A week of my life : DECATECH Summer School 2019 at Universidad Polytechnica de Madrid, Spain (UPM)

This summer, I had the chance to attend DECATECH Summer School 2019 at Universidad Polytechnica de Madrid, Spain (UPM). Considering myself majoring in Intelligent System in my university, I see this as an opportunity for me to discover more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data as well as exploring the other part of the world. My journey starts when I checked in into the designated residential college, Colegio Mayor El Faro located in the central Madrid. I really love and enjoyed my stay there because it was super close to supermarket, metro station and campus. For me, the location is convenient as a student. The residence also offered various type of food during lunch and dinner including vegetarian since halal food is not provided. 

I met a group of students from Beijing University of Technology. At first, I was a bit anxious on how to make friends since I am the only Malaysian, I was also worried will I be able to deliver what I’m trying to say. Surprisingly! We became friends instantly and had our lunch, dinner and even walked to the campus together! It was great making new friends from different country. Since China blocked mainstream social networking site, I had the chance to learn how to use their local-own social network such as QQ and Wechat directly from the Chinese in order to keep in touch with them.

 After a day adjusting my body clock and fighting the jet lag, it was finally time for guided tour to Toledo and Museo Prado. Of course, academics were only one portion of what made my experience at Madrid so interesting. We visited a few points of interest such as mosque, church, synagogue and statue. I am grateful for being able to join this trip alongside with the tour guide. She explained the historical meaning behind every sculpture and architecture in Toledo. What struck me with amazement is the fact that Toledo was once a city for the Muslims, Christians and the Jewish. It shows that despite the differences of beliefs, we can create a peace and united community.  Just like what we have now Malaysia. 

Prado Museum was one of the highlights of the trip. Not only the architecture of the museum was so amazing, the art pieces was also gracefully displayed. We visited every art piece following the timeline. The tour guide also asked our own perceptive and views on the drawing. She allowed us to be creative and express our ideas freely. I also had the chance to make friends from the UK during the trip. She is an exchange student for a year and currently working part time in UPM as a translator. We talked a lot about the differences in the culture in our university, current trend of Spanish songs and many more.

During the the week of summer school, every morning, I went to the cafeteria for breakfast and usually had a toast with butter and a glass of peach juice and I was good to go. I walked to the bus stop with my friends and caught the bus which dropped us directly in front the campus. The trip usually took around 15 minutes. Apart from experienced lecturers, the course itself was so interesting. For the first course which is Big Data, we played in group a few games to demonstrate how few algorithms works. Honestly, the lecturers did a brilliant job making classes engaging, allowing for student participation and interaction throughout the session. We are also introduced to a Data Analytics tool, the SPSS Modeler. 


The second part of the course is AI. We were introduced to the concept of AI which is basically recalling what I’ve learnt during my sophomore year in my university. Towards the end of the week, we also had a session with an AI expert from one of Spain leading AI company explaining how AI helps in various type of industries. This was definitely a lifetime experience to get direct flow of information from an expert..

What excites me the most is being able to learn more about the world in general. My classmates hailed from countless different countries in Europe, Asia, and America. It amazes me how technology and same passion in learning about the emerging AI unites us from different part of the world. Living in Madrid, engaging in a hands-on course, learning more about the Spain culture, and meeting students from all over the world truly an eye-opening, educational, and fun. I am glad that I have grab this lifetime chance. 

Ha sido una experiencia increible el particiar en el DECATECH 2019. He adquirido nuevo conocimiento, encontrado nuevos amigos y visitado lugares muy interesantes de madrid. Gracias upm por esta oportunidad!