Visiting Scholar Spotlight: Aastha Singh Creates AI-Solutions to Tackle Real-World Issues

April 1, 2024

Aastha Singh standing in front of blue background with a large blue earth with text.Aastha Singh came to UC Berkeley from Kanpur, India as an AI Engineer. She focused her tenure as a visiting scholar in the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department on helping California authorities detect wildfires using artificial intelligence. 

“I was grateful to be a part of such a team where I could help people in certain ways,” Aastha said.

One of her primary roles was to study the radical nature of wildfires and observe their smoke patterns. She used her research to help develop an AI tool that can detect wildfires at their earliest stage and monitor them to assist firefighters get a complete understanding of the scene, so they are well-prepared to minimize the damage. Eventually, Aastha and the team she was working with, were successful in implementing this technology in the Caltrans cameras, California’s public CCTV system. The technology was installed in over 100 cameras all over the state. 

But wildfires are just one aspect of Aastha’s bigger mission in life. During her time at Berkeley, she also worked on projects focusing on using AI for school safety and gun violence.

“I am interested in how AI can help solve real-world issues,” Aastha added.

Even though she was successful in all her Berkeley endeavors, the journey came with its share of challenges. Like many of us, Aastha felt intimidated and unprepared at times. The feeling worsened while interacting with scholars and researchers from other departments. 

“Sometimes there was a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling inside me,” she added.

But she was also determined to take that challenge as an opportunity to grow in her career and as a person. So she made sure to interact with as many people as possible and make the most of her time at the University. She joined clubs like the ‘Society of Women Engineers.’ 

After the end of her tenure in March 2024, she moved back to India to continue her work of creating AI solutions at Spark Recognition. Her goal is to expand the field of robotics through these solutions so they can act as assistive devices and help humans at their jobs instead of replacing them.