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Since I started working on the BETER REHAB project, I decided to use ROS as the central platform to implement all the logic for the controller of the robotic arm. This was due to two reasons: a) ROS is considered a MUST for anyone doing robotics and b) I really wanted to learn something new (those that know me can understand that this is a very big motivation for me).

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Once I heard the news about the research grant that I obtained, the first thing that I really wanted to do was to create a website for the project. This way I can communicate the purpose and results of the project to the broad audience and try to make research open and more inclusive. Today I can finally say that I have the first version of the website ready! You can visit it here.

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During one of the last laboratories of the semester, I had a pleasant surprise coming from my students: they had elected me as their favourite professor from their four year of studies. It was a very weird moment for me, as during that lab I was quite angry at them, since we had to stay over hours to finish their projects. But it was definitely something that helped me feel better afterwards :)

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Wow, it seems like I skipped one month (March), but that’s no excuse for why stopping the series all together. So, what did I learn last month? Here’s a list on the top of my head: I learned how difficult it is to drive from Thessaloniki to Cluj-Napoca in one day I started learning how to use i3wm (strongly strongly recommend it!!) I learned how to debug sidekiq jobs in rails applications I learned the modern way of formulating the laws of motion (by the Theoretical minimum series) I continued learning about the History of Western philosophy I learned how to open a jammed door!

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About a year ago (to be more precise, a year and 3 months ago), I applied for a grant at the UEFISCDI research agency. The initial plan was to have the results by May 2017 and start working on the projects sometime during the summer. Long story short, we had quite some delays, receiving news about the ranking only a few weeks ago. Last week, we got the final answer, and the news were good: The government had allocated the budget for the projects for this year and our proposal was among the funded ones!

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Time for another installment on the series of ‘What did I learn last month’!

Here’s what comes in my head right now:

  • I learned even better how to interact with the bureaucratic system.
  • I figured out there are wonderful people serving in some of these bureaucratic positions
  • I learned about ‘rspec bisect’, which lets you find if a failing spec appears due to specific order of execution
  • I learned there is interest for ‘Research in Cluj’
  • I learned about Deep Learning
  • I learned how to inspect a used car for accidents

And probably much much more :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

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