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The subjects studied are rather atypical and very vast

© 2015 EPFL

© 2015 EPFL

TEO STOCCO – student in second year of Bachelor's degree program.

The mere fact of being able to create (almost) anything using nothing more than a computer and your own imagination has always fascinated me. At baccalaureate school, I was able to study these subjects on my own until I finally had to decide which section to study in: communication systems or computer science? I took part in two open day events for baccalaureate pupils (the first oriented more towards communication systems and the other more towards computer science). I carefully read through the course catalogue and eventually decided that communications systems was right for me. The compulsory subjects are more oriented towards mathematics and information science.

In my first year of studies, I discovered two subjects that I found truly interesting: discrete structures and information science. These two branches stand out from the other courses because the subjects studied are rather atypical and very vast. Although they involve a lot of work, the notions covered and the knowledge gained open your eyes to the world of mathematics and make your studies all the more fascinating. Two other aspects that also give me great pleasure are the impressive array of options to choose from (all tempting, from the second year onwards) and the opportunities to apply your knowledge in small- to large-sized projects. These projects are mainly centered on real problems (calculating public transport routes, simulating epidemics, etc.), which makes them very motivating.

Are the studies difficult? Maybe. What is really important is to have a certain degree of commitment. However, all of the time and energy pays off! Former students whom you will meet before and during your studies have all sorts of incredible stories to tell. Whether it be about a project that they spent time on or about companies that are trying to hire them or how they created their own successful start-up company, etc. The most amazing thing is the wide range of really good opportunities that open up after you finish your studies.

One day, a friend whom I met in my first year of studies, asked me if I wanted to go with him and another student to do an internship in the USA. The previous year he had worked with a professor from the well known National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and he planned to return there. And that's how I suddenly found myself applying my knowledge in a global earthquake monitoring project, which keeps track of various terrestrial indicators to assess the risk of earthquakes and issue alerts days in advance. My role was to compile data recorded by satellites so that they could be processed, analyzed and saved in a data center. Apart from the technical aspect, it was a golden opportunity to discover Silicon Valley and the atmosphere surrounding the place. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Authors: Teo Stocco, Alexandra Walther