I was going to write about my senior supervisor in a summary in my defense. However, to describe a man like Dr. Jian Pei, I really needed to enter a new blog entry.
In life, we are not very often blessed to meet people of greatness. As my favorite quote from Isaac Newton states, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. This quote really does tell the story about Dr. Pei. This is the story of how I met this great person, Dr. Pei.
I came across Dr. Pei as I was embarking my journey into the molecular biology and biochemistry field. Dr. Nick Chen from the MBB department at SFU had suggested I look into a graduate program in MBB after excelling in several MBB courses that I had taken. However, having a degree in Computer Science and a passion for programming and molecular biology, the only logical field would be to look into Bioinformatics. Dr. Chen had some collaborated research with Dr. Pei and so I suggested I would like to do my masters in computer science to research on a mbb problem.
A year went by, I hadn’t applied to grad school yet and I started doing some interesting database queries with DB2 and Mysql. I was shocked at the lack of replication support from DB2 to Mysql. I approached Dr. Pei to see if I could start some research work as a grad student on databases and data mining hoping that it would in turn enlighten me to some approaches to this problem.
I had started my actual research work on a field that was foreign to me at that time. Emerging Patterns, I had covered a little bit in a course that Dr. Pei had taught. However, with the lack of reading research papers, I was not in the know of all the tips and tricks of data mining.
Each meeting that I had with Dr. Pei, he unlocked a portion of my brain that seemed to have turned off completely. Dr. Pei is definitely is one of the most humble person that I have met. A very down to earth person with a passion to research and share his wisdom. It seemed as if he was a repository of great ideas. If one didn’t work, there was always another way. He showed me the sight of research, the guidance to put them to words and the voice to articulate the research. It would be impossible for me to have made this journey of enlightenment if it was not for the encouragement, the patience and suggestions provided by Dr. Pei. He has made a great mark in my life and I am forever in debt to him.