Postgraduate Student Life @ CUHK
From Thailand
MPhil–PhD Student in Computer Science and Engineering

Living a Technology Dream

Twenty-first century living is very much underscored by the rise and transformation of technology. Computers and its systems are therefore at the core of digitalization which drives modern society in all aspects today.

With such an exciting field full of rapid progress and developments, Chaichon WONGKHAM does not want to miss out and very much wants to be part of it all. And this was one of the main reasons why he applied to do his MPhil–PhD in Computer Science and Engineering. “I can see that computing is rapidly transforming human life and so many exciting things are emerging, I want to be a part of this movement,” he said.

Coming from Thailand, he began to look overseas for opportunities to study his field and came across a speaker who was delivering a talk about studying at Hong Kong universities. With generous scholarship opportunities targeted at international students, Chaichon decided to give it a go. “I applied to CUHK because of its prestigious computer science programme, and I got the scholarship,” he beamed.

And according to him, this was the best thing to have happened to him.


A Best-in-Class University Programme and Support

“Given the strength and academic excellence of CUHK, as well as being affordable, I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to also come and live in Hong Kong” — but that is not all. According to Chaichon, CUHK has offered him an incredibly rich learning environment and the right support — he is constantly surrounded by talented and interesting peers who spur him on. All these have helped him find his passion in research.

“My experience in the lab at CUHK was very fruitful, as the lab group is close-knit and we have a lot of collaboration and discussions.” On top of that, Chaichon said that the supervisors really invest their time and take interest in their students to discuss with them their learning progress, and encourage them to share ideas.

Thanks to the incredible support from his peers and professors, Chaichon felt that he was able to achieve much more in his research which focuses on database system engines and how machine learning can help sort data. In other words, he looks at applications that need to store and process data, from inventory stocking to Facebook sorting through millions of queries, and he studies how data structures can be incorporated into machine learning, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), to speed up queries. In fact, he recently co-authored and published in the Very Large Data Base (VLDB), providing industry insight into the topic.


Achieving Through The Right Support

Chaichon said he couldn’t have achieved any of these were it not for the support from his professor and the endless resources that CUHK provided. “I believe a lot of my work could not have reached this quality if it was not all the input of my professor and my lab mates.” He noted that whatever his research needed, the University never failed to provide, whether that was equipment or lab space. All these put together allowed him to excel and accomplish much more.

And through it all, Chaichon found his passion in research. Especially after his two years studying the MPhil programme, he is now keener than ever to pursue his PhD and do research full-time, while dabbling in his other hobby, which is music.  “For now, my plan is to stay in Hong Kong and carry on my research,” he said, as that in itself is also a great opportunity. For his fellow Thai peers who are considering the move, he has a few words of advice.

Seize the Opportunity

“Get connected and learn more to make sure this is what you wish to do. English is also important and most Thai students struggle with the intensity of the studies in the first year, so be well prepared and be willing to ask for help when you need it,” he said.

Besides, he also told his peers to embrace the opportunity to live abroad. It is a great opportunity to learn all about a new culture and be independent, “it has certainly helped me mature and grow a lot”.

As for CUHK, Chaichon has been there since his bachelor’s programme and said that the overall experience has been eye-opening as he was able to meet people from all around the world, and thanks to the scholarship opportunity he has been able to enrich his career and personal experiences that he would otherwise not have.

So as a little boy who was fascinated with computers and building things, CUHK has helped him come closer to living his dream.