Favourite subjects: machine learning and artificial intelligence
Alex Tomescu from Bucharest is in his second semester at the Master’s programme in Computer Science. Alex has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Bucharest and he has joined GISA, an association in Gothenburg where students from all over the world meet.
'I had made the decision that I wanted to do my master outside Romania', says Alex. 'I have always liked travelling and I wanted to get this experience. The educational system in Sweden is good, and there are no fees for students within the EES. To study here is actually better than expected, and I like that technology is such a big thing in Sweden!'
'I applied for the programme in the last minute, three days before deadline I started to collect all documents that I needed', Alex explains. 'But it is no coincidence that I chose this track, both my parents are engineers and I played a lot of computer games when I was younger. I have always been interested in computers in a general way.'
A larger focus on mathematics
A difference between the BSc education in Romania and the MSc programme in Sweden is that they had several courses per semester in Romania, in Sweden there are just two. The courses here are also more theoretical and have a larger focus on mathematics. Alex has found different strategies to handle the fact that he didn’t have that much mathematics with him, and he has found ways to catch up. The courses are on a high level according to Alex, and he finds the programme very well organised. He appreciates the flexibility that comes with the fact that the work is mainly done individually, and include a lot of work done from home.
Great freedom in choosing among courses
Alex also likes the great freedom to choose between courses that the programme at the University of Gothenburg offers, compared many other programmes, where you get more of a course package. The freedom to choose has resulted in a specific direction for Alex.
'Two subjects, machine learning and artificial intelligence, have emerged as my favourites during the education', says Alex. 'The exciting thing with these two areas is that you can solve so many different problems, and that really big companies as Google, Facebook and Amazon are using the technique. It is interesting to see how many applications there are just within the area machine learning: how to predict peoples’ behaviour on the internet, identify spam, or analyse how people interact in social media.'
Internships at Google
Alex has been on internships the last summers, in fact twice at Google. He finds the projects very interesting, and they have given him lots of experience. To work hands on with something is also a good complement when your studies are on a very theoretical level, according to Alex. This summer the internship will take place in New York, in a project related to speech recognition – which is also connected to the area machine learning.
'I will work three months in a project team in New York', says Alex. 'Sometimes it is exhausting to study abroad, and to travel as much as I do, but it is also fun! From time to time I also take part in different competitions in Europe, I will soon be going to Barcelona and join a hackathon organised by a company – there will actually be seven people from Bucharest participating.'
Interested in project management
'In the future I will probably live somewhere in Europe and work as a software engineer – I am also interested in project management, and the more organizational parts of the process. I would really like to work with "the big picture" – and that is more easily done in a smaller company or in a company of your own. If I start something on my own, I would like to focus on a very interesting problem, maybe by using machine learning!'
Text and photo: Anna Ohlsson