This summer, my research partner and I participated on several projects under the mentorship of Professor David Hsu. Each of our data-centric projects were centered around data processing and algorithm design/creation. Our first project studied whether the introduction of direct flights between distant R&D centers increased cross border collaboration, and potentially one step further, increased the patent qualities. Through this particular project, I learned a handful of technical skills, such as Python data processing, as well as the critical problem solving needed to design and execute a study. Our second project aimed to improve on a data set collected by The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). That is, they have a subsection of their data which details the number of science-backed ventures created by a university in a given year. However, since this information is provided by the universities themselves, there may be inaccuracies. Our project aimed to improve the data by pulling it directly from the research papers. Unfortunately, this required us to match university data between Microsoft Academic Graph and AUTM, prompting us to create our own university matching algorithm through string matching, location matching, and REST location APIs (provided by Microsoft and Google). This particular project further solidified by Python skills and introduced new skills in REST APIs and heuristic analysis. Finally, for our third project, we worked alongside Professor Hsu’s research partners to run a genetic algorithm on Wharton’s High-Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC). Using the HPCC had a steep learning curve, for it lacked an intuitive graphical user interface. Everything had to be done on a Linux command-line environment, and tasks were executed from a shell script. We had to learn both of those skills before we were even able to run our test tasks.
All in all, from this summer research project, I was able to learn a wealth of computer-related skills from real-life applications outside the classroom - an invaluable experience.