The chief researcher of the laboratory of mathematical and computer modeling in natural and industrial systems spoke about the possibilities of remote work at Altai State University

10 November 2023 By Artem Fedotov, “For Science”

Every year, more and more universities offer work in a distance format. Altai State University also offers remote vacancies. The newspaper “For Science” talked with Sergei Sazhenkov, chief researcher at the Laboratory of Mathematical and Computer Modeling in Natural and Industrial Systems of the Institute of Mathematics and Information Technologies, who has been working remotely at Altai State University for several years.

— Sergey Alexandrovich, what work do you do remotely?

— At Altai State University I work as a research assistant — my job is to write and proofread reports, and control what each employee does. My full-time job is at the Lavrentiev Institute of Hydrodynamics. There I do theoretical research on fluid and gas mechanics, prove theorems to students, and help them build new mathematical models. I also teach at Novosibirsk State University. Now I'm on a business trip to China for two weeks.

I was invited to work at Altai State University back in 2019, a year later the laboratory opened, and we have been working quite fruitfully for the fourth year. Our team consists of several groups, each of which deals with its own specialized narrow topic, and I correct this work. My duties are more like the work of a rector or director of an institute.

Our laboratory has approximately 40 people including students. We employ both candidates and doctors of science. Remote approaches, which are now considered novel, will very soon become traditional.

— What opportunities does Altai State University provide for remote workers? How is remote work organized?

— At our laboratory, we do scientific work, but I am not involved in teaching. My communication with my Barnaul colleagues takes place through platforms familiar to everyone: email, Zoom, Skype, and VK. The university has its own premises. We also often use the Altai State University electronic library.

— What goals have you set for yourself?

— The main goals of our laboratory are close connections between graduate students, undergraduates and scientific supervisors, as well as the opportunity to give them a field for experiments. What is a typical day of a student like?

They attend classes and then go home. Here, we have our own place and interesting projects. In this regard, the laboratory provides a very good platform for interaction. By the way, now a graduate student from Altai State University, one of the laboratory assistants, is studying at my main place of work. What else I like about Altai State University is the students. You know, I work at NSU and our ratio of scientific supervisors to students is close to 1:1, if we talk about students who want to further engage in science. That is, it is not so easy to find a student. At Altai State University, everything is completely different – Altai students always get down to business right away, they want and love to work with us. This is very important and I am glad that our goal has been achieved.

— How do you manage to combine remote and full-time work? What qualities are necessary to work remotely?

— Perhaps the most important quality is self-discipline. I try to strictly plan everything for myself, because sometimes when you work alone, you can really do nothing. Lack of discipline can delay things. I like the way my programmer friends work. The task comes and they complete it immediately, and repeat. Some problems take years to solve, but breaking up the work into short periods is essential. The second point is that you need to get used to communicating with a computer. At first it is very unusual, but this skill comes quickly. Well, don’t forget about the software: for example, during distance learning, I had a need for a graphics tablet.

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