Student Perspective: IBM Brazil Intern – Shen Wang

DCU are very lucky to be partnered with IBM in offering some of our PhD students the opportunity to undertake a summer internship at the IBM Research Brazil laboratories.  In the past these prestigious internships had only been offered to students undertaking research at elite universities in the USA – and DCU is the first university outside North America to collaborate with IBM in this Scheme. 

During summer 2015 Shen Wang was lucky enough to be selected as one of two students to take up a ten week internship in the Research Brazil Labs in Rio de Janeiro. Here he tells us of his experiences during his trip to Rio de Janeiro and how it has benefited his research.

I am a 4th year PhD student in School of Electronic Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer McManis. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), my PhD project is about “smart vehicle routing”. Specifically, to alleviate annoying road congestions caused by unexpected traffic events (i.e. car crashes, unplanned parades, road maintenance, etc.), my work is to propose an efficient solution for future smart cities on guiding event-impacted vehicles to change their routes while running on the road.

My internship in IBM Research – Brazil was also relevant to “smart cities” and more specifically to the city of Rio de Janeiro. In Rio the bus service is not always reliable and routes are changed frequently due to infrastructure works, traffic violations, and special events.  During my internships I worked with Dr. Takashi Imamichi and Dr. Bruno Flach on collecting, processing, and learning the large-scale real-time GPS data of buses in Rio. We study the phenomenon of buses not following their predefined routes and proposed bus reliability metrics for city planners to improve bus services.

This internship encouraged me to think about my research problem from practical perspective. Moreover, the hands-on experiences in dealing with big data and project management skills under time constraint has been of great benefit not only to my current research but for my future career prospects.

Last but not least, I am totally impressed by the warm hospitality and passion of cariocas (the local people in Rio). With their help, I was able to fully appreciate all that Rio had to offer (Christ Redeemer, Sugar loaf, Lapa, Ipanema, Copacabana, …).  As a super fan of soccer, I played with locals and colleagues in IBM many times and watched “Fla-Flu” in the legendary Maracana stadium.

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