Me and University of Aberdeen

Can you give a brief summary of your research?

I am studying my PhD on recommender system using matrix factorization algorithm. What made my study different from other recommender systems was that I focused my study on package recommendations. Basically my study would recommend two (or more) items that had relations between them as a bundle. In my study, I also provided some package explanation to improve user acceptance of our recommendations.

What is your research looking at? Why is it important?
There are at least two things that highlited the importance of package recommendations. First, the package recommendation is useful and visible in many domains. We can recommend a collections of travel destinations, or in food domain, we can recommend a set of starters, main and dessert together. In my study, I elaborated two different domains: a. clothing by recommending a bundle of clothes containing top (e.g shirt) and bottom (e.g pants), and b. planting recommendations by recommending a collections of plants that are friendly to certain animals (such as bumblebee).

Second, some people have doubts with individual recommendations, and will have more doubts in the package recommendation. Therefore in my study, I involve constraints and also provide package explanations. For example, to ensure that our bumblebee will get enough food throughout the year. In the clothing domain, we also need to select a package contains good combination of colors, motifs, as well as formalities, and reveal the recommendation with some explanations.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Aberdeen?
I got a scholarship from Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan (LPDP) Indonesia. In the LPDP’s list, they only mentioned 200 best universities around the world and the University of Aberdeen is on the list. Before I decided to go to University of Aberdeen, I also looked university’s profile and research impact, and I am impressed.

Back to 2015 when I read the Recommender Systems Handbook, I found two important people from the University of Aberdeen who had great contributions in two different chapters. I am lucky enough one of them become my supervisor now.

What do you enjoy most about living and studying in Aberdeen?
I have several points to answer this question: Supervisors, Nature and Facilities
For the first reason, I am lucky enough having three supervisors who were always patient to guide my study. They always give me valuable input and motivate me to achive my research goals. They also put me in a great academic environtment where students help each other. I remember in my recent study, I got help from 64 participants coming from 18 different countries.

My second reason relates to nature. For me Aberdeen is quite yet a perfect place for study. It has a lot of public facilities such as park, and garden. Aberdeen also close to the beach, where we can spend our days there. Aberdeen has clean air and river, also a nice path to walk around. It will relieve my stress during my study.

Finally, I see University of Aberdeen has complete facilities. It can handle all our need. For example, the Aberdeen sport village provides excellent facilities to play sport with our friends. Making joy with them together, in the meantime we can maintain our health. In academic matter, University of Aberdeen also provides enormous collections of litteratures, and papers that are coordinated by the library. The university also supports us with many additional courses such as time management and many topics related to PhD thesis.

What are your future plans once you’re graduate?
I am planning to fly back to my country, Indonesia. In Indonesia, I am a lecturer at Telkom University, therefore I will continue my activities by extending my research related to package recommendation. I also willing to apply my knowledge by creating my own online clothing store. Hopefully package recommendation will help my customer to select the best combination of clothes.

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