Professor of the University of Texas at Dallas, co-head of ITMO's Laboratory of Nanophotonics and Optoelectronics
ITMO University in 2018: A Year in Review
It’s been a long, eventful year; let’s take a look back at the events, names, and ideas that defined 2018 for ITMO University.
Coding the Future
The cornerstone of all major changes happening at ITMO University in 2018 is the ITMO CODE. Our values, appreciation of fundamental thinking, and our professional and soft skills help us tackle global challenges.
As part of ITMO CODE, a new set of core disciplines was launched in the 2018-2019 academic year that includes “Digital Culture,” “Entrepreneurial Culture,” “Creative Technologies,” “Critical Thinking,” and “Soft Skills,” comprising of Emotional Intelligence, Negotiation and Conflict Management, Team Management and Personal Effectiveness, among others. They’re part of the curriculum for all students regardless of their major. Why is this such a big deal? Because every professional will need these competencies to succeed in the digital economy.
Pride and Joy
Looking back on 2018, we can’t help but give a shout-out to all the wonderful scientists who made the headlines this year: to Alexey Slobozhanyuk, whose PhD thesis was named best of the year at the Australian National University, to Anvar Zakhidov and Valentin Milichko, winners of Scopus Awards Russia 2018, to Xi-Cheng Zhang who received the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Prize, to programming superhero Gennady Korotkevich, winner of this year’s Topcoder Open Marathon and Google Code Jam, and to Alena Schelokova and Dmitry Filonov, named among the recipients of IEEE Photonics Society Awards. There are, of course, many more names on that list - and it will only grow bigger with time!
National Center for Cognitive Technologies
After a very intense competition across the country for grant support of National Technological Initiative (NTI) centers within eight interdisciplinary fields, ITMO University was proud to secure funding for research in the field of machine learning and cognitive technologies. Along with 18 other universities, research centers and businesses, ITMO University will participate in the National Center for Cognitive Technolgoies which held its first session in September. This a huge honor for the university to participate in applied scientific research that will pave the road for the future of Russian science.
Art & Science
This academic year, ITMO University launched Russia’s first English-language Art & Science program. Supervised by Dimitri Ozerkov, head of the Contemporary Art Department at the State Hermitage Museum, it combines the resources of the university’s labs and competencies of leading art experts from around the world. Its students are finding new ways to blend art and high-tech and rethink the place of art in the modern world.
After being granted the right to grant PhD degrees, this year ITMO developed a transparent system for high-quality thesis defense and instigated a new approach to forming interdisciplinary thesis boards. These changes will ultimately make it easier for ITMO graduates to work with their international colleagues on joint research projects, take part in double degree programs, and so much more. Now it’s even possible to defend your thesis in English, and having publications in scientific journals is a requirement.
Upon joining the 5-100 Russian Academic Excellence Project, ITMO University committed to pouring every effort into becoming a truly global university; and that commitment is paying off! This year we’ve made great strides towards welcoming students, staff, and guests from all over the world, and made many new friends in the process. Just ask the students from India’s Parul University, who visited us this summer to learn more about computer science. Meanwhile, the staff of our Foreign Language Training Center has launched an EMI program to help lecturers and teachers who wish to teach their courses in English. And there was so much more! To learn more about internationalization at ITMO University, check out our two-part article all about ITMO’s English Upgrade.
And in the scientific world, Russian researchers from ITMO University along with their colleagues from France and Germany became among the first to work at the site of European XFEL, the world’s largest free-electron laser.
2018 was a great year for ITMO University’s performance in the global rankings: in addition to making debut appearances in the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the QS Subject Ranking in Engineering & Technology, ITMO climbed the ranks of popular subject rankings, such as the QS Ranking in Computer Science, and even took the first place among all Russian universities in the THE Computer Science Subject Ranking. And in the global rankings, it maintained its hold while improving various indicators, namely reputation in the academia and the industry, as well as citation rates and internationalization efforts, placing 511-520 in QS World University Rankings and 501-600 in THE World University Rankings-2019.
ITMO University’s new high-tech campus is well on its way! After its announcement in 2017, the project picked up the pace and entered a new phase of development this September; last month, renowned design firms from Russia, the UK, the Netherlands, and Austria presented stunning concept designs for the innovation city. Students, staff, and friends of the university took part in a poll to determine the future of Highpark.
What’s coming in 2019? Artificial Intelligence
In October, ITMO University wowed members of the Council on Competitiveness Enhancement of the 5-100 Russian Academic Excellence Project with our vision for 2020 and beyond. ITMO plans to integrate AI not just in solutions for scientific and business tasks, but also into major aspects of the learning process, such as helping students pick the right personal learning trajectory. How are we going to achieve that? We’ve got AI on our side.