Webinars During Covid-19: “ideas * knowledge = ∞”

By Matež Hribernik - Secretary YP Slovenia, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

During Covid-19 young professionals from Slovenia organised several online technical events with the support of the ComSoc chapter. We wanted to present various professional research projects in different fields. At the start of the year, we expected to have these events organized in a meetup fashion. As this was not possible due to pandemic, we chose an alternate with streamed live events. The webinar series was titled “ideas * knowledge == ∞”. With the title we wanted to express that only good ideas and profound knowledge can equal the impossible, the success, even though the title can be considered a mathematical oxymoron. With the title we wanted to express Using Facebook Live, we were able to organise five webinars. The presentations covered topics such as robotics, (RF) circuit design, deep learning, recommender systems and computational linguistics. We are glad that talented young researchers and experienced assistants from different faculties and institutes in Slovenia were willing to present their work, teach new skills and answer questions from the audience. The webinars took place in June (1x), July (1x) and September (3x) 2020.

The first webinar presenter was assistant Peter Kmecl, MSc. In his webinar he presented his work in the field of autonomous robot design. His presentation covered hardware and software design as well as control applications. The second webinar was held by the young researcher Blaž Bertalanič, MSc. In his presentation he addressed the problem of circuit design from the perspective of an ICT engineer who designs high-frequency circuits for the first time. The presentation included recommendations that every engineer or student should follow when designing communication circuits.

Assistant Professor Domen Verber, Ph.D., presented in the third webinar on the basics of deep learning and computer vision. This presentation was especially interesting as the speaker is the ambassador of the NVidia Deep Learning Institute at the University of Maribor and has more than two decades of experience in this field.

The fourth presentation was held by an assistant, Mladen Borovič, MSc. The presentation included the basics of recommender systems, a presentation of some of the most commonly used methods and practical implementations. The presentation concluded with modern and advanced approaches to recommender systems.

Assistant Jani Dugonik, MSc, gave the last presentation in the field of machine translation. After a short introduction to the field and basic techniques, we also learned about modern translation techniques using large amounts of translated data. The webinar ended with the presentation of modern machine translation tools and some modern examples.

In the course of a year, the webinars have reached over 550 views. This gives us encouragement to continue with our quest of connecting young engineers in Slovenia. We hope that next year we will be able to host these events in person and share our experience and knowledge as meetup events. Webinars are a suitable substitute during this period of Covid-19, but we believe that young engineers need and long for somewhat less official meetings where free thought and ideas can emerge and are encouraged.

The webinars (in Slovenian) are available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IEEEYPSlovenia/videos