Andrea Rotenberg

Exploring Federated Learning: My Journey at UniTartu Summer School

Hi, I am Mehreen Tahir, and I am a final year PhD student at Dublin City University, Ireland, specialising in Federated Learning. My journey to the UniTartu Summer School was a bit of a happy accident. While browsing online, I stumbled across the summer programme offering a course in MegaData: Federated Machine Learning. I did not know much about Estonia before applying, except for its chilly reputation and beautiful natural landscapes, which I picked up from social media. However, there are not many courses offered in Federated Learning. Thinking that I would at least get a chance to network with like-minded people from my field, I decided to give it a shot. And it turned out to be a beautiful and welcoming place, much more than what I could have imagined!


The course itself was fantastic - both fun and rigorous. We dove deep into federated machine learning both through theoretical lectures and practical sessions. It was a collaborative environment where I got to work with students and professors not only from Estonia but also from international institutions like Sweden. This not only boosted my skills but also expanded my academic network, which has been a huge plus for my research back home. In fact, the connections I made during summer school led to an unexpected opportunity: joining a research group led by Dr. Feras Awaysheh, a professor at the University of Tartu, further enriching my academic journey.


Aside from the academics, the cultural side of Estonia was a delightful surprise. From the local music and dance to exploring the scenic cities, every day was a new adventure. I especially loved the laid-back vibe of Tartu - it is a small city with a big heart, and the people are incredibly welcoming.


Overall, the summer school was more than I could have hoped for. It struck the perfect balance between learning and leisure, pushing my academic boundaries while providing plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to mix a bit of travel with their studies - it is an experience that goes beyond the classroom!


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