Students of Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and Karlsruhe's sister city Timişoara jointly work on signal processing projects

Nowadays engineers often find themselves working in multi-national companies. Gaining experience abroad and intercultural competence have thus become important parts of university education. In order to give as many students of the same semester the possibility to gain experience on an international level, the degree programs Electrical Engineering – Information Technology and Electrical Engineering – Industrial Automation at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences offer their students the opportunity to participate in the ProKaTim project (Signal Processing Karlsruhe – Timişoara). For this project, the lecture on Digital Signal Processors is held in cooperation with the degree program Electronics and Telecommunications at the Polytechnical University in Timişoara, Karlsruhe’s sister city in Romania. ProKaTim is funded with approx. 140,000 Euro within the scope of the "Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM für Studierende – BWS plus“, a state-funded scholarship program for students by the Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung. The Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung has been funding the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM „plus“ program that started in September 2011 and is aimed at innovative cooperation between German universities and other international institutions. The funding allows for covering the travel and subsistence expenses of all students participating, including the expenses of their supervising tutors.

For the kick-off of the project in September 2012, 20 students of Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences traveled to Timişoara to attend an introduction to the programming of signal processing algorithms in embedded systems together with 20 students of their partner university. Besides theoretical basics, the students learned about the practical use of signal processors and the tools for programming them. The mornings were reserved for practical exercises and lab work, in the afternoon the project participants visited the offices of Continental Automotive and Flextronics and were able to gain insight into the development of motor control devices and the production of highly complex electronic components. They further visited the university's research laboratories, but also explored cultural and scenic highlights of the region.

At the end of the preparatory week, students formed mixed teams of two Romanian and two German students each in order to jointly work on a topic. They were assigned typical practical signal processing tasks that are to be implemented with signal processors during the semester. Thanks to a generous donation made by the Texas Instruments University Program, a joint hardware base could be set up at the Timişoara University. It enables students at both universities to simultaneously develop and test their project solutions. In addition, a joint web platform is being established that allows the students to communicate with each other. During the semester the students are mentored by their lecturers at both universities.

At the end of the semester, in February 2013, all parties involved met at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences to finalize their projects and present them to the public during their students' conference.

Among the conference attendees were another 20 students from Timişoara and another 20 students from Karlsruhe, the new participants of the next project teams for the summer semester. Just like in Timişoara, the students attended lectures and did practical exercises in the mornings and in the afternoon they were welcomed at the city hall, visited several companies, went on a city sightseeing tour, visited museums and took trips to explore the region.

"During the three-year funding period, over 240 students can take part in this international exchange program", explains Prof. Dr. Franz Quint, project initiator and mentor at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. "This is no longer an exchange program for individual students, but an exemplary contribution to the further internationalization of our degree programs, a strategy laid down in the structure and development plan of our university."