Business as Usual

I lost count of the days so day whatever this is is done. Today was filled with business meetings. We did a mini workshop about shipping presented by Fleet Management Limited Shipping (FML). We also heard lectures from the CEO of University of Nicosia on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain and another lecture from a professor on data forecasting.

The first lecture we had was on shipping and the shipping industry. I really liked the speaker because he really engaged us and asked the audience questions and really made an effort to keep us engaged. We discussed different ship sizes, the relative business of different ports in different areas, important shipping canals, etc. The busiest port in the world is Shanghai, China and the name of the largest cargo carrier in the world is the Ever Ace. He also gave us ideas to know just how big all of these cargo containers that ships carry across the world. For instance, a forty foot container can hold around 8,000 shoeboxes.

We ate lunch at the dining hall, like we did last week. I am amazed at the quality and the variety of food they serve there. I ate lunch in a group of seven and I think there were six or so different meals at this table. I had some meatballs in a cream sauce, some unknown grain that looked interesting, and a mini salad. I wish we had a dining hall like this at Pitt, it would make me not avoid the dining halls, haha! We also went to a cute little coffee shop on campus to just hang out for a few minutes.

After lunch, we heard a lecture on cryptocurrency and blockchain. I went in with a minimal knowledge of the subject, and the way he explained it cleared a lot of things up for me. He compared the invention of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency to the invention of the internet. People were initially skeptical about the internet because they thought it needed to be regulated. However, the decentralization of the internet proved to be useful in many ways. This is how he feels about crypto currency. He thinks it is going to take a while to really integrate into society, as did the internet, but one day it will be just as much a part of our lives as the internet is. It is hard to imagine, seeing as how everything is the internet nowadays. I am writing this on the internet right now, for example. He also said that there needs to be minimal governmental interference for crypto currency to be implemented properly, but that that will be hard because governments really do not understand the nuances of the subject and have a preconceived notion of what it is. I know I am butchering the way he explained it a bit, but this lecture was super interesting and I would love to know more about the subject.

The final lecture was about data forecasting. The professor who gave the lecture was an ex Olympian for Greece in sailing, fun fact. He was a statistician (or data scientist if you want to use a newer term) who basically created the “M Competitions” to measure the accuracy and uncertainty of various statistical methods, including machine learning. This is also a subject I know very little about and the lecture confused me a bit. Some of my takeaways were that simpler methods can often be more accurate than more complex ones, and using multiple methods can often lower the percent uncertainty when forecasting data. Overall, the lectures we heard today were very interesting and were given by important people. I am glad I got to have this experience!

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