Going east: Excursion to Russia

HTWG students visiting Moscow and Saint-Petersburg

August, 2016. It is not always easy to offer something special during the daily lecture marathon that gives students a different view on technology and culture while superseding the current animation trend. An excursion can be a very practical and an exciting experience, if it offers a well-tailored topic with high potential of innovation: So, Russia is the right place to go. Of course it is too ambitious exploring all but HTWG’s cooperation partners in Moscow and St. Petersburg are the right addresses to go. The vision to visit Russia was well supported by the students from Computer Science Faculty (IN) and Electro and Information Technology Faculty (EI), so that Prof. Seepold launched the project in the summer semester in cooperation and support of both faculties and with an undisputable substantial contribution of Dr. Alexander Kirjuchin (EI) and Daniel Scherz (IN). The first address for HTWG in Russia was the Moscow Power Institute (MPEI), an excellent Research University with numerous international programs. 2016 is a special year for both universities since their cooperation agreement is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The excursion was synchronized with the celebration of the anniversary. So, the students participated in the ceremony and visited several laboratories at MPEI (see article about the anniversary).

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HTWG arriving at MPEI in Moscow

The topics ranged from hardware, power electronic, software and up to computer networks. MPEI prepared several demos for the students from HTWG. Experts in the field discussed each question launched. Practical application of the working prototypes and simulators can be found for example in real power plant management and protection against hackers etc.


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MPEI lab visit


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Power-plant control developed in a MPEI lab


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Q&A session on energy management with experts from MPEI


The technical program was accompanied by several cultural highlight but not necessarily without high-tech content. The visit of the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics was one of these highlights. Students could see the first satellite (Sputnik), the first cosmonauts space ships, further unique showcases. More high-tech space installations were explained, which are running in the International Space Station (ISS) also in cooperation with countries from Europe.

A woman currently training for the cosmonautic program presented the guided tour. So may be we will say some day in the future that we met a cosmonaut in person before she became famous.


Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics with guide training for the cosmonautic program

As an additional highlight, Kaspersky labs invited the HTWG group to join them for a one-day visit into the company’s main research lab located in Moscow. Kaspersky presented them as a modern and employee centric company dedicating a high effort on security and protecting of mission critical installations, like for power plants or other industry and government installation. Two lectures, given by specialists from the lab, explained attack scenarios and possible ways how to protect against it.


Visit of  Kaspersky labs headquarter



Expert seesion about cyber security


The walk through the company included even the fitness center and all enjoyed a marvelous view from the terrace over the Moscow River located close to Eugene Kaspersky’s office. No question was left without answer, even the one about the annual salary of a job starter. 


Sight of the River from Kaspersky Labs


The night train to Saint-Petersburg replaced the hostel, for most of the group members a unique experience but saving travel expenses and time. In St. Petersburg, the HTWG group was welcomed by the Faculty of Electrotechnics and Automatics of the Saint-Petersburg State Electrotechnical University.


HTWG visit of Saint-Petersburg State Electrotechnical University


Like in Moscow, HTWG labs have running cooperation in the domain of Hardware/Software and embedded systems. Immediately, our students were absorbed by several demonstrations under development for different projects. Most of it developed from scratch and with the responsible developer ready for discussion and demonstration. The group enjoyed the Q/A session about each single piece. Finally, the students could visit the cleanroom installation, where most of the hardware was developed. Several ongoing Master Thesis studies had been explained. The intensive discussion was only interrupted by the lunch break.

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X-Ray demonstration from Prof. Dr. Nikolaiy Potrachov


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Lab session class with professors


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Discussion among researchers


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Clean room installation of the university

The University’s museum helped to relax and it started an excurse into the history of very relevant research in the life of A. S. Popov. Furthermore, St. Petersburg offers several outstanding cultural monuments like the Ermitage and out of town palaces constructed by Peter the Great. The again excellent guided tour helped us to concentrate on some very unique parts of the immense collection.

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University museum A. S. Popov showing original living space

Finally, a quite unknown part of the historic relationship between St. Petersburg and Konstanz was disclosed: On the island Mainau two Russian Grand Dukes are buried. Maria Pavlovna Romanova mother from Lennart Bernadotte and her brother Dmitri Pavlovich.

Even though the famous ‘white nights’ started already, some feet needed to relax after usually some 15km daily walking distance according to the students’ wrist fitness devices. The return trip to Moscow taking again the night train and completing a short Moscow suburban city visit by bus concluded one week full of exciting technical and cultural experience.


Time to say Goodbye 

For sure, the people and also these two cities will remain anything else but an unknown place in our minds. Some of us will return shortly for business others might considerate the option to study abroad for one semester or for the final thesis. All possibilities are open. The organizing team would like to thank our hosts for the invitation and their kind support in the preparation phase and during the visits; and as organizers we would like to thank our students for motivating us to launch the project, their active interest in all parts and the excellent mood during this week.

Below are some more impressions taken during the excursion.

  • boat
  • car2ride
  • group_mpei
  • group_wide
  • gum
  • hermitage
  • hermitage_2
  • island
  • k1
  • k3
  • k4
  • k5
  • kapspersky
  • kosmonautik
  • kremlin_1
  • metro
  • metro_3
  • mpei_lab
  • mpei_lab_2
  • mpei_lab_3
  • mpei_lab_4
  • mpei_lab_5
  • mpei_lab_6
  • mpei_lab_7
  • museum
  • museum_2
  • night_coffee
  • night_shot
  • night_shot_2
  • palace
  • palace_2
  • palace_5
  • porsche
  • rocket
  • s1
  • s2
  • shop
  • skyline
  • skyline_2
  • skyline_4
  • sp_lab
  • sp_lab_4
  • sp_lab_5
  • sp_lab_6
  • stp_lab1
  • stp_lab2
  • stp_lab3
  • stpetersburg
  • top_down
  • train
  • train_2
  • tree

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