Computing Research in Industry
Computation is in the process of transforming all areas of a business, from the way work gets done to the products and services that are created. As a result, companies are increasingly investing in fundamental computer science research in support of their strategic goals.
In this roundtable, CRA-Industry convened computing research partners across academia, industry, and government to look at what it means to do computing research in an industrial setting. Panelists described how research is conducted in their organizations, highlighting how problems are selected, how research is incentivized, and how results have internal and external impact. They also discussed some of the key differences of doing research in an industrial setting compared with an academic setting, and shared ideas for how universities might best prepare their students for a career in industrial research.
Lisa Amini is the Director of IBM Research Cambridge, which is home to the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, and of IBM’s AI Horizons Network. She also leads IBM’s AI Automation and Scaling Research efforts globally and is an IBM Distinguished Engineer. Amini was previously Director of Knowledge & Reasoning Research in the Cognitive Computing group at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in New York. She was also the founding Director of IBM Research Ireland, and the first woman Lab Director for an IBM Research Global (i.e., non-US) Lab (2010-2013). In this role, Amini developed the strategy and led researchers in advancing science and technology for intelligent urban and environmental systems (Smarter Cities), with a focus on creating analytics, optimizations, and systems for sustainable energy, constrained resources (e.g., urban water management), transportation, and the linked open data systems that assimilate and share data and models for these domains.
Previously, Amini was Senior Manager of the Exploratory Stream Processing Research Group at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center. She was the founding Chief Architect for IBM’s InfoSphere Streams product. The Streams product is the result of a Research technology, System S, for which Amini was also the architectural lead from inception. Streams is a software platform for continuous, high throughput, and low latency mining of intelligence from massive amounts of sensor and other machine generated data. She also led her team in formative Smarter Planet/Cities pilots analyzing real-time data for cyber security, manufacturing, telecom, market data analysis, radio astronomy, environmental (water) monitoring, and transportation.
Ben is a Senior Research Manager in Tech Research for Spotify’s Personalization mission, leading a lab of research scientists working on personalization for Spotify search and recommendation, and helping to direct Tech Research’s overall aims and outcomes. Prior to joining Spotify in 2017, Ben was an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Delaware, where he was awarded a NSF CAREER grant to work on evaluation and experimentation of information retrieval systems. From 2019 to 2022, Ben served as elected Chair of the Executive Committee for ACM SIGIR, a special interest group of about 850 members worldwide, and prior to that served as Treasurer for the same organization, during which he founded the ACM SIGIR/SIGKDD Africa Summer School on Machine Learning for Data Mining and Search.
Jaime Teevan is Chief Scientist and Technical Fellow at Microsoft, where she is responsible for driving research-backed innovation in the company’s core products. Jaime is an advocate for finding smarter ways for people to make the most of their time and leads Microsoft’s future of work initiative, which brings researchers from across the company together to study how the pandemic has changed work. Previously she was Technical Advisor to CEO Satya Nadella and led the Productivity team at Microsoft Research. Jaime was recently inducted into the ACM SIGIR and SIGCHI Academies and has received the TR35, BECA, and Karen Spärck Jones awards. She holds a Ph.D. from MIT and a B.S. from Yale, and is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington
Manuela Veloso is Head of J.P. Morgan Chase AI Research and Herbert A. Simon University Professor Emerita at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was previously Faculty in the Computer Science Department and Head of the Machine Learning Department. Her recent interests are in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Symbiotic Human-Robot Autonomy, Continuous Learning Systems, and AI in Finance. She is past President of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and the co-founder and a past President of the RoboCup Federation. In her career she has received numerous awards and honors, including: National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Allen Newell Medal for Excellence in Research, Radcliffe Fellow, Einstein Chair Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the ACM/SIGART Autonomous Agents Research Award. Veloso is a Fellow of AAAI, AAAS, ACM, and IEEE. She was elected in 2022 to the National Academy of Engineering for her “contributions to artificial intelligence and its applications in robotics and the financial service industry.”