April 7, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
Last year, Ms. Smrithi Rekha, from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Coimbatore proceeded to University of L’Aquila, Italy as part of a Young Indian Researcher Mobility to Italy program sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR).
Now having completed six months abroad, Ms. Smrithi wrote in, sharing her experiences and learning at the Italian University. The account below is in her own words.
The Software Architecture research team at L’Aquila is world renowned and has some of the finest researchers who have collaborations with many universities around the globe. There is so much that I have learnt from them. Working with them has helped me understand several aspects of research, right from exploring the basics of a topic to applying advance concepts.
Currently I am working with Dr. Henry Muccini on Software Architecture Based Testing and focusing on Design Decisions. This pertains to the recording of decisions taken while designing software. I am also working on Product Lines i.e. families of software products.
In March, I traveled to Pisa, Italy to participate in a workshop on Software Architecture Based Testing, organized in collaboration with Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Melon. There I met leading researchers working on this topic, who all participated by invitation. They sat together in teams, to attempt solving problems faced by industry in architecture-based design and testing of software.
Each team proposed interesting research questions and solutions. It was a rare opportunity to be part of this workshop. Moreover Pisa was an amazing place to visit; it had Italy’s finest cuisine.
At the workshop I observed that these researchers were in constant touch with each other, met frequently at conferences, discussed current topics of interests and other things such as possible student exchanges. Their relationship was not just official, they knew each other’s families as well.
I propose to continue working on this topic after my return to India and inspire students and especially girls, to take up higher studies and research in Software Engineering/Architecture, which is now the backbone of leading software companies.
I have discussed this idea of “Women in Computing” with Prof. Poala Inverardi, Head of Computer Science Department here. The Department of Computer Science at University of L’Aquila, Italy has dedicated researchers and I consider it my privilege to be working with them.
Coming here on the MIUR exchange program has been an opportunity for holistic development for me. This being the first time away from home, since childhood, has helped me know myself better, both my strengths and weaknesses. With no other Indians around, I am pretty much on my own here.
I spend the evenings jogging, practicing yoga and meditation. During the weekends I watch movies, draw, practice Carnatic music and read books. I have learnt to cook a couple of Italian vegetarian dishes as well.
There has never been a day, since I came here, that I have not been inspired by the mountains, flora and the people of L’Aquila. Thanks to my colleagues at Amrita and my family members who made this possible for me.
And above all, my gratitude to our Chancellor Amma, who inspires me everyday though I am so far away from home.