News and insights

FER plans for the new academic year

FER plans for the new academic year

Petra Škaberna

How will the classes be carried out in the new academic year? Faced with the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has changed the way classes have been carried out since March 2020, FER's strategic goal has remained the same: ensuring the high quality of student education based on combining teaching, research and innovation, with regional and European recognition of study programmes from the fields of electrical engineering, computing and information and communication technology and related multidisciplinary fields. Our first concern is the health and safety of our students and employees, with a complete commitment to achieving our strategic goals and ensuring that classes are carried out on the Faculty premises as much as possible. Our wishes are limited by the guidelines and recommendations of government bodies, but in order to reduce uncertainty, we list the plans and expectations for the winter semester of the upcoming academic year. FER's approach to teaching is based on three principles: the safety and wellbeing of all students and employees is of greatest importance, preservation of the integrity of the teaching process (transfer and testing of knowledge), flexibility in carrying out classes, so that we are able to respond to the upcoming challenges which are changing every day. Regardless of all our efforts, the key to success is the cooperation of students with respect to all the rules and recommendations. There is no epidemic police at the Faculty that would enforce social distancing and usage of protective masks - we rely on your conscience and responsibility towards yourself and your colleagues, as well as towards your teachers. Beginning of classes Classes for all undergraduate and graduate students will begin as scheduled, on 28 September 2020. The class schedule will be announced during September. Information on the start of postgraduate studies will be published at a later date, and classes will not start until 1 November 2020. Freshmen An introductory class for freshmen will be held in Hall D1/D2 with live streaming via the online platform on Friday, 25 September 2020, at 11 a.m. All freshmen will receive an invitation to the event. Up to 90 students who register in time will be able to attend the introductory class live in the hall (with a distance of 1.5 m). Notices of applications will be published at a later date. We believe that the first generation of undergraduate students, our new freshmen, should generally attend classes as much as possible at the Faculty premises, in lecture halls and in laboratory tutorials, in compliance with all prescribed measures. The first year is crucial for the university study and introduction to the concepts of higher education and studying at the university, especially following the school year which posed a great challenge to high school seniors almost from the beginning (strikes) to the end (pandemic). Without the timely adoption of important habits related to university study, the entire study may be compromised. Therefore, we advise all freshmen to enrol in the online bridge course "Elementary Mathematics" in September, so that they will be ready to follow the materials from mathematical courses when the classes start. We would also advise the enrolment in the bridge course "Introduction to Physics" in the winter semester. Our intention is for freshmen to attend classes in the same group and in the same classroom, in order to avoid any unnecessary circulation of students in the hallways. This will significantly reduce the risk of the need to isolate a larger number of students in the event of a virus outbreak. Groups will consist of 40 to 70 students, depending on the size of the classrooms. It is certain that classes will be held in shifts, but without alternation (some groups will always attend classes in the morning and some in the afternoon). Between shifts, the premises will be disinfected. Senior undergraduate students and graduate study Classes for senior undergraduate and graduate students will be organized in a hybrid form, live and remotely, depending on the needs of the courses. Details will be defined in collaboration with course lecturers and students will be notified about them during September. Class schedule During September, we will define a class schedule which will be subject to changes, depending on the development of the situation regarding the pandemic. The aim is for students to attend approximately half of the classes of most courses at the Faculty. We will try to ensure that students do not spend more than three working days a week on the Faculty premises. When creating the schedule, we will try to avoid gatherings of larger groups of students and minimize the number of days that the students will spend at the Faculty, in order to reduce the need to travel by public transport. It is certain that different groups will start with classes at different times, in order to reduce the number of students who are in the Faculty hallways at the same time. Student accommodation Given the planned way of carrying out classes, we believe that it is best for students living outside Zagreb to come to Zagreb, in dormitories or rented apartments, to follow the recommendations and to come to the Faculty premises for classes which are carried out in lecture halls and laboratories, and to listen to lectures from their homes when they are carried out online. That way, in case of tightening measures, we will prevent possible problems related to travel, especially from other countries, and at the same time achieve flexibility in case of relaxation of measures, when classes would be carried out online only exceptionally. Principles of carrying out classes In principle, classes will be carried out as a mixture of live lectures and tutorials in the Faculty premises and online classes. Classes at the Faculty will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations of the competent government bodies. Online classes will be carried out via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Moodle and the like. Safety and health measures and recommendations The basic recommendations prescribed by the Croatian Institute of Public Health are also valid on the Faculty premises. Here we emphasise the following: the classrooms where students have classes will be disinfected during group changes (shifts), disinfectants will be available at various points around FER, in front of classrooms and toilets, students and employees are required to wear protective masks in larger groups (which includes all lectures and tutorials), students must avoid physical proximity with people outside their usual social circle, the number of students in classrooms and the library will be limited, if necessary, we will provide a reservation system for spaces for which there is great interest. The measures should also be followed in the Cassandra student restaurant. Those will be prescribed by the owner, who is responsible for them.

FER-IN study programmes for the whole...

FER-IN study programmes for the whole world

Petra Škaberna

With the development of three new international university graduate study programmes in electrical engineering and computer science, FER opens itself to the whole world without hesitation and sends a clear message that Croatia is ready to create a new generation of young intellectuals, regardless of where they come from. FER is ready to transfer its expertise, offer its strong and modern infrastructure and prepare them for top achievements on a global level. "University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing proudly holds the title of institution of excellence - promoting excellence in teaching, excellence in scientific research and excellence in encouraging technological progress . Every year, FER enrols 650 best graduates from all over Croatia and they motivate us to be even better and more efficient, using the opportunities provided by new technologies. We are happy that, starting with the next academic year, FER will be able to offer three new, modern and attractive study programmes in English, which are in line with the best world models, but also with the needs of the labour market in Croatia, Europe and the world ", pointed out the Dean of FER, professor Gordan Gledec, PhD. With the aim of raising the global competitiveness of the Croatian economy and systematically strengthening the internationalization of (higher) education, our task is to ensure the synergy of all educational institutions, as well as creators of public policies and procedures and thus attract young talent from around the world. FER-IN project manager, professor Marko Delimar, PhD, therefore emphasizes : "Croatia is stable and secure, with a mild climate, a clean and pleasant country full of natural beauty. Croatia already lacks people for innovative and well-paid jobs in the STEM field, especially in the computer, electrical and ICT sectors. In addition to offering quality study programmes, the academic community in partnership with relevant ministries should provide mechanisms for effective attraction of top foreign students. We must address the issue of foreign students and their student life in Croatia in an appropriate and simple way . We must not miss the opportunity to become a sought-after destination for students from all over the world", and concludes: "When they decide to study in Croatia, we should enable good students to easily get all the necessary information . Among other things, these students should be able to apply for visas to study in Croatia in all consular offices of all EU member states and partner countries anywhere in the world." More information can be found in the detailed news content.

Best high school graduates enrol at FER

Best high school graduates enrol at FER

Petra Škaberna

As expected, FER has once again filled the enrolment quota during this year’s summer enrolment period, meaning there will be 653 freshmen walking down the Faculty hallways in the academic year 2020/2021. The interest in the undergraduate studies "Electrical Engineering and Information Technology" and "Computing" is really impressive, which can be seen from the fact that this year a lmost 1,100 high school graduates marked FER as the first choice . Out of one thousand most successful high school students in the State Matura Mathematics exam, more than 420 of them chose FER as their first choice of faculties, while equally impressive results also apply to Physics. As many as 439 high school graduates with the best results in this subject approached the online enrolment at FER. Luka Hobor is one of only four high school graduates in Croatia who solved this year’s higher level in Mathematics and Physics State Matura exams with 100% accuracy , and thanks to the excellent success from the XV. Gymnasium, he had a maximum of 1000 points for enrolment at FER. "I enrolled at FER because I am primarily interested in physics and informatics. I was choosing between PMF and FER, but I decided in favour of FER because I am more interested in practical application than theory. I think that I will develop the necessary skills and knowledge at FER, both for working in the technology industry and for accomplishing new achievements in this field. I believe that this Faculty will provide me with many opportunities and quality mentoring and that I will use it to further develop my potential", said Luka Hobor . Freshmen come to FER from all parts of Croatia , but still the largest number come from Zagreb high schools - XV. Gymnasium, V. Gymnasium, III. Gymnasium, Lucijan Vranjanin Gymnasium, Ruđer Bošković Technical School and X. Ivan Supek Gymnasium. It is interesting to note that we continue the positive trend of enrolling girls at FER, since they make up almost 27% of enrolled students in this generation . We are especially pleased with this information because we are making great efforts to make the STEM area equally attractive for both genders. Therefore, our dear freshmen, we wish you a happy start to your studies at FER, with the hope that in the next few years we will meet all your expectations and be the best possible incentive for further development and scientific growth! You can read more in the in the detailed news content.

FER researchers win the Semantic...

FER researchers win the Semantic Segmentation discipline of the Robust Vision Challenge

Petra Škaberna

A group of FER researcher s from the Department of Electronics, Microelectronics, Computer and Intelligent Systems (ZEMRIS), led by professor Siniša Šegvić, PhD , won the first place in the international competition Robust Vision Challenge , in the discipline of semantic segmentation . The method which the ZEMRIS team used in the competition was developed within the doctoral dissertation of the institute's associate Marin Oršić, while assistant Petra Bevandić, junior researcher Ivan Grubišić and institute associate Josip Šarić also participated in the preparation of the submission. Competition propositions required learning a single model that could implement predictions on multiple data sets. Such models are particularly interesting for industrial applications because they behave best in the presence of unexpected scenes. FER's model achieved first place in the absolute competition at the WildDash 2 set. It is the most demanding set for the semantic segmentation of automotive scenes because it contains images which were specifically selected by the experts as difficult for machine-learned models. Model learning and evaluation was performed on an NVIDIA DGX computer. It is a computer system with eight NVIDIA Tesla V-100 GPUs, which simplify the software execution of procedures for learning large models. Our winning team’s method, titled "Effective Semantic Segmentation by Pyramid Fusion" , was published at the last year’s CVPR conference, which Google Scholar lists as the 5th most prestigious scientific source according to the h5-index metric. It was also published in Pattern Recognition , journal which is ranked 10th out of a total of 220 most prestigious sources in the field of artificial intelligence according to Scopus. "There are three main motivations for our participation in the competition. First, such ventures force us to step out of our comfort zone and "pick up" knowledge that we would otherwise gain much more slowly. Second, we wanted to increase the scientific impact of our publications. Third, this participation showed that our expertise is competitive on a global scale, so we hope to find projects to continue funding our research. We are interested in industrial projects, mainly because they confront us very effectively with the real limitations of our science. In addition, industrial research is important because public sources of funding in Croatia are not sufficient to conduct research at the global level", explains the team leader, professor Šegvić . You can find more information in the detailed news content.

Development of National Competencies...

Development of National Competencies in the field of High Performance Computing

Petra Škaberna

This September, a new project titled "National Competence Centres in the Framework of EuroHPC - EuroCC " started within the European Horizon 2020 programme.   The EuroCC activity will bring together the necessary expertise to set up a network of national competence centers for High-Performance Computing in 33 participating states of the EuroHPC JU. The goal is to provide a broad service portfolio tailored to the needs of users’ national industries, scientific and academic communities, and public administration.   Such an approach will strengthen existing and develop new national competencies for High-Performance Computing (HPC), High-Performance Data Analytics (HPDA) and the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Competence centers for HPC will be central to coordinating national initiatives, making it easier for all national users to access European HPC competencies and take advantage of opportunities in different industrial sectors and branches.   During the course of the project, Croatian national competence centre for HPC will be established, with the aim of becoming a go-to place for end users from science and high education, industry, and public administration. The users will get access to innovative solutions adapted to the maturity level of national and European HPC infrastructure, as well as different groups of users and their needs and requirements.   EuroCC project is coordinated by the Stuttgart University, while FER is one of seven Croatian institutions in the consortium led by University Computing Center (SRCE). FER’s project activities will be carried out by the HPC Architecture and Application Research Center . Project duration is two years and project lead at FER is professor Mario Kovač, PhD .

FER Students in the Finals of the EU...

FER Students in the Finals of the EU CITIZENS’ AWARD 2020

Petra Škaberna

Project "Fair (FER) solutions for better community" has reached the finals of the most successful projects within EU Sustainable Energy Week . The most successful projects for clean, safe and efficient energy have been selected, and FER's project, in which our students participated, is among the finalists in the "Youth" category. About a dozen FER students were introduced to the problem of energy poverty, after which they performed simple energy audits in more than 100 energy-poor households in Zagreb, helping them to identify problems and then apply simple efficiency measures in their homes. Based on the results of the fieldwork, the students developed a model for estimating the energy needs of households. In addition, the obtained results are being used for development of policy proposals for combating energy poverty in the City of Zagreb and the development of models for the analysis of energy consumption and costs at the household level.

AeroWind – New Horizon 2020 Project

AeroWind – New Horizon 2020 Project

Petra Škaberna

The aim of the project "Autonomous UAV inspection of wind turbine blades" (AeroWind) is to develop an autonomous visual inspection system which will use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), thus enabling inspection of wind turbine blades without stopping the turbine and interrupting energy production. The project is motivated by the fact that in order to keep wind turbine generators’ production optimised, most wind industry players inspect their blades at least once a year and plan maintenance based on the data collected. Hundreds of thousands of hard to reach wind turbine blades must therefore be inspected every year in Europe and around the world and existing visual inspection methods are rather slow, inaccurate, expensive and require complex coordination and logistics. Currently, visual inspection methods require the wind turbine to be stopped and specifically positioned in order to be inspected, leading to unavailability and causing significant loss of electricity production and income, especially with modern generators that surpass 10MW capacity. The AeroWind project started on 1 May 2020, and the project leader at FER is professor Stjepan Bogdan, PhD . FER is currently implementing 20 Horizon 2020 projects.

FER students show a growing interest...

FER students show a growing interest in mobility

Petra Škaberna

The interest of FER students in student mobility within the Erasmus+ program has been continuously growing every year. The results of the Erasmus+ Competition for students - study visit for the academic year 2020/2021 for program countries (KA103) demonstrate that FER has been recording a significant increase in outgoing student mobility for several years in a row. As many as 103 outgoing mobilities were approved, which is an increase of almost 20 percent compared to the previous year, and an increase of almost 70 percent compared to the academic year 2018/2019. It is interesting to add that FER is in third place at the level of the University of Zagreb in terms of the number of approved KA103 mobilities for this year. When it comes to countries that are of greatest interest to our students, Spain, Austria, Poland, Germany and Sweden proved to be the most popular. FER is also recording an increasing number of foreign students who want to spend one semester, and often an entire academic year, at FER. In the academic year 2019/2020, a total of 94 incoming mobilities was realised, which is an increase of almost 60 percent compared to the previous year. By far the largest number of foreign students come from Spain, followed by France, Portugal and Poland. Our Mobility Office and seven ECTS coordinators take care that every mobility, whether outgoing or incoming, goes smoothly. In addition, since the last academic year, all students who plan their mobility can find student feedback from previous years on the Intranet and thus make an easier choice of their host institution. FER has signed around 100 inter-institutional agreements, and the largest number of agreements has been signed with universities from Spain, France, Italy and Germany. You can see selected photos from the Erasmus + mobility of our students below.

FER and GlobalLogic launched the...

FER and GlobalLogic launched the "AUTOSAR software standard" skill

Petra Škaberna

GlobalLogic Croatia and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing of the University of Zagreb (FER) have launched an educational module for FER students on the topic AUTOSAR ( Automotive Open Systems Architecture ), which represents the automotive standard established with the aim of creating an open and standardized software architecture. This way students will be given an opportunity to learn highly wanted skills at the software market so that they can increase their competitiveness in the labor market. The educational module is organized as a skill (extracurricular course) at FER during which students acquire practical knowledge of relevant technologies in the labor market through a partnership between the faculty and the industry that employs such profiles.  FER students were given the opportunity to gain practical knowledge about AUTOSAR in the summer semester of this academic year. The interest of students was great since the quota of 30 students for the first year of the course. was completed soon with more students interested to join the course in the future. Classes will last until June and and 10 software engineers from GlobalLogic with many years of experience working on digital innovations in the automotive industry, will hold the lectures and lab work. GlobalLogic prepared the education module in cooperation with its business partner, the German automotive software supplier Elektrobit . Elektrobit secured specific thematic materials for the module and also supports the project with its highly sophisticated commercial software used in the design and development of AUTOSAR systems for individual ECUs ( Electronic Control Unit ) for all modern cars.

LARICS participated in one of the...

LARICS participated in one of the world's largest robotics competitions

Marko Tucaković

Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) is a robotics competition that is held every two years in Abu Dhabi (UAE). The competition, organised by the Khalifa University under the leadership of professor Lakmal Seneviratne, is conceived as a set of very ambitious and demanding challenges with the aim of pushing the boundaries of robotics through innovative solutions and technological excellence. The event took place from 23 to 27 February 2020. MBZIRC2020 is the second edition of the competition and the first attended by FER's Laboratory for Robotics and Intelligent Control Systems (LARICS) . MBZIRC2020 comprised of three separate challenges and the grand challenge, which combined elements from the first three challenges. The points system was formed in a way that emphasised the autonomy, so that the autonomous results, regardless of the task completion percentage, scored more points than the results achieved in manual modes. The leader of the LARICS team for MBZIRC was Frano Petrić, who oversaw the coordination of activities under the watchful eyes of professor Stjepan Bogdan and assistant professor Matko Orsag, while the burden of implementation was carried out by LARICS Ph.D. students: Barbara Arbanas, Marko Car, Antun Ivanović, Marsela Polić, Ivan Hrabar, Ivo Vatavuk, Lovro Marković, Ana Batinović, Antonella Barišić, Robert Milijaš i Marko Križmančić. The team decided to complete the tasks autonomously.