Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great Minds at IBM Research

For the sumer 2010, I was chosen to join the Great Minds programme for research-oriented computer science students, organized by IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland. This article is a small summary of my observations.

The environment and the atmosphere in the laboratory is a mixture of 2 seemingly un-compatible things:
  • commercial company optimizing all the processes, client cooperation and staff efforts to generate profit
  • academic institution seeking to produce cutting edge research results, where scientists work in small focused groups on the topics that or of interest to them
From my experience, the working time is divided between the work on a commercial project (either a self standing prototype, or on some "smart" part of a bigger IBM project) and the work on a research idea with possibly different team of people. The ratio of these two activities is of course different for different people, but in general it is ones responsibility to manage the time, to both meet the commercial project deadlines and to progress with researching, paper/patent writing etc.

I personally joined the group working on a business intelligence tool:


and I teamed up with a colleague from the Analytics group to write a paper about high-dimensional data visualization, that was accepted to ICDM 2010 (sub 20% acc. rate) and I presented it in Sydney in December:


All in all, I enjoyed the combination of having the freedom in choosing and pursuing research ideas while also being confronted with the real clients expecting a working tool and the overall context of commerce.


I spoke about the experience from the perspective of finishing Master/Ing students at a local Computer Science conference, you can find the slides (albeit for some reason they got damaged by SlideShare and the presentation is in Slovak) here.

No comments:

Post a Comment