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Supporting the future of computer science with the 2021 Google PhD Fellowships

Since 2009, Google has been supporting top graduate students who want to make an impact on the future of technology. The Google PhD Fellowship program recognises candidates doing important and innovative research in computer science and related fields. In Australia and New Zealand, the program focuses on early-stage candidates. Winners receive fellowships which include a…

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Since 2009, Google has been supporting top graduate students who want to make an impact on the future of technology. The Google PhD Fellowship program recognises candidates doing important and innovative research in computer science and related fields. In Australia and New Zealand, the program focuses on early-stage candidates. Winners receive fellowships which include a monetary award of $15,000 AUD to cover stipend and other research related activities, as well as a Google Mentor who works on topics related to their field of study and provides guidance. In 2021, we’re pleased to announce four new PhD students in Australia who have been awarded fellowships for their outstanding efforts. 

Sampson Wong, Google PhD Fellowship in Algorithms, Optimisations and Markets, The University of Sydney

“Transport networks require regular monitoring and maintenance to sustain a high level of operability. As networks grow and as technologies improve, there is a rising demand for data-driven analysis of transport network data. This has resulted in governments and companies developing domain-specific tools to provide its citizens and users with the best recommendations. The speed and quality of these tools depend greatly on their fundamental building blocks. The goal of my thesis is to develop efficient algorithms for fundamental problems involving geometric movement data on transport networks. We use clustering and other algorithmic methods to detect commuting patterns in geometric movement data, and to select beneficial upgrades for a transport network.”


Theekshana Dissanayake, Google PhD Fellowship in Machine Learning, QUT

“Deep learning has shown great success in solving biosignal-based medical diagnostic problems. However, present solutions cannot generalise across multiple datasets captured from different experimental settings. Furthermore, the black-box nature of current solutions hinders the trust associated with the predictions made from a clinical perspective. This PhD research focuses on the generalisability and interpretability of deep learning models designed for biosignal-based medical diagnostics and considers both single and multi-channel biosignals (such as heart signals and brain signals using EEG and ECG).”


Xinlong Wang, Google PhD Fellowship in Machine Perception, Speech Technology and Computer Vision, The University of Adelaide

Xinlong’s research interests lie in computer vision and machine learning, specifically  in enabling machines to see and understand the environment. Xinlong’s research focuses on object-level recognition, including 2D/3D/video object detection and instance segmentation.

Yun Li, Google PhD Fellowship in Machine Learning, University of New South Wales 

“Deep learning has been demonstrating the potential to significantly revolutionise the practice of medicine and the delivery of healthcare. However, low volume, high sparsity, and poor quality of healthcare data and their diverse contexts may limit the efficacy of deep learning methods. In my research, we aim to develop a suite of robust and versatile few-shot machine learning methods to effectively discover personalised, transferable insightful knowledge with very limited data. Specifically, we have identified and proposed the solutions to 1) data-efficient methods for genomics sequencing; 2) medical image argumentation, 3) hierarchical multi-view data analysis; and 4) tinnitus diagnosis. We will continue to improve the explainability, transparency, and personalisation for better clinical translation. Our studies will have a broader impact on a wide range of practical scenarios such as genome study, medical diagnosis, drug discovery, and disease treatment.”

In supporting these Australian Fellows we recognise their significant academic achievements and hope that they will go on to be leaders in their respective fields. We look forward to building even stronger links between industry and academia to help support important research in Australia. You can find out more about the Google PhD Fellowship program here 

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Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.Worried that…

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When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren’t as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we’ve seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.

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100 things we announced at I/O

35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for…

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35. The Google Home and Google Home Mobile software developer kit (SDK) for Matter will be launching in June as developer previews.

36. The Google Home SDK introduces Intelligence Clusters, which make intelligence features like Home and Away, available to developers.

37. Developers can even create QR codes for Google Wallet to create their own passes for any use case they’d like.

38. Matter support is coming to the Nest Thermostat.

39. The Google Home Developer Center has lots of updates to check out.

40. There’s now built-in support for Matter on Android, so you can use Fast Pair to quickly connect Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home and other accompanying apps in just a few taps.

41. The ARCore Geospatial API makes Google Maps’ Live View technology available to developers for free. Companies like Lime are using it to help people find parking spots for their scooters and save time.

42. DOCOMO and Curiosity are using the ARCore Geospatial API to build a new game that lets you fend off virtual dragons with robot companions in front of iconic Tokyo landmarks, like the Tokyo Tower.

43. AlloyDB is a new, fully-managed PostgreSQL-compatible database service designed to help developers manage enterprise database workloads — in our performance tests, it’s more than four times faster for transactional workloads and up to 100 times faster for analytical queries than standard PostgreSQL.

44. AlloyDB uses the same infrastructure building blocks that power large-scale products like YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail.

45. Google Cloud’s machine learning cluster powered by Cloud TPU v4 Pods is super powerful — in fact, we believe it’s the world’s largest publicly available machine learning hub in terms of compute power…

46. …and it operates at 90% carbon-free energy.

47. We also announced a preview of Cloud Run jobs, which reduces the time developers spend running administrative tasks like database migration or batch data transformation.

48. We announced Flutter 3.0, which will enable developers to publish production-ready apps to six platforms at once, from one code base (Android, iOS, Desktop Web, Linux, Desktop Windows and MacOS).

49. To help developers build beautiful Wear apps, we announced the beta of Jetpack Compose for Wear OS.

50. We’re making it faster and easier for developers to build modern, high-quality apps with new Live edit features in Android Studio.

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New ways to stay connected and entertained in your car

With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next…

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With split screen mode, now standard across all screen types and sizes, you’ll have access to your most-used features all in one place — no need to return to your home screen or scroll through a list of apps. With your navigation and media always on, you won’t have to worry about missing your next turn while changing your favorite commute podcast. And with the new design able to adapt to different screen sizes, it looks great across widescreen, portrait and more.

New features for Android Auto

Google Assistant is bringing contextual suggestions to help you be more productive in the car. From suggested replies, to messages, to sharing arrival times with a friend, or even playing recommended music, Google Assistant is helping you do more in the car efficiently.

In addition to using your voice, you can now quickly message and call favorite contacts with just one tap, and reply to messages by simply selecting a suggested response on the screen – helping you communicate effectively, while allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. Keep an eye out for these updates to Android Auto in the coming months

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