My name is Loris Panza, master student at Politecnico di Milano. Before having the opportunity to start the valuable collaboration for my master’s thesis, I had already met the Ide3a group in 2021 by participating in the Smart Sensing Course and related Hackathon: knowing already the quality of the experience, I didn’t hesitate to apply for the scholarship the next year. I have been assigned to the Smart Water Networks (SWN) group at Technische Universität Berlin, lead by Professor Andrea Cominola starting from the beginning September 2022 until December 2022.

Professor Andrea Cominola from TU Berlin and Professor Andrea Castelletti from Politecnico di Milano were my supervisors for my master thesis. The aim of my research was based on the use of Data Mining and Machine Learning techniques to estimate daily water consumption of residential buildings using publicly available data sources. Using types of publicly available information, the quality is not high and this consequently affects the final estimation and its accuracy. However, the study has shown interesting results and the possibility of using the method in areas where private information on water consumption is not available. During my study in Berlin, Professor Andrea Cominola and M.Sc. Siling Chen and M.Sc. Wenjin Hao provided me with great help through continuous discussions and insights. Once a project milestone was reached, meetings were organized to obtain useful feedback from Professor Andrea Castelletti.

The Ide3a team that welcomed me during my experience was friendly, organized, and fun from the beginning. They were the first people I met in Berlin, and they immediately made me feel comfortable by helping me in my first days. I am very grateful to them for their hospitality. The scholarship was not enough to both live and pay rent in Berlin. Especially because rental costs are quite high and the available housing options are few, so once you find accommodation, even if it is expensive, it is better to take it immediately to avoid being left without it. I managed to find an apartment through a Facebook group of Italians in Berlin, I recommend searching there as well as on housing rental websites.

The life experience I had in Berlin is one of the most significant of my life so far. I met a lot of people and their cultures, forged new friendships, and explored interesting new places. I found Berlin to be a unique city, in some neighborhoods you can admire classical structures and monumental buildings while in others modernity is predominant, and in others urban art takes center stage. I think the uniqueness of the city lies in containing one aspect and its opposite, there is no right or wrong choice, but it’s up to you to decide which one to choose. That’s why it’s one of the most inclusive cities in the world. Before arriving, I was scared of being alone and not knowing anyone, but once I arrived in Berlin, I found many opportunities to meet new people. There I met many people whom I still keep in touch with.

If you are reading my report because you are undecided whether to try this experience or not, I absolutely recommend doing it, it is definitely worth it. I can say with great certainty that this experience has changed me and I will be forever grateful to the entire Ide3a team and Prof. Andrea Cominola.