From rockets to AI: reaching the unreachable with Co-Lab Honours

From rockets to AI: reaching the unreachable with Co-Lab Honours
From rockets to AI: reaching the unreachable with Co-Lab Honours

“When I was a child, I wanted to build up a rocket and head off to space”, says Daishi Adams.

This need to “reach the unreachable” has guided Daishi throughout his time studying at The Australian National University (ANU). It led him to enrol in the inaugural Co-Lab Honours Grant in 2022, a new program tailored to Australian students interested in a career with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

Daishi is in his fifth year of a double degree in physics and computer science at the ANU. During his undergraduate degree, his interests have always been linked to the development of new technologies.

“I like looking at things that are cutting-edge, it is exciting to see where it leads to”, he says.

Daishi is exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI) interactions in his Honours thesis. Specifically, he’s looking at the theme of “humanising AI”, which aims to contribute to our understanding of how AI can effectively work with humans by understanding intentions and anticipating moves.

“If you see a certain signal in your network, then you can try to understand what the goal would be, or what the signal is doing. If you have a human on the other side of that signal, who is causing things to occur – for example, if they are trying to hack into your system – then you can try and figure out what the goal is so you can stop that. The aim is to construct a system that is capable of this kind of reasoning.”

As he nears the end of his project, Daishi is looking towards a future in Defence. He has already taken the first steps on this pathway through the STEM Cadetship program, a Department of Defence initiative which offers students ongoing (part-time) employment in the Australian Public Service.

“In the future, I want to drive growth in technology,” says Daishi.

“My participation in the STEM Cadetship Program and the Co-Lab Honours Grant has allowed me to follow my interests and meet like-minded people who are not afraid to push the boundaries.”

Applications for the ANU-ASD Co-Lab Honours program are now open for 2023. It allows Australian ANU students to work on interdisciplinary research projects with real world-impact to ASD’s mission. To find out more and apply, visit Co-Lab Honours Grant.

  Daishi’s top tips for future students thinking about doing Honours at the Co-Lab:

  • Start on your thesis early (start thinking about your project)
  • Make the most of the outreach opportunities. I enjoyed the writing skills and science communication the most, they were super useful.
  • Connect with the other students from other backgrounds and topics. Come to the events and make the most of the networking opportunities.
  • Keep yourself curious!
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