Interview: Oscar Täckström

Oscar Täckström, former researcher at SICS, who landed a job as a Research Scientist in Google's New York City office in 2013.

What do you do at Google?

My field of research is Natural Language Processing, which means that I work on methods that enable computers to better understand human languages.

How did you get this job?

During my PhD studies in Computational Linguistics (at SICS and Uppsala University), I applied for an internship in Google's research group. I ended up spending three summers here and enjoyed it so much that I applied for a full time position just before defending my doctoral dissertation.

Did your employment at SICS prepare you well for working at Google?

Definitely! In a way SICS has a similar model to Google in that you are encouraged to work on many different types of projects and to move quickly between them. This forced me to constantly learn new things, which is probably one of the most important skills when working in the industry today. Like Google, SICS also has some very talented people to learn from.

Would you recommend other young researchers to work abroad?

I think every young researcher should try to do a stint abroad. This can give you new perspectives that can help you do great research. It's also a lot of fun!

What is the most prominent trend in your area of interest? What will be the next hot technology?

The core algorithms and models for language understanding are rapidly improving, giving us better and deeper understanding of both written and spoken language. I would say that the next step will be new ways of leveraging world knowledge for really deep natural language understanding.

This interview was published in our annual report 2013.