Yehudah Goldfeder of Monsey, New York: Intrigued by Artificial Intelligence
In the coming weeks, Yeshiva University will welcome hundreds of new students to its undergraduate campuses from across the United States and countries around the world. Meet the incoming class as they share in their own words what excites them about beginning their academic journeys at YU at this year’s Orientation.
I am from Monsey, New York.
Why did you decide to come to Yeshiva University?
Many factors contributed to my decision. I am the youngest in my family, and I have four older siblings, all of whom attended Stern College for Women or Yeshiva College, as did my father. My mother is a graduate of YU’s high school for girls as well. Thank God, all of them have successful careers in their various fields. Those who went to grad school all got in to the school of their choice.
But to be honest, none of that is the real reason I’m going to YU. I feel that it is important to forge one’s own path in life. In truth, the reason I chose YU is because it was the best option available. I am fully committed to living an authentic Torah lifestyle, with all that it entails, while at the same time being an active and important participant in the modern world. I think that in YU I’ll be able to maintain a real, rigorous learning schedule. Additionally, I am firmly convinced of the importance, perhaps necessity, of having a bona fide mentor to guide me along my path, and YU boasts a wide array of roshei yeshiva and rebbeim who can cater to a large spectrum of students’ individual needs. I still want my secular education to be a priority as well, and I think that YU will be able to cater well to this dual need.
What are you looking forward to at YU?
I plan on studying computer science, which has long been a passion of mine. It started as a hobby when I was eight or nine, and developed over time into one of my favorite subjects. I particularly have an interest in artificial intelligence — that is getting machines to behave like intelligent, rational agents. I’ve done a lot of self-study on that topic, like programming a chess engine (that plays better than I do) in C++ and learning the basics behind machine learning and artificial neural networks. I was specifically motivated by the groundbreaking Alphago, the first program to do the impossible and beat an elite Go player. However, computer science is a wide field and I find many topics in it interesting and worthy of exploration. I am very excited to finally get a formal education so that I can further my knowledge and my goals.
I also enjoy math and look forward to furthering my education there too. Writing has always been a hobby of mine, and I have written several large manuscripts of novels. I’ve always felt that I have potential to be a good writer, and I am excited to explore that subject as well. The extracurriculars also seem exciting. I haven’t decided on exactly what I’ll do (although I have some ideas in mind), but I am certain that aside from studying, I’ll have plenty of fun.
As I’ve mentioned, as well, I am very excited to benefit from the rebbeim here. Having a kesher, a relationship, with a rebbi where I can ask questions outside of the gemara, whether on general hashkafa or my personal life, is very important to me. I am also part of the Masmidim Honors Program, and it is my hope that those in charge of the program will guide me to be the best Jew I can be. I would love to learn as much as I can, in all topics related to yahadut [Judaism].
What are you passionate about?
I enjoy reading a lot. There are various genres I read, although I’ll admit I have a soft spot for epic fantasy. I also enjoy building things with my hands, such as wood models, and I have a brown belt in karate.
What are you hoping to do professionally?
Hard to say exactly. Obviously I feel it will be computer-related, but to be totally open and honest, that could change in three years from now. I could see myself in many different roles, which is one of the reasons I am so happy to explore different topics.