School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Ms Chiara Rajcoomar with her parents, Jenny and Sunil.

Fascination with Big Data and AI Pays Dividends

Ms Chiara Rajcoomar was awarded her Bachelor of Science Honours degree summa cum laude, with merits for six of her seven modules.

During the course of her undergraduate degree at the University of Stellenbosch, Rajcoomar became fascinated with Statistics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

She was drawn to honours studies at UKZN when the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science offered a new degree in Data Science.

Rajcoomar’s honours project was based on data from vehicle tracking company Altech Netstar. It modelled accelerations in the three-dimensional space, ie, the x, y and z axis prior to an impact. Altech Netstar could use the data to send signals to drivers if their acceleration pattern matched those from the results of the model to prevent further accidents.

The project also used longitude and latitude data to identify areas where accidents were more common which could be used by the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) and the Department of Transport to improve conditions.

During her honours year, Rajcoomar interned at Procter and Gamble where she worked with big data. She is currently a trainee quantitative analyst on the Nedbank Quants Graduate Programme.

‘I enjoy coding and plan to expand my data systems and AI knowledge by working in sectors other than banking to get an overall idea of how AI is utilised and its benefits,’ said Rajcoomar. She relaxes by being creative and socialising and has a part-time job as an assistant painting instructor.

‘I have been a swimmer for most of my life and I use it to de-stress,’ she said.

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal