Articles and Annual Reports of FI Association of Industrial Partners
Association of Industrial Partners at the Faculty of Informatics MU – 15 years of support of joint cooperation of companies, student researchers and researchers to reach common goals.Barbora Bühnová, Dorota Jůvová, Renata Vévodová and Eva Matějková, April 12, 2021
The Association of Industrial Partners (AIP FI MU) has been operating at the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University for 15 years and since its inception it has grown to the current number of 27 actively cooperating companies. AIP is an active platform, thanks to which a number of activities has taken place. The main goal has been to involve academics and students of all levels of study in cooperation with industry. Thus, students can further develop and evaluate their theoretical knowledge in the corporate environment, either in the form of a final thesis, internship or involvement in projects within the cooperation of the company with faculty research laboratories. All partners at the level of strategic partnership also participate in the joint supervision of doctoral students and related joint research.
In terms of cooperation, year 2020 was another successful year.
As part of joint activities, 97 final theses have been successfully finished in cooperation with AIP companies last year. The activities also included a competition for the best bachelor’s/master’s thesis in the field of IT security and applied cryptography, with the participation of Red Hat Czech, Invasys, and Y Soft. Although the topic of security is common in multiple cooperating companies, it is only one of many. For example, the strategic partner Konica Minolta, cooperates with students of all levels and study programs on topics applicable in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and semantic technologies. The strategic partner Red Hat Czech, covers a wide range of topics and is the leading partner in a number of supervised theses. For many companies, the final theses also contribute to research and innovation in the company. One example is the Flowmon Networks company, where bachelor theses often grow into internships focusing directly on the innovative solutions within the company. In general, the theses developed in cooperation are highly regarded in terms of quality and some of them have been awarded the Dean's Award. Last year this was the case for theses completed in cooperation with companies Konica Minolta a Wereldo.com.
Another successful activity is the Competition for talented students at FI, which is primarily intended for students of the 2nd and 3rd semesters of bachelor studies, and is held once a year. The format of the competition is limited to 24 hours, when students solve tasks in the assignments jointly designed by FI laboratories together with companies from AIP. The reward for successful sudents is the opportunity to obtain a research position in one of the participating laboratories with a company scholarship, and contribute to the collaboration of the two. In 2020, Red Hat Czech, Lexical Computing, Monet+, Y Soft, and Flowmon Networks took part in the competition.
Projects in applied research have started in recent years and continued in 2020. Red Hat Czech. continued in works in TAČR AUFOVER project, together with Honeywell. Konica Minolta participating in the research of Hien Thi Ha, our PhD student, in the field of text and data mining techniques for scanned documents and delivery e.g. in form of reference datasets. TAČR – AHISTO is also an interesting project (historical sources available) in cooperation with Lexical Computing company. We should definitely mention Monet+ and their “Secure Multi-Party Protocols, Cryptographic smartcards”, or Y Soft in TAČR 3D printing project. Flowmon Networks has been involved in the projects of the National Center for Cyber Security and a TAČR project focusing on operation monitoring in the public cloud environment. VF cooperates in a TAČR Trend project – “Integrated spectrometric system for free release of radioactive waste into the environment”. The project “Optimization of freight transport in reliance to market prices” continues with Wereldo.com
An important element in AIP's activities is Day with Industrial Partners which takes place directly at the Faculty of Informatics twice a year. The main goal of the event is to give students the opportunity to get acquainted with the companies cooperating within AIP, to learn more about cooperation, conditions, goals and opportunities to actively benefit from the cooperation. This year for the first time this traditional event unconventionally took place entirely online in a new format. The organizers resorted to this format due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision was taken after a discussion whether to even organize the event and how to make it happen. The online format, which was eventually agreed on posed a great challenge to the team. The format was however welcomed by the company representatives, who thankfully actively cooperated and supported the event. It turned out to be a great success, which was apparent in the high number of participants and positive feedback.
The COVID-19 restrictions fortunately did not substantially limit the teaching process and the majority of the companies participated in lectures and seminars.
|Comapany:||Participation in lectures:|
|Invasys||PA018, PV079, PV204, PV157|
|Konica Minolta||PV173, IA161, PA153|
|Lexical Computing||IA161, PA153|
|Red Hat Czech||PV080, PB173, PV204, PV181, PV278, PA200|
|IBM||PA181, PA200, PV203|
|Trusted Network Solutions||PA018|
In 2020, there was an increase in the number of sponsored PhD positions by AIP's strategic partners. In this form of joint advisory of doctoral students in cooperation between FI and the companies, 13 doctoral students are now studying. The support defined in this way is the condition for a strategic partnership. However, support is also possible outside the strategic partnership within the lower categories of partnership, as in the case of Monet+ and Safetica.
None of this would be possible without the intensive interaction of cooperating companies with FI research teams and laboratories. In this respect, the Center for Research on Cryptography and Security (CRoCS), Laboratory of Software Architectures and Information Systems (Lasaris), Center for Biomedical Image Analysis (CBIA), Design and Architecture of Digital Systems Laboratory (EmLab), Natural Language Processing Centre (NLP), Sitola Research Laboratory, and Laboratory of Data Intensive Systems and Applications (DISA) are the most active ones.
Another popular contact with students is the organization of competitions and advertisements for internships for students, and job positions for graduates. It is the internships that come to the forefront of the attention of both companies and the faculty within the new study programs at FI MU, for which the internships are a mandatory part of the study. In addition, it is a welcome tool for cooperation, where students apply their knowledge in practice and at the same time get acquainted with the corporate environment. Most of the partners offer internships, however the most active partner in this regard is the IBM company, which offers internships to more than tens of students every year.
Research and teaching cooperation also has a popularizing and cultural overlap. The immensely popular FI Film Festival, held in online format, was supported financially and with prizes by Kentico Software, and Red Hat Czech. Another event of FI, the TSD conference was organized in cooperation with the Lexical Computing company.
We would like to thank all the cooperating companies and participating research laboratories for their active support and cooperation in these difficult times. We wish everyone a successful continuation of the cooperation in the future, and we look forward to emerging activities that you will hopefully appreciate as well.
Therefore, follow the FI information channels so that you do not miss these events!
Cooperation in 2019 – facts and figures
|S T R A T E G I C P A R T N E R|
|Invasys, a. s.||Supported PhD student, seven long-term internships; co-organizer of the competition for the best bachelor and master thesis in the field of IT security and applied cryptography.|
|Konica Minolta Business Solutions Czech, spol. s. r. o.||Support of student research in Bc, Mgr (BA, MA) and Ph.D. programs on topics close and applicable in the field of artificial intelligence, semantic technologies, machine learning, or data analysis.|
|Lexical Computing CZ, s. r. o.||Support of five Ph.D. students in the field of joint research. Annual participation in the competition of FI talented students.
Partner involvement in the project TAČR - AHISTO.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Lexical Computing.
|Red Hat Czech, s. r. o.||Successful supervision of bachelor and master theses. In the field of joint research, support of six Ph.D. students; joint research TAČR - AUFOVER.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Red Hat.
|P A R T N E R|
|Honeywell, spol. s. r. o.||Cooperation with laboratories which will focus on the establishment of a new IT hub – Enterprise IT. Cooperation on theses.
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - Honeywell.
|IBM Global Services Delivery Center Czech Republic, s. r. o.||Cooperation within student internships, covering wide spectrum of information technologies and services; events for students and support for the language education center and the SSME study program.|
|InQool, a. s.||Active involvement in teaching, including arrangement of lectures on development of modern user interfaces. Ongoing internships
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - InQool.
|Kentico software, s. r. o.||In addition to theses supervision, further cultivation of cooperation within the Kentico Academy – one development team created of students.
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - Kentico.
|MONET +, a. s.||Offer of internship programs and theses supervision. Support of student activities within the competition of talented students. Cooperation with the CRoCS laboratory at FI.|
|TECHNISERV, spol. s. r. o.||Involvement of a Ph.D. student in joint analyses and studies. Theses supervision, student internships and involvement in teaching.|
|Y Soft Corporation, a. s.||Support of several student competitions, participation in preparation of a joint TAČR project. Cooperation with students in development of a smart robot, computer vision and AI.
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - Y Soft.
|S M E P A R T N E R|
|Bluesoft, s. r. o.||Support of cooperation in assignment of bachelor’s and master’s theses. Student internships.|
|DAITE, s. r. o.||Cooperation on the bachelor’s and master’s theses level, projects and an active involvement in teaching.|
|ESET Reaserch Czech Republic, s. r. o.||Research cooperation with a doctoral student and in two master’s theses and a submitted project|
|Flowmon Networks, a. s.||In 2020 three bachelor’s and one master’s thesis successfully defended, internships, projects and sponsoring.
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - Flowmon Networks.
|GoodData, s. r. o.||Involvement in theses supervision and interaction with the laboratory that proposes the topics.|
|LOGEX Solution Center, s. r. o.||Collaboration on several ongoing bachelor’s theses with students in the field of data processing.
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - Logex.
|Nexa Technologies CZ, s. r. o.||Work of two interns was presented at an international company meeting and integrated in a product.|
|Novanta Česká republika, s. r. o.||Cooperation in bachelor’s and master’s theses assignment. Involvement in the PA192 Onechip Controllers course.|
|NXP SEMICONDUCTORS Czech Republic, s. r. o.||Involvement in teaching and competitions. Course preparation including hardware supply; three online lectures.|
|Safetica Technologies, s. r. o.||Cooperation on the basis of semi-annual to annual internships, sometimes combined with theses.|
|SANEZOO EUROPE, s. r. o.||Cooperation in the field of bachelor’s and master’s theses, involvement in teaching and topic contributions.|
|SEACOMP, s. r. o.||Active cooperation in the form of final theses with currently three active students.|
|TESCAN Brno, s. r. o.||Cooperation in the field of joint supervision of bachelor’s and master’s theses.
Detailed information can be found here cooperation FI - TESCAN.
|Trusted Network Solutions, a. s.||In addition to cooperation in the form of joint master’s theses advising also participation in teaching.|
|VF, a. s.||Cooperation on the joint advising of master’s and bachelor’s theses in cooperation with the EmLab laboratory at FI.|
|Wereldo.com, s. r. o.||Cooperation within AIP, supported by interesting research and a team of students, a new postdoc researcher.|
Reflections on the Day with industrial partners, autumn 2020
Barbora Bühnová, Renata Vévodová a Eva Matějková, 17. 11. 2020
On Thursday, November 12, 2020 the traditional Day with Industrial Partners was hosted by the Faculty of Informatics Masaryk University. The Day with Industrial Partners is a one-day interactive event inviting students and other interested attendees to learn more about the cooperation of the Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University (FI MU) with industry within the Association of Industrial Partners (AIP), helping them to learn more about the possibilities to get involved in the offered activities.
For the first time this traditional event was held unconventionally online, and in a new programme scheme.The online format was given by the circumstances and limitations in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was preceded with a discussion of whether and in which format to organize the event. The online format became a challenge for the organizing team. Representatives of the industrial partners were also in favor of the proposed solution, and mainly thanks to their active attitude and support, the event was deemed successful, as confirmed by the high attendance and feedback from the participants.
In addition to the online form, the new programme scheme was set which thanks to the virtual conditions gave us the opportunity to host 8 parallel workshops held by the industrial partners, accompanied with thematic Blocks as well as online “booths”. The new programme scheme was a result of previous comments and discussion on which the participants of the past event also participated.
Over 275 participants registered for the event. Among the registered participants, there were participants from the Faculty of Informatics, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Economics, local municipality, as well as the partners´ high schools.
The programme was divided into 4 main thematic Blocks, hosted at Zoom platform. We also gave the participants the opportunity to meet Partners´ representatives on online booths via Discord platform. The cherry on the cake were thematic workshops tailored by the industrial partners.
Block 1 focused on Examples of successful cooperation (from the point of view of companies and FI MU laboratories). Barbora Bühnová, Vice-Dean for Industrial Relations at the Faculty of Informatics, took over the moderating role. Václav Matyáš, Vice-Dean for Relations with Graduates and Lifelong Learning, was invited to the discussion. In this block, he spoke mainly as the head of the CRoCS laboratory, which has been working very closely and successfully with companies, not only at AIP, for many years. Jakub Pavlák from Y Soft, Zdeněk Eichler from the Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe, Pavel Minařík from Flowmon Networks and Zdeněk Matěj from the EmLab also took part. The block attracted over 80 participants who, as in all blocks, could ask their questions through sli.do platform and find out what specifically interests them, and at the same time actively structured the discussion. Students were given tips on how to engage in cooperation and develop in the topics of their interest, or how to find the topic of the final thesis, how to use the potential of the competition for talented students, or that cooperation is the result of an active student approach who is interested in opportunities. The video (in Czech) can be viewed here
Block 2 on the topic What knowledge and skills are valued in practice and students/graduates often lack received special attention - it was held as a panel discussion and from the point of view of registered participants it clearly had the highest expectations - and according to the responses 100% fulfilled. On average, 100 participants watched the block on the Zoom platform and dozens more watching via an online stream on the Faculty Facebook. Barbora Bühnová, Vice-Dean for Relations with Industry from the Faculty of Informatics, once again took over the moderating role, inviting other interesting guests such as Jiří Kůr from Invasys, Ondřej Gabrhelík from AHEAD iTec, Miloš Minařík from Safetica and Kamil Řezníček from Kentico. The discussion was lively, factual and even more interesting in not only did address the technical skills as was primarily expected, but also significantly touched on soft skills. Representatives of the companies stated that technical skills are able to train employees as needed, but the added value of the student is a new, innovative and active view of things, and the ability to work in a team, independence and communication is important. The importance of the breadth of knowledge that the university gives to students has been emphasized several times, even in the form of theoretical subjects. Given that the representatives included graduates of the Faculty of Informatics, the discussion also touched on selected subjects that students should definitely take into account, how important it is to gain minimal work experience during their studies, why not be afraid to contact industrial partners during the studies and how use the most from study and collaboration. Students were interested in the minimum knowledge that companies require, when it is appropriate to apply for a position, what amount of work and what else is expected from the company. And the information about the course of the admission procedure underlined the already loaded block of information. The video (in Czech) can be viewed here.
Block 3 was mainly engaged in the organization of internships and partly in the management of final theses. Alena Hooperová, coordinator of study internships at the Faculty of Informatics, took over the moderating role. She invited representatives from companies that actively recruit faculty interns: Matej Hrušovský from Red Hat, Filip Křivánek from SEACOMP, Lenka Stříteská from Artin and Miloš Jakubíček from Lexical Computing. And the intern Jana Applová joined them. The block was conducted in the form of a panel discussion and an average of 52 students actively participated with their questions. They were especially interested in the conditions of the internship, the requirements of the faculty and the other side of the companies. The students were also interested in the position of the intern vs. employees from a financial point of view, benefits, flexibility, opportunities for further growth. The video (in Czech) can be viewed here.
Graduates of the Faculty of Informatics were invited to Block 4 to share their story of whom went through the cooperation of FI and companies. The Block was moderated by Václav Matyáš, Vice-Dean for Relations with Graduates and Lifelong Learning, and Richard Granec ( Honeywell), Patrik Majerčík (InQool), Ivo Kulhavý (IBM) and Jaroslav Tomeček (GoodData) seconded to him with their very interesting entries. Dozens of participants also actively watched this final block. The block was characterized by excellent speakers who had something to say, their stories were engaging and, above all, real. As a part of sharing their experiences, they also significantly touched on the practical issues of what their studies at the Faculty of Informatics gave them, which also nice met with the information provided in Block 2. The video (in Czech) can be viewed here.
In addition to the Blocks, thematic workshops prepared on the industrial partners were held. Students could attend a workshop from Konica Minolta, Lexical Computing, Kentico Software, Y Soft Corporation, Flowmon Networks, Novanta and NXP Semiconductors
The students could also attend the traditional meeting with representatives of companies at the booths as they know them, although in this specific time online via the Discord platform. According to the feedback from students, very well processed, functional and active. The attendance of these online booths, where students had the opportunity to use both text chat and voice chat for contact with company representatives, had about 115 participants.
To sum up, the Day with Industrial Partners was succeeded beyond all expectations, as evident from very encouraging feedback, in which participants appreciate the "excellent technical and content quality of both moderation and performance of company representatives", praises "the entire organizational team, I think they managed it all brilliantly and prepared a great program in which there were no ill-considered things or technical or other problems". They praised a lot Block 2 with the words “Thank you very much for that. I got a lot of useful information, be sure to include it in the future. Of course, thanks to the organizers and individual representatives of companies for their willingness and pleasant demeanor.” But also other blocks, such as Block 4 with the words “Discussions with graduates who worked during my studies gave me a new motivation to continue my studies. It reminded me that work and school are far from exclusive.” And they praised the idea of workshops and online booths.
We are glad that we have once again pushed the borders of cooperation to the next level and that we learned again how great partners we have!