A press tour for Russian journalists took place in a new Skoltech campus for the first time. Representatives of almost two dozen socio-political and popular science media visited the Skoltech laboratories and met with the scientists.
The program for exploring the new Skoltech campus turned out to be eventful: the tour of the building, the Industry Day poster session visit, the visit to three laboratories, and five reports as part of the press session. Representatives of business publications of RBC and the Kommersant Publishing House, Nauka 2.0, OTR television channels, and the scientific editorial team of Russia Today, the Izvestia newspaper, the Nauka i Zhizn magazine, VC.RU (one of the top online resources in the field of IT and technologies), the INC.RUSSIA online magazine, well-known popular science editorial teams of PostNauka, Naked Science and INDICATOR.RU, and other media came to see Skoltech on the eve of its eighth birthday.
The guests visited the laboratory of cyber-physical systems within the excursion part of the tour program. The head of the laboratory, Skoltech professor Igor Uzhinsky, told reporters about the current tasks of his research team and about the already implemented applied projects. While the speaker narrated and answered questions, a RBC photojournalist promptly took photos: “We are preparing a large photo report on the “Industry 4.0” topic, the texture here is excellent.”
Then the guests visited other laboratories of the Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials, went to the FabLab of the Skoltech’s Shared Resources.
“One day is definitely not enough. You have to live here for at least one week to see everything. Everything is just awesome!” – the guests shared their impressions after visiting the Skoltech laboratories.
Skoltech scientists made short reports as part of the press session: assistant professor Dmitry Koroteev spoke about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in oil and gas exploration and production, assistant professor Alexei Frolov continued the topic of AI, telling how wireless communication will develop in years ahead and when the 6G era comes. Journalists became interested in the telephone-integrated gas detector, the “electronic nose” and flexible electronics, listening to a speech by professor Albert Nasibulin; assistant professor Ivan Oseledets told about difficulties of developing a digital field twin, and about a mobile application that will soon help farmers to calculate yield; the press session was finished by senior lecturer Mikhail Belyaev who told the guests about medical computer vision.
“All reports are clear, relevant and very interesting. Thank you very much for the excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the ongoing research projects in Skoltech. Such press tours are very useful and will continue to attract journalists,” said Olga Orlova, a well-known scientific journalist and the OTR’s Hamburg Reckoning hostess, during the break.
Skoltech Vice President for Community Development and Communications Alexei Sitnikov (he moderated the press session) emphasized the effectiveness of this format of communication with the press, supporting the initiative to hold press tours on a regular basis, twice a year: “With separate media requests, such visits to the laboratory in small groups can be organized more often.” We are also planning to invite representatives of foreign publications to Skoltech.
“Today for me it was also very interesting to listen to colleagues. Definitely, we will organize such meetings with scientists regularly. We are open to communicate with media representatives,” said the Vice President.
At the end of the program, there was a bonus briefing for journalists with the President of Skoltech, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Kuleshov. The President willingly answered various questions of the audience: from the development of endowment fund culture of Russian and foreign universities, the volume and rate of increase of the R&D contracts and Skoltech grants portfolio, to the results of this year’s enrollment campaign, success of graduates and the university’s competitiveness.
“Artificial intelligence is an extremely competitive area. If a customer company wants to do this, 15-20 people will immediately come and they will say the same words: machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data – all this, generally, is about same thing. And I, for example, as an industrialist, how can I choose the right developer company? The answer is very simple. Today, AI is not a science (but it may become a science one day), it is a recipe-book. And this recipe-book and several competitions help determine the best chef. These “competitions” are called NeurIPS (Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems) and ICML (International Conference on Machine Learning). These are two conferences that all those involved in AI seek to attend, where 99 percent of publications are the applied results. Well, and Skoltech’s total number of publications in NIPS and ICML is greater than the total number of articles from all other Russian universities and companies. This is a clear result. So, who should I choose? Not the one who says the right words, but the one who has the proven ability to use them, turn them into products,” the head of Skoltech summed up at the end of the conversation.
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