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Inbal Tadeski – finding an outlet for creativity at HP Labs Israel

‎03-28-2014 05:09 PM - edited ‎09-30-2015 07:02 AM

Contributed by Simon Firth, freelance technology journalist


Inbal-Tadeski_March-2014_we.jpgHP Labs researcher Inbal Tadeski didn’t really get excited about computer science until she realized how creative it could be. Growing up in her native Israel with a love of both art and mathematics, Tadeski had planned to become an architect. “Then after high school I met someone working in high-tech who persuaded me that it really could be a lot more creative than I’d thought,” she recalls. That led Tadeski to study for a B.Sc. in computer science at Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva, Israel, before working for four years as a software engineer, several of them for HP Software. She then studied for her M.Sc. in computer science, with an emphasis on machine learning, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, during which time she interned at HP Labs Israel, and where she now works.

HP: Can you tell us about your research interests?

Well, I’m really interested in a lot of different things, but in particular I’m interested in using structured data to extract important and interesting information from unstructured data. Most of the work I am doing at present is in machine learning and data mining. For example, I just finished working on a recommendation system, the kind you get on sites like iTunes or Netflix that suggest what songs or movies you might enjoy. Most of these systems work simply by finding people similar to you and then suggesting that you will like what they liked. We were looking at adding knowledge from domain experts to add some semantic learning into the recommendation algorithm – there isn’t much about doing that in the research literature, so it was very interesting to pursue. 


HP: So what are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on something very different – it’s a platform for data exploration and data explanation. When you have any large data set, like a large spreadsheet with thousands and thousands of columns and rows, you want to be able to understand it without having to read every cell. So I’m thinking about how to create quick ways to answer basic questions about the data. Say you are a sales manager and you want to know why you are losing sales in a particular market – you could use this tool to rapidly highlight relevant insights in your data that can help answer that question. 


HP: What do you find appealing about this kind of research?

What I’ve liked about both these projects is that they’ve also required thinking about the user interface and how data is visualized. I like the combination of having a challenging technical problem to solve and then having to think about how the results will be displayed.


HP: What do you like about working at HP Labs?

One thing is the variety of different areas that you get to explore here. So far I’ve worked in free text analysis, the semantic understanding of user interfaces, machine learning, and user interface design. It’s so dynamic – and you get to learn a lot. The other aspect is that you get to develop your own concepts and take them through to become demos and proofs of concept. It really is very creative.


HP: Do you have any hobbies or interests that you pursue outside of work?

Well, I have a young child right now, so I don’t have much spare time! But one thing I love to do, and hope to do more of later on, is painting. I also really like photography, so I’m planning to take some professional photography classes in a few years.


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