Women in Science Profiles
Dr. Jasna Maver
My field of research is computer vision which requires the integration of knowledge from different fields: mathematics, machine learning and signal processing. Its aim is the recognition of objects and scenes or the understanding of scenes and situations on the basis of visual information and in a way that can be compared with people. The achievements of modern technology and systems are yet far from the abilities of human beings. This is why visual information research is so interesting and demands creative work. On the other hand, however, the work is sometimes discouraging as despite the enthusiasm and the time and effort invested it produces only scant results. The competition in the field of computer vision is very intense: the understanding of visual information would be the key to carrying out numerous tasks – it would enable an autonomous co-operation of a machine or robot in a natural or artificial environment.
At present I am Associate Professor at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science in Ljubljana. The path I took was not easy, however, there were some happy coincidences and a keen desire. One of the things that influenced me most was my work at the GRASP Laboratory (GRASP is the abbreviation for General Robotics and Active Sensory Perception) within the University of Pennsylvania where I worked as a visiting researcher for a year and a half (during the years 1989–1991). Even more important than the work itself was the opportunity to meet researchers from other countries, to learn about their problems in research work, their way of thinking, their vision and devotion to research, as well as to give others the chance to get to know you better as well. Going out into the world is essential and there is no way around it.
Being a scientist is a way of life. It is like being an artist. You have to love problems. You have to infiltrate into the world of data and live there for a while, try to understand them and feel yourself at home there. This is sometimes difficult, maybe even more if you are a woman as there are several different worlds and one of the most important ones is your family. Sometimes there is not enough time for everything and this is why sometimes you are careless, inattentive, unfriendly and more. Many times you ask yourself "Does this make sense?". I guess so – I am namely still here.
The article (in Slovene) Creativity and Free Thinking before the Career: A Group Portrait of Nine Women who all holds PhD in ICT, by Jasna Kontler-Salamon, published in Delo, 18.5.2006, presents the exhibition Women with PhDs in Computer and Information Science in Slovenia. Nine women with PhDs in Computer and Information Science, one of them is dr. Jasna Maver, reflect on their experience of being a woman in science.