Sunday, October 18, 2009

China trip for ACM Multimedia 2009

My first blog on my 1-week guest slot on SoC blog... Pretty cool, am in the middle of finishing up preperations for the trip to ACM MM in Beijing from 20-23 October. Poster done.. check, Visa done.. check, Visa done for the right country ... check :), Renmibi... check, hotel booking... check, was it messy.. yeah !! Found local contacts in Beijing.. check, Bought Lonely planet.. check, Learnt to say "Thank you", "Sorry" and ask for the way to a toilet... check. Am looking forward to meeting some interesting people, hear them talk and get a feel of Beijing and its people. Will keep the blog posted on anything interesting...

Monday, August 17, 2009

SoC graduate Orientation Day

Hi, how's first week of class? As the new semester has arrived, our campus is filled with energy and noise again. In orientation week, we have welcomed new SoC post-graduates by a series of events, including games, campus tour, talks and of course, nice food. Here are some photographs of the event:
Campus tour @ YIH
Campus tour @ Central Library

One of the highlight in campus tour is the chance to interview Prof Mohan. We have asked number of questions, from calligraphy in Prof Mohan's office to research and course related. Prof Mohan has shared with us his research experience and view on the quality needed (which all of them can be acquired from our program :) ).

Interviewing Prof. Mohan

Current students are joining us for tea and dinner. Nice sharing :P

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Europe Trip

My Summer Itinerary: Amsterdam - Brussels - Paris - Nice - Rome - Firenze - Rimini - PISA.

Trips to these places were planned by Interrailing which meant that no flights were booked and with the purchase of the magical rail ticket, we were able to take all trains around Europe at a minimum fee. As we initially planned our trip, everything seems challenging. We are almost at the tip of Europe(Stockholm) and the plan was to make our way down to the south of Europe (Italy). The amount of trains routes to plan and change was enough to dampen our mood.

However, once the trip began, we never looked back! Rushing from 1 place to another with our 60 litres backpack was extremely taxing yet adventurous. From the messiness of Amsterdam to the chocolates of Brussels, the romantic Paris, blue beaches of NICE, Rome's extravagant Colosseum, subdued Firenze, fine sparkling sand of Rimini and the leaning Tower of PISA. Every city exposed us to its distinctive yet unique cultures. So much so that we made a MTV from our trip in Europe. As the saying goes 'A picture tells a thousand words and a video explains the unexplainable', I will let the pictures do most of the talking and the video describe our europe story!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"He who plants a tree, plants a hope."

- Lucy Larcom

The International Simulation and Gaming Association, ISAGA, an international organization for scientists and practitioners developing and using simulation, gaming and related methodologies, runs an international conference every year. Its 40th Annual Conference was recently held in NUS, Singapore. To commemorate its 40th Anniversary, ISAGA Conference Organizing Committee held a Tree Planting Ceremony on 2nd July at School of Computing, NUS. Here are some photographs of the event:

Reading the message from Vincent PETERS, General Secretary, ISAGA.

A native Singapore tree, Elaeocarpus Pedunculatus, was carefully laid into the ground by Pieter van der HIJDEN, a member of the Steering Committee of ISAGA, with the help of a staff member from the Office of Environmental Sustainability, NUS.

Prof KHOO Siau Cheng,
Acting Dean, School of Computing, NUS.

Organizing committee: Organising Chairs YEO Gee Kin (NUS School of Computing) and CAI Yiyu (NTU), Conference Secretary Bimlesh WADHWA (NUS School of Computing), Publicity Chair TAN Yew Khim (Taknet Systems Pte Ltd), Local Arrangement Chairs TAN Sun Teck (NUS School of Computing) and Abel Paschal TAY (of CEO Match, also the Publication Chair of the committee).

Everyone with the tree.

The Elaeocarpus Pedunculatus.

- Dr Bimlesh Wadhwa

Monday, July 20, 2009

Life in Monsoon

Going to office in Monsoon season is just like amazing race. I have seen couple of water logging, sudden traffic jam due to accident or flooding in subway. I think pictures tell more than words in this case.
Besides traffic, I also suffer from slight food poisoning. It is time to remind myself "bottle water only". Though heavy rain brings a lot of inconvenience to us, it reliefs water shortage that some area have limited supply of water last month. But now, no one needs to worry about that, no wonder kids and adults are dancing for the 1st rain.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And it all comes to an end...

The dreaded day has come. The end of the week-long workshop. Before I summarise my thoughts on the trip, Let's look at what happened on this final day.

The first item on this day's itinerary was to visit the very diversified MNC Honeywell. The company is present in many industries related to technology and manufacturing, for example, aerospace products & services, automotive products, homes and industry and many more. Here we were given a presentation on the company and then a visit to one of their technology labs, which was focusing currently on wireless monitoring technology. It really gave us a insight into how it was to work in an environment filled with computers & technology, left, right and center! And it was a huge compound.

Next we rushed back to our lodgings to get ready for our presentations for Prof. Iyer! The topics ranged from the culture of India to ideas that could be implemented in a technology hub like Bangalore. My group's presentation touched on the topic of India's retail industry and how opening up to more FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) can be more beneficial than it is harmful. It was a great experience to have at the end of this trip to see what everyone has learnt and seen in this short one week in Bangalore and I'm sure Prof. Iyer was impressed too.

After we ended, we rushed to pack our bags and bid our final farewells to ECC and the staff. We especially rushed to meet up with Jabaraj and his children (who were actually taking their afternoon nap) Oops!

The next stop was the appreciation dinner which was held in The Gateway Hotel near the shopping districts. At this dinner, we meet up with not only the Prof. Iyer and the May batch of NUS students in Bangalore but also most of the guest speakers we met during our workshop there. It was definitely a nice experience to meet up with all of them again! After some nice words from our organisers especially Prof. Iyer, we went to our tables and enjoyed a night of great Indian food and taking lots of photos!

As the hours passed, Theepan and myself as well as 2 other fellow students had to catch a midnight flight back to Singapore. The rest of the students did not leave with us as they were continuing their own adventures all over different parts of India!

As we waited for our plane, I had mixed feelings. Part of me wanted to go home but the other part really was going to miss the amazing culture and the very hospitable people of India.

I learnt an amazing amount of things in this one week of the Experience India! Workshop. I cannot thank you enough all those who made this trip possible for us like Prof. Iyer & Dr Bimlesh Wadhwa. I definitely recommend this program and the CS3109 Overseas Expedition module. It is one thing to learn theories in class and be tested for it. But nothing will trump experience it first-hand. Finally I must say I'm glad that Theepan and myself were given the opportunity to share our great trip with everyone!

To end it off, here are some shots of street photography on my last day in Bangalore.

Experience India! Day 8

This was the day I was looking forward to when I first arrived in Bangalore but towards the end of the trip, I just wished that this day would not come. Well in reality, for every beginning, there will be an ending. It’s a fact that we have to accept whether we like it or not.

On Day 8, the last day of Bangalore Exploratory Trip, we had one more site visit to another well- known company, Honeywell. It started off just like any other day but the atmosphere was a little different as it was the ‘finale’ of our Bangalore learning journey. So as usual, I shall commence my post with some background information of the company.

Honeywell is an American MNC that produces a variety of consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments. Industries served by Honeywell are Aerospace, Automation and Control solutions, Specialty materials and Transportation systems.

The Honeywell staffs gave us a clear insight of the main businesses of the company. Thereafter, they brought us to the research labs to show their new products which are still under development. These new gadgets are capable of outperforming the current devices in the market. Overall, the site visit to Honeywell was a fruitful one.

Later we went back to ECC to gear ourselves for the Final presentation. We took this opportunity to show the knowledge we’ve gained through this trip. I learnt a lot from my friends’ presentations as each group was covering different topics.

Then, some of us did the packing at the eleventh hour before leaving to Taj hotel for our end of workshop dinner. Over there, we met the May batch group and had some interactions and photo sessions with them. All those who were involved in the workshop were present there to celebrate and take part in the dinner. The presentation of the May batch group was hilarious and it more or less summarized the feelings and experiences of every Singaporean intern in Bangalore. It was a great evening and it was time for us to part from some of our fellow friends who remained in India to explore more. Later, we arrived at Bangalore International Airport to fly back to Singapore. Despite the initial delay in Bangalore which was due to some technical faults in the plane, we still touched down in Singapore.

Experience India! , a week- long workshop, has given me an invaluable opportunity to explore the IT companies and many more in Bangalore. As a SOC student, it was truly an insight into 21th – century Information Technology in India.

I will strongly urge SOC students to go for this workshop as it is really an eye- opener. In addition, SOC students do get 2 MCs for this. The module is evaluated as “Completed Satisfactory/Completed Unsatisfactory (CS/CU)” based on the continual assessment and final report. Finally, I’d like to thank Dr Bimlesh Wadhwa and Juliana Ung Bee Chin for giving me an opportunity to share my learning experience in this blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back to Work!

After a long day out of town the day before, this time we get back to the serious business! I must say it wasn't easy waking up early for this day as we only returned from Mysore after 1am the night before. However we still managed to be on time!

This day's first company visit was to the medium-sized IT solutions company, MindTree. At first I thought that I had more or less of an idea of the culture of the companies in India. But after visiting MindTree, I must say I was pleasantly surprised! MindTree has a really unique and strong culture, which they run their company by. Their Values are CLASS or;

- Caring
- Learning
- Achieving
- Sharing
- Social Responsibility

And they go by the DNA of Imagination to Action to Joy. It was also the first time we got a pretty in-depth tour of a company's premises. What we saw in the building really followed in facilitating the Values & DNA, not just in work culture but in the infrastructure as well. From gathering areas for informal presentations and discussions, to photographs of inspirational people (decided by the staff in fact), to a comprehensive 14 days to 3 month orientation & training program for new staff and even arrange their office cubicles in groups of 7, just like most Indian family households. MindTree goes out of its way to achieve success with the Values & DNA of the company.

Another point which they value a lot is the 95:95:95 rule, whereby 95% of the time, 95% of the information will be available to 95% of the employees. I find this and its other values really a great corporate culture and they have really impressed me. I may consider working in that company too! There's so much to talk about this company but I'd better move on to the rest of the day before this gets too long-winded.

MindTree Campus

So after lunch we visited Manipal Hospital. It was quite a fruitful trip and I know some of you might be thinking what has this got to do with entrepreneurship but I believe knowing about the healthcare system in India can come in quite useful when doing business in Bangalore. I must say the visit was extremely thorough and we weren't complaining. As Manipal Hospital is more of a tertiary medical care centre where it houses a lot of specialists, we managed to see a lot of types of medical care. One that really caught our imagination was Sports medicine department where they actually train the top athletes of India, like the national cricket team!
Manipal Hospital

After a quick stopover at the shopping district for some last minute shopping, we headed back to the lodging to complete our presentation due for the next day!

More street photography from this day...