Reflection Report International Semester

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1 Reflection Report International Semester Studying abroad at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm

2 Chapter 1: Personal Information Name and surname: Arts, Rick G. B. address: Department: Contact person TU/e: IE&IS Human Technology Interaction Gerardu, A.J.A.M. Subject of your studies/practical training abroad: International semester for master Human Technology Interaction Period of stay: 5 months in the autumn of 2010 Name institution/company abroad: KTH Royal Institute of Technology City and country: Stockholm, Sweden

3 Chapter 2: General Information Preparation and financial matters I divided the preparation for my international semester in several steps. First I asked my teacher for a good University abroad. Second I contacted my international coordinator (Gerardu, A.J.A.M.). She explained the possibilities and made first contact with KTH. The third step was to fill in the application form on the website of KTH ( The fourth step was to contact the STU for writing in for an Erasmus scholarship (800 euro). The fifth step was to arrange all insurance issues and financial matters, in Sweden almost everyone pays with credit card, I strongly advice to get one. The last step was to arrange the ticket to Stockholm, you can get very cheap tickets with ryanair (ryanair.nl). It is also possible to book an extra suitcase from 20KG. Accommodation The accommodation was arranged by KTH. I had an apartment in the neighbourhood Stadshagen. This neighbourhood is very close to the centre of Stockholm and relatively close to both KTH campuses (Kista and Main campus). I had a nice apartment about 24 square meters with my own shower and kitchen. The apartment was completely furnished. One disadvantage for me was that there was no common room in the building, but we covered this problem by leaving our doors to the main hallway open (to make contact with your neighbours). The price of the apartment was 4200 sek per month. This is about 460 euro and sounds maybe expensive but it is worth the room and location. Language and culture For me the Swedish language was too hard to learn but this was not a problem. Almost everyone in Stockholm speaks fluently English. The classes were also all in English. The Swedish culture is very similar to the Dutch culture. Stockholm has a lot of nice museums that you can visit with discount when you are a student. The Vasa museum is for example a museum that you do not want to miss. Free time and travelling There is a lot to do in Stockholm but also outside of Stockholm. I played inside football once a week with a group of international students. We rented the accommodation on Stockholm University and contacted each other on Facebook. It is very convenient to have a Facebook account. A lot of international students plan trips and they show this as events on Facebook. So if you want to go on a trip you can join the event on Facebook. For example I went on two boat trips, one to Helsinki and one to Riga. The boat trips are very cheap and also a nice way to get to know new people and party a lot. It takes about 16 hours to go to Helsinki so you have a cabin on the boat to sleep, but there is a lot more to do on the boat when you are with a lot of students. When you arrive at your destination you have about 8 hours to visit the city. I must say I prefer Riga over Helsinki. Riga has a nice old city centre with a lot of shops and old buildings.

4 Chapter 3: Content of International Semester I followed four courses during my stay in Stockholm. In the first part of the semester I followed the courses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and in the second part of the semester I followed the courses Multimodal Interaction and Interfaces and Social Media Technologies. Artificial Intelligence The course focus is on problem solving with search algorithms, heuristics and games, knowledge representation (logic), representing uncertain knowledge and reasoning (Bayesian networks), decision and utility theory. For the course we used the book, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (Second Edition) by Stuart J. Russell and Peter Norvig, Prentice Hall (2003), ISBN This book is more than an introduction into Artificial Intelligence; it is a good book to have when you want to do more in the field of Artificial Intelligence. The course involved a lot of reading. We had to read almost the whole book. We also had to do three assignments in seven weeks. The assignments were also a lot of work. The assignments were divided in three parts. The first part, part A, was focused on the theoretical part of the book. For the second part you had to implement a program in Java or C++ that solved an Artificial Intelligence problem. And the third part was evaluating the second part of someone else. It was possible to pass the assignment without doing part B or part C. For me part B was sometimes very difficult, because I did these assignments in Java and I never worked with Java before. Therefore part C was useful; I also learned a lot of seeing other people s solution. The assignments were a lot of work but very useful, we also got useful feedback, what for me was very important. Beside the three assignments we also had to do a group project with four persons. The group assignment was again to solve an Artificial Intelligence problem. The group assignment was again a lot of work but also very instructive. Machine Learning Machine Learning was an advanced course in computer science where I learned to use methods from machine learning, computational intelligence and soft computing. For this course I had to do four Labs and a final exam. In the four labs you had to implement an algorithm to solve a specific problem. When you finished the labs you had to discuss the results with a teacher. This way of checking your results was very useful to me, because we got a lot of feedback. The labs were a lot of work but very useful as preparation for the final exam. For the final exam we had five hours, but I did not need five hours. The exam was focused on the mathematical part of the course, but was doable when you finished all the labs and had read the book.

5 Multimodal Interaction and Interfaces This course is focused on multimodal interaction and multimodal interfaces such as the title already suggests. The course existed out of four parts. First we had four hours of class every week. Second we had do three assignments. Third we had to do four Labs and fourth we had to do a final group project. The assignments were focused on doing a literature review and making a project plan. In the labs we got an introduction in using multimodal techniques. The labs were focused on speech perception techniques, haptic feedback techniques and visual input techniques (fiducials). For the group assignment you could choose your own topic. We focused on using a combination of a multi touch interface with RFID tags as extra input. The group project is very free and it is a nice way of exploring the new techniques in the field of human computer interaction. Social Media Technologies This course was focused on the importance of social media. The course existed out of lectures, guest lectures, seminars and weekly assignments. The lectures were sometimes very boring and the course literature was in my opinion weakly chosen, I did not like the book. However the guest lectures were very interesting and worked as inspiration for the course assignments. We had to write an essay about a social media topic every week. We discussed some of the questions that were asked, in the essays, in the weekly seminars. The final exam of this course was a take home exam. We had 24 hours to complete the exam that existed out of essay questions.

6 Chapter 4: Learning Outcomes After the international project the student is able to: A. gain insight in research methodology and output of foreign research groups. B. gain insight in actual international discussions on scientific issues in general and his/her own field of study in particular C. place the research of the MSc study and especially place his/her research in an international context D. work together in an international team E. communicate with international colleagues on research During my international semester I worked in an international project group for the courses Artificial Intelligence and Social media technologies, both projects were finished with a good result. So I think I met learning outcome D. I also think I met all other learning outcomes. For example during the course Multimodal Interaction and Interfaces the teachers talked about their own research in their classes (learning outcome A). One of the assignments was to write a literature review about a topic discussed in class. We had to combine what we learned in class, our own experience and a new found article to create a good review (learning outcome B,C). After we finished our paper reviews we had a discussion seminar in class (learning outcome E). We discussed our papers in small groups of students and the teacher sometimes interrupted to talk about his own experience in this field. During the labs from the courses I also learned a lot about what techniques they used and how they set up experiments. The research methodology is very similar to the research methodology of the Human Technology Interaction master at the TUE, especially the research that was done by the teachers of the Multimodal Interaction and Interfaces course. The teachers of the courses Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning were more focused on the technical aspects of technique. So their Methodology was more focused on how the technique really works although statistical analyses are also very important in these fields of research. The models used in the machine learning class are almost all, if not all, based on statistics. Another good example is the seminar class (once a week) from the course Social Media Technologies. We had to discuss class topics in groups of about 15 students and one teacher. We had to explain theories and give our own view on the social media topics. There were a lot of nationalities in these seminar groups, people from China, Sweden, Taiwan, Germany, etc. So I think a learned a lot from these experiences in class and I learned that human computer interaction is not only a hot topic on our university. One of my personal goals after concluding the international semester is to do some technical courses this semester. I noted, when doing the technical courses that it is very important to keep up with the newest technologies. So this following semester I want to focus on web technologies and on my research project.

7 Chapter 5: suggestions for improvement of the international semester In my opinion the procedures followed during the international semester work well. My advice for students is to start early with preparing your international semester.

8 Chapter 6: Experiences The best experience for me was that it was so easy to make contact with other exchange students. I met a lot of people out of very different countries. My experience with using Facebook is also very positive. For exchange students it is very useful for planning parties, meeting new people and planning trips and excursions. The only bad experience in my opinion is that I did not meet a lot of Swedish people. It would be nice to have more contact with the Swedish students. Almost every party that was arranged by the student union was for exchange students so you did not meet the local students.

9 Appendix: extended description of courses Artificial Intelligence Source: The course gives a broad overview of the problems and methods studied in the field of artificial intelligence. Learning outcomes After completing this course the student will be able to analyse and solve problems involving various forms of search algorithms, including the design of heuristic functions to improve the efficiency of such solutions formulate and process knowledge in propositional and first-order logic formulate and solve problems with uncertain information using Bayesian approaches explain the basics for communication between agents and work with grammars to parse and generate languages and compute models for probabilistic language processing. relate the material to some of the currently active research problems in computer vision and robotics develop systems that utilize artificial intelligence. Besides the purely technical aspects, the course also provides the student with practical experience in working with problems both individually and in groups experience in presenting results both in writing and orally experience with project based work Course main content The following areas will be treated in the course: problem solving with search algorithms, heuristics and games, knowledge representation (logic), representing uncertain knowledge and reasoning (Bayesian networks), decision and utility theory. Examples of using artificial intelligence methods in computer vision, robotics, etc will be given. Machine Learning Source: Advanced course in computer science where the students learn to use methods from machine learning, computational intelligence and soft computing. Learning outcomes The objective of this course is to give students basic knowledge about the key algorithms and theory that form the foundation of machine learning and computational intelligence

10 a practical knowledge of machine learning algorithms and methods so that they will be able to understand the principles, advantages, limitations and possible applications of machine learning identify and apply the appropriate machine learning technique to classification, pattern recognition, optimization and decision problems. Course main content The course is intended for both undergraduate and graduate students in computer science and related fields such as engineering and statistics. The course addresses the question how to enable computers to learn from past experiences. It introduces the field of machine learning describing a variety of learning paradigms, algorithms, theoretical results and applications. It introduces basic concepts from statistics, artificial intelligence, information theory and control theory insofar they are relevant to machine learning. The following topics in machine learning and computational intelligence are covered in detail -concept learning -decision tree learning -Bayesian learning -artificial neural networks -instance based learning -computational learning theory -evolutionary algorithms -rule learning -reinforcement learning. Multimodal Interaction and Interfaces Source: Human-human interaction is fundamentally multimodal; we use many different ways to communicate with each other, either simultaneously (e.g. in face-to-face conversations) or alternatively (speech, writing, gestures, touch etc). Human-computer interaction (HCI) has on the other hand traditionally been unimodal, with mainly keyboard or mouse input from the user and visual output, in the form of text or icons, from the computer. New HCI techniques are appearing, making more use of other modalities and this course will give an overview of these interfaces and current research topics in multimodal technology. Learning outcomes After completing the course, the students should be able to:

11 relate how human perception and cognition influence the possibilities and limitations of different HCI interfaces describe the functionality of state-of-the-art multimodal HCI interfaces evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing or proposed multimodal interfaces propose efficient designs for new interfaces employing different modalities. Course main content The course will give the students theoretical and practical introductions to multimodal communication and different types of HCI interfaces. The main focus is on techniques for - user input, such as speech recognition, touch screens or eye and gesture tracking, and - computer output, such as unconventional display devices, speech synthesis, sounding objects and haptic devices. In particular the effects of combining different modalities are addressed. Social Media Technologies Source: An advanced course on the use and development of social media technologies, such as messaging, forums, blogs, wikis, feeds, social bookmarking, social networking systems, video- and photo sharing sites, mobile social media platforms and synthetic worlds. The course also introduces social issues arising from the everyday uses of these technologies. Learning outcomes The aim of the course is to introduce, experiment with and further develop technologies that underlie social media content and services. After the course you will be able to: be competent in the use of social media, analyze and find success factors of social media sites and services, apply social media technologies to conceptualize and document new implementable services, discuss trust, reputation, attention, privacy and quality of communication in relation to social media. Course main content The students will within the course analyze, evaluate and conceptually design social media technologies. Analysis and evaluation consists of using and collecting data from actual social media sites and services. Conceptual design involves group assignments and creations where the students envision new platform features, sites or services using mock-ups, scenario documents etc. The results of assignments will be presented at the end of the course.

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