1. December 2022 | Magazine:

Mail from … Irvine Five days of Summer School in California

A stay abroad does not always have to mean studying or working in another country for many months. Many universities around the world offer so-called summer schools. These usually one-week intensive courses can be used for professional, linguistic and intercultural training. The TU students Alexander Tank, Lara Jüschke, Daniel Tappe and Tobias Rönnicke did just that and spent a week in Irvine, California.

This is where we spent our stay:

We visited the University of California Irvine (UCI) – the Center for Embedded & Cyber-Physical Systems.

That’ s what we did in Irvine:

A one-week programme was held in Irvine as part of the BaCaTeC (Bavaria California Technology Center) under the format “The Wolfgang Hillen Summer School on Modeling and Design of Next Generation Self-X MPSoC Platforms”. The Summer School consisted of lectures and workshops.

The first day started with exciting lectures about the IPF 2.0 (Information Processing Factory project). The project takes up the idea that (future) complex microelectronic and embedded systems resemble a factory in which all processes and components interlock. This paradigm can be applied to various autonomous electronic systems, such as autonomous driving. In the context of IPF2.0, this paradigm is extended to distributed systems, e.g. autonomous trucks in platooning. Thus, many of the presentations were related to this topic. The presentations looked at autonomous driving from different research areas, including machine learning and in-vehicle resource management. The latter is the subject of research at the Institute of Computer and Network Engineering (IDA) at TU Braunschweig and deals with efficient data management with increasing data rates. At the end of the first day, all participants were invited to a BBQ on the “University Hills”, a residential area of the professors with its own pool and park.

Visiting the beach on the last day of Summer School. From left: Dominik Stöhrmann, Tobias Rönnicke, Alex Bendrick, Alexander Tank, Lara Jüschke, Nora Sperling, Daniel Tappe (Credit: Alexander Tank)

Sunny and shady seating directly in front of the Engineering Tower on the UCI campus. (Credit: Alex Bendrick)

Design and simulation of vehicle networks - students in the "Distributed Data Management" workshop (Credit: Dominik Stöhrmann).

Sunset on the beach in Irvine while exploring the Irvine area with the other participants after the end of the workshops. (Credit: Alex Bendrick)

Working in the Truck Platooning Workshop: Before the software of the autonomously driving model trucks could be taken care of, a model building session was first necessary in which the trucks were assembled. (Credit: UCI)

Group photo with all participants of the Summer School. (Credit: UCI)

In the following days, we participated in workshops. In total, three workshops were offered for the students of UCI, TU Munich and TU Braunschweig:

  • Truck Platooning
  • Machine Learning Controller + FPGA ML
  • Distributed Data Management

Lara participated in the Truck Platoon workshop. The aim of the workshop was to start assembling and implementing a truck platoons on a reduced scale. The platoon will be used to test algorithms and applications for autonomous truck platoons in the following course of the project. During the workshop, the trucks were assembled for this purpose, sensors (camera, LIDAR) and computers were installed and combined with a software solution that is responsible for the actual driving function. At the end of the workshop, a first drivable prototype truck integrating all hardware and software components was ready.

Alexander, Daniel and Tobias took part in the Distributed Data Management workshop. The aim of this workshop was to gain practical experience in dealing with network structures in vehicles, as well as their design and configuration. The work in the workshop provided insights into current research topics in the field of vehicle networks.

Apart from the workshop, there were opportunities to exchange ideas with students from UCI and TUM, for example by going to the beach or a restaurant together.

The total duration of our stay is:

Our stay lasted a total of five days and took place through the BaCaTeC cooperation programme within the IPF 2.0 project, in which the Institute of Computer and Network Engineering is involved.

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The focus of our stay was:

The focus of our short time on site was the workshops, which were also the reason for our stay. On the first day, we listened to lectures on topics from industry and research. In the following days, we worked in smaller groups on tasks related to the topics of the workshops.

What makes studying in Irvine different from studying in Germany?

Due to our short time at the University of California Irvine, we cannot give a detailed answer. We noticed that studying is much more expensive than at German universities. This is reflected by the campus, among other things. It is huge and centred in one place in Irvine. In fact, it’s so big that it makes sense to get around by car or bicycle. In addition to the university buildings, it includes parking garages, flats and houses for students, staff and professors, a park and restaurants such as Taco Bell and In’n’Out Burger.

The biggest challenge during our stay was:

To follow the contents and tasks of the workshop completely, as they were very complex and widely divided.

This is what we have learned, or something we will take home with us:

First of all, we learned a lot on the professional side, which was of course due to the workshops themselves. On the personal side, we especially took with us the way of student life in a foreign country. Among other things, living directly on campus is something you don’t experience during your studies in Germany.

This is a tip we give to other students/researchers who want to go abroad:

If the opportunity arises, you should definitely take it. You get to know new faces, gather many new impressions and there is simply a change from the student life we know from Germany.