Student Profile: Rohan Rao ’20 dives into deep learning.

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018
by Sharon Adarlo

Rohan Rao, 20, Class of 2020:


Studies: Rao is aiming for a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He has been taking courses at the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning since his freshman year and wants to earn the Centers’ Undergraduate Certificate in Statistics and Machine Learning and a Certificate Program in Applications of Computing from the computer science department.

Research: Rao is interested in machine learning and natural language processing and has developed independent projects for HackPrinceton, a twice a year event on campus that draws developers across the country to create innovative software and hardware projects.

In his freshman year, Rao built an application that allowed people to take a picture of a paper flier and instantly convert that into a calendar event for Apple iOs devices. Rao said he used image and natural language techniques to create the app. In the fall of his sophomore year, Rao built a “skill” or capability for Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, that allowed a user to describe verbally to Alexa what they wanted a new webpage to look like. Alexa then would automatically create the webpage according to the user’s specifications and launch the webpage. Both projects were developed in a team for HackPrinceton with Rao providing machine learning and algorithm expertise.

Rao is particularly interested in deep learning, a branch of machine learning that is based on training artificial neural networks. This artificial brain uses many layers of virtual neurons to solve complex tasks. He writes about deep learning on his personal blog, Deep Sauce. He enjoys reading academic papers on deep learning and implementing the models described in the papers. He also provides open source applications of the models at his GitHub profile.

Extracurricular activities: Rao is president of the Princeton Data Science Club, a member of the eating club Cloister Inn, and is a staff writer for the Princeton Sports Analytics Club. One of his articles on tennis analytics was republished on a popular Italian tennis analytics blog called TennisAbstract.

For fun: Rao likes to read, write short fiction stories, and enjoys running.