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.
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.
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.
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.
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 almost 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.
A group of FER researchers 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.
This September saw the launch of the European project Resilient Water Innovation for Smart Economy - REWAISE, within the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The aim of REWAISE is to create a new "smart water ecosystem", to result in a carbon free, sustainable hydrological cycle, in line with the concept of a resilient circular economy, recovering energy, nutrients and materials from water.
To embrace this concept and emphasize the true value of water, the project develops an intelligent digital platform for decentralized solutions and decision making, involving all relevant stakeholders with in Living Labs to share best practices and facilitate co-creation.
FER will within the H2020 REWAISE project develop optimal control procedures for plants and systems in the water cycle -- freshwater preparation plants, water distribution systems, sewage collection system and wastewater treatment plants -- to ensure they operate at their socio-economical optimum. It will then also develop procedures for coordination between independent plants and systems in the water cycle based on supply-demand economical mechanisms to further reduce its overall socio-economical cost and environmental footprint. The developed optimal control and coordination procedures will be implemented and tested in water cycles of Mediterranean, Atlantic and Continental hubs of REWAISE living labs. The project leader at FER is professor Mario Vašak, PhD.
You can read more information about the project in the detailed news content.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As part of the commemoration of Europe Day, the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović visited Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing on 9 May 2020, where he was hosted by the Dean, professor Gordan Gledec, Ph.D., together with Vice Deans Nikola Mišković, Ph.D., Mario Vražić, Ph.D. and Mihaela Vranić, Ph.D. The President was accompanied by his special advisor for energy and climate, Julije Domac, Ph.D.
After visiting the Laboratory for Renewable Energy Systems (LARES) and meeting our robots from the Laboratory for Autonomous Systems and Mobile Robotics (LAMOR), the programme continued with a conversation with European scientists from renowned European universities, in particular the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) from Sweden, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) from Germany and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
You can read more about the event in the detailed news content.
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.
Representatives of Hrvatski Telekom and FER have signed a Letter of Intent for launching the Campus Network project, which will offer the possibility of working on the latest communication technologies to students, startups, and the whole industry. Given that the technology sector is one of the fastest-growing in the world, academia will be allowed to work on industrial development projects based on Industry 4.0, Smart Factory, Industrial Internet of Things (iIoT), and 5G. HT plans to invest around HRK 2 million in the development of the project.
The Campus Network is a private mobile network that will cover the faculty lab with a dedicated 4G and 5G network. The lab will be at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, and FER is open for collaboration with other interested faculties. The next step is to include other cities such as Rijeka, Split, and Osijek. The solutions that will be developed will also be applicable in the public 4G and 5G network of Hrvatski Telekom.