Patrick Huber

Data-driven Discourse Prediction using Distant Supervision
Giuseppe Carenini

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Ever since I started my undergraduate studies, I was intrigued by the opportunities of a Ph.D. degree. I wanted to dedicate an extended time-span to an open problem that I am genuinely curious about, with the chance to potentially have a positive impact on the world. I also saw a graduate degree as an opportunity for personal growth.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

During my Master's degree in Germany, I got the chance to come to Vancouver for an 8-month internship at SAP. Interacting with students and alumni from UBC and learning about the research opportunities, I realized a great potential fit. The strong group of renowned researchers in the fields of Machine-Learning and NLP made UBC the ideal place to start my Ph.D. at.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

The Computer Science Ph.D. program at UBC allows me to focus on my research interests in an open, passionate and supportive environment, working together with many renowned scientists.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I was and still am impressed by the friendly, outgoing and open community at UBC and in Vancouver. People are open-minded and always willing to help out a stranger.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I enjoy working with all the brilliant people at UBC. I learn something new every day through many discussions on the latest research topics and conversations with peers.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

Research efforts and industry applications focusing on Machine-Learning and NLP are developing at breakneck speed. Keeping up with this pace and being able to understand, apply and adopt new and upcoming computational models and algorithms is a major skill that will be required for a successful career in academia and industry.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

The UBC Computer Science graduate program is tailored to meet future requirements of academia and industry. It is focused on communicating essential skills required for a successful career, including a broad education on general concepts as well as a deep understanding of past and present methodologies. With close connections to the global research community and industry partners, the UBC Computer Science program allows for manifold collaborations across the globe.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

There are mainly two aspects that prepared me for my graduate studies at UBC. First, the diverse set of lectures I attended during my Bachelor's and Master's degree, helping me to find the research topic I am most passionate about. Secondly, my prior work experiences, teaching me time-management, prioritization and how to effectively work in a professional environment.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I love to explore the many small coffee shops and unique craft breweries around the Vancouver area. I enjoy running along the downtown seawall on a sunny day or hike one of the many mountains surrounding the city. In the winter, I like to go snowboarding on local mountains or in Whistler.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Don't be afraid. Get out there and meet new people, make friends and embrace your time as a graduate student at UBC.