Vindula Jayawardene wins a scholarship to MIT | Daily News

Vindula Jayawardene wins a scholarship to MIT

Vindula Jayawardena, a member of the research unit at PickMe, who graduated from the University of Moratuwa recently received a scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue his PhD. Vindula is involved in research on issues surrounding the mobility sphere. He works on developing new algorithms to optimize mobility on demand, Some of Vindula’s work powers certain aspects on the PickMe platform. Prior to being selected for the MIT scholarship programme, Vidula was involved in an internship programme at the University of Cornell working on a research project on mobility optimization which was spearheaded and fully financially backed by PickMe.

“I’ve dreamt of going to MIT since I was a child. I started my Master’s degree soon after completing my undergraduate degree for this very reason. What really helped me get into MIT was the research project that I conducted at Cornell on behalf of PickMe. I am sincerely grateful to PickMe for helping me pursue my dream. Moreover, I could not have achieved what I did without the guidance I received from the University of Moratuwa,” commented VindulaJayawardena.

“We are excited for Vindula. It was such a great honour to empower a young, talented researcher and tech enthusiast from our Motherland. Our work on transport mobility has so much scope for more individuals like him. On behalf of everyone at PickMe, I would like to wish Vindula all the very best in all his endeavours,” commented PickMe CEO, Jiffry Zulfer.

Prestigious academic institutes such as MIT offer scholarships to students based on their previous academic results and research. The type of research that individuals conduct as well as their published work plays a key role in earning them merit. In Vindula’s case research papers he published during his undergraduate years as well as the research programme he was involved in with Prof. Samitha Samaranayake, spearheaded by PickMe is what helped him obtain a place at MIT.

“The type of research I do is on how to optimize Mobility-on-demand. Research is one thing but we need to test its practical application in the real world. PickMe offered me that opportunity. Working with the PickMe engineering team, I was able to test myfindings on their platform. It is hard to describe the euphoria that you experience when something you’ve worked on, goes into production. I was able to achieve all this because PickMe was on board. I would advise anyone who wants to be involved in exciting research in the technology field to join PickMe and work with them on mobility systems. This is going to be an integral part of the fourth technological revolution. Transport mobility is so much more than hailing a taxi and PickMe has realized this. Their research on finding virtual solutions to practical problems in mobility is already paying off,” revealed Vindula.

As a technology startup that started small and built an impactful business, PickMe remains one of the most innovative companies in Sri Lanka. PickMe uses locally gathered data and insights (Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI)) to solve transport mobility problems that their customers and driver partners face.


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