Finalist of the category: Outstanding academic
People and information technology have been coexisting for a long time, but they still need to learn to communicate better. The interaction between computers and humans should be as natural as possible, says doc. Ing. Jaroslav Porubän, PhD. from the Department of Computers and Informatics of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics of the Technical University in Košice, who, within the framework of scientific research activities, is mainly engaged in the field of software engineering.
One of the research projects he is currently working on is the development of a job interview support system based on artificial intelligence. "Apart from the fact that this tool automatically translates spoken language into the written form, we are trying to include additional algorithms capable of estimating the emotions of people being interviewed. It is a system designed especially for HR professionals, which should help them assess the characteristics of job seekers more objectively." explains Jaroslav Porubän, adding that in this case we are dealing with applied rather than basic research. Other projects he is intensively involved with, for example, include positioning systems for buildings where standard localisation methods cannot be applied.
According to him, every university professor should do research in addition to teaching. He considers it an essential requirement, because it teaches us to think rationally and it also allows us to dare to dream, which is very important in the work of a scientist. Scientific activity keeps him up to date with the current findings. It is not enough to simply copy what has already been invented, it is important to come up with new things. Young people demand it. For a teacher to be successful, he must be able to take on students' way of thinking. "For us, the student is, in a way, an immediate customer," Jaroslav Porubän believes. "I hear dozens of opinions every day that I try to understand. They are two sides of the same coin that complement each other perfectly. On the one hand, it is rational science, on the other, empathic education."
He acknowledges that there is no need to especially motivate IT students to learn. It is not so much the school’s merit, but rather the opportunities provided by the market. They know very well that if they study, they will have no problem finding employment, not only as standard programmers, but also in the field of research, where there are huge opportunities today, whether at home or abroad.
About ten percent of them are actively involved in scientific research. As Jaroslav Porubän emphasizes, it is not a problem for the department to involve them in real projects. "If a student is talented, we will make him an offer to work with us on a research activity. Because we have many students and not all of them are equally talented, sometimes it is quite difficult to choose the best ones and offer them special opportunities. It is either a form of intensive cooperation in practice, or they participate in our own projects. If we don't want to stifle their enthusiasm, it's important that these talented individuals don't get lost in the crowd."
Jaroslav Porubän considers the basic traits of scientific thinking to be important in everyday life as well. He himself cannot remember the exact moment when he became interested in science, but as he says, there is a piece of researcher in every child. If he perseveres and does not let himself be discouraged and remains curious even in adulthood, he has stepped into the career of a top scientist. Many times, it's mainly about patience, stubbornness or chance, but also about how people affect a person. "I was lucky enough to meet people who did not hesitate to show what makes them special, and did not have a problem saying if they’ve achieved something special." he concludes.