ide3a scholarship: Master Thesis @ TU Berlin

Being part of the ide3a scholarship has been the highlight for me in 2021. It was a great way to experience and live the Berlin everyday lifestyle, not from a touristic point of view. The thesis topic was presented to me by prof. Dr. Andrea Cominola and prof. Dr. Sangyoung Park. I have met both of them by participating in the Smart Buildings School organized by ide3a, in November 2020, and later I had the pleasure to have them as my mentors for my thesis research implementation. The research for the thesis topic was conducted under the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Transport systems. Additionally, I have a mentor from my home university, prof. Dr. Andrea Castelletti from Politecnico di Milano.

The topic problem included research on non-intrusive load monitoring algorithms (NILM) . As a student studying in the Smart Grid department, under the Electrical engineering course, I was introduced to these algorithms during my course work and I had the previous knowledge on smart metering- which was very important in order to implement the research. Moreover, as NILM tend to expose information related to the privacy of the households, we worked on privacy schemes, in order to control and decrease the exposure towards third parties. This topic was of a particular interest to me, because I had the chance to implement my theoretical knowledge in a more practical and useful way.

In order to implement the algorithms on a given datasets, I had to deal with deep learning and neural networks, which at the beginning were quite a challenge for me. Now, I am very satisfied because overcoming the challenges, means that I have gained knowledge on topics that were unfamiliar for me, and at the same time are an important tool in the electrical engineering world.

Talking about the collaboration with my mentors, I can say that I am satisfied, since we had scheduled meetings on every two weeks. On these meetings we discussed the progress, results, and they were always willing to help me and advise me on what the next step should be, yet taking my opinions and thoughts into considerations. The meetings were in the TUB premises and on line, depending on the COVID-19 situation at the time.

The scholarship provided me with enough funds to be able to find quite comforting accommodation, close to the university buildings. I could say I was lucky considering that question, since the biggest challenge for students coming into cities such as Berlin, is to find a proper place to stay. When I had the free time, I was exploring the city and made sure that I have visited all the famous locations. One thing I love about Berlin is that you can find international food such as Korean, Vietnamese, and Israeli, which were new to me. When December approached, the Christmas markets were open, and I attended a few of them. The magic of the Christmas markets in Berlin is something that everyone should experience.

To sum up, being part of the ide3a scholarship program was an incredible experience. I would like to thank my mentors, as well as Lisa and Johannes, for the continuous communication and help for any problem that I had before coming to Berlin. One thing I would like to be improved for the next generation of scholars is having more student gatherings and meetings, which is of course, related to the COVID-19 situation and cannot be controlled. I am grateful for the full Berlin experience!