Sameer Kumar Jasra- 9 to 5 Software engineer to 24/7 active researcher
Question : Can you tell something about yourself and how your life transformed as a researcher?
When I started my career, graduated in computer science and engineering from Jaypee University and worked as a software developer for six years, and then I went for my masters in a management information system. I was not active in research in the first innings of my profession but then in my masters as a student of management information systems, I got a chance to visit Malta and worked under Dr. Lalit Garg, and he shared some his projects with me, and for three months I was working with him as a researcher. It was in a software Internship, but there it clicked me that it is a very nice field, where there are a lot of challenges that ventures and fun and more importantly, you learn at each stage. As a Software developer, I was doing things I was knowing, and it was a repetitive job, but this job offered me grow in myself also. So we grew daily and learned daily and even getting around an issue may take some days or even weeks but when past those barriers it gives us a sense of pride while creating something new or solving some severe problems. So this is what attracted me in this field as a researcher so then I explored this field more into and then started a research officer, and after one year I enrolled into P.Hd degree and now working as research officer as well as pursuing my Ph.D. too.
Question : How do you see machine learning changing lives of people?
Machine learning in today’s world is all around us; we might not feel it directly but indirectly its impacting every day. Like right from the small device in our pocket, to the cars we drive to the way we shop is all impacted by machine learning. Whenever you browse on Amazon.com, your choices are being influenced, or they target you more towards your interest. So, machine learning has a lot of scope in our day to day life like how we travel behave as it has touched us tremendously on the internet, but it has to reach offline too. This is what I feel, in the field of entertainment, in the area of medicines, the field of travel, and aviation uses machine learning to become better.
Question : Any project you are most proud of?
I have worked in good projects in teams and many big projects also. Best project was when I started as a researcher, I did a small project for a restaurant, and they wanted to increase their sales and sell their products most diversely. So I collected some data, what customers buy and what they prefer around and which days they prefer, so we made this whole data collection for 2-3 months and worked on precision techniques and came out of the way how customers buy this, and he should be offered something as a free offering or on discount price. Within three months the restaurant saw an increase in sales by 1.5x times, and now the restaurant was selling all products on their shelves. Earlier they face problems as some products sold very quickly and other remains on shelves for more extended period of time and then they have to disposed that off but with our software model, they can club products and even more importantly it was done on days like on Wednesday, they should give this much off for some products but on the weekend this much off should be given .So, this is the project which was done on a small scale and was customized and had a huge impact. We also used this model in other big projects too.
Question : Researcher has many ideas but is not able to execute on time. What support do researchers need to complete projects on time?
Talking about online support we could have some training tools that are required for a particular research area like “I am very much into python or something so I can quickly get some online tools or online help as more importantly, we can have intellectual support like we can have a forum, where I can discuss my problems or ask for help. As sometime researcher have different mindsets as I see a problem from my mindset, but it is required to see that same problem from a different viewpoint so its essential to have a research group online where we can discuss a problem as it may help in thinking from another side. Also, we can test some of the researchers or solutions online with a group of people who don’t know about the problem or a solution like a sort of intellectual support. Aforementioned is mainly required, also about publications or conferences we can share I am going to a conference, or I can share my papers online so that it can be reviewed by some peer groups so that when I send to the conference, then it is more enhanced or enriched.
Question : Research is a lonely journey, So with which hobby do you relate to your research?
As I look at hobby when I get a break from machine learning. As a research mind is always 24/7 working, so when we are off for a break but still the brain is trained to think for the problem we are solving. I like writing and reading the most, so have a blog also where I write short stories depending upon the taste of the audience. I try to read the most about machine learning and its new techniques. So it’s just about reading casually to get to know more about machine learning.
Question : Do you research alone or prefer collaboration? Please suggest some tips for online collaborations.
To be honest, today’s world, no researcher can work all alone for a project or problem. So it is preferable to work in collaboration where you have specialties and have different viewpoints to discuss something and get new ideas out of it. Also, it is challenging to be present offline with all the people whom you want to be connected, so definitely every project should be on a collaboration basis. So, If I want to be connected with a person in another part of the world, I can’t wait for a time when we both will be together to discuss a problem or a solution. Therefore, it’s better to be connected online with that person. Personally best to work online and give new ideas, criticize someone’s viewpoints, and also discuss to have a better perspective. More importantly, you don’t have limitations of distance, day, and night working online.