Friday, June 26, 2015

Five years at CVUT

I celebrate a five years anniversary at the CVUT Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The academic year 2014/15 is ending and this is an opportunity to a little summary.

I have left Google five years ago and joined the CVUT FEL. That time the startups movement was flourishing in Czechia and I had started the eClub as a platform helping the student’s startups. The idea was to inspire students and show them different career options. I have organized numerous motivational presentations and meetings with successful entrepreneurs. Especially at the beginning I was happy to attract crowds of students. However, after some time I have realized that there are many more students who are interested in doing something real, but do not want to be involved in business.

Beside the entrepreneurial activities my main job was teaching. I was giving classes in the Internet Applications Development and the last two years also the Big Data courses. I have met many great students interested in the latest technology as well as in math and programming. I also was excited to guide many MSc and BSc students and helping them with theses projects. I am also coaching many PhD students, but over the years I have met only a minimum number of students who had created a startup.

Not too many, startups is it strange? Here are some reasons: the PhD’s are attracted by research and theoretical work. MSc and BSc students are very busy to complete all the school exercises. I would say the more responsible students with better grades the less they are tempted by startups. In between many new accelerators and incubators are attracting the students team and are helping them to start the entrepreneurial carrier.

Al in all these reasons led me to slight modification of the original eClub idea and I have organized the first eClub Summer Camp (ESC) last year. I simply created a web page inviting students to join us working on industrial projects during the summer. I was surprised, I have found students interest to work with the Cloud Computing Center (3C) team. The results were also very good and students were happy. Many students work with us till today.

We start this year again with a new round the ESC 2015. Our focus is again on Big Data, Analytics and Mobile. Since last year we  have also gained a great support from the industry. We acquired great partners Seznam.cz, AVAST, Alza, Jablotron, Altron, Certicon etc. who are helping us with scholarships. The money is great but the most important is they are asking us to solve real problems. For each problem we get a mentor, a company employee and on top of that we get the real data. This is essential for our machine learning and AI research. There is no better data than more data.

Another big step ahead for eClub is the new offices space we have opened at the beginning of this year. Certicon one of our partners is kindly sponsoring the rent.

Cloud Computing Center (3C) is my group at the CVUT FEL researching the same field as eClub. Here are concentrated all the PhD's, here you can find the latest MSc a nd BSC projects. The eClub is very complementary to the 3C research activities and this is giving us many opportunities for research as well as for teaching. There is a great correlation between the 3C and eClub projects. Many eClubbers continue working with PhD students in research or on their theses. The Summer Camp became a good selection for finding talented students. I believe, that the eClub Summer Camp is complementary and there are not too many opportunities of this type for students. eClub is filling this gap.

I am also not forgetting about the startups. Certainly, teams interested in building a startup will be welcomed in eClub. I am volunteering as a mentor in several incubators and I am trying to follow the whole landscape of new high tech companies. I hope, some of the eClubbers will became great researchers as well as entrepreneurs in the future.

If you still want to join us, check our web pages. Stay tuned an follow me, I will try to report about projects and progress too.

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