Analysis of urban traffic using data collected from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles; Use of statistical and machine learning approaches to forecast water flow demand; Implementation of smart technologies to achieve better monitoring and control of the electricity grid.
These are just a few of the research projects conducted by seven exceptional undergraduate students, who study in Cyprus and abroad, as part of the prestigious Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The UROP program has been running at the KIOS CoE at the University of Cyprus for the last 15 years and offers a unique, high-impact experience for undergraduate students who want to strengthen their research skills and experience by working on research and innovation projects.
After the completion of the program, the students shared their personal perspectives about their motivations for joining UROP, the skills and experiences gained, and how this program influenced their future career pathways.
Apostolos Apostolou, a 2nd year Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering student at the University of Cyprus, applied to this program because he wanted to gain valuable research experience alongside researchers who are leaders in their field. He worked on a project related to power systems, smart grids, and renewable energy sources. “During my internship I learned how can we implement smart technologies to achieve better monitoring and control of the electricity grid and therefore to reduce the electricity cost and carbon dioxide emissions”, he said.
Aristi Christoforou, a 3rd year Mathematics and Statistics student at the University of Cyprus, was involved in a project related to reinforcement learning for multiple rogue drone interception. This program helped Aristi broaden her horizons in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and improve her skills in MATLAB and Python programming.
Sophia Constantinou, a 3rd year Engineering student at the University of Cambridge, was interested in learning how engineering approaches can be applied to solve problems in biological and biomedical research. For this reason, she was involved in a project related to medical imaging and cancer diagnostics, which eventually gave her the opportunity to learn about OCT and segmentation of medical images. “The UROP program gave me a glimpse of what a future research career might look like. Making a real difference and doing meaningful work is very important to me, and seeing how research can directly improve patient’s lives in healthcare during my time in KIOS was enlightening”, Sophia commented.
Odysseas Hilides, a 2nd year Mathematics and Physics student at the University of Warwick, worked on a project related to power and energy systems. Discussing his motivation for joining the program, he mentioned that “I joined UROP as an opportunity to engage in hands-on research, allowing me to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems”.
Athina Konstantinou, a 3rd year Computer Science student at the University of Aberdeen, applied to the UROP program, because she was particularly captivated by the program’s focus on nurturing strong relationships among industry, academia, and research organizations. She was involved in a project focusing on enhancing connected autonomous vehicles through sensor-sharing data. “The UROP experience was truly transformative. Academically, I gained an in-depth understanding of machine learning principles and their practical applications, especially in the context of autonomous vehicles. I learned how to manage and analyze large datasets, construct, and test machine learning models, and interpret results to inform improvements. On a professional level, I experienced the intricacies of research work – from concept ideation to experimentation, analysis, and finally presenting findings”, she said.
Nefeli Mavri, a 3rd year Mathematics and Statistics student at the University of Cyprus, applied to this program because she wanted to get first-hand experience with research. “I was involved in a project related to smart water networks and I had to use statistical and machine learning approaches to forecast water flow demand. I improved my statistical skills, especially my ability to forecast and analyze a time series using statistical as well as machine learning tools”, she stated.
Finally, Konstantinos Pourgourides, a 3rd year Physics student at the University of Cyprus, joined UROP, because he wanted to gain research experience on cutting -edge technological applications at the KIOS inter-disciplinary and versatile environment, alongside young and ambitious researchers as well as recognized professors. “I was working on the analysis of urban traffic using data collected from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Through this internship, I have improved my research skills, such as critical thinking, mathematical analysis, data acquisition, analysis, visualization as well as geospatial information handling”, he said.
On the 27th of July 2023, all UROP students presented their research work and accomplishments to the KIOS researchers and faculty and received their certificates from the KIOS Director, Prof. Marios Polycarpou.