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Leila is one of the first Master students in AI

Leila Methnani is one of the first students to graduate with a Swedish Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence. With a bachelor's degree in computer science in her background and work in industry, she wanted to immerse herself in AI. The programme offers a lot of practical work and after completing her master's, Leila now has the tools to build her own system.

Leila was born in Sweden, she grew up in Qatar, studied Computer Science in Canada and now lives in Dubai. Due to the pandemic, she has studied the entire programme remotely, which she feels has gone beyond expectations. Before applying to the Master's programme in AI, she worked in industry as a Solutions Architect [LM1] but felt the need to develop her skills in artificial intelligence.
“I was particularly interested in the structure of the programme in Umeå, and the perspective of interaction between humans and AI. The programme in Umeå had a greater focus on system design, which suited me perfectly," says Leila.

What does it take to get a Master's in AI?
Umeå University's Master's programme in AI at is Sweden's first higher education programme for AI and has offered a broad theoretical perspective on AI with a strong focus on practical skills. The prerequisites are education in computer science, as the programme assumes that you have good programming skills, numerical analysis and algorithmic problem solving.
“It is important to have a good foundation before taking the Master's programme, this way you will get much more out of the programme. My bachelor's degree in computer science has given me a good grounding in both programming and theory,” says Leila.

What do you study on the programme?
During the programme, you study the fundamentals of AI, methods and applications of AI, machine learning and the design of interactive, intelligent systems. The courses in the programme consist of lectures, seminars, group work and tutorials linked to different types of assignments and laboratory work, and often involve some type of software development.
“I have received incredibly good support [LM1] throughout the programme, the teachers are competent researchers and always been open to offering time and resources for extra support. We have worked on practical and interesting tasks throughout the course, which has been both challenging and fun," says Leila.  

Master's thesis in AI, what could it be about?
The Master's thesis concludes the programme and should include some form of subject-specific in-depth study of the field. The programme in AI leads to several possible degrees, depending on which track you choose during the programme. In the spring, Leila will write her master’s thesis, which involves the development of AI agents in real-time strategy games, namely in DOTA 2. The dynamic and uncertain environment of DOTA 2 as well as the interactions between multiple agents are of particular interest to Leila.
“In my master thesis I will be working together with my supervisor Dr. Andreas Theodorou, Researcher in Responsible AI, to develop and implement a framework that incorporates both behaviour-based AI and logic-based AI methods. To have a researcher as a supervisor is of great value, he provides with a lot of encouragement and support throughout my project. And applying my newly acquired knowledge to a game is very interesting and fun” says Leila.