Women in Tech: Interview with Petra Svobodová, research assistant at IT4Innovations

Women in Tech Interview Petra Svobodova

Petra Svobodová studied Information Technology at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, where she obtained a master’s degree with a focus on computer vision and machine learning. Fascinated by the transformative power of image processing, she decided to pursue doctoral studies in this field and is currently finishing her Ph.D. Petra works as a research assistant at IT4Innovations, developing a tool for medical data processing and 3D model reconstruction, utilising HPC to accelerate deep learning tasks. She encourages young women to explore IT and HPC, as it offers immense opportunities and global experiences.

Petra, how did you become interested in computer science and high-performance computing? 

I studied Information Technology at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, where I obtained a masters degree. My field of study is focused on computer vision and machine learning. I was amazed at the magic that can be done with image processing! You can analyse an image using mathematical operations. You can play with pixels and see stunning results, such as object detection or recognition of human faces. That is why I decided to continue my doctoral studies in this area. These days I am finishing my Ph.D. studies.

We can find applications for HPC technology in almost any industry, giving students a wide range of opportunities to choose an interesting field for their future career, be it medicine, space technology, engineering, finance, or research… Please tell us about your current project and how you use the HPC?

I work as a research assistant at the Infrastructure Research Lab (Visualization and Virtual Reality Labs) at IT4Innovations, which is part of the VSB – Technical University of Ostrava. We are developing a tool for medical data processing and 3D model reconstruction. Our goal is the segmentation of livers and hepatic veins from the CT (computed tomography) scans of the human body. Since our approach is based on deep learning, training neural networks can be time-consuming. But we are lucky as we can use IT4Innovations supercomputers to accelerate computing.

What does your typical working day look like, and how does HPC help solve the issues and challenges you face at your job? 

Our team has regular meetings every week. We discuss what tasks we solved and the challenges for next week. We program in Python or C++ using the Tensorflow or PyTorch libraries. It would be difficult to experiment with neural networks and not have available powerful HPC performance.

What is it like to be a woman scientist in a technical field?

Being a woman scientist is exciting! And working in science and research is varied: we write research papers and present achieved results at international conferences.

EUmaster4HPC students gain practical experience quickly through internships in industry and supercomputing centres. Can you tell us about any internships you have participated in and how they have influenced your career?

I had the opportunity to participate in an internship at the Computer Vision Lab at the Technical University of Vienna. I really enjoyed my stay there. I practiced foreign languages and met a lot of amazing people. I also learned new knowledge related to my research area. I recommend everyone to try an internship abroad.

What inspiring advice would you give young women interested in a technical career?

Studying IT and HPC brings you freedom. You can travel around the world, participate in interesting projects and be part of a great HPC community.