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IT's MOre than a University

Weekend picks: A closer look at ITMO University

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ITMO University occupies several prominent buildings in the centre of St. Petersburg. But residents and guests alike rarely get a chance to take a look at what’s happening inside them. Articles featured in this digest will take you on a virtual tour of our labs, as well as shed some light on the work underway within our walls.

The robotics lab © ITMO University

Labs and facilities

Inside ITMO University: The robotics lab

The lab opened its doors ten years into the university’s existence, in 1955. From its humble beginnings as a ship equipment testing facility to its current R&D, it has played an important role for the faculty and the students of our CS department. After a brief look at its history, we explore the tools it houses: a Steward Platform, a small fleet of robotic arms, and a small indoor pool used to test navigational equipment.

The cyber-physical systems lab

The study of cyber-physical systems is a field adjacent to robotics: it also involves a fair amount of work with sensors and autonomous devices. However, the end products aren’t as self-contained, and the tools necessary for their production have to be adjusted accordingly. Our cyber-physical systems lab is a testing ground for ambitious automation projects from driverless vehicles to large-scale assembly line enhancements. This tour will give you an idea of how it’s set up, what its residents are developing, and what’s in store for this facility.

Functional Materials and Devices of Optoelectronics

LEDs might not be sexy, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t hi-tech. Unbeknownst to most consumers, new generations of LEDs are powering a wide range of optical devices for use in everything from communications to healthcare. The Functional Materials and Devices of Optoelectronics lab contains equipment necessary to develop, test and produce these LEDs, as well as circuit boards they’re used in conjunction with.

A tour of the Museum of Optics

The Museum of Optics is a recent addition to the university — but a vital one. It gives future students and curious adults a way to explore the field in a fun, interactive manner. The museum’s collection includes holograms and means of holographic capture, important objects from the history of photography, optical illusions and LED installations. Check out this tour before seeing the museum for yourself — once the pandemic ends and things go back to normal, it will be, once again, open to the general public.

A tour of the Museum of Optics © ITMO University

Our “masters” and their jobs

In this series of articles, we explore the work lives of our postgrads. Many of the disciplines we teach here at ITMO University are very practical in nature — and cannot be mastered without good amounts of hands-on experience. Employers require a high level of familiarity with industry-specific equipment, something that cannot be taught in a class environment. To make sure our postgrad students get this experience without having to sacrifice their degree-related research, we partnered with a wide variety of businesses. The articles below explore ways in which our students get employed while studying at the university.

Quantum communications: building 100% secure data transfer systems

We have been lucky to develop a project of national significance — a quantum encryption key exchange system. Unlike a conventional channel of communication, the system we’re developing is dedicated solely to exchanging encryption keys and is meant to be used alongside an existing data connection. But more importantly — it is capable of instantly detecting unauthorised data access, thanks to the nature of quantum particles. Read the article to understand how this is possible, and who has use for such a system.

Juggling work and study at ITMO University: CS edition

Computer Science students at ITMO can take advantage of our partnership with the Speech Technology Center — a leading Russian manufacturer of biometric systems. Speech Technology Centre’s roots go back more than 30 years. Its reputation enables it to secure government contracts in addition to its main line of work — such as the development of assistive devices for the hard of hearing. You’ll read student testimonials, and learn about the wide range of skills our postgrads had the chance to improve while working there.

Working with light: Starting your career at ITMO University

ITMO University has signed research contracts with a variety of high-profile optical equipment manufacturers. This means that our students can do commercial research at the same labs they would’ve used to work on their theses — and even base their theses off of this work. For some, these university work opportunities have become proper jobs: like Artem Petrenko, who is now developing additive manufacturing equipment at our labs on a full-time basis. Some, like Evgeny Frolov, procured employment outside the university, at one of our partner companies’ labs. To hear their stories in more detail, see the rest of the article.

Juggling work and study at the Department of Photonics and Optical IT

We’ve spoken to a number of our graduates who volunteered to shed light on the ins and outs of getting work experience at ITMO University and our partner companies. They talked about scheduling concerns and transitioning to a career in academia. Our MA curriculums are designed to be flexible — so, no matter, where your professional journey takes you — you’ll be able to make the best out of your time at the university.

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