduct complex experiments efficiently. This access to high-end resources significantly enhances my ability to delve into the most advanced aspects of news recommender systems. What I find especially rewarding is the collaborative atmosphere at Insight. Being surrounded by
leading professionals and friendly researchers passionate about the most advanced recommender systems research creates a stimulating environment where we can freely share ideas and experiences. In essence, I most enjoy the combination of cutting-edge technology, a collaborative and intellectually stimulating environment, and the potential to make a real-world impact in my research with Insight. It’s an experience that continually challenges and excites me, driving my passion for AI research.

What is the most challenging aspect of doing a PhD?
One of the most challenging aspects of pursuing a PhD is the quest for novelty in my research. This challenge is particularly pronounced when working in news recommender systems. The field is highly competitive and constantly advancing, so identifying a novel approach or finding is critical and demanding. The challenge lies in developing something new and ensuring that it is a meaningful contribution to the community. It involves a deep understanding of the current state of the art, identifying gaps, and then innovating in an original and impactful way. This process often requires extensive literature reviews, experiments, continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies and methodologies.
Additionally, there is a need to ensure that the idea is possible and reproducible. It’s not just about having a novel idea; it’s about proving its validity and effectiveness, often involving
complex problem-solving and critical thinking. In summary, pursuing novelty in a PhD is a multifaceted challenge. It requires a balance of creativity, in-depth knowledge, critical analysis and perseverance. It’s a journey that is as demanding as it is rewarding, pushing one to the boundaries of knowledge and innovation in the field.

When you’re not working on your PhD, what pastimes do you enjoy?
I find great joy and relaxation in cycling when not focusing on my PhD research. Cycling is not just a physical activity; it’s a way to clear my mind, connect with nature, and explore new places. The rhythmic motion allows me to unwind from the intellectual harshness of my studies in research about news recommender systems. I particularly enjoy the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with cycling. Whether navigating through the bustling streets of Dublin or exploring the quiet countryside of Ireland, each ride is a new adventure. It’s a time when I can reflect on my work and ideas or enjoy the moment away from the demands of academic research.
Moreover, cycling is a great way to stay physically fit and mentally sharp, essential for maintaining balance in life, especially during the demanding years of a PhD program. It’s a
pastime that perfectly counterbalances my academic pursuits, offering both a physical challenge and a mental escape. In conclusion, cycling is an integral part of my life outside of my PhD work. It’s a simple yet profound pleasure that enriches my life, keeps me grounded, and provides a much-needed respite, fueling both my body and mind.