The Magic of Computer Science
Contributed by Irina Tirosyan (MSCIS ‘21)
From Curiosity to Computer Science
Since my childhood, I have always been interested in the inner workings and behind-the-scenes of how things work. This curiosity has triggered my interest in mathematics, and later, I realized that computer science made math 100 times cooler. The magic about computer science is that you can pair it with literally anything, and it can still make sense.
My student years at AUA have been incredibly rewarding. I have had the pleasure of interacting with some remarkable individuals that helped me grow both as a student and as a person. AUA has directly impacted my current achievements and has shaped a big part of who I am today. Earning my degree not only helped me get my foot in the door to start a career but also exposed me to a network of like-minded individuals.
AUA has also really helped me solidify my career choices. During my bachelor studies, I got interested in machine learning, and fast forward a couple of years I am now working on something that I am passionate about.
Building a Career in Data Science
At the moment, I work as a data scientist at Denovo Sciences. It’s a biotech company based here in Armenia that works on drug discovery. At Denovo Sciences, we combine artificial intelligence (AI) with biology and chemistry to find potential new treatments. We have found a solution that alleviates the need for experimental data and allows us to tackle diseases that have previously been deemed incurable. Our mission is to make those diseases a thing of the past while decreasing the cost and timeline of drug development.
My work experience at Denovo Sciences helped me choose the topic of my graduate thesis — Binding Affinity Prediction with Graph Neural Networks. In a nutshell, it is a neural network that predicts how well a molecule performs against a disease. At my workplace, we use molecular simulations for generating drug-like compounds. Those simulations are relatively time-consuming. I realized that we could automate this process and replace those simulations with an AI-based alternative.
I have also worked at AUA as a teaching assistant and associate for several graduate and undergraduate CS courses (Mechanics, Image Processing, and Introduction to Algorithms). I have definitely learned a lot from this experience. Being a teaching associate motivates you to be good at communicating difficult concepts and knowing your subject from A to Z. As a result, I have become more self-aware as a student. I have also realized that I enjoy teaching and sharing knowledge and experience with others.
Educational Achievements and Career Success
Receiving the “The Best Master’s Degree Student Award” at the State Educational Awards in the field of IT is an honor for me and an indicator that I am on the right track. It feels like a validation that I have made the right choices and serves as a reminder for me to stay on track.
To me, career success is a combination of finding personal fulfillment, having a good income, and being able to point to my contributions and know that I have made a difference.