Getting a lil’ Technical Here

2 people like this post.

One of the main reasons I was interested in getting my master’s in the Intelligent Transport Systems & Logistics program at Linköping University, was because of the serious emphasis this program places on the future developments of transportation technology and city infrastructure. Before applying at LiU, I did various grad school tours at different universities in the US and applied to multiple universities in Europe, but the curriculum in each of these programs were failing to prepare transportation planners for a future in which automation, connectivity, and technology lead the way.

Regarding Transportation Systems Engineering, the differences between LiU and these other universities were quite clear. This program not only provides an understanding of more traditional traffic planning, it also incorporates elements that are largely focused on the integration of IT and telecommunications into how transport and logistic systems will operate in the future. The focus on this within my program is what solidified my decision in coming here.

Within the curriculum, you can find an array of different topics that would normally be left out of a more traditional transportation systems engineering master’s, such as Smart Cities, Internet of Things, and Mobile Communications & Networks, to name a few.

This period in particular, I have been working a lot within my Smart Cities course. This course provides lectures with more general project ideation activities and technical seminars on sensors, but the main focus has been regarding the project work. In the labs, our projects utilize software such as Java, SQL, and QGIS, to experiment in different ways with the collection of sensor data to develop applications that can be utilized by citizens in a hypothetical “smart city”.

One project that I found especially interesting so far is this geofencing lab (seen in the image above) we have been working with over the past week. The idea of this project is to design a frontend application for an android phone in java that is able to collect GPS data, and then send this data to a database via a backend application, where it is manipulated and plotted on a graph. Within the backend application, the main objective of the project was to determine if a user of the mobile device was within a certain distance of an established geofenced area, in this case the bus stops on Kungsgatan in Norrköping. In a smart city, this triggering of a geofenced area could prompt a specific action to take place on a device that could give useful information to a nearby user.

Someone who see this and is interested in the program might look at this and think – omg, I do not know how to program in Software X … or work with Software Y. But this is okay!

The first semester of the program students are exposed to general programming logic in MATLAB and other content with GIS. For this course specifically, we operate in Java which I just started learning (through self-study) this past February! The takeaway of this course is to understand how device sensors can be utilized to collect data, store this data in a database, and then process this data into a usable application. Being a naturally great programmer in this program is just a plus ;), you will do great if you are curious, want to learn, and work hard!

Where else could studying transportation be so exciting? See you in the courses next year 🙂

1+

Stockholm Can Feel like a Getaway

0 people like this post.

Sometimes the grind of university life can really get to you. The constant routine of studies, classes, more studies, more classes, and the Friday & Saturday night student parties can feel at times like something that is more of a chore than a passion. After one has spent the first few months of their time exploring the cities of Norrköping and Linköping, they might start asking themselves is there something else?

Luckily, THERE IS! Situated only an 1.5 train ride to the capital of Sweden, getting away from student life at LiU could not be any easier.

Tickets from Norrköping and Linköping to Stockholm can be purchased through SJ Railways, and they run on average right around 200 SEK (~20 USD, 19 EUR). The most important thing to remember, is that as a young person (25 or below), you can purchase tickets at this price under the youth listing! If you are older than 25, you usually pay a bit more. Once you’re in Stockholm, you can get around pretty easily by using the Tunnelbanan (Subway) that takes you to the various parts of the city.

In Stockholm, you can find an array of things to do and see, including restaurants, museums, parks, and nightlife. As someone who wants to work with city planning, and enjoys the hustle and bustle of city life, I really enjoy checking out the public spaces and parks on sunny days, and taking walks around the water. My favorite experience in Stockholm so far has been checking out the Christmas markets this past December in Gamla Stan.

Although I could go on and on about the adventures I’ve had in Stockholm, I find it to be a bit like ruining the plot of a good movie someone has never seen. I’ll leave you with a few photos of my experiences there instead. Until next time! 😉

 

1+

My New Favorite Spot at Campus Norrköping

0 people like this post.

When I first toured campus Norrköping at the start of my studies, I always appreciated the incredible study spots throughout the campus. In Kåkenhus, the main building in Norrköping, there are great areas to sit and work that give you a view of the rushing water in Motala Ström and the ability to hear the falls. When you’ve exhausted yourself studying for an exam or reading class literature, the sound and view of the water helps ease your mind and refresh.

One downside to my first semester; however, was that my laptop had crashed and I was restricted to working within the engineering computer labs in Täppan, the building opposite to Kåkenhus. These computer labs contain all of the necessary analytical software needed for the ITS program, and they are open until 23:00 if you need a place to focus and get work done. I have a majority of my classes in Täppan, and overall I am so grateful for the ability to complete my assignments without a working computer, but I really missed out on the nice views that the rest of the campus has to offer.

After returning back from the break I purchased a new laptop, and now it feels as if I am rediscovering the whole university all over again! With my new found mobility to study throughout the campus, I have found one spot particularly nice – sitting on the blue booth tables on the lower floor in Kåkenhus.

In this study area, there are 5 booths with tables that make you feel secluded and in your own space. You have enough room to layout everything you need to study, and anytime you need a break from your studies, you can let your mind wander by watching the water flow past the university and underneath the Kungsgatan bridge. If you want to snag a spot, I recommend going and getting a table early, as this really is a favorite place to study on campus (and for good reason)! Plus, the the best views of a wintertime Swedish sunrise can be found here.

1+

“Self-Study” in Sweden

1 people like this post.

One thing that I have found to be different at Linköping University versus studying at an American university is the difference in the way the semester is setup. Each semester is divided into two periods, that act almost as half courses for the semester. In regards to the autumn semester, the first period ends right around the middle of October with an exam week, and the second period ends in January with an exam week right after we have “Self-Study”.

This Self-Study period lasts from about mid-December to mid-January as a break from the academic year. I used this time to go back to the US and celebrate Christmas and New Years with my family, but I really should have brought my textbooks with me to prepare for the exam I had this week. In the US, I was used to ending my studies prior to the start of the Holidays, and adjusting to this studying/exam period now in January has been quite the experience.

I returned back from the holidays 6 days before my Optimization exam, and spent the whole week cramming in preparation. I found myself tripping over some of the most basic concepts of the course, because it had been so long since I had last looked at the material. After having the exam today, I can assure you that the next holiday break, I will be taking my textbooks with me.

Don’t underestimate the second exam week of the autumn semester! From talking to others, I can assure you that I’m not the only one caught off guard.

 

1+

Living in Sweden, Learning Swedish!

1 people like this post.

One of my favorite aspects of living here in Sweden is the opportunity to live and learn in a new language. My courses here are in English, but as an international Master’s student, you are eligible to take up to two Swedish classes at the university for free! As such, I was able to get a spot in the A1 Swedish course here at campus Norrköping.

The class starts off really introductory, working with basic phrases and sentence structures. As you progress, you slowly start to build your vocabulary, and your understanding of how to form sentences and communicate. In addition to this course, I also use Duolingo for an hour prior to going to bed, which helps me build my vocabulary and keep the material fresh in my head before going to sleep.  My favorite aspect of the experience, is slowly realizing how much more of the language you understand as you go on. I will pass signs on the street or in the school that at one time I did not understand, only to find myself reading and understanding entire sentences!

To keep myself entertained with the process of learning the language, I like to check out different areas in town to study and get more of a feeling for the type of Swedes that live here in Norrköping. One of my favorite places so far is the Norrköpings Stadsbibliothek (Norrköping City Library), which has really incredible art sculptures and water features in the lobby. There are always seats available, and I usually manage to get a nice spot near the windows on the second floor.

 

As this semester goes on, I hope to teach myself Swedish A2 over the self-study period (i.e. Christmas break), and jump into the B1 course next semester (for free)! Maybe one of these days I’ll surprise some of the Swedish friends I’ve made with a conversation that they aren’t expecting.

Until next time! Hej då (good bye)!

1+