In the below Q&A, we hear from Dr. Manqing Dong who completed her PhD in the area of detecting false information posted on social media. Dr. Dong is now a UNSW Postdoctoral Research Fellow with her research focusing on machine learning and data mining.

PhD degree and year: PhD in Computer Science, December 2019
Current role and organisation: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CSE UNSW

What led you to study Computer Science?

I majored in statistics and had attended several mathematical contests about data mining during my undergraduate studies. At that time, I was simply interested in data analysis, but with a deeper understanding of this area, I found I needed more knowledge in the field of computer science like data structure, algorithms, programming skills, and practical studies which led me on a path to computer science.

What was your PhD project about?

I worked on detecting false information posted on social media which includes fake reviews and rumour detection. The aim was to find patterns in the false information from the patterns of online texts or user behaviours.

What’s your favourite/fondest or most striking memory of studying at UNSW?

I think UNSW provides lots of freedom for its students to get involved in uni life through the facilities on offer and also its student groups and societies.

I got a lot of help from the University when I first arrived in Sydney. And I’m so lucky to have had Dr. Lina Yao as my supervisor. She gave me so much support during my PhD studies.

What advice would you give to other students who are just starting their degree in Computer Science?

Don’t be frustrated if you find the programming difficult initially. During the early days of your studies, try to learn the more general knowledge to get an overall understanding of computer science.

What character traits/skills do you think are important for engineers to cultivate?

I think the three most important characters are responsibility, independence, and self-motivation. Most of the time, you need to solve problems by yourself, so you need to be self-motivated and independent.