Liat shares her story below including her background, research focus and which courses she will be teaching at Griffith University.
What is your career background?
I completed two bachelor degrees, one in law and the other in computer science with the University of Haifa, Israel. Right after that, I started working as a lawyer specialising in Intellectual Property (IP), until I realised that my true passion was computer science so I shifted back to complete a master degree.
Then, I worked for three years in IBM R&D labs before continuing to a PhD. When I finished my PhD, I became a researcher and lecturer in computer science. I taught in multiple academic institutes in Israel before arriving to Australia in 2019 and started working at Griffith University.
What have been some of your career highlights?
Every degree I’ve completed was a highlight and a priceless moment in my career. In particular, becoming a lawyer after four years of studies, a long internship and a series of exams and, of course, receiving my PhD. What made it even more special for me is that my three kids were born during my postgraduate studies. I managed to juggle studying and motherhood, and enjoyed it!
The other highlights of my career so far have been working with IBM on social media technology before it became so common and popular.
Later on, presenting my research outcomes in international conferences, meeting researchers from all over the world and enjoying beautiful venues (one of my favourites was Ouro Preto in Brazil).
But my top highlight is coming to work at Griffith University. This is the first time I am teaching outside of my home country, Israel. I am excited to teach and continue my research here, working with my colleagues and students, and enjoying the great opportunities Griffith University has to offer.
What interested you about computer science?
In my view, computer science is like solving puzzles. For me, it is not about the physical parts of the computer, the hardware, but about using this machine to solve real world problems and help humankind.
“Computer science is the art of problem solving which allows you to be creative and contribute to almost every field in our life.”
What is your research focus?
My research focuses on algorithms on finite and infinite sequences of symbols (also called words or strings). This includes, for example, text, DNA sequences or even music.
I solve problems such as finding a given sequence or pattern in a text, identifying disease-causing mutations in the human genome, finding differences between genomes, extracting meaningful trajectories from GPS data and so on.
Does your background in law assist with your research in computer science?
This is a very good question. It is funny that when I was practicing law, I was often being asked whether my background in computer science assisted me with being a lawyer.
The answer to both questions is YES.
Although these two subjects seem very distinct, there is a strong connection, especially between IP law and computer science.
“I believe it is important for every IT person to familiarise themselves with patent law, software licencing, copyrights, designs, etc.”
On the other hand, having background in computer science, or any other scientific background, is a huge benefit to every IP lawyer who deals with inventors and scientists.
Which courses will you be teaching at Griffith?
I will be teaching computer science courses such as intelligent systems, systems and distributed computing and creative coding.
Do you have any tips or advice for students?
The first piece of advice I can give, based on my personal experience, is to always follow your passion. Don’t be afraid of making changes in your learning path if you find something that you are truly passionate about.
The other tip is to follow the learning pyramid (google it) and remember that the best way to learn and gain a deeper understanding is to teach others.
By helping a friend who struggles and explaining them a subject, both of you will benefit!