The University of Padova and ULPGC have an Erasmus+ exchange agreement that is very appreciated by students of both sides, and not only because of the nice location! Actually, ULPGC is a worldwide center of excellence for research in telecommunications, also given its ideal location for many experimental applications in the field of optical communications, satellite navigation, and underwater transmission.
Professor Leonardo Badia, our lecturer of the "Game theory" course, visited ULPGC this April to renew the Erasmus+ agreement between our institutions and was giving lectures and seminars to the students there. Let's ask him something about his visit.
Leonardo, what did you exactly do in Las Palmas?
L: Strangely enough, I did not go there to surf and sunbathe. The primary purpose of the visit was to teach, so I gave some lectures to the students of the Master in Telecommunications there. I taught some fundamentals of game theory and showed applications to telecommunication problems, which is one of my main area of expertise. And I took the opportunity to present them what we do in Padova and invite them to visit us within the Erasmus+ framework. Apparently, this was very interesting for them as they do not have a course specifically on game theory. But at the same time, they teach a lot of subjects that are missing from the program of MIME here in Padova, so, although we both do telecommunications, I believe there is definitely room for exchanging competences.
How was the support from ULPGC to your trip?
L: They were really helpful. I arranged every detail of my visit through Cristina, the head of the International Relationship office at the Engineering School and she was really supportive of all my needs. I have also seen firsthand that they have a very big office, with senior students lending a hand for the interactions with visitors. I am sure they are also very welcoming for international students that go to Las Palmas. And I did not know him in advance, but I have found the director of the Telecommunication Department, professor Juan Luis Navarro, to be an exquisite host. I hope we stay in contact for future collaborations, at both teaching and research levels.
What are some areas of expertise that your recommend in ULPGC?
L: One peculiar aspect of ULPGC is that their research in Telecommunications is very important. They have a School (that roughly corresponds to what in Italy we would regard as a department) specifically for Telecommunications, and another School for all the remaining engineering subjects. So, basically, half of the engineering research they do is Telecommunications. However, as is common in Spain, biomedical research also falls under the Telecommunication School, since it is concerned with signal processing, data analytics, imaging, and information management subjects. In general, they have a lot of courses on multimedia applications. They also do interesting research on navigation and positioning. And I had some interesting chats about fascinating research problems of bioengineering prosthetics that they do there, in collaboration with the medical center in Gran Canaria - that is also an opportunity I would consider for an internship and/or final project, if I were an Italian student.
How is the academic life in ULPGC?
L: The campus of ULPGC is impressive. It is outside Las Palmas, in the suburb of Tafira, but it is very well connected to the city center. It is a bit uphill, and it is a real campus, very modern and functional, where all the buildings are university departments or offices. You see a lot of students from all the departments, moving all around the campus, as far as the eye can see. My experience was short, but I must admit I was envious of the structures and the surrounding environment. Not to mention that spending a semester in Las Palmas must be really fun.
And how was your overall experience in Gran Canaria?
L: I had a great time in Las Palmas and around the island, really. Well, don't think I was enjoying summer in advance though. Unfortunately, it was cloudy most of the time, windy and sometimes rainy. Despite the weather, I was able to enjoy some quality time, anyways. People from Gran Canaria are really kind and friendly, and there are a lot of things to see (and good food to try) even when you cannot sunbathe. Las Palmas is a real city, bigger than Padova and offers everything. And just outside the capital, there are many beautiful places that are worth visiting. It is definitely a trip I recommend to anyone.