Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Naman Paharia | Electrical Engineering

Kyoto University, Japan

Research Area: Natural Language Processing

1. What was your research topic?
I worked at The Graduate School of Informatics under professor Adam Jatowt who was working in the field of Computer Linguistics, and we worked for summarizing the temporal semantic changes in the multi-document collection. I had prior experience in NLP, thus working in lexical semantics aligned with my interest area.

2. How did you apply for your FT?
I applied on the IR Cell FTP portal. Then I had to write a cover letter and attach my CV along with it.

3. Why do you think FT is essential?
FT is essential as it gives you an opportunity to explore the area of interest and will usually result in a publication which will have a huge impact on the CV. It also gives you an opportunity to explore a foreign university and its culture.

4. From where did you get the motivation? How did it all start?
I developed interest in machine learning during first year summer break, and pursued the same during second year. I took multiple projects under the CSE department and found NLP Computer Linguistics intriguing. I also participated in multiple data science competitions, so it built my interest in ml and nlp, which motivated me to apply for a foreign research internship.

5. How did you handle the preparations with your academics?
My internship started after the spring semester ended, so there was no academic pressure. The professor was very cooperative when I asked him for a one month leave as I needed it to prepare for the CDC. I continued the work after. So in general summer interns are not affected by academics.

6. What was the role of CG?
CG does play a role when applying for research interns but the deciding factor while selecting interns would be your CV and previous experience along with the willingness to work on that certain topic as mentioned in your cover letter.

7. Did you do any similar projects in KGP?
Yes, I worked on a shared task with similar PS for EMNLP and there are multiple professors and labs(CNERG) in KGP who work in text summarization and accept undergrad for research projects.

8. How did your college manage this COVID-19?
There was no involvement of IIT KGP during my internship.

9. So, the pandemic didn’t affect you in any way?
No, my internship was finalized after the pandemic started, so it didn’t affect me much and there was no need to be present in kyoto as all the work can be done through remote servers.

10. What advice would you like to give to fellow KGPians who aspire for FTs?
Firstly, have a basic working knowledge of all the fundamental concepts in your field of interest. Try to complete MOOCs, Stanford courses are recommended for ml, cv or nlp. Start participating in competitions, college level or kaggle, it will help in improving the implementation skills and will also help to build your resume. Secondly, you can take part in conferences. You can do shared tasks which are very similar to competitions but result in a paper :). Getting a research paper is valued a lot in this industry, which I can say from my personal experience. Sometimes a research paper is more valuable than a corporate internship.