Treading new ground with coding

London raised, Stockholm based, spending the summer working with the cognitive automation lab team at Ericsson Research – meet Patrik Amethier, who recently finished his third year of the Engineering Physics Master of Science program at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Students from many different fields join Ericsson Research for internships or thesis work. You could be next. Follow our blog to learn about the students at Ericsson Research this summer.

My work experience at Ericsson

Early on during the internship, my supervisor – an experienced AI researcher, who focuses specifically on knowledge representation and visualization – pedagogically introduced me to his field. I was fresh to these areas of study when I started, and it was exciting as well as slightly daunting to sink my teeth into something completely new. In many ways it reminded me of the feeling I get whenever I start a new course at KTH – mild terror combined with a quiet confidence I’ll work it out eventually.

Height-adjustable desks at Ericsson – great for posture!

The start of the summer involved quite a bit of reading. I learnt about the general idea behind knowledge representation, which is the designing and application of different kinds of ‘frameworks’ or languages to try to capture and manage information about the world. The goal is generally to improve interactions between software/machines and to give them ways of conveying ‘meaning’. One approach is the RDF model, which is a data model based on expressing information in the form of so-called ‘triplets’. A triplet consists of a subject, an object, and a predicate that links the two together. An example could be “Patrik works at Ericsson’. The object of this triplet is “Ericsson”, but another triplet could be “Ericsson employs engineers”. We see here how Ericsson can be an object to one triplet and a subject to another.

My personal project this summer has been to write code that allows one to interact with servers that contain quite large amounts of information in the form of very many of these triplets, and to develop an interactive, visual interface tool that may allow other researchers to modify triplets as well as see how they link to each other. I have been developing the interface in HTML and Javascript, which were new to me when I started, although my coding experience from courses and projects at KTH helped me to pick them up.

From university studies to Ericsson Research

At my university, we are usually assigned a couple of new courses every two or three months, and deadlines for when they should be completed in the form of an exam date. New courses in physics and math generally tend to have a few pre-requisite courses, for good reason. For example, when you read in a physics textbook that the values of an observable in quantum physics – such as momentum – correspond to the eigenvalues of the eigenvector of that observable’s operator, it’s nice to have read a course in linear algebra so you know what words like eigenvalue, eigenvector and operator mean. Although to be honest, unless the prerequisite courses were taken very recently, you probably won’t remember exactly what those words mean, but rather you’ll feel a general sense of calm that you once understood exactly what those words meant. If you realize after a couple more pages of reading that that sentence was very important, you can simply flip open the linear algebra book and refresh your memory.

Striking up a conversation with a fellow intern whilst enjoying a fresh brew

This summer, I have realized that this kind of process is highly applicable to work outside of school and specifically my work here at Ericsson. Continuously I find myself making assessments in terms of picking out what I need to understand, what to not waste time on and what to just get on with. Which tasks/mini-problems to solve quickly, and which ones to really think through. There are some differences though. I feel more of an adrenaline rush writing code here at Ericsson than I would working on a computer science project at school – in a good way. The interactive visualization tool that I am developing is an approach that to my knowledge has not been explored before, and the feeling of treading new ground is satisfying. There’s also an openness to my project here at Ericsson which differs to many of the assignments at school, which tend to arrive to students already broken down and segmented. This creates a refreshing sense of freedom, but it also puts pressure on me to set my own smaller task goals and to manage my time as effectively as possible.

Who am I

I grew up in London, England and moved to Sweden when I was sixteen. Going into my remaining two years of my University studies, I have chosen Applied Mathematics as my master’s program.

When I have time-off I enjoy trying to win against my twin brother at golf and hanging out with friends and family. When I was younger I competed in some sports but a few injuries drained energy from my studies so I decided to stop playing around the time I started at KTH. One of my personal goals in life is to learn as many different languages as possible; I have studied French, Spanish, Russian, Ancient Greek and Latin at school, and I plan on doing some exchange semesters during my remaining years at KTH to improve my proficiency in them. It’s not easy finding people who want to speak Latin and Ancient Greek with me though. I guess I’ll just have to hope that Ericsson Research comes out with a time-machine in the near future.

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