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Przemek Lach, MSc Student

Research Projects
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Where are you from and where did you complete your undergraduate studies?

I was born in Poland but spent most of my life in Canada (Vancouver). I did my undergrad at the University of Victoria (UVic) and I graduated The Bachelor of Software Engineering program. After a short stint in industry I returned to UVic to pursue a Masters of Computer Science.

What is your research about and why are you excited about your projects?

My general research area is in self-adaptive systems. My main focus is on how to leverage sensors, primarily in mobile devices, to build personalized applications and customized content. An equally important area of research is how to increase user utility by increasing customization and personalization while at the same time reducing the amount of interaction that the user is required to have with an application.

As a natural extension of my primary area of research, I'm also very interested in the commercial aspects of personalized applications and customized content. In particular, how to leverage contextual information to make advertising less obtrusive. The goal is to get away from the traditional model of showing advertisements to people who don't want to buy your product to showing advertisements to people that are interested in your type of product. My view is that if you show an advertisement to someone that needs your product they are more likely to buy it.

To demonstrate the usefulness of my research I have developed an application called Yakkit. More information on Yakkit can be found here.

What do you like to do outside of research and academics?

In addition to my research, I work as an Engineer for the Adaptive Optics (AO) Lab at the University of Victoria on a project called Raven. Raven is an instrument designed to demonstrate a new kind of Adaptive Optics. This technology is used to sharpen images taken with very large telescopes from atmospheric effects which make them blurry ("twinkling"). It is designed for the Subaru 8m telescope located on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which is one of the largest telescopes in the world.

By using a combination of mechanical arms, cameras, deformable mirrors coupled with real-time controller, Raven will be able to sharpen multiple objects at once. By multiplexing an observation the amount of observing time required to do new science will be scaled down considerably. The results and performance of Raven will shape the design of future AO instruments being designed for the next generation of telescopes. The image below shows the type of correction that Raven can provide. The top left image has not correction and the bottom right is the ideal case. Raven is the bottom left image. As you can see it is pretty close to ideal.

My most recent project, which compliments my sensor and adaptive systems research, has involved 3D scanning. 3D sensors have come down in price and form factor and this has created an opportunity to develop new applications that would not have been economically feasible just a few years ago. Currently I'm developing an iPad application that allows doctors to scan patients' feet, fill out a custom orthotic form, and submit the order directly to the manufacturer.

The sensor is made by Structure ( and it is being used by other developers for applications such as 3D printing and architecture. These types of sensors are part of what is known as the Internet of Things and incorporating them into self adaptive systems will be advantageous for certain scenarios.

Outside of work and academia I enjoy playing basketball and enjoying the nature out here on the coast. I've gone hiking along the coast, in Whistler, as well as many other places throughout B.C.

What are your career goals and future plans?

I plan on completing my MSc in early 2014 and the Raven project is having its final run in mid 2014. My career goal is to find challenging work preferably in the field in which I've been studying. The last two years have been intellectually challenging and I've discovered that challenging work, as well as being surrounded by people smarter than I, is an environment which I enjoy. I hope the find employment in such an environment.