Articles and Annual Reports of FI Association of Industrial Partners
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!
Association of industrial partners of Faculty of Informatics MU has been 14 years helping students, researchers and companies to join forces in merging theory with practiceBarbora Bühnová, Renata Vévodová and Eva Matějková, April 20, 2020
The Association of Industrial Partners (AIP FI MU) has been operating at the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University for 14 years and since its inception has grown to the current 30 actively cooperating companies, which is the current capacity limit. AIP is an active platform, thanks to which a number of activities have taken place, the main goal of which is 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.
Year 2019 was in terms of cooperation, another successful year. We will be happy if you look back at it with us in a short Annual Report and in more detail in this article.
As part of joint activities, 99 final theses have been successfully finished in cooperation with AIP companies last year. The activities also included a competition for the best bachelor/master thesis in the field of IT security and applied cryptography, with the participation of InvaSys a.s., Y Soft Corporation, a.s., and Trusted Network Solutions, a.s. companies. Although the topic of security is common in multiple cooperating companies, it is only one of many. For example, the strategic partner Konica Minolta Business Solutions Czech, spol. s r. o., cooperates with students of all levels and study programs on topics close to and applicable in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and semantic technologies. The strategic partner Red Hat Czech, s.r.o., covers a wide range of topics and being the leading partner in the number of supervised theses. In 2019, Red Hat Czech successfully supervised 9 bachelor and 11 master theses. For many companies, the final theses also contribute to research and innovation in the company. An example is the Flowmon Networks, a.s. company, where bachelor theses often grow into internships focused directly on the innovation of Flowmon solutions. Last year, for example, a bachelor thesis was carried out, which led to an extension of the Flowmon solution with new features in the area of automatic product configuration based on monitoring requirements. The author is now on a long-term internship at Flowmon in the experimental development team. In general, the works prepared in cooperation are evaluated as of very high quality and some of them are awarded the Dean's Award, which was last year, for example, the case at Trusted Network Solutions, a.s., Red Hat Czech, s.r.o. or Kiwi.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 researchers is the opportunity to obtain a student position in one of the participating laboratories with a company scholarship, and contribute to the collaboration of the two. In 2019, Red Hat Czech, Konica Minolta, Lexical Computing, AHEAD, Y Soft, Flowmon Networks, Kiwi.com and others took part in the competition. Some companies support more students in this way. For example, MONET +, a.s., in 2019, supported 2 student positions in the field of secure signing using secure multipart cryptographic protocols (SMPC) in the context of mobile applications and smart cards.
An important element in AIP's activities is the 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. Just as AIP itself has evolved over the years, the Day with Industrial Partners awaits changes this year. A new format and program is prepared, which will go even further in the form of thematic blocks of cooperation and successful examples of cooperation. Workshops will be offered by some of the companies.
Events on various topics, individual lectures, workshops and community events for students take place throughout the year. Last year, for example, Red Hat Czech, Kentico Software or IBM prepared them, where Red Hat Czech and Kentico Software have their own premises ready for this purpose in the FI MU building.
Within the AIP, companies have the opportunity to participate in teaching at FI. They can provide individual lectures or full courses in cooperation with FI professors. Last year, for example, Red Hat Czech, Y Soft, IBM, InQool, Kentico, Honeywell, Novanta and others took advantage of this opportunity. The most active in this respect is the Red Hat Czech company, which last year provided invited lectures in more than six courses, and organized numerous other educational events in the Red Hat open source laboratory at the faculty. NXP Semiconductors participated in the modernization of the PV198 Onechip Controllers course, by providing new hardware and content of the course.
In 2019, there was an increase in the number of sponsored PhD positions by AIP's strategic partners. In this form of joint supervision of doctoral students in cooperation between FI and the company, 11 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 TECHNISERV, spol. s r.o., which supports a PhD student with whom they collaborate on individual analyzes and studies.
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' knowledge is applied in practice and at the same time students get acquainted with challenges faced in industry. A very active partner in this regard is theIBM Global Services Delivery Center Czech Republic, s.r.o. company, which offers internships to more than a dozen students every year. And a small R&D branch of the French company Nexa Technologies CZ s.r.o. last year involved three trainees, to whom they were able to prepare an individual assignment of the problem, which the trainees were able to successfully solve according to their time possibilities and the time dedicated to the internship.
In addition to research and teaching cooperation, the cooperation also has a popularization and cultural overlap. The very popular FI Film Festival was supported by Flowmon Networks as a general sponsor. Financial support was also provided by Kentico Software, 24i Media, Red Hat Czech. Kiwi.com provided the festival with prizes. Honeywell, Kentico, Seacomp, 24i Media have actively helped to popularize science within the Science Night program. Mycroft Mind, 24i Media, Honeywell, AHEAD iTec contributed to attracting new applicants to FI by engaging in the program during the FI Open Days. We are very pleased with the long-term positive relationship of Petr Palas with his alma mater. Petr Palas is a FI graduate and the founder of Kentico, who also supported the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of FI, when he liven up Alumni Day with his lecture.
We would like to thank all the cooperating companies and participating research laboratories. We wish everyone a successful continuation of the cooperation in the future, and we look forward to emerging activities that you can look forward to.
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, 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.||Direct cooperation with students of Bc, Mgr and Ph.D. programs on topics close and applicable in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, semantic technologies.|
|Lexical Computing CZ s.r.o.||Support of 5 Ph.D. students in the fiel of joint research. Annual participation in the
Competition of FI talented students.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Lexical Computing.
|Red Hat Czech, s.r.o.||Successful supervision of 9 bachelor's and 11 diploma theses. In the field of joint research, support of 3 Ph.D. students. The first year of work on the joint TAČR
grant AUFOVER has been completed.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Red Hat.
|P A R T N E R|
|Honeywell, spol. s r.o.||Successfully defended 4 diploma theses. Cooperation in the field of research on AMASS (EU ECSEL) project and the joint TACR grant AUFOVER.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Honeywell.
|IBM Global Services Delivery Center Czech Republic, s.r.o.||Cooperation on the basis of student internships, events for students and support for the language education center and the SSME field of study.|
|InQool a.s.||Active involvement in teaching, including the provision of lectures in teaching the development of modern user interfaces.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - InQool.
|Kentico software s.r.o.||In addition to thesis supervision, Kentico Academy is a popular way of practical education among students. Kentico is also a partner of the FI film festival.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Kentico.
|MONET +, a.s.||MONET + supports the activity of students in the competition of talented students and cooperates with the CRoCS laboratory at FI.|
|TECHNISERV, spol. s r.o.||Involvement of a Ph.D. student who participates in joint analyses and studies.|
|Y Soft Corporation, a.s.||In addition to theses supervision at the Bc and Mgr level, also support for several student competitions, participation in teaching and preparation of a joint TAČR project.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Y Soft.
|S M E P A R T N E R|
|Flowmon Networks, a.s.||Supervision of final theses. The author of the jointly conducted bachelor thesis is now on a long-term internship in an experimental development team.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Flowmon Networks.
|GoodData s.r.o.||Involvement in the theses supervision and interaction with the laboratory that proposes the topics.|
|Kiwi.com s.r.o.||Active cooperation based on theses supervision, activities for students, cooperation with one student in the competition for talented bachelor students.|
|LOGEX Solution Center s.r.o.||Collaboration on several ongoing bachelor theses with students in the field of data processing.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - Logex.
|Nexa Technologies CZ s.r.o.||In addition to supervision of bachelor and master theses, there was cooperation with three interns.|
|Novanta Česká republika s.r.o.||Cooperation in the field of bachelor and master theses supervision. Involvement in the PA192 Onechip Controllers course.|
|Safetica Technologies, s.r.o.||Active supervision of about 5 final theses per year, about half of which are designed to fit the students. Cooperation on the basis of semi-annual to annual internships, sometimes combined with theses.|
|SANEZOO EUROPE s.r.o.||Newly established membership in SPP and the start of cooperation in the field of bachelor and master theses supervision.|
|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 and master theses.
More detailed information can be found on page cooperation FI - TESCAN.
|Trusted Network Solutions, a.s.||In addition to cooperation in the form of jointly conducted final theses (one diploma thesis awarded the Dean's Award) also participation in teaching.|
|Turing Technology s.r.o.||Newly established cooperation within the AIP. Collaboration on the development of a complex chatbot for communication about Turing Technology products in English.|
|VF, a.s.||Active cooperation on the joint supervision of master and bachelor theses in cooperation with the EmLab laboratory at FI.|
|Wereldo.com, s.r.o.||Very active start of cooperation within AIP, supported by interesting research and a team of 3 master students, 1 doctoral student and 1 new postdoc researcher.|