Since 1984, FAU Erlangen, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Stuttgart have organized the Ferienakademie in the Sarntal Valley. Under the motto "Mountains, Hiking, Learning," professors, doctoral students and undergraduates came together for two weeks in South Tyrol from September 18 to 30 to discuss, hike, philosophize, program, have fun and network.
This year, nine courses offered a wide range of topics for participants: from climate change to dark matter, medical imaging, physics in computer games, and the application of deep learning to physics problems, it was all there.
With Dirk Pflüger from the Institute for Parallel and Distributed Systems, PI and head of Project Network 6, the Cluster of Excellence SimTech was again represented. His course, which he led together with Stefan Kollmannsberger from the Chair of Computational Modeling and Simulation at TUM, was about "Deep Learning in Computational Science and Engineering."
"The Ferienakademie is a highlight every year. It is fun to work intensively and at eye level with motivated and committed students for two weeks. And in evening discussions and while hiking in South Tyrol, there is the rare opportunity to get to know each other better and to get rid of questions. This is not possible in the normal university routine. This time, my course was about one of the core topics from SimTech, the interaction of data, simulations and machine learning - interdisciplinary and with practical application."
Lectures explained the basics of Deep Learning, but also presented cutting-edge and complex topics such as Bayesian Neural Networks, Reinforcement Learning and Generative Design, with plenty of time for discussion. In the second part of the course, a project work on the topic of topology optimization allowed the students to try out what they had learned and new ideas in practice.
In addition to the scientific topics, the participants could of course also expect sporting, cultural and culinary variety. Hikes in the Sarntal Alps, which are a fixed part of the program every year, were therefore just as much a part of the program as excursions into the surrounding area, insights into the history and culture of the Sarntal Valley, the traditional run around the lake, relaxing in the pool, sweating in the sauna, playing table tennis and fireside chats.