Student Career Panel and Blockchain Seminar Sponsored by IEEE Joint ComSoc/VTS Chapter, Victoria, BC, Canada

By Jianping Pan - IEEE Joint ComSoc/ VTS Chapter, Victoria, BC, Canada, Lin Cai - IEEE Joint ComSoc/ VTS Chapter, Victoria, BC, Canada and Peiyuan Guan - IEEE Joint ComSoc/ VTS Chapter, Victoria, BC, Canada

The IEEE Joint ComSoc/VTS Chapter in the Victoria Section hosted a student career panel titled “What’s Beyond the Island?” on the morning of 23 August 2019.

The panel invited seven panelists from the academy, industry, and government research labs: Prof. Fumiyuki Adachi from Tohoku University; Prof. Dingyi Fang from Northwest University; Prof. Rose Hu from Utah State University; Prof. Jianping He from Shanghai Jiaotong University; Prof. Ming Ling from Southeast University; Mr. Matt McKinney from ArcBlock; and Dr. Humphrey Rutagemwa from Communication Research Centre Canada.

The panel brought together approximately 60 attendees for three hours to the Engineering Computer Science Building, on the campus of the University of Victoria, Canada. Immediately after the panel, a two-hour seminar on blockchain was presented in the Engineering Office Wing, which was fully packed as well, attracting about 40 attendees, including students, engineers, and researchers. The back-to-back events were organized by University of Victoria professors, Dr. Jianping Pan and Dr. Lin Cai.

During the student career panel, many students asked questions enthusiastically, such as “What do you hope to be told while you were still in school?”; “What do you hope to be told when you start your career in (academia, government, industry, etc.)?”; “What have you found from your experience, observation and mentoring of students, colleagues, etc.?” Seven panelists shared with the audience their experiences, lessons, and advice. Prof. Fumiyuki Adachi from Tohoku University suggested that students should talk with others to open up to new things and ideas, to achieve things beyond what one can achieve individually. The advice from Prof. Dingyi Fang from Northwest University was to align one’s daily objectives with his/her initial dream, i.e., to have a clear long-term vision while focusing on one’s current work. Prof. Jianping He from Shanghai Jiaotong University shared his advice on how to deal with anxiety, such as waiting for offers. He suggested focusing attention on things one can control, instead of worrying about the uncertainty. Prof. Rose Hu from Utah State University encouraged individuals to always believe in one-self and prepare to adapt to a new environment and challenges. Prof. Ming Ling from Southeast University suggested that one should plan a long-term career trajectory at the beginning of their career. Mr. Matt McKinney from ArcBlock encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone. Dr. Humphrey Rutagemwa from Communication Research Centre Canada encouraged students to express themselves bravely.

A pizza lunch was provided after the panel, where participants had the chance to enjoy the pizza, fruits, and beverages while getting together with the panelists for further discussions and socializing

After the student’s career panel, Mr. Tian Chen, VP Engineering at ArcBlock, gave a seminar talk on blockchain technologies, from the basic concept to the applications. The talk was entitled “ArcBlock Forge: A Framework to Build Reusable Interconnected Blockchains and Decentralized Apps.” ArcBlock is the company developing blockchain systems for building and deploying decentralized applications. The key innovation of ArcBlock is making blockchain interoperability easy with built-in smart contract support, and it is scalable to support a massive number of connected nodes. The talk started from the concept of bitcoin, the most famous crypto-currency. By introducing the operation of bitcoin, Tian illustrated the basic idea about blockchain technologies and the current technical challenges, such as the longest chain, fake trade, etc., followed by the ArcBlock multi-chain framework. The seminar was an excellent opportunity for students to learn from the industry forerunners, and for engineers and researchers to brainstorm on next-generation blockchain platforms.

The audiences showed great enthusiasm about the content, leading to a constructive discussion after the presentation. Matt McKinney, Marketing and Business Development Director at ArcBlock, also answered questions about the operation of blockchain products.