SPbU representatives and Samsung employees have discussed opportunities for cooperation and prospective joint projects.
By agreement with the Vice President of Samsung reached at the 5th Forum of Rectors, one of the key events of the "Dialogue Russia — Republic of Korea" Forum (The Artificial Intelligence of Classical Education), delegates of the largest South Korean high-tech company visited St Petersburg University.
The 5th Russian-Korean Rectors' Forum was held in Suwon, Republic of Korea, on 9–10 November 2017. The event united rectors of the leading universities of Russia and South Korea. Their meeting was devoted to the fourth industrial revolution and university reforms. Heads of nearly thirty higher education institutions from both countries took part in the Forum.
Marina Lavrikova, SPbU Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Methodological Support, greeted the guests and told them in detail about SPbU's interaction with employers and the professional community (Future oriented: employers and graduates help SPbU create the educational programmes of tomorrow). In his turn, Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for Foreign Affairs, noted the importance of relations with South Korean partners — both the governmental authorities, universities, and businesses. Sergey Mikushev, Director of the SPbU Research Park, gave a detailed account of the work of SPbU resource centres.
Alexandr Degtyarev, Professor at the Department of Computer Modelling and Multiprocessor Systems, presented a report on research in the field of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing (for multiprocessor, vector, and hybrid systems).
We began exploring artificial intelligence and decision support technologies 20–25 years ago. We started developing many of these technologies several years ago, and today they are in the focus of attention of the largest innovative companies.
SPbU Professor Alexandr Degtyarev
Professor Degtyarev drew particular attention to a project that Samsung had already become interested in: students of the SPbU aspirantura programme in informatics and medical scientists have created a mobile application designed for children with mental disorders (for example, those with Down's syndrome or autistic spectrum disorders). Using a built-in artificial intelligence system imitating the behaviour of a teacher, the programme helps children develop communication skills even in a hospital or under low mobility conditions. It is common knowledge that for such patients communication is an important component of therapy. This invention has already been tested at St Petersburg hospitals and received positive feedback from experts. The mobile application is available for download.
Professor Degtyarev also spoke about the ways SPbU scientists use neural networks for complex recognition of situations in order to predict further events, including the use of machine learning. For example, experts have developed a decision support system for cardiological surgeons. In addition, the researchers not only proposed, but also implemented technologies to determine the optimal speed, course and way of the ship under stormy weather conditions, landing the aircraft on the deck of the vessel, searching for a flooded object based on the data on its operations prior to the incident and much more.
The Internet of things is a "network of networks" consisting of individual objects, or things, that can interact with each other without human assistance via a remote connection.
"We had begun exploring big data technologies long before they became known under this name. Today, students are actively working on technologies for processing and analysing big data, decision support technologies based on the received statistics," Alexandr Degtyarev highlighted. Now, young researchers are particularly attracted to the Internet of things, recognition systems, cloud computing and much more. The team of scientists has a large number of patents and certificates for their inventions.
SPbU guests, Sergey Pevnev, Director of Corporate Projects and Government Relations at Samsung Electronics Russia, and Svetlana Yun, Manager of Educational Projects at the Samsung R&D Institute Russia, noted that the work of SPbU computer scientists and mathematicians certainly deserved technology companies' attention.
"Samsung chose Russia one of the four sites for its future centre for AI technology development," Svetlana Yun reported. The speaker highlighted that the projects SPbU scientists are working on are in the focus of their company's attention. Thus, she mentioned the technologies of recognition and control of automated objects. In addition, Samsung's research office in Russia focuses on the use of artificial intelligence systems in the nuclear field and runtime networks development. These subjects can become points of contact between research groups from SPbU and Samsung.
Sergey Pevnev also spoke about an IT school for high school students, a new project of the company. This social project aimed at searching for talented schoolchildren with outstanding abilities provides the best school leavers with annual advantages when applying for higher education institutions in Russia. And today Samsung is taking the initiative to support talented SPbU applicants. Marina Lavrikova spoke about the benefits for the winners and runners-up of the All-Russian School Olympiads when being admitted to St Petersburg University and awarding additional points for individual achievements. She specified that such a practice had existed at SPbU for a long time.
Innovative companies and the state are in dire need of specialists capable of solving complex engineering problems and working with a wide range of equipment.
Nevertheless, not only schoolchildren can practice at Samsung: students also have this opportunity within the framework of a course on the industrial Internet of things offered at the partner universities of Samsung. According to Svetlana Yun, today graduates of the engineering fields of study have almost no comprehensive knowledge and universal skills in this area, while innovative companies and the state are in dire need of specialists capable of solving complex engineering problems and working with a wide range of equipment. The Samsung representatives confirmed that the project was in fact unique, as it represented a basic integrated course for future IT specialists. At the same time the company is ready not only to provide educational and methodological support for the course (textbooks, electronic resources, methodological manuals) and train lecturers, but also to fully equip a laboratory for practical classes. In the future, the inventions made within the framework of the course could become commercial and develop into start-ups.
This proposal resonated with the representatives of St Petersburg University. It was decided to start working on a cooperation agreement between the organisations and then to look for the possibility of integrating such a course into the curriculum. The details of future cooperation, which could include joint educational activities, R&D partnership, career guidance, and participation in the life of the University as employers, are to be discussed right after the framework agreement is signed.