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  • Writer's pictureSubalalitha Navaneethakrishnan

My Professional Journey in 2021

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Badly wanted a break and I feel these days taking a break is only our choice. The tasks and their deadlines seem to be never ending and if break is not chosen, you will never see it forever 😊. Nevertheless, being busy in profession is actually good, if and only if all dimensions of life are rightly balanced! I have been thinking of writing about how 2021 was on my professional journey, for long time and at last I chose today to write it on my tech blog ! My way of taking a break 😊

This year has been a wonderful year . I taught “Artificial Intelligence” for B.Tech , “Machine Learning” for PhD students last semester and for this semester, I am teaching “Natural Language Processing” for M.Tech and PhD students and “Pattern Recognition” is a direct study course being taught to my own PhD scholar but since she is taking NLP with me and Machine learning from other faculty, pattern recognition did not play much role this sem. Only thing I am not happy about is that, I am the mentor of NLP NPTEL course for BTech, but I cannot teach. It is a MOOC course. Students will take the NPTEL course online and I just need to monitor them. I don’t know why I even I chose this option. I missed to notice the course code during my subject option. Usually course codes start with “20CS” and this started with “NO” and it looked so fancy and I chose It. I messed things up! I would have felt better if I had taught NLP that was offered in our own department. Will sort out these mistakes in my next semester!

As a PhD supervisor, this year has been so productive. Since 4 out of my 6 PhD students are Part Time Internal, meaning, they are faculty of our department, they had to wind up their PhD by 2021 as per UGC norms. It was squeezing heavily to correct their research papers continuously and I ended up with spondylitis 😊 but feeling so satisfied today to see their works published in good journals and conferences and this December 28th my first PhD scholar will graduate. The rest three are too done with their synopsis but will graduate by next semester. Thanks to UGC for extending the deadline! This is one of the amazing things for what I feel good about myself 😊 .

Was able to mentor four projects collaborated with “Samsung research Institute, Bangalore” this year through their Samsung Prism scheme by which they collaborate with academic institutions. Talking with Industry experts gives a lot of insights and in a way that also builds my confidence. Last year, we did “handwriting recognition” with them, and it won the “project of excellence”. This time also hoping to get the same. I learnt a lot from my student team also through these projects. The team spirit they showed was awesome! This is the perk you get from teaching profession. You will feel so young mentally forever as you are mostly conversing with teens 😊

One good thing Covid pandemic did to me was, “ The opportunity to travel across the globe virtually to give talks and hands on session”. Total of 14 Invited talks and hands on sessions have been given this year. I always accept these requests, no matter it is a paid or an unpaid invite. I force myself to study a lot through these talks and it has given a lot of confidence in return! Thanks to all those who trusted me and gave the opportunity. Someone’s trust matters a lot in life, and all my progress has happened just because someone has trusted me at some point in my life. Details of the talks are here.

Whenever I felt I am idle, I trusted myself and gave myself some opportunity 😊. I uploaded few videos on “Reinforcement Learning” on my YouTube channel but could not do much. The thank you messages that I get from strangers through YouTube makes me smile and that is one of the best feelings that I ever experience. The YouTube platform was the one that gave me confidence to express my understanding towards a topic in a public forum.

The things that I learnt from my Dravidian research team is huge. Across the globe we formed a team to do research on Dravidian languages. Thanks to Bharathi from University of Ireland, Galway for forming this team. And thanks to all my team members for shaping me. Right from tagging, writing papers , conducting shared tasks, I learnt a lot. Though it feels so squeezing to handle this amidst already going busy life, somehow managing to be active because the technical updates should somehow keep reaching you and this team definitely updates me with the state of the art approaches in NLP. Here is our official website.

And finally, it is time reveal the new venture that myself and my husband, Selva started this year. Pulling out another dimension from me as a Founder & Director of “FirstLangauge Technologies Private Limited”. We will be going live soon. Though Selva is not officially involved, he is the complete man behind. His expertise on “Web development” and my “NLP research experience” has been put together to build this company. Thanks to Muthu Annamalai sir from US (a well-wisher and a Tamil computing expert I got through twitter), my Anna university friends, Radha Krishnan and Ganesh and my SRM friends, Karthi and Saarthak for testing our products . A huge thanks to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and “Datadog ” for supporting start-ups. A big thanks to SRM, my employer, for encouraging faculty to start start-ups.

I always listen to this song from the Tamil film, “Maara” every morning, soon after I board my college bus. I just love these lines from the song.

அலைவார் அவர் எல்லாம் தொலைவார் வசனம் தவறு .

அலைவார் அவர் தானே அடைவார் .

அவர் அடையும் புதையல் பெரிது

Translation : Those who search get lost . No, the statement is wrong. Those who search only seek . The treasure that they find is huge. (Hope it is a decent translation 😊) Here is the link to song ,

No matter the treasure is huge/less , it always feels good to search. Hope things go in the right direction. let's see how it goes 😊

Good luck to you for a fantastic year ahead and good luck to us too 😊

Thanks for reading!


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