by Kazuhide Okamoto
After earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Tokyo, since the fall of 2014, I have been doing my Ph.D. study at the School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. As I finished taking required classes for my Ph.D. degree, during this semester, I have spent most of my time for research. My research interests lie in the field of control theory, particularly the application of machine-learning methods to control systems to achieve better human-vehicle interactions. In this semester, I have been working on writing one journal article and two conference papers. Also, I am preparing my thesis proposal and trying to present it to my thesis committee before the end of this year. Thanks to the support from Ito Foundation U.S.A. – FUTI Scholarship, I have been able to spend productive days.
Unlike the big cities on the East and West Coast, Atlanta is not a famous city for Japanese students (I believe many of them don’t even know where it is). So, I would like to briefly introduce the place. Atlanta is the most populous city and, at the same time, the capital of the state of Georgia, which locates in the south east of the U.S. The city is famous for the movie “Gone with the Wind,” and recently, many films are shot in Atlanta. For example, “The Accountant” and “The Internship” were filmed in the Georgia Tech campus. As the population is getting larger, the city is rapidly changing and growing. It is weird to see huge parking lots next to sky scrapers. Last year, Atlanta Braves built their new baseball stadium, and this year, Atlanta Falcons built their new football (not soccer) stadium. Although the life here is not easy (e.g., different culture, inconvenient public transport, and not many Japanese people), it is interesting to see a city continue growing (I don’t think you can see something like this in Japan).
Besides research, I belong to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Flying Club to gain piloting experience. The picture I attach to this report is from my trip to Asheville, NC in last fall. I enjoyed the view from 3000 ft. above the ground. If I could get a chance, I would try to go further north this year (somewhere in KY or VA?).
Last but not the least, I would like to thank the Ito Foundation U.S.A – FUTI Scholarship for providing me with financial support. I will continue doing the best I can.