A (Crypto)Current Update

After our sightseeing excursions over the weekend, we were back to work on Monday with lectures at UNIC and a visit to one of their pharmaceutical labs. Our first lecture was with the CEO of the university, who was there to talk to us about blockchain and cryptocurrency. UNIC was one of the first schools to invest research into blockchain in the early 2010s as they forecasted its future importance. Blockchain is the first decentralized database; while other servers require one person to have full power and control over the network (think Elon Musk at Twitter), blockchain does not need this. This is very helpful for networks where there is no one party that should have control, like money exchanging. Blockchain and crypto are still very new to the market, and it could be decades before it is widespread and fully reliable.

Our next two lectures focused on forecasting and machine learning/data science. The forecasting was interesting as it is noteworthy in the attempt to stay ahead of the market and extrapolate to predict the future. Our professor focused more on the future of systematic forecasting instead of judgmental analysis. Currently, very few companies trust systematic forecasting, but it is more commonly used among large corporations. We learned about some of the main competitions that have taken place in recent history, where participants submit a forecast and it is compared to actual results. Some of the main findings of these include 5 humans being outperformed by 1 statistical method in 1993 and a perfect estimation of uncertainty in 2018. The final lecture honed in on the future of data science and AI. It was interesting to see how the system works in its attempt to learn and identify objects in a picture. The professor said he believes data is the “new oil” with how big the market is and will continue to be. All three of the lectures were informative and I definitely took away something from each one. We were also given coffees during the second lecture, and I enjoyed my first Cypriot Coffee.

After lunch on campus, we took a short bus ride to a pharmaceutical lab of the school. Here we were taken around to see multiple stages on the processes they take in collecting, storing, and making medicines. It was cool to learn how the pills we take are made, as I don’t typically think about what is put into the pill. Since doctors are trustworthy, if they tell me to take a pill I will. We also got to watch how pills are cut apart and then tested to make sure they are strong in every environment, and then fall apart when digested. Although the trip to the lab was not very long, they used time efficiently to teach a lot. Tomorrow we have two company visits, and it could definitely be a long day.

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