My Thesis: I've submitted my PhD thesis! Titled "Three Dimensional Modelling of Coral Reefs for Structural Complexity Analysis," the thesis examines the correlation between reef structural complexity and ecosystem health.
For my thesis, I developed a new technique for creating and analyzing 3D models of underwater scenes using computer vision and machine learning. The methods are already being used by researchers in Indonesia, Madagascar, Bonaire, Cuba, Honduras, and the Maldives. I've published part of the research, and have five related publications nearing submission or under review. I hope the research will make a significant impact in our understanding of the ocean.
Ocean and Space Collaboration: I postponed submitting my thesis by two months because I was offered a position in a NASA artificial intelligence accelerator last summer in California (blog post here) where I was asked to apply my knowledge of 3D modeling underwater ocean scenes to the challenge of 3D modelling near-earth asteroids. It was a fantastic opportunity that not only augmented the last chapter of my PhD thesis, but also allowed me to grow personally and professionally.
Our team of four engineers at NASA's Frontier Development Lab used a range of machine learning techniques to automate asteroid 3D modelling. My team's results were well-received by NASA's Planetary Defense community and the tool my team developed will be implemented this year at the Arecibo Observatory to help track near-earth asteroids.
Upcoming Events: While waiting for my PhD defense in March or April, I've committed to a few speaking events, listed below.
Celebrating thesis submission^
Grace Young is an MIT ocean engineer, aquanaut, and scientist/engineer with Cousteau's Mission 31. She's currently a PhD student at University of Oxford, chief scientist for the Pisces VI deepsea submarine, and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.