Last year, after a year of pause, we decided to organise once again an ABC event. In case you never heard of ABC, you can check the related project page or our official website, but in a nutshell it is an event targetted to alumni of BEST. This year, we are continuing the tradition and we are launching the seventh edition! The event will take place in the Netherlands, but we have not chosen the exact location yet.
The first meetup for ‘Research in Cluj’ has just happened, and it was fully of enthusiastic people and very interesting discussions. Out of 13 people that RSVPed they will join, 12 actually showed up, which is a very encouraging number for such a kind of meeting. We got to know each other, presented our backround, shared our experiences and current occupation and frustrations in the research system. And eventually we created a plan for the future meetups and their format.
About two years ago, I started trying an experiment, inspired by a post on the blog of a friend: I was writing every month a short blog post with the highlights of my life that month. Even though it started nicely the first month, I eventually felt a bit weird posting all those things on my personal website (I am a small privacy freak in case you don’t know already). So I stopped.
Since we moved in Cluj last year, I’ve been trying to get more active in research. It is a bit difficult without a research grant, and steps have been slow, but it’s going somewhere. All this time, I had the impression that research in Cluj is rather dead, but I am constantly discovering here and there initiatives and people doing serious research. Since one disabling factor for not being able to perform research is the fact that I don’t know other researchers here, I decided to do something about it :)
About a year and a half ago, I started working at the Robotics group at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. The goal was (and still is) to develop a robotic rehabilitation framework, using biomechanics in the loop, to be used with post-stroke patients. Today, I finally started getting my hands dirty (still waiting for funding for the project) and things are moving. Literally :) One of the ideas for the project is to use the Cyton Gamma 1500 that is available at our lab, and I am starting to learn how to use it.
Over the years, I got the same question over and over again: I am a tourist travelling to your city, what is there to see, to experience, what places to visit, which museums worth the trouble and in general, how should I spend my two days there? Well, as I am tired of trying to come up with a new list every time I get this question, I decided to write posts to answer it.
Last week (13-14 June), we had the unique opportunity to attend the Open Innovation 2.0 conference, here at home, in Cluj-Napoca. Open Innovation 2.0 is a European Comission event belonging to OISPG, and this year it was organised by ARIES Technology cluster of Cluj in cooperation with the municipality of Cluj-Napoca. The event lasted two full days and we got the opportunity to learn about what is Open Innovation 2.0, what kind of projects exist around Europe on this topic, how much is the municipality and the universities interested in it, and what the citizens can do to foster Open Innovation.
One of the most important tool in my productivity toolbox, is a way to keep track of what I have to do and what I have been doing. I’ve tried all kind of tools for the job, from simple note taking with pan and paper, to modern task management platforms with mobile apps and web applications. I somehow was never really satisfied, the main reason being that I haven’t found a solution that allows me to do both of these things in a satisfactory way.
If you ask me what I like to do most in life, I would straightaway answer two things: solving problems and explaining things to others. I think these two passions are what led me to academia and eventually a career in research. Doing research is a non-stop problem-solving job. And once you solve your problems you need to explain your ‘complicated’ ideas, sometimes to people with a very different background than yours.
This semester I am going to teach optimisation methods at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. As there are pretty calculation intensive methods that we use for optimisation, we obviously need use a mathematical package. For better or for worse, Universities these days are pretty much tided to proprietary software solutions and more specifically to the infamous MATLAB. So our first task for the semester is to make sure students know how to work with MATLAB.