Ghent University once more

I spent my obligatory internship in Ghent, Belgium - working within the “KERMIT Research Unit Knowladge-based Systems” which is lead by my supervisor prof. Bernard De Baets. KERMIT is part of the Department of Mathematical Modelling, Statistics and Bioinformatics, which is a part of the Faculty of Bio-science Engineering of Ghent University. KERMIT covers 4 major scientific fields: knowledge-based modelling, statistics, machine learning and spatio-temporal modeling. My research falls into the fourth position on this list. In this field, the team consisting of post-docs and PhD students from various places in the world (from all continents!), develops models based on Cellular Automata, agent systems and similar techniques, as well as researches the mathematical foundations of such models - providing tools and techniques for future modelling projects. I had an honor to work with the team and present the results of my work during the internal KERMIT seminars, which present high level of scientific excellence and form a space for creative discussions that lead to further development of the ongoing projects.

The visit in Ghent have thought me few very important and valuable things. First of all I have witnessed true, team-oriented scientific collaboration. KERMIT way of working is organized along the idea of MSc students, working with PhD students and post-docs with senior professors on bigger projects. Youngers help in smaller tasks and at the same time are learning from more experienced partners. Such a setting is very effective. 

Secondly I met a lot of people fully dedicated to scientific work at the highest standards - spending long days and evenings on the Faculty, finishing off their papers, thesis, presentations and projects. Their results are truly impressive! Being there confirms that there is not hidden magic behind such great results, other than hard work full of dedication. 

Finally, I have learned a lot about Belgium, its culture, art, architecture … food (chocolates!!) and beer which is brilliant. Ghent and Flanders turned out to be truly beautiful. I was lucky enough to visit Ghent together with my wife and children, and now we all really miss Ghent - therefore we already plan next visits there (my 2.5-years old son, claims he is driving alone to Ghent almost every day now).

Although the PhD project is almost finished now I already know that a close connection with Ghent’s scientific community - the people that I have met will be maintained. We already plan further collaboration, and engage more people from Poland and Ghent into joint projects. I think both sides are happy about the outcomes of our works and we have really high hopes for the future.

Witold Bołt

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