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Spring Trip to Petrozavodsk
By Liang Wang
In the early morning on April 26, Prof. Kangasharju, Tiina and I started our journey from Helsinki to Petrozavodsk. The whole journey was quite pleasant thanks to the sunny weather. After 12 hours, we reached our destination – Petrozavodsk, a quiet and lovely small town in western Russia. Even though it was not our first visit there, it was the first time we visited Petrozovadsk in spring. Everything looked so fresh and full of vigor compared with my memory of last winter.
As it had been scheduled, we attended the FRUCT conference in the following two days. In the conference, Prof. Kangasharju gave a vivid talk on "Floating content" which aroused many listeners' interest. Tiina gave a talk on preventing plagiarism, and I presented my work on performing large-scale experiments on Ukko cluster. Compared with our work, the presentations from Russian side indicated that they put more efforts in mathematical models. They concentrated in optimizing the system performance by applying the queuing theory. Besides that, we also saw many other talks in different sessions, some of which were interesting and very practical.
The students' demo session was the last part of the conference, and it was indeed a fun part of that day. We had a very good chance to observe how the Russian students think and implement their ideas. Even there is still a long way to go to have practical use for most ideas, those demos do reflect the Russian students' wisdom and capability.
Besides academic mission, as a foreigner, our exploration in local culture and history is a wonderful experience. Drinking cool beer in the bar, tasting the elegant food in the restaurant, strolling along the peaceful lake for sightseeing, we happily explored every corner in this lovely city with endless curiosity.
The history of Petrozavodsk can date back to 1703 when Prince Menshikov founded the settlement of Petrovskaya Sloboda. The city has very similar climate as Helsinki. The area is about 2/3 of Helsinki, while the population is only half. So the population density is even sparser. Strolling on the street, you can see the shining limo and rusted trolleybus running on the road side by side, which may be considered as a miniature of contemporary Russian society. The chilly wind from the lake, the running river through the forest, the abandoned red iron foundry by the bridge, everything there is whispering the history of the city. Even though it seems that Petrozavodsk is still relative conservative and lack of contacting with outside world, we have kind of feeling some fundamental changes are undergoing beneath the tranquility.
About the author: Liang Wang is a PhD student of NODES group at the Department of Computer Science. His research interests include distributed systems evaluation and large scale experiment on cluster.
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Aaron is doing his PhD in the NODES group at the CS department. His research focuses on mobile computing and energy efficient design for multi-interfaced mobile devices.
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Doris is a researcher at the CS department and HIIT, doing her PhD in the neuroinformatics research group. Her research interests include graphical models, causal discovery, and time series.