Photo of Yue Zhu

"It is always exciting when all bugs are fixed, and the program runs as expected."

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Year: Second-year MS student

Program: Mechanical Engineering

Mission Areas: Advanced Manufacturing and Materials, Aerospace Technology, Biotechnology, and Systems and Sensors

Lab: Multiscale Computational Science and Engineering Lab

Advisor: Shaoping Xiao, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Describe your research and how it is intended to improve our world.

My research is Intelligent Traffic Light via Reinforcement Learning. It is a learning-based traffic light controlled by the method of reinforcement learning that can learn from its experience and update itself. It is designed for not only switching traffic light phases but also selecting a variable time interval for each selected traffic light phase to stay. It is also studied and tested with uncertainties. In the real world, many traffic congestions are because of not-well-designed traffic lights. Furthermore, traffic congestions waste people’s time and money. Traffic congestions cause vehicles to release more harmful gas to pollute our environment. My research can decrease this problem because it is a learning-based traffic light that can learn and update its policy by its experience to reduce traffic congestions and decrease the bad influence.

What achievements are you most proud of?

The proudest achievement for me now is that we are preparing to publish our paper. As a master’s student, I am so proud that my research can have a chance to be published.

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from that person?

Professor Shaoping Xiao is my mentor. I have learned the knowledge he taught in his classes. The more important lesson I have learned from him is how to learn by myself efficiently. He also taught me to think more critically, not only for academics but also for my life.

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to be doing professionally in 10 years?

I would like to be a professor to do more research. I would like to lead my research group. I would also like to teach and guide my students. I can not only teach my students but also learn from them because young people are always full of new ideas.

What activities are you involved in outside ITI and the College of Engineering?

My activities outside ITI and College of Engineering are mainly cooking, watching movies, and playing video games.