Opportunities in Computing Research – The Hindu

As industry and society continue to digitize, the demand for computing researchers will continue to rise simultaneously.

As industry and society continue to digitize, the demand for computing researchers will continue to rise simultaneously. | Photo credit: Freepik

Businesses around the world look to dedicated research centers that can deliver innovation in an agile manner. Cloud-based models are emerging, where collaboration happens with stakeholders based anywhere in the world. Indian IT companies that offer such a model are looking to set up research and innovation centers. Indian businesses are also building a portfolio of intellectual property. In this context, computing researchers have an advantageous future, with growing opportunities in multiple avenues, especially as Indian academia is collaborating with industry and the government.

The two most important qualities for a researcher are curiosity and passion for the subject. Other aspects include the ability to explore new areas, and build on what exists; Be disciplined and result-oriented, even when there are no timelines; flexibility in thought and multi-disciplinary knowledge; Deep understanding of a field (sciences such as physics, mathematics or biology; or industry knowledge in retail, banking healthcare etc.); self-motivation and self-belief; Be undaunted by failures and open to healthy criticism; and an ability to visualize the future and the impact of his/her research.

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Areas of research

Core computer system research involves developing new data structures, algorithms, architectures, data management, networking, computing mechanisms (eg, quantum, optics) and so on. The intersection of AI and core computing demand expertise in math and data science. This can involve understanding different domains and leveraging their rules to build high-performance systems customized for a domain. Computing paradigms are also extended to cloud and edge technologies.

It is important to note that industry boundaries are blurred. For example, is Amazon a retailer, entertainment platform or infrastructure company? Is Google a payment service, a map maker or a search engine? Innovation happens at the intersections. When computing research is applied to sciences or industries, new ideas are born. Likewise, computing drives innovation in existing multidisciplinary fields: advances in SCADA and robotics technology are driving innovation in computing allied with electrical and mechanical sciences; The recent growth in data-driven techniques (ML and DL) motivates research in computing with maths.

Academic or Industrial Research?

If one is inclined to theoretical aspects and study, academic research is more suitable. Academic research has also spawned start-up ecosystems. While Silicon Valley is the best-known example, our IITs set up incubation centers to turn new ideas into businesses. Academic research units also collaborate with the government on leading-edge projects.

Industrial research can be attractive to those who want to work on real-world problems such as building platforms for speeding drug discovery; make better materials; helping retailers optimize store space and cost of goods; Create digital twins for boiler plants, businesses and even cities to understand the best way to work. The industry also collaborates with the government on implementing large-scale projects in healthcare delivery, banking and insurance, cybersecurity and digital identity.

Companies that take in-house research seriously offer the best of both worlds. They allow researchers to pursue scientific exploration by encouraging them to take sabbaticals and attend conferences. They also offer a range of problems their customers are trying to solve.

As industry and society continue to digitize, there will be more roles, areas and organizations that need computing research. Now is a good time to pursue it.

K. Ananth Krishnan is Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, and Rekha Singhal is Principal Scientist, Tata Consultancy Services.

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