Last summer I took part in HIDA student exchanges. During the program, I traveled for 6 weeks to a branch of the German Space Agency in Jena, Germany.
At first, I was a little bit stressed about the program, it's not sound easy to move to another country and make research with people that I don't know, in a city that I don't know, and in a different language and culture than I'm used to. Happily, the concerns have faded in the first week of the program. Jena is a city of students, with 30% of the population are students, like Be'er Sheva. It is surrounded by nature and hills, in the center, there is a river that is surrounded by a huge and beautiful park.
When I first arrived in the institute, I was welcomed by Dr. Thomas, head of the security team, and Bernd, a team member, and my mentor for the project.
They gave me a short tour in the institute, explained to me that the institute is funded by the government and is purpose is to research various fields, especially in space, but also transportation, academia, and more... They showed me my new office which was huge and included a landscape of the river and the park.
On the next day we started the project, our goal was to explore and implement a neural network that detects vulnerabilities in a software code. After a week of reading articles and brainstorming, we wanted to implement a neural network with two elements. The first element is how to take a program, extract just the important code snippets in a smart way and convert them to fix size vectors that will be input for our network. the second element is used in our knowledge about the hierarchy of the weakness type to help our network learn in a more effective way.
During the next month Bernd and I implemented the model. Bernd guided me on every question and problem that I had, and along the way reminds me what the big picture is and what to focus on. Finally, we implemented the model, ran it, got great results, and even think how to improve the model even more. During this month I learned a lot, both theoretically and practically.
Also, socially it was very fun. While I was not at the Institute, Bernd Showed me the city, took me to cool pubs, and introduce me to his friends. In addition, one day there was a volleyball game by the members of the institute, where over there I met Sagar from India, which is very interesting in Israel and considering doing his doctorate over here. Sagar invited me to an authentic Indian dinner at his home, over there he showed me part of the international student community in Jena.
In conclusion, my 6 weeks in Jena were an amazing experience, both academically and socially. Very happy I chose to go for it, and I recommend it to everyone.
Roey (on the right) with Bernd (on the left)