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May 5, 2016

Faculty of IT Students visit Europe- Learning Technology at an Advanced Level

Fourth year Faculty of Information Technology students studying; Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT), Bachelor of Science Telecommunication (BTC), and Bachelor of Science Informatics (BIF), were astonished and filled with excitement, as they embarked on a one week academic trip to France and Germany. Visiting Computer Science centers of excellence, where the students got to experience technology in a brand new way, the students arrived to Charles de Gaulle Airport to a warm reception.   


In a foreign land, we were all welcomed by a weather phenomenon never experienced back home- a sunny day with temperatures of 11 degrees, the bus drive from the airport to the Generator Hostels (Our residence) provided the ultimate refreshing experience of a new culture and modernization; from the infrastructure to the city’s attention to clean streets, we were all left in admiration.

 

After settling at the residence, the afternoon’s agenda was prescribed to be a visit to the Laboratoire d’imformatique de Paris 6 (LIP6), a computer science research lab, dedicated to the modelling and resolution of fundamental problems. We got the opportunity to sit in on presentations of some research papers, by researchers at the lab. The presentations offered an understanding to domains that include: information analysis and classification, intelligent systems, and information management systems. Having a view of the intelligent systems and algorithms being developed at the research lab offered a new insight on the vast ground to be covered in the field of Information Technology.

 

The following day, was scheduled for the visit to Université Paris 8, a public university situated in the Saint Denis area. Members of the university offered insights to the research, studies and programs being undertaken in the field of I.T and Computer Science. Presentations were made on a prosthesis project, ontological applications and puzzle gaming applications, which are being developed to aid the provision of medical services, knowledge and language training.

 

After a brief tour around the university, we departed the great city of Paris for our next stop, Saarbrucken, Germany.

 

Saarbrucken is a quiet, small, but highly diverse town that is on the border of Germany and France. Our itinerary in this city included a visit to the prestigious Saarland University where we were privileged to learn more about the university, its academic programs, its research areas and the services they provide through career centers and incubations for start-up projects and businesses. Enticed and impressed by the institution, mentions about applying for Masters’ programs at the university filled the room.

 

Based on the planned schedule, we sat through a presentation on I.T and mobile security from a member of the institution’s Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA). The presentation opened our minds on the increased dangers mobile application world is facing in terms of security. We learnt that CISPA has been carrying out research to provide secure applications, with assistance from companies such as Google and Apple, who cover the largest portion of the mobile market.

 

The afternoon of the third day was utilized with a tour around the Saarland University and the town of Saarbrucken. Being a border town to France and the region bordering other nations such as Luxembourg, we got to experience the assorted cultures and history of the place and people.

 

The following day was still scheduled for Saarland University, where we interacted with one of the Bioinformatics professors. The professor gave a talk on ongoing research by a constitute institute of the university, on the use of computer science in biology to aid developing treatments and medications for various ailments. It was a learning experience to understand how vast and dependent the world is today, on computer science and finding solutions to the problems we face.

 

We also had an opportunity to visit Innovative Retail Laboratory situated within the University’s campus. This laboratory is responsible for developing retail products such as a Smart Shelf to be used at supermarkets and mobile applications to assist consumers on the products to buy. In addition, we got to see their new 3-dimension project that wishes to bring things and places to reality, to provide users with an ultimate experience like you were actually there. This showed us how powerful and useful technology is in our developing world.

 

The trip would not come to a close without visiting the IBM headquarters of France. The spectacular reception we received from the innovation and systems displayed blew our minds. The level of technology and the attention to detail given to their projects was remarkable. They are working to provide efficient and effective systems to resolve problems in the health, retail, housing and automobile industries.

 

The final tour of Paris involved a night tour of Paris along the avenue of Champs-Élysées, the world’s most beautiful avenue, also known as the avenue of lights. The walk led us to the iconic Eiffel Tower. It was breathtaking.

 

Finally we enjoyed a boat tour of the city visiting; iconic places of Paris such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Palais de Louvre as we learnt the history.

 

The trip was a total success, filled with lessons and insights about the way different people live and the impact of technology to the society. Every member of the travelling team marveled at the beauty and modernization of Europe and how they still retain their historical heritage.

 

We are truly grateful for all who took part in facilitating the planning of the trip, the Faculty of Information Technology for providing us with the opportunity to tour part of the world and be exposed to new horizons in the field of I.T and Computer Science. This was a remarkable benchmark trip for the group and hopefully more students will have a privilege like this to be exposed to the world.

 

Article by Mawazo Raha- BBIT 4th year Student

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