Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part I

It was around January when I was invited to give an Erasmus lecture at the İzmir Institute of Tech­no­logy (IYTE) in İzmir, Turkey. The campus is located near Urla at the Aegean Sea. Now in July, one of the hottest months of the year in that medi­ter­ranean area with tem­per­at­ures around 35°C in average, it would be the best to just stay in or near the sea, lying under and be shaded by palm trees for the whole day. But as this is no holiday but a working trip, I’ll probably be in air­con­di­tioned rooms more often than at the seaside anyway. Be assured, I’ll try to optimise this time schedule towards the latter option :) For a guy from Germany, the tem­per­at­ures are defin­it­ively much more con­veni­ent in Spring or Autumn. This week, the weather forecast announced around 40°C.

On Saturday evening, my plane arrived at İzmir airport (ADB). A car from İYTE waited and took me right onto the campus near Urla and the small town Güzel­bahçe. Having some guest room on the campus is much more con­veni­ent, I thought, so I booked it for the week. Having a cab to take me to the institute every day would defin­it­ively be annoying. The lectures were scheduled for three days, Monday to Wednesday but only for half a day each. The topic of the whole course is “Beha­vi­our­al Robotics” whereas my part covers cooper­a­tion in that domain. The slides will be made available soon.

The DIVE Lab headed by Bora İ. Kumova is a well equipped place to study robotics. A bunch of NXTs are available for labs and students to play around with — given they prefer doing stuff like that instead of hanging out with friends in some bar near the campus. I’ll cover more on that topic (robotics, not the bar) later today, as Bora will hopefully show me around his lab and the institute.

Yesterday was my first day at İYTE. We drove around the campus and had a look at the buildings and insti­tutes, the small town of Güzel­bahçe, and the beach. It’s only about 2 km away from the guest house and well reachable by foot; you only have to take care not to step over the dead fox lying somewhere on the trail. The location gives a quite impress­ive scenery, lying on a kind of small peninsula between mountains and the Aegean sea. There are res­taur­ants and super­mar­kets available in Güzel­bahçe, offering fresh fruit grown in the region, so you don’t need to be afraid of starving. A drawback: the sea is not that refresh­ing as the water is just as the air around it, warm.

For­tu­nately, several open WLANs (and therefore free) are available on the campus, so it is possible to check mails or even place a call. The mobile phone costs would otherwise ruine the callee for sure.

Today, I’ll be in the computer engin­eer­ing depart­ment at İYTE and maybe can provide more inform­a­tion later today. Some pictures will also be added once better suited Internet access is available.