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Microsoft Asia Selects Korean Intern

Posted April. 21, 2006 02:59,   


“What I like the most about this program is that I can discuss and do research with world renowned scholars,” says KAIST doctoral student Lee Taek-hun, 29, who is the first Korean to be selected as an intern researcher at Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA). Lee has been participating in a joint research project at MSRA for nine months now.

He picked “one-on-one research assistance” as the greatest strength of the internship program at MSRA, located in Zhongguancun, Beijing, which is popularly known as the “Silicon Valley of China.”

Lee’s mentor is Doctor Wang Jian, 44, a renowned scholar in computer intelligence recognition and the head researcher at MSRA, whom he meets once a week to discuss his research work.

The research topic given to Lee is numerical expression recognition, which is to make computers recognize complex numerical formulas written with an electronic pen. The key here is to enhance computer recognition levels to allow them to read scribbled handwriting.

He said he produced results that can be commercialized immediately, but could not reveal it due to MSRA’s internal policies. What encouraged him to reap such fruitful result just within nine months was the favorable environment at MSRA. He says the same research would have taken him at least two to three years in Korea.

Impressed with Lee’s performance, MSRA plans to invite ten to fifteen Korean researchers to its internship program starting this summer.

Established in November 1998, MSRA currently has about 200 researchers. Over the past eight years, about 500 theses written by its IT researchers were published in magazines of authority. In particular, MSRA excels Microsoft Research (MSR) in the U.S. headquarters in the field of artificial intelligence.

Microsoft is running six-month to one-year internship programs to broaden its research base. Currently, 200 doctoral students from countries around the world are participating in the program.

Jong-Dae Ha orionha@donga.com