Every once in a while you reach a point where you know a lot of things are about to change drastically. I’m on the verge of such a point. Which, admittedly, is super-interesting and exciting!
About a month ago I successfully defended my thesis called Online recommendations at web-scale using matrix factorisation, the last stop of a two-year journey called European Master in Distributed Computing. Supported by the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, this little endeavour took me to Portugal for one year of intense course work at Instituto Superior Tecnico. Together with four supersmart classmates from India, Pakistan and Brazil we tackled courses on parallel and distributed computing, virtualisation, mobile computing, cloud computing, network security, P2P and overlay networks, and fault-tolerance. We literally dived into a world of wonderful complexities and got to work on some really interesting and challenging problems through various course projects (a bunch of them can be found on my Github).
The journey continued the second year at KTH in Stockholm for another semester, diving deeper than before in the waters of distributed computing and systems. Joining up with our classmates from Barcelona, an already sparkling enthusiasm became raving ecstasy! Prominent guest lecturers from EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland), UC Irvine (USA), and NTU (Singapore) gave talks on distributed databases, mining mega-graphs, and coding theory. These talks were complemented by industrial talks from Google, Spotify, Klarna, and Nasdaq. To name a few.
During the fourth and last semester I moved to Barcelona and the (nowadays international) social network Tuenti for the final piece of the puzzle. After a code test and three pretty hefty interviews, they signed me on for working on recommendation engines. Another deep dive in machine learning techniques and six months of pure awesomeness followed. Seeing what my colleagues at Tuenti achieved during this time gave a refreshing insight on how fast-paced and fun (and naturally daunting) the industry can be from the first row.
After a month of backpacking in Chile, Bolivia and Peru, I’m returning home to Sweden as “one happy monkey.” Surely there are things which were not perfect during the programme; particular courses can be improved and administration can at times be smoother, but the experience has been invaluable. Anyone looking for a master’s degree and is ready to put in just that little extra effort needed for an Erasmus Mundus experience won’t regret it. I promise.
In a few weeks I’m moving to Malmö and I’ve intensified my search for new adventures. Lets see what’s around the next corner!