Maria Stoica joined our group this October as a Safe and Trusted AI PhD student. We caught up with her to find out about her background and about what she does in her spare time.

Where are you from and what is your background?

I grew up in Kansas and I graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2017. After that, I was working in finance in New York City and London at Goldman Sachs and NatWest Markets as a quantitative analyst. During the pandemic, I realised that I had an interest in research and so I decided to enrol in Oxford’s MSc in Advanced Computer Science which I graduated from in September of this year.

So what influenced you to do a PhD and what are your research interests?

While working in the financial industry, I was introduced to different applications of machine learning but these were often difficult to deploy due to their potential risks. Human traders would often check the outputs of automated systems as building trust and confidence in their outputs was difficult. I want to explore areas of safety in machine learning and specifically investigate how monitoring algorithms can ensure reliability of machine learning algorithms, especially those deployed in high risk applications such as finance and healthcare. These monitoring algorithms can help reduce the amount of human checking required in a system and increase confidence in their deployments.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love being active! I grew up skiing and playing tennis. During my undergraduate degree, I joined the Lightweight Women’s Rowing team as a coxswain (unfortunately my height does not bode well for rowing) and during my MSc, I was a member of the St. Edmund Hall Boat Club. Aside from this, I have my sailing license and I am a certified scuba diver. At Imperial, I am a member of the Imperial Lawn Tennis Club and play for the W2 team.