Cambridge University, Krittika D'Silva, Women

No one can say that Krittika D'Silva is an under-achiever.

The PhD candidate in computer science from Jesus College has managed to make every second count while in Cambridge.

D'Silva's research involves artificial intelligence by using algorithms machine learning along with network metrics to model urban cities of the world.

In fact, she said that one of her projects tried to determine whether a business would survive or fail based on network and transport metrics.


Space medicine was D'Silva's focus while working at NASA's Frontier Development Lab. D'Silva said that longer missions lead to extended exposure to microgravity and radiation, which creates several physiological changes.

Nevertheless, D'Silva said scientists are only just beginning to understand the ramifications of the changes.  That's why she believes using wearable devices and artificial intelligence is necessary to monitor the health of astronauts.

She says astronaut health issues in space should be discussed more because it will have a significant impact on future missions to both the moon and Mars.


D'Silva has also found time to work with the UN's Pulse Lab, which is an innovation laboratory whose goal is to improve policy by harnessing data science insights.

She said she participated in the creation of a system of modelling Vanuatu's internal migration to assist in the future allocation of natural resources.

She said her time with Global Pulse was instructive because it allowed her to see the value of putting research insights into practice.

D'Silva said she also learned about public policy and discovered that she found this type of work both impactful and intellectually stimulating.


At Cambridge, D'Silva says her time is mostly spent coding and poring over research papers from West Cambridge's Department of Computer Science and Technology.

She said Cambridge University is a "fantastic place" to do her research for the PhD degree.

According to D'Silva, world-class professors and peers elevate her work. Also, she is thankful for travel funding to attend conferences worldwide which have led to international collaborations.

Because of her work at the university, D'Silva was invited to New Delhi, India to present a workshop involving machine learning potential for the public sector.

D'Silva said it was exciting to meet people from a different academic background and collaborate on research.

A day off

A PhD researcher often needs a day off, and they don't get better than the one afforded to Krittika D'Silva.

She was offered the chance to travel to a private estate in Kent and play a doubles match of tennis opposite HRH Prince Edward, who is a graduate of Jesus College.

D'Silva reports that she did not win the match, but she says it will not be forgotten.

Women at Cambridge

D'Silva encourages women to work in science-related fields. To do that, she suggests finding a mentor to help guide them along the way.

She says that she has had several mentors who have helped her with career opportunities that would have never been available to her.

In fact, she says she cannot put a price on her mentors.

Photo of Krittika D'Silva courtesy of the University of Cambridge.
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