Badour AlBahar, DAC Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Image is part of AlBahar’s research paper on “Guided Image-to-Image Translation with Bi-Directional Feature Transformation”









Next month Badour AlBahar will travel to Seoul, Korea, to present a paper, “Guided Image-to-Image Translation with Bi-Directional Feature Transformation” at the premier International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV).

A second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, AlBahar said she is “extremely fortunate to be able to explore and broaden my knowledge in computer vision and machine learning with Professor Jia-Bin Huang and my fellow colleagues at the Discovery Analytics Center. Working with people from different backgrounds and experiences has enabled me to grow and learn in ways I never knew possible.”

The research she will share at ICCV is a collaboration with Huang.

AlBahar’s interests lie in video and image processing and more specifically, generative modeling.

“In generative modeling, we try to synthesize realistic data. In my recent paper, I try to generate a realistic image from a given input image respecting some kind of constraints set by a guidance signal,” she said. “For example, given an image of a person, I would generate an image of that same person in a different pose specified by a guidance signal.”

AlBahar was introduced to her research focus area during her first semester as a master’s degree student at Virginia Tech.

“I took a computer vision course and was extremely fascinated by the field,” she said. “I loved how it was fast evolving and rapidly developing with a lot of potential for innovative inventions and applications. I remember thinking I had finally found my niche.”

AlBahar vividly remembers something else about her first Computer Vision class in the fall of 2016.

“Professor Huang asked each of us to say something interesting about ourselves,” said AlBahar,  “I said I was pregnant and due in the middle of the semester. All the students clapped and cheered. It was very encouraging and heartwarming.”

Her daughter, AlZain, was born in October 2016.

Her son, Saleh, was born last month.

“My mother has always been my inspiration. She finished her Ph.D. in mathematics while raising her children,” said AlBahar.

“Now, having children of my own, I know it is not easy. However, I believe that having well set plans for the day makes it a bit easier. I take it one day at a time,” she said. “I always say that children are a motivation. I aspire to be a successful and renowned researcher and a role model for my children.”

After graduation, projected for 2021, she plans to return to her home country of Kuwait to teach in the Department of Computer Engineering at Kuwait University, from which she received her bachelor’s degree.

“ I want to transfer the knowledge I have gained and my experiences to my community,” AlBahar said.