Russia’s «First Non-Classical» Welcomes: an Open Day at ITMO’s School of Internet Technologies and Programming

Last Sunday, it was the Open Day for applicants to Bachelor's and Master's programs of the School of Internet Technologies and Programming. The future students and researchers learned about the advantages of studying at the Alma Mater of world's champions in sports programming and the opportunities presented by the university.

The event started with a presentation by Alexander Boukhanovsky, Dean of School of Translational Information Technologies. He's shared that programmers are no longer those grim geniuses that spend sleepless nights writing the code, and information communication technologies are now used for much more than just service functions.

«For a really long time, information technologies served other sciences and applications areas: let's say, someone sold watermelons and kept his books on paper, then decided to use special software — so he turned to IT specialists. But the application of IT in this format is really limited. Those who don't have any skills in IT can't even imagine the processes that could get them to a different level, — shares AlexandrBoukhanovsky. — Currently, an IT-specialist becomes practically an ideologist of new business processes that can only exist in the virtual reality that he makes; with the use of IT, new layers of knowledge are created».

ITMO University does not only give the students the necessary tools that now all programmers in the world possess — it cultivates a particular mindset. One can learn programming languages just anywhere; what's really important is what the graduates will create by using them.

«It's essential that you teach a computer to think, so he becomes your helper, not just train to repeat something we do. Big data, computer-aided learning, computer modeling, VR, evolutionary computation, AI — these are the things that define today's cutting-edge technologies. And we don't just use these fancy words — we really know how it works and how to implement it, and, what's most important, we know how to teach those who'll be able to bring this all to life», — underlines the Dean of School of Translational Information Technologies.

Information Technologies change the world, and there's nothing one can do with it — notes Daria Kozlova, Head of ITMO’s Institute of International Development and Partnership. Old professions become things of the past, and new inventions come into our lives. IT-specialists are at the center of these changes.

«There are lots of areas where IT and cyber physical systems will replace human labor, and this will become a reality in some five-ten years, — believes Ms. Kozlova. — In my school years, Internet appeared in Russia, and that was a glut. Now there is a second glut, that will eliminate the middlemen between the client and the service or product he needs. In the past, we called the bank and waited for the call agent to answer, then had to go through all kinds of identity tests — now we just open an app on our smartphone. There will no longer be call agents, bankers, brokers or managers — the technologies created by our graduates will substitute them».

Lydia Perovskaya, tutor for the Computer Technology Department also supports the idea that programmers are the new rock stars, so to say. In a new world that is created by intellectual services, new intellectual sports emerge: so now it's time to cheer for sports programmers. They solve complex algorithmic tasks, keep on schedule and avoid mistakes while helping their team members. These conditions are really close to a programmer’s routine workday: complete the project, make it before the deadlines, find and correct any mistakes in both your and your colleagues' work. But there are fundamental differences, as well.

«The main difference of sports programming is that you have a particular award waiting for you — the motivation is not money but the victory, the right to call yourself the best of the best, — shares Ms. Perovskaya. — Our students really know how it's done — that’s why here in Russian universities we have the winning teams and organize new competitions. We have to cheer for them as it's an interesting sport, and we are good at it. Also, it's something you can join any time».

Representatives from different faculties talked about what ITMO has to offer. Anton Suprun, Deputy Dean of the Department of Information Technologies and Programming as well as student of the Faculty of Infocommunication Technologies and curator of projects for applicants Daria Yakovleva did a review of Bachelor's programs of the School of IT and Programming and explained which of them to choose depending on one's future career expectations.

«Each year something new happens, and we correct our programs so as to keep up — even though ourgraduates are trained enough to adapt by themselves» — comments Anton Suprun.

Schoolers and their parents also got a chance to learn of theiropportunities after graduation from the graduates themselves. Anton Chumaev, ITMO's graduate and lecturer for the Department of Intelligent Technologies in Humanities, firmly believes that the university has long proved its status as the First Non-Classical University. Here, students can partake in the forming of the curriculum, and do things like analyzing poetry to define the authors' mood at the moment he wrote them. Vladimir Uliantsev, a staff member of the «Computer Technologies» International Laboratory adds that only few of his peers continue to live in Saint Petersburg. Some moved to San-Francisco, some to London or Munich, and now work there in leading IT-companies; some followed a scientific career and now publish articles in high-ranking magazines. By combined efforts, lecturers, graduates and students made ITMO one of the top-100 universities according to the THE Computer Science ranking.

At the same time as the event for future Bachelors, there was a similar one for future Master's students. There already are more than 40 programs within the School o Internet Technologies and Programming; some give an opportunity to get a double-degree diploma -of ITMO University and one of its partner universities, as well. An essential trait of Master's programs at ITMO is that the departments are set on creating all the necessary conditions for developing its student’s research skills. They can conduct their own research with the help of the university or partake in the work of existing scientific teams and international laboratories, so as to study something like cancerous tumors and ways of dealing with them, analyze the human genome, develop the theoretical basics for computational technologies, etc.

«The goal of Master's Degree programs is not giving knowledge, but teaching how to seek it, how to develop, — shares Alexei Duhanov, Associate Professor of the High-Performance Computing Department. — A Master's program is a sort of platform: having joined us, you start to participate in scientific projects, get all the necessary consultations, recommendations, participate in contests organized by ITMO and the city government. We have lots of interdisciplinary research projects at our Faculty, and each is unique.»

«If you join us now, by 2019 you'll be able to find what you seek in any kinds and amounts of complex data, and your laboratory will be not some single room, but the whole of Saint-Petersburg. We are going to work really hard to make this all true», — shares AlexandrBoukhanovsky, Dean of School of Translational Information Technologies

We'd like to note that this was only the first in a serious of similar events for applicants that will be conducted throughout October (you can see the schedule here). And if you want to see the recent presentation of the School of Internet Technologies and Programming, you can use this link.

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