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Software Campus experience in the DIMA group – An interview with Rudi Poepsel Lemaitre

How did you come to learn about the Software Campus executive development program?


I first became aware of the Software Campus program after I successfully defended my bachelor’s thesis at DIMA. That is when Juan Soto and Prof. Volker Markl suggested me to apply for the Software Campus program as a master student. There were already a few Ph.D. DIMA students who successfully took part in this program. However, I was the first master student of the TU Berlin who managed his own Software Campus project.

What are you currently working (or did you work) on in your Software Campus funded project?

I always had a big interest in scalable systems and how it could be possible to adapt new processing algorithms to them. When I selected Martin Kiefer as my advisor, who is also a former Software Campus participant, he presented to me a family of data summarization algorithms called synopses. Then we came up with the idea of efficiently integrating them into dataflow engines like Apache Flink or Spark for stream processing. We created a new system called Condor, which is a system facilitating the specification of synopsis-based streaming jobs on top of general dataflow systems. It enables users to create different approximate streaming analytic applications with a vast variety of synopses while hiding all internal processing details from users.

What was your experience throughout the entire process from proposal preparation to project finalization?

Managing my research project was by far the biggest responsibility I ever had. To be a master student and be able of converting your own ideas into a big project was a great opportunity. There were also big challenges that helped me learn and improve important soft skills that one usually doesn’t get in the university, such as management and leadership. This is also a result of the contact with the Software Campus industry partners. As a Software Campus participant, you need to be part of six management seminars held by these industry partners. These coaching seminars give you the unique opportunity to learn from the biggest IT-companies from the whole of Germany, and at the same time get to know other Software Campus participants. 

How did DIMA support you in your success with Software Campus?

The DIMA group has supported me since the very beginning. As I mentioned before, it was a great advantage to have former Ph.D. students that already did the application and managed their project. My advisor Martin Kiefer as also Dr. Jonas Traub helped me during the application process. Then, after I was accepted it wasn’t an easy task to find other students, I could hire for my project. However, Juan Soto, who is the DIMA’s academic director, allowed me to advertise my project in his courses, which helped me find the correct students that worked with me throughout my project. But the most important support I could get was the scientific collaboration of multiple employees at DIMA, as Dr. Kaustubh Beedkar, Dr. Jorge Arnulfo Quiane Ruiz, and Philipp Grulich. I exchanged with them multiple times all my ideas, which helped me improve the fundamentals of my research. For all of these reasons, DIMA offers a great research environment.

How will your involvement in Software Campus help you in your future career?

I see the Software Campus as the perfect opportunity for a master student to grow as a professional and as a leader. I found that taking part in the Software Campus program has helped me see the bigger picture and deal with important management responsibilities, which is something that the industry in Germany and the whole world requires of new IT-professionals for the future. After this experience, I see myself better prepared for the future with new hard and soft skills that I was able to improve during this program. I also want to highlight that I have learned during my project how to lead and motivate my team to reach our goals throughout the cooperation. Besides, the contacts I was able to make will be very useful for future collaborations. In conclusion, I can say that I enjoyed managing my research project, and I can only motivate other students to join participating in the Software Campus program.

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