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Adobe Research: Growing Connections Through Collaborative Dialogue

Adobe Research's partnership with Northwestern Computer Science has blossomed into a very productive relationship since we first hosted the team from Adobe Research”

Samir Khuller
Peter and Adrienne Barris Chair of Computer Science

Over the past two years, Adobe Research and Northwestern University have entered into a collaborative partnership that has led to a robust research and recruitment ecosystem at Northwestern crossing multiple departments and schools.

The Adobe Research and Northwestern relationship is championed by Samir Khuller, Peter and Adrienne Barris Chair of Computer Science. The collaboration began in 2019 when representatives from Adobe visited with Northwestern faculty and senior leaders on the University’s Evanston, Illinois campus. This visit would spark a return visit by Northwestern researchers to Adobe Research’s San Jose, California lab housed in Adobe’s corporate headquarters, as well as multiple virtual workshops between the two organizations in the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021.

The collaboration with the Department of Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering and has since grown to include the Kellogg School of Management, Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences, and Medill School of Journalism. This multi-school approach to the Adobe Research relationship highlights how Northwestern researchers collaborate and partner with each other in solving challenges brought to them from industry.

 “Adobe Research's partnership with Northwestern Computer Science has blossomed into a very productive relationship since we first hosted the team from Adobe Research,” said Khuller. “This has led to a variety of productive research collaborations and projects, with significant interaction with faculty and research groups in the areas of information visualization, natural language processing, mechanism design, and artificial intelligence. We hope to soon extend this collaboration to the areas of digital marketing, computational photography, and imaging. We are really excited about the future of this partnership."

Adobe representative with students

Engagement activities between the two organizations have included a variety of workshops and structured research conversations. These activities allow both groups to share research highlights and identify areas of mutual interest between Northwestern faculty and Adobe Research leaders. The virtual meetings have also allowed many Northwestern faculty to present to a wide variety of Adobe researchers to spur ideas to stem further collaborations. These ideas have grown into research projects spanning natural language processing, cognitive architecture, and information visualization.

A robust recruiting relationship has also evolved out of this partnership. As Northwestern PhD students and Adobe Research professionals work together on collaborative partnerships, they’re able to develop relationships that give them greater insights into skills and fit for long-term employment opportunities. As a result of the partnership, Northwestern PhD students have been recruited for Adobe Research internships as well as full-time positions.

Further, Northwestern faculty and students have obtained access to cutting-edge problems. Partnering with academia enables Adobe Research to have access to new technologies and techniques that are not yet widespread in the corporate world. Subsequent publications showcase that Adobe Research is driving research in important areas and leading the industry in collaborative areas.

As we look to the future of the Adobe Research and Northwestern relationship, there is enthusiasm behind hosting a conference at the intersection of digital marketing and computer science.

Northwestern expects to continue deepening the one-on-one connections between the institutions to grow collaboration in student recruiting and through thought-leadership insights into the cutting-edge work between the two entities.

 

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