Designing microcontrollers, developing systems for analysis of terabytes of data and auto-pilot systems, and also advanced English course form the first year of study, international programs and the opportunity for obtaining Master’s degree in Finland. Nowadays all the doors are open before graduates of the SUSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS): many of them are working in the leading foreign companies, obtain grants for their own developments and build career at the region’s industrial enterprises. The EECS director Gleb Radchenko told us how South Ural State University is bringing up programmers of the future – educated, talented and purposeful.
Look up to world universities
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is one of the new structures of the university. It has been established as a result of uniting the two strongest departments: the Instrument Design Faculty which this year is going to celebrate the 60th anniversary from the moment of its foundation, and the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Informatics. The reorganization was held in the frameworks of the Project 5-100, which South Ural State University joined last year.
The School today maintains traditions of classic technical education. Programs, specialties and teaching methods, as well as academic staff, remained the same, but the university aimed at developing an elite environment for training scientists and specialists at the world level.
«Joining the Project 5-100 put us in comparison with the leading universities of the world, says Gleb Radchenko. And we need to comply with requirements. We chose several universities close to us by their structure and way of teaching as role models. So we look up to them. In particular, they are the University of Texas at Austin and the Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany.»
At the EECS there are bachelor’s degree program (4 years of study), specialist’s degree program (5-5,5 years of study) and master’s degree program (2 years of study) on the following majors: instrumentation, control of technical systems, radio-electronic systems and complexes, fundamental computer science and information technology, software engineering, information security, etc. Both state-fund and contract education is available for the prospective students. This year, a new specialization has been added to the master’s program: «Data analysis and methods of artificial intelligence».
Learning English from the first year of study.
Educational approach has been perfected. For example, advanced learning of English language which starts from the first year of study and finishes with an international exam has been implemented at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
«English is considered the international language of communication in the sphere of electronics and computer science, continues the EECS’s Director. Learning it is not an advantage, but a vital need for everyone who works in this sphere.»
Perfect knowledge of English will be useful not only in a career, but also during the study process at the university. Professional and scientific activity at the EECS is performed in both Russian and English. Professors from abroad frequently come to the university for giving lectures. All the lectures are held without translators.
In this year’s May, in the frameworks of the international educational program Erasmus+, the SUSU EECS organized an international school for software engineering. Professors from the universities of Great Britain, Luxembourg and Mexico delivered lectures for the university’s students.
Each work should aspire to a scientific know-how.
Studying at the EECS is not easy, especially if a student is aimed to not only get an education as an engineer, but also achieve success in this sphere. It is amazing if you have got talent for programming or radio electronics. But this is just one half of success, another half lies in working in classrooms and in thousands of hours of unsupervised activity.
«We do all we can so that students would not just complete their home assignments, but took initiative, including scientific developments, says the EECS’s Director. Starting from the second year of study, we actively involve students in project activities and grant-based research. They work as full-fledged members of scientific groups formed at the EECS’s departments: they develop innovation projects, write articles for scientific journals, prepare presentations and present the results of their activity at all-Russian and international conferences.»
Many students of the EECS not only successfully take part in scientific activity, but also obtain personal grants for their own research. One of the outstanding examples is the story of a student from the System Programming Department, Ivan Volkov, who developed a mobile application for people suffering from diabetes. The idea of the third-year student provided him victory in the «UMNIK» (smart man) competition and financial resources for further development of the computer system. And this is, among other things, up to 250 000 rubles per year. In general, in the last two years more than 15 students and postgraduates of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science obtained grants for research.
Besides, students of the EECS regularly take part and frequently win in all-Russian and international Olympiads and competitions, international schools and conferences, and championships. Everyone who wants can get enrolled in the School of Olympiad programming, where students get practical skills of sport programming and get ready to represent our university at regional , all-Russian and international Olympiads on sport programming. And the winners of the EECS’s annual championship on programming get money prizes and invitations for internship and employment from the leading IT-companies of the region.
One of the most interesting extra curriculum activities has become the participation of the future programmers in the world championship on simultaneous development of computer games in 48 hours. This year, more than 80 participants of Global Game Jam from SUSU performed a kind of record: in two days they developed 21 games. Some of the developers were offered a job in the leading IT-companies of the region right away.
Thirty world-class laboratories and research and education centers with unique equipment help students of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science achieve such outstanding results. Here they study on practice radioelectronics, control systems, automation means and electronic computational systems. Laboratories for industrial control systems and measuring systems, automation platforms, network and telecommunication equipment, information safety are founded in cooperation with the world’s industrial leaders in their fields – this all helps students, postgraduates and teachers in their educational and scientific activity.
«I can say with confidence that our students and postgraduates are working with the best equipment in the world. For example, this is the laboratory of artificial-intelligence based measurement systems Emerson PlantWeb, and the laboratory of automation and control of technological processes Endress+Hauser. In cooperation with Kaspersky Laboratory, in this year’s February, a research and education center, unique in its kind, was founded.»
And, of course, the special objects of the university’s pride are the supercomputer computation complexes. Unique possibilities of the SUSU Supercomputer Simulation Laboratory allows the EECS’s students, postgraduates and scientists to carry out simulation of data transmission processes, perform activities connected with analysis of big volumes of data, solve problems related with revealing hidden regularities in data flows incoming from different sensors.
Moreover, each student of the EECS has his own «Virtual personal computer». This system allows every student to get provided with an access to necessary software and supercomputer possibilities from any part of the world.
«This is actually a unique technology. Without such laboratories, it is virtually impossible to develop innovation solutions in the sphere of software, control systems or radioelectronics,» explains Gleb Radchenko.
In the SUSU Supercomputer Simulation Laboratory there are three powerful supercomputers of total computational capacity of 606 TFlops. The «Tornado SUSU» is the most powerful supercomputer of the laboratory, it has 29 184 processor cores and places the 8th in a ranking of the most productive supercomputers in the CIS countries.
From being introverts – to becoming programmers of the future: upgrading soft skills
They are juggling with mathematic formulas, work with supercomputers and can easily write any computer program – starting with online game and up to the system of control of industrial processes. Looking at the EECS students, an ordinary person might think about people with supernatural abilities. But current administration of the School still finds it insufficient. The new goal has become developing social skills and competencies. In other words, Soft Skills.
Accent was made on students’ communicative abilities, without which a modern specialist can’t manage.
«If you seriously and deeply engage yourself in any activity, sooner or later you become the best in this niche, says Gleb Radchenko. We have always been focused on it in the frameworks of classical engineering education. But we discovered a problem: tech students find it difficult to present themselves and their ideas. They are mostly introverts, who got used to working with software systems and machines.»
In the frameworks of the elite training zone, full-scale semester disciplines and special courses targeted at developing social skills and competencies will be introduced. During trainings, discussions and workshops students will learn to manage their time wisely, write and format scientific articles, design presentations of their developments and inventions, and also communicate with the outer world – to work in a team and in frameworks of projects. Combined with powerful engineering training, the all-round development of a student as of a personality will become his strong competitive advantage at the labor market.
About such students people say – ahead of the curve. The Instrument Design Faculty has always considered a pioneer, initiator of implementing technical novelties into practice of the whole university. For example, it is here where the famous in the whole city student theatre Mannequin originated. Thanks to students of the back-then Electronics’ Faculty, Internet started functioning at the campus’s dormitories. You can watch the EECS students’ life from the inside in the «VKontakte» group.
The level of knowledge allows aspiring for upper job positions
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science today is a leader of the region in the field of training specialists for high-technology economic industries, for implementing innovative educational and research programs, applied developments of novel technology, equipment, and control systems. Demand for highly trained specialists in these fields is increasing each day. Emerson, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Yandex, Svyaznoy and Megafon – literally all the doors are open in front of graduates the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. There are no problems with employment. According to Gleb Radchenko, many students already start taking part-time job in their free time after the third year of study. Technical knowledge, obtained at the university during this time, is enough for a successful start.
Purposeful graduates quickly pass the first stages of their careers; literally in several years they achieve upper job positions, become leading engineers of domestic and foreign companies; many graduates establish their own IT-companies.
«We closely watch our graduates’ destiny and keep in touch, says Gleb Radchenko. We see that some of them hold serious job positions. The Minister of Information Technology and Communication of the Chelyabinsk region, Alexander Sergeevich Kozlov, for example, is a graduate of the Department of Electronic Computing Machines. Or a talented entrepreneur Valentin Dorokhov, the founder of the TURBORender firm which nowadays is a leader in three-dimensional visualization in Russia. Have you watched the latest movie «Ekipazh» (flight crew)? Special effects to it, just like to the majority of other Russian blockbusters, were visualized by our guys. Including the use of the SUSU’s supercomputer resources.»
For those who’s not got used to stop
Rapid career lift and personal business is a serious indicator of specialists’ training level at the EECS. However, not everyone goes straight to the labor market after obtaining diploma. Those who are more attracted to science are welcome in master’s degree or postgraduate studies. Excellent students, by the way, can go abroad for obtaining the second diploma.
Three years ago the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science created its own double-degree program, signing a collaboration agreement with Lappeenranta University of Technology. So now master’s degree students of the program «High Load System Development» can spent the second year of their master’s degree studies in Finland, write master’s dissertation in English under supervision of academic advisors form both universities.
Conditions for participation in the program: bachelor’s diploma with honors, high grades in majoring subjects and certificate of high level of English. On the results of studying, the graduate will be given two diplomas of international standard: of South Ural State University and of Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT).
«The LUT, of course, have its own competitive selection. However, in these three years of SUSU’s participation in the double-degree program, our students have not once been rejected. Everybody, who wanted to finish master’s degree program in Finland, had been accepted. This once again proves the high training level of our students. It is not worse than in the most famous universities of the world. Which means that us joining the Project 5-100 wasn’t in vain,» concluded the SUSU EECS’s Director Gleb Radchenko.