Computer Science has always had a somewhat magical side for me
04.12.17 - Lionel Fleury, a Master's student in Computer Science, started his career in the Swiss army as a pilot after finishing high school in Nyon concentrating in sciences. After 10 years spent in the army, he decided to resume his studies in Computer Science at EPFL in 2013.
Lionel, who has just started the third semester of his Master's, is currently an intern at BestMile, a company that is active in the management of autonomous vehicles. At BestMile, he works on projects related to Data Integration methods for processing data from different sources and formats.
Why Computer Science?
There are several different reasons that led me to resume my studies in Computer Science. A pilot's career always puts you on the go and I wanted to regain stability in my life, so I saw it as a good time to change careers.
As I had always kept my passion for CS on the side and because of personal interest, I wanted to explore the subject and study this field. Computer Science has always had a somewhat magical side for me, offering great possibilities.
Being from the region, I neither had the desire nor the need to go further than EPFL. In my opinion, the school provides an excellent level of study. Many of my high school friends had gone directly to EPFL following high school. So, ending up here did not come as a surprise.
How to survive and succeed at EPFL?
The advantage of starting studies at my age is that one already knows how to organize themselves, manage time and set priorities.
Above all, you have to learn how to organize and manage your schedule, because the year is very busy. You have to plan your days so that you do not get lost along the way. Completing your exercise series is important because the train moves along quickly. Even if at the beginning, you feel you know the majority of the material, if you fall behind, it is almost impossible to catch up during the semester.
You also need to learn to relax and take time for moments of interaction with other students and friends. To do this, there are multiple choices of very diverse associative activities on campus, which for me is one of EPFL's strengths. Everyone can find an activity to their liking. There are almost as many sporting, artistic and political associations as there are students; like "CLIC", IC School's (School of Computer and Communication Sciences) student association.
What is the difference between Computer Science and Communication Systems?
This is a question that comes up often. I would say that the CS approach focuses more on the design and use of computers and algorithms, and just as much on the hardware, as on the software side. Whereas communication systems are more concerned about the processing and transmission of signals. Note that they require a bit more effort in mathematics.
(He admits to never having regretted his choice of discipline)
The choice of subject for the final Bachelor's project?
I did my Bachelor's project at Professor Martin Odersky's lab (LAMP). My project was about implementing a visualization method called a Call Graph. This makes it possible to read a program's operation by creating a graph. Each method is represented by a node and the calls by arcs. The visual rendering helps to identify some bugs or to find errors mainly in performance.
The most interesting class during the degree?
I really liked the class Applied Data Analytics, which meets today's needs in data processing to extract what seems interesting and useful. Another class that I enjoyed was the Software Engineering one, which allows you to develop your programming skills in a team through the realization of a project from A to Z.
Favorite area of Computer Science?
In our day and age, there is a vast amount of data available. I particularly like everything that revolves around the processing of this data.
The evolution of Computer Science?
Computer Science is a very promising area, finding itself at the intersection of several sectors. We have been experiencing a digital revolution for a few years now. On the one hand, computing keeps accelerating, but on the other hand, this brings the need for its simplification. This is where the fields such as data science or software development come into play. They serve to make its use simpler and the data more useful.
After the Master's degree?
There are two possibilities, finding a job in my field or potentially starting a company with my peers from the university.
Finishing one's studies with an engineering degree in Computer Science does not truly qualify us as technical specialists. But thanks to all of the aspects covered throughout the degree, we are able to meet most of the challenges, while working efficiently as a team.