Vatsal Shah: Dubai teenager making strides in computer science and economics

Shah from Raffles World Academy shares his success story with Khaleej Times

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Published: Sun 20 Aug 2023, 9:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Aug 2023, 9:58 AM

How did your passion for computer science and economics begin?

Over the past three summers, my passion for computer science and its intersection with economics has grown immensely. Completing courses from Harvard CS 50 and Georgia Tech has inspired me to explore data structures, GUIs, and programming languages. Realising my vision, I founded the STEM Club, VR Realm. Hosting insightful sessions on robotics and 3D modelling, I sought to engage students with local STEM professionals. As a result, I recently organised RWA's first ever STEM Fair, named Techtopia, to inspire secondary school students to showcase robotics projects centered around AI's transformative potential to a panel of judges.

What prompted you to build the Fitness Freak platform?

My transformative health journey from 140kg to 75kg inspired me to create Fitness Freak. This health platform reaches a community of 5,000 people and continues to grow, inspiring thousands with comprehensive guidance, informative interviews, and personalised diet plans. As a testament to my experiences, struggles, and triumphs, I am also working on publishing my book 'Rebirth of Strength', offering an intimate account of my journey.

Please talk about your research in AI and machine learning over the last few years

I had the privilege of being selected as a student researcher at the selective Wolfram Summer School. At WSS, I developed my skills in computer science and economics. Despite being the only high school student in the programme, I embraced the opportunity to create a stock forecasting model using cutting edge machine learning algorithms. Additionally, I had the opportunity to work with a PhD mentor from the University of Cambridge, where I explored computer vision algorithms used in autonomous systems and published a paper on this research. I also completed an AI internship, collaborating with graduate and PhD students from MIT and Harvard. I explored large language models, and fake news detection, and developed an application testing for AI biases which utilised the concepts of transformers and reinforcement learning.

What are the other community outreach activities you are participating in?

I actively work to serve the wider community through various initiatives. I bring together students and professionals from diverse schools and universities across the UAE. One such event was a UAE business conference where renowned CEOs and experts discussed Dubai's economy, AI's role, and market dynamics, centered on the theme of resilience for a better future. I am also organising and speaking at a TEDx event at Raffles World Academy. My presentation, 'The Gift Within You', will chronicle my weight loss journey and introduce my health platform, encouraging individuals to find their unique strengths.

What do you want to study in future?

I would like to continue my research at the intersection of economics and computer science with the leading researchers. I aspire to complete my undergraduate education from a top tier university majoring in computer science and economics.

Education consultant and founder of Premier Genie, Maloy Burman says Shah represents part of the student communities who wants to make a difference in the world. He is a change maker and is ready to walk extra miles for the benefits of the society.

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