Thursday, 24 June 2021

Professor Slavko Krajcar Death: A Look at the Life of Fantastic FER Professor

June 24, 2021 - Following the professor Slavko Krajcar Death on June 18, take a look at the life of an established educator and scientist whose expertise made a significant contribution to Croatian politics in the energy sector.

„The influence of a teacher can never be erased“, or as an American historian Henry Brook Adams put it, „Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops“- these two are just some of the inspirational quotes about teachers you can find with a little assistance from Google.

Students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb are recognized in Croatia for their innovations. At the end of the day, they owe their excellence to the professors that educated them.

One of such professors was Dr. Slavko Krajcar that sadly, as FER official website reported, passed away on June 18, last week.

"Professor, Dr. Slavko Kranjcar made a significant contribution to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing as he was a dean of the Faculty from 1998-2002, after which he was the head of the department for high voltage and energetics from 2002-2006. He will remain in permanent memory as a respected scientist, expert, and a colleague“, said FER in an official release.

Kranjcar was also the member and the president of the Managing council at Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) that also expressed its condolences.

Born on January 14, 1951, Slavko Krajcar enrolled to study in FER in 1969, followed by graduating from Technical High School in Pula. He majored in FER in 1980 and got his Ph.D. in 1988. His scientific and lecture career started in 1974 when he was an assistant on a manufacturing electric energy course. From there on, he mentored various students on different levels, ten of which earned Ph.D. statuses under his guidance.

Kranjcar was active in the media, giving interviews and writing op-pieces on education issues, specifically the education of engineers in the 21st century.

„Krajcar participated on many domestic projects regarding science or economy as well on international scientific and professional projects. Counting just after the year 2000, he participated in over fifty projects, 36 of which he led. He was one of the leading figures in making Croatian Energetic Strategy (which the parliament accepted in 2010) and the Energetic Efficiency Strategy (2008) as well as executive plans on new strategies (2008-2020)“, recalled FER.

They added Fer rewarded Krajcar in 2002 when he received Josip Lončar's golden plaque for his dedicated scientific and educational work. He also received special recognition for developing SRCE- The Computer Centre of the University of Zagreb in 2011, followed by the Ho CIRED award for contribution in developing the field of electro distribution in Croatia. He also received HRO CIGRE recognition in 2018 for the overall contribution to the electro energetic activities in the Republic of Croatia and the Nikola Tesla Award in 2020 for the contribution to science, education, and profession in the field of electrical engineering and computer sciences and application of those technologies.

Believe it or not, Krajcar even made time to contribute to art and culture as well. He published two books of poetry, edited four books regarding cultural issues, and was the president of the Association for Čakavski dialect (distinct for the use of Ča as a word for what and conversated on coastal Croatia).

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

ConTEL 2021: Scientific Conference on All Things Telecom in Zagreb

June 8, 2021 - From June 30 to July 2, the exciting field of information and communication technology will be at ConTEL 2021 conference in Zagreb.

With information and communication technology steadily growing, new challenges, questions and issues are opening up – both for the industry and academic community. Both industry and academia will get the chance to address the latest issues and questions at the 16th edition of the international telecommunication conference ConTEL 2021, which will take place from June 30 to July 2 in Zagreb.

As the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb reported on its website, the goal of the conference is to encompass current and upcoming network technologies that allow omnipresent internet and communications as key starters of the connected information society.

„With new services and access networks grows the need to enhance network infrastructure - not just in terms of quality and performances, but also in terms of scalability (upgrading), mobility, energetic sufficiency, and technology integration. The Conference program will introduce the newest achievements in selected fields, through regular and specific thematic meetings and workshops“, states FER.

To ensure the quality of the conference, researchers, and scientists in this respective field, researchers and scientists were invited to submit their papers of work by March 21. The paper went under two double anonymous reviews to ensure an unbiased assessment of its importance and contribution to the conference. The selected papers will be readable on the IEEE Xplore website, and the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is one of the key sponsors of the conference.

„IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through its more than 396,000 members in over 160 countries and its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted 'voice' for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe“, says IEEE, „the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity“ on its website.

„The format of the event will take into account the COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions. Our wish and goal is to have a live or hybrid event, with virtual participation as necessary. Stay safe and healthy, and we hope to see you in Zagreb!“, states the ConTel official website.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Croatian Mathematical Society (HMD) Has a New President, Dr. Vesna Županović

May 20, 2021 - Earlier in May, the Croatian Mathematical Society (HMD) elected a new president, Dr. Vesna Županović.

As Vedran Pavlić wrote for TCN back in 2016, Croatian students were then better in math than in 2011. Fantastic results were also accomplished in 2018 when Croatian students scored medals at the mathematical olympiad. Good results didn't go amiss in 2020, and initiatives for promoting science (such as the one of the Local History Museum in the central town of Ogulin that introduced kindergarten kids with quantum physics), appear all over the country.

Scientists do have their own professional associations, representing them and with more engaging, less engaging, with bigger, or smaller success, work on the promotion of their respective fields. Mathematicians are no exception, and it's worth noting that the Croatian Mathematical Society (HMD) recently has a new president, Dr. Vesna Županović. Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb reported on its website, an online assembly of HMD voted that Županović be the new president on May 14, replacing dr. Hrvoje Kraljević was the president for the past 14 years.

vesna_zupanovic.jpg

Vesna Županović, screenshot / Treći element

Apart from her new function, Županović is the professor at FER's department for applied mathematics.

Being the faculty that expects excellent mathematical knowledge, FER is quite happy with this decision of HMD, and they also explained the importance of the aforementioned society.

„HMD goal is to enhance and promote mathematical sciences, math education on all levels, math applying in other fields, as well as enhancing the social status of mathematicians in general“, said FER on their website while congratulating. Županović on being elected.


They added that HMD has five departments: education, scientific, engineering, professional, and student department, along with a youth section that gathers pupils on lower levels of the education system. Publishing scientific and professional magazines and books on math is in the domain of the organization too.


Before being president, Dr. Županović was the Head of the Engineering department on HMD. Born in Split in 1965, she graduated from Mathematical Gymnasium in Split and went on to Zagreb to study math at the Faculty of Science (PMF), University of Zagreb. Her competence in math includes Nonlinear equations, Bifurcation, Fractals, Limit-cycles, Nonlinear dynamical systems, and Spirals.

Croatian Mathematical Society stated on its website that they are organizing conferences, math competitions, participation in math Olympics and other international contests, summer schools, and more.

In 1994, HMD also started a Mathematical Foundation For Science with a goal to award young scientists for their contribution. The receiver of the award can't be more than 35 years old, and concluding with 2015; five awards have been given in total since the first award in 1996.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Green Energy Pal: FER Students Developing Personal Energy Consultant

May the 17th, 2021 - A talented team of innovative Croatian students from Zagreb's FER are jointly developing Green Energy Pal, which works as a personal energy consultant to its users.

As Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes, Green Energy Pal is a student startup which is busy developing the aforementioned service, which isn't new but was expensive and as such has been very limited to only large companies until now.

''We look at electricity almost mechanically. There are sockets, plugs, bulb sockets, switches, timers, extension cords... all of that is mechanical. However, with the advent of smart lamps, smart thermostats, and even smart watches, which send consumption data over wireless networks directly to energy companies, it shows that electricity is becoming less mechanical and more smart,'' state the Green Energy Pal team, otherwise one of the ten finalists of this year's Student DIGI Award.

Green Energy Pal is a student startup developing a digital energy consultant. As previously stated, it isn't a new service in itself, but so far it has been limited exclusively to the largest companies that can afford it. All electricity sellers, in fact, have a team of consultants who offer large industrial plants, shopping malls, ports and office buildings energy audits, investment analysis and technology installations, all in order to optimise their energy consumption. Energy companies thus meet the needs of their customers, and they in turn pay for such a service, enjoy the additional savings and become their subscribers.

Ivan Pavic, a member of the Green Energy Pal team and an expert in the electricity market, says that such work is expensive primarily because it still needs to be done manually.

''Although such an approach is possible and cost-effective for large users, it isn't applicable for small and medium enterprises that don't have so much financial power or so many savings opportunities. That's why we're developing a digital solution in the form of a personal energy consultant called Green Energy Pal,'' explained Pavic.

Four doctoral students from the Department of High Voltage and Power Engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb (FER) are working on the Green Enery Pal project. Two are focused on energy trends, regulations and needs, and the other two on software and hardware development.

In addition to Ivan Pavic, who is developing a business model, there's also an automation expert, the organiser of the first blockchain development meetup in Zagreb and the architect of their IT system, Alen Hrga, then there's a physicist, a power expert and head of development of their artificial intelligence algorithms, Ivan Sudic, and the head of the team and Master of Electrical Engineering, Domagoj Badanjak.

Ivan Pavic emphasised that this division isn't so fixed and that they complement each other a lot, explaining that they were pushed into this endeavor by friendship and good cooperation so far.

''All four of us are doctoral students at the Department of High Voltage and Energy at FER and we've worked together on many scientific and professional projects, and often together we guide students in preparing their own seminars and diploma theses, and we also write professional and scientific articles for magazines and conferences,'' stated Pavic.

Thanks to that, added Pavic, they are well acquainted with the current trends in energy. For example, the European Union (EU) has a very ambitious goal to become a leader in the fight against climate change, so for that, savings in electricity consumption have a strategic, political component, which will affect both regulation and the economy.

''I'd like to point out 2030 as the deadline for increasing energy efficiency by 32.5 percent, and to achieve such ambitious goals a great burden will fall on the profession, so energy consultations should be democratised, and that's our goal precisely,'' stated Pavic.

He added that their personal energy consultant, Green Energy Pal, is a combination of hardware and software that collects real-time data on its electricity consumption at the user's location, analyses it and then offers recommendations based on the results. The user manages the entire system via a web interface. In the background, sensors and a microcomputer are located in its location in the distribution cabinet. They send data to the Green Energy Pal cloud and there that data is analysed by artificial intelligence.

''It's the brain of our product and it recognises each device individually, be it a TV or an oven, predicts future consumption, analyses peak power and much more,'' said Pavic.

He explained that based on all this, the user can be given suggestions as to whether it pays to replace a device with something more economical, change their tariff, change their heating method, make an investment, and even include alternative energy sources in the system, such as solar or heat pumps. In addition, it can assess the performance of the charging station for electric vehicles as well as the benefits of selling excess energy back into the grid.

Pavic stated that so far, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those in the catering and hospitality industry, have shown the most interest in Green Energy Pal, and that in the end they plan to offer their solution to households as well. With their startup, they also entered FER's SPOCK incubator, and also joined the BAIF Programme of the Croatian Employers' Association, as well as the STup and Student DIGI Award startup competitions.

''We were happy to enter the Student DIGI Award of Jutarnji list, because it's a confirmation of our idea, which gives us a bit of wind in our sails for the future. It wasn't easy to break through,'' concluded Pavic.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Future of Europe: Successful Croatian Stories

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - Successful Croatian stories and a plan to include citizens in Europe's development were presented on Tuesday at the Croatian parliament, during the first part of the "Conference on the Future of Europe - A Vision of Croatia," during which Speaker Gordan Jandroković entered a debate with a robot.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a pan-European, democratic project during which citizens have an opportunity to decide on how the EU should develop.

This is a project in which "citizens are in the centre," European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica said.

Citizens can participate in panel discussions, debates and the plenary session, in which 108 seats are reserved for citizens.

An equal number is allocated to representatives of national parliaments and MEPs.

The plenary session will also include 54 Council representatives (two for each member state), three members of the European Commission, and representatives of the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Council, social partners and civil society.

"If we miss out on including citizens, we will leave room for populist ideas," said Šuica.

The conference provides a digital platform where citizens can exchange ideas, connect, make recommendations and launch initiatives.

Šuica warned that according to forecasts, by 2070 Europeans will account for only 4% of the global population and she believes that demography will be a point of interest for citizens.

Robot  argues with Jandroković

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković was the conference's host and during his opening address he was interrupted by Pepper the robot who warned him that he had violated the Standing Orders.

Pepper was made at the Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering in Zagreb.

Pepper and Jandroković then debated about parliamentary procedures. 

Jandroković explained that this is a demonstration of what the future holds.

"If we are not smart enough, robots will manage us and not the other way around," he said.

Successful Croatian stories 

Several successful Croatian stories were then presented to the parliament, including a project by the Sisak-Moslavina County Development Agency (SIMORA) promoting the town of Novska as the centre of the gaming industry in Croatia.

SIMORA director Mario Čelan said that the gaming industry, particularly now during the pandemic, had surpassed the film and music industry with regard to total revenue generated.

He added that the project had already launched 49 start-ups and that a new, four-year study programme for gaming technicians had been developed as well as that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan envisaged a gaming industry campus.

This has motivated young people to settle in Novska and the town now has the largest number of companies in its history, he said.

Dragan Schwarz spoke about Radiochirurgia, a special hospital for oncology patients in Zagreb.

More than 45,000 patients have been examined in the five years since the hospital's establishment and more than 4,000 operations were performed, said Schwarz.

"Our results put us at the very top of the global scene," he added.

Sven Lončarić spoke about the Artificial Intelligence Centre (CAI) of the Zagreb Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering (FER), which consists of 19 research laboratories, with FER currently implementing around 260 projects financed from national and international sources.  

Boranka campaign, Toljanić family awarded with Croatian Sabor medal

Scouts Croatia and the Toljanić family from the island of Krk were awarded with the Croatian Sabor medal.

The Boranka project, implemented by the scouts' alliance, has been awarded with the European Citizen's Prize by the European Parliament in 2020.

Boranka is the largest reforestation project in all of Europe. To date more than 7,000 volunteers have planted more than 85,000 new trees in fire-devastated areas of Dalmatia.

The Toljanić family was named European Family of the Year in 2020. The family has 12 children and has developed a successful winery and hospitality business.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Team from Zagreb's FER Wins SIM(P)ATIC PLC+ Challenge 2019 Competition

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of May, 2019, the regional student competition, held at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, marked the completion of the SIM (P) ATIC PLC + Challenge 2019 project.

This project, initiated by the student association EESTEC and supported by the faculties of electrical engineering in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, as well as by no less than Siemens, provides the region's young future engineers with a more detailed insight into the issues that engineers usually encounter in industrial automation in order to better prepare for such work out there in the real world.

Three winning teams, one from each country, as well as the overall regional winner were selected. The winning team from Croatia consists of Karlo Hercigonja, Ivan Ratković and Nikola Benazić from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, from Slovenia, the winners were Urban Aravs, Jernej Štremfelj and Tina Vindiš from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana, and from Serbia, the team consists of Uroš Rakonjac, Petar Kovačević and Dejan Bogdanović from the University of Electrical Engineering in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. The regional winner of the competition is the team from Zagreb, Croatia.

Namely, the SIM (P) ATIC PLC + Challenge 2019 competition started back at the beginning of April with theoretical part of the workshop, where university lecturers from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering from Zagreb, Belgrade and Ljubljana held lectures otherwise not covered by the curriculum. In the next phase, the student teams solved the task by which the best two teams in the country qualified for the regional final in Zagreb. Within this competition finale, the finalists presented their respective solutions of the additional part of the task. Each team had ten minutes available to them for their presentations and five minutes to answer the questions from panel members.

Significant knowledge in the field of industrial automation was also demonstrated by other teams, all judged by a panel consisting of three experts from each country.

Each member of the panel evaluated teams from neighbouring countries in the categories of the quality of the created program and their presentation skills. The Croatian members of the panel were prof. dr. sc. Igor Erceg (FER), mr. Sc. Tomislav Pavić (A & C Automation Adria) and B.Sc. Marko Bunić (Siemens), while from Slovenia and Serbia, there were two university professors and one Siemens representative.

"This competition is an excellent example of synergy between faculties, students and economics. Siemens wants to support projects that encourage the development of professional and practical knowledge of future engineers from this area because we're also strategically focused on the areas of automation and digitisation, which were the cornerstone of this competition,'' said Medeja Lončar of Siemens at the award ceremony.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Mate Rimac Employs First Deaf Person to Graduate from FER

Statistics show that about 12,000 deaf people live in the Republic of Croatia, but unfortunately it is rare for them to complete their higher education.

As Ivan Tominac/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of April, 2019, Josip Ivanković was born in Čapljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but just one year after his birth, he was declared deaf, and this fact was one of his reasons for his relocation to Croatia. His move to Croatia certainly paid off as being the right move, and Josip, despite the diagnosis, managed to develop his speech and the technique of listening. That was, as Josip himself states, a painstaking and long process.

"The situation is that I have to treat speaking Croatian as if I was speaking a foreign language," Josip Ivanković explained.

For four years now, his speech and listening abilities have been being developed at the SUVAG Polyclinic, where Josip learned to speak with vibration, tone amplification, visualisation and by learning anatomy.

"When I learned to pronounce the letter ''r'', I had to touch the vocal chords of the logopad to feel a certain vibration and titration, then I'd lean my hand on my neck to feel the same vibration, so I learned to pronounce the letter ''r'' I learned to pronounce ''ž'' in a similar way, I just put my hand on my head. Generally speaking, the hardest letters to pronounce for the deaf are l,č,ć,đ,dž,lj and nj, and the reason for that is that such letters can't be visually identified. They're explained through the anatomy of the oral cavity, just like a doctor explains the heart's organs, or where the blood enters and where it exits,'' explained Josip.

After the kindergarten era ended, in which he learned the basics of socialisation, it was decided that he should attend a regular school.

This period of schooling, without any curriculum adjustment, he adds, was defined by perseverance, and communicational misunderstandings are, in his words, quite normal and natural.

"The professors made me equal with my peers, and this proved to be a good thing because I learned so much about the world of those who can hear, and I learned how to gather information," said Josip. As stated, statistics show that about 12,000 deaf people live in Croatia, but it is rare for them to complete higher education. Josip was not one of them, and he completed a college which has some very demanding academic requirements for its students.

He enrolled at FER (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing), and the likelihood of him completing his studies was slim, yet Josip had different plans for himself.

"At the beginning of the semester, it was very difficult for me to adapt,'' recalled Josip. Before Josip's arrival, professors from Zagreb's FER didn't have any experience in working with people with impaired hearing. At the beginning, he failed several exams, but he didn't let that dampen his spirit, and later he turned to further consultations.

This combination led him to become the very first deaf person to graduated from that college.

"The professors were very approachable, and our relationship was very flexible and adaptable. I will never forget how Professor Brnetić, instead of me asking him, personally invited me to consultations during the holidays and showed me much he cared that I didn't miss anything from the lecture. On the other hand, one professor asked me during consultations why I didn't go to the lectures and asked me how I was learning. I told him that I don't go to the lectures because I can't hear them. I took out a 100-page notebook with my assignments, and the professor was surprised that I did all that without having gone to any lectures. He asked me to lend him that notebook and later I learned that he'd showed my notebook to all of the professors. Believe it or not, a year after when I came to his office, that copy of the notebook was still on his desk,'' Josip stated, recalling his faculty days.

In the end, none of the obstacles he faced along the way turned him away from his goal, and he passed 62 engagements that mostly relied solely on him and his level of dedication. This FER student didn't have to wait around long before a job opportunity came knocking, and it wasn't your regular offer. He started his working life at no less than Rimac Automobili as an Embedded Hardware Engineer. Rimac had no problems with his deafness and offered him a position after his interview.

''At the beginning of the job, I was given a pretty demanding project that I had to complete within a month, which was the length of my trial period, and when the project ended I realised that I was able to complete it and was given the green light to remain with the firm,'' Josip said. The work never stops at Rimac Automobili, and at the moment, Josip is working on a project for the development of electric car chargers.

"Communication skills are the most difficult for me, because I have to invest extra energy into lip reading and that's mentally challenging and difficult. Imagine a situation in which a colleague is referring to professional terms, and I need to decode them with and put them into context in order for me to have any understanding. Imagine switching off your ears, and focusing your eyes on their lips alone.

You aren't likely to understand because they're not using standard words, they're using technical phrases that are difficult to decode and recognise. At the beginning, it was very difficult for me to follow verbal communication and understand the complexity of the project. Of course, since working here I've changed a lot and become much more calm, more focused and concentrated on the small things. The worst thing is when a colleague does not know how to communicate with me properly, and this is where I'm concerned about information which is valuable to the project, and that's an extra effort. Each colleague has his own specific way of speaking and they aren't all the same in communication. With time, I somehow adjusted to them, and they also had to adapt to me, I accepted that this was all normal and there would always be a situation where they couldn't understand, but I'll always ask them to repeat themselves not just twice, but 1000 times!'' concluded Josip.

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Click here for the original article by Ivan Tominac for Poslovni Dnevnik

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