SHOULD BIG DATA RULE TOMORROW’S WORLD?

A. Cheney1, A. Olaru2

1University of Passau (GERMANY)
2University Politehnica of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
The Future IT Leaders for a Multicultural Digital Europe (Fit Europe) Project is an EU-funded project aimed at designing and implementing an innovative transnational curriculum for computer scientists in Europe.

Fit Europe is an output of the cooperation from Passau University (Germany), INSA Lyon (France), the University of Milan (Italy) and Politehnica Bucarest (Romania), together with European industry players active in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data: international players ATOS Germany and Engineering Italy, start-up hub La French Tech One Lyon Saint-Etienne, and the SME specialised in robotics CITST.

Launched in October 2019, the three-year project aims at answering the burning questions: what will be tomorrow’s challenges future IT leaders will meet? and how can we best prepare them for these tasks? As an answer, the Fit Europe concept relies on a set of 4 one-week seminars addressed to highly performing computer science Masters students from the four participating countries and focused each on a burning issue.

The first seminar took place in Passau from 22nd to 25th February 2021 and questioned “should big data rule tomorrow’s world”. It illustrated perfectly the double originality of Fit Europe.

First, Fit Europe is unique in terms of content as it prepares students for future burning issues: the topic chosen to be addressed in Passau was “should data rule tomorrow’s world?”, a question not only dealing with computer science discoveries related to the use and management of data, but also with broader societal and ethical issues. Hence, students were not only trained by computer scientists on the possible technological developments that will take place in the coming ten to twenty years in artificial intelligence and big data, but also by lawyers, philosophers, and business specialists on the impact these developments will have on tomorrow’s society.

Second, in Fit Europe, industry and academia are working hand in hand not only when designing but also when implementing the training programme. At the Passau seminar, the industry leader ATOS and the French start-ups hub la French Tech One trained students on the challenges and opportunities IT developments are bringing in this business, and how new societal values (e.g. sustainability, diversity, etc.) will lead to tomorrow’s new ways of working and of making business.

Stimulating interaction and networking among people who have never met in real life, who come from all over Europe, and who are diverse in terms of profile (students, academics or professionals from industry players), in a time of pandemic, may have sounded like a challenge impossible to meet when the Fit Europe first Seminar, initially planned to take place at the university campus in Passau, had to turn into a 100% digital format. But on the contrary, the Passau Seminar made use of the best opportunities brought by digitalisation to put down barriers.

And when watching the results presented by the international students’ teams on the last day of the seminar, after students from Italy, Romania, Germany and France had been working together throughout the week to reflect on a specific challenge brought by the development of artificial intelligence and big data and come up with a solution, the enthusiasm and strong connection created among participants was highly visible and the best proof of the seminar’s success.