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Michael Zoumboulakis

PhD Computer Science and Information Systems

I can say with confidence that Birkbeck was the right choice that rewarded hard work with skills for life.

When I first decided to pursue a PhD, I was looking for a University with an established track record in Database Systems research. Birkbeck fulfilled the criteria as it has a very active database research group with world-class reputation and publications. I remember my initial interview where it was suggested to me to investigate data management in the challenging environment of wireless sensor networks. I knew very little about ubiquitous computing and wireless sensor networks so I thought this will be an opportunity to extend my knowledge in a promising and relatively unexplored area.

After three years at the London Knowledge Lab, I am now in the process of making the final changes to my thesis and I have a chance to reflect on how much I gained from this experience. It was a journey that took me from the equivalent of a "Hello World" program for a sensor node to the development of a family of online data mining algorithms. From being a shy and nervous public speaker to confidently presenting my work in international conferences. From an initial lab-tested hypothesis, to showcase software running on cutting-edge, battery-free prototype sensor nodes.

Of course the biggest gain is in personal development and a changed attitude toward problem-solving. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that doing a PhD gave me the belief and confidence to think that almost anything is possible. In a nutshell, I'm grateful for the excellent supervision I received at the London Knowledge Lab, the support and the positive environment that made my research possible. As I'm preparing to leave Birkbeck for a career in a FTSE 100 satellite telecommunications company - a job that was offered to me through my PhD supervisor - I can say with confidence that Birkbeck was the right choice that rewarded hard work with skills for life.