2021 Annual Letter — Sri Anumakonda

  • my failures
  • my game plan to make 2022 the best year yet

Looking through the eyes of a camera; seeing the world as a self-driving car

01/10/2021 — I created a presentation explaining my progress with autonomous vehicles (AVs) and computer vision, something quite foreign but also something I really wanted to do.

Becoming one of the youngest self-driving engineers IN THE WORLD

In February now, filled with so much momentum after not only rebuilding the lane detection project but also meeting David, one of the smartest people that I’ve ever met in self-driving. I didn’t know what was next until he told me that Udacity runs the biggest certified self-driving program in the world.

And then came summer…

I’ve gotten so much momentum. Not only finishing the nanodegree and meeting some remarkable people like Alexander has gotten me super hyped for the summer. I remember thinking about what I wanted to do and I eventually broke this down into 2 main things: fully understand high school math, and build a research project.

Understanding next-gen self-driving tech w/ Waabi!

Tawsif told me about Prof. Urtasun and her self-driving startup that came out of stealth. I was literally amazed. I just stared at their YouTube videos and printed > 70 pages worth of papers to read. GeoSim and TrafficSim are examples of some of the most advanced simulation research I’ve ever seen with self-driving cars.

Creating next-gen ways to train AVs w/ DataGAN

I started building DataGAN after my chat with Andrei in September. I personally found GANs to be not only something that interested me but also was a whole realm of Computer Vision that I had yet to explore.

Hopping on the Wayve of end2end learning

2 reasons why I wanted to get into end2end learning. 1) I thought it was fascinating how neural networks can map from image → steering, and 2) I had a meeting with Haibo in a few days.

Dropping 2 projects in 2 months

There are 2 reasons why I dropped these projects:

  1. The value prop from building this

Failing hard

The biggest thing that I’ve done this year is failing. Not just in the projects that I’ve built, but also in the way I chose to grow as a person. I’ve lost momentum several times, but that’s allowed me to not only understand myself better but also allow me to understand the goals and impact that I want to make on this world.

How I can make 2022 the best year

I’ve learned a lot. I’ve failed a lot. I want to make next year the best year I could ever possibly live in. There are 3 main buckets that I want to optimize for 2022:

  1. Get an internship
  2. personal health
  • reinforcement learning + policy development
  • creating variational autoencoders for image-to-image translation
  • end2end learning + conditional imitation learning

Concluding thoughts

Being able to have a room to myself, a computer to type this letter on, and fingers to type has allowed me to do things that not many 15yo really think about. I’ve had countless opportunities that people my age would only be able to dream about.

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