## My Imagine Nation

January 26, 2013

“Anfangen ist leicht, beharren eine Kunst”
“To begin is easy, to persist is art”

Estimated total eCommerce market on 2012 in Europe is €246 Billion and it’s growing year by year. Its two fold of Indonesia’s state budget 2013 (APBN 2013) and I think this trend will spread out to South East Asia in near future once governments enhance their infrastructures (roads, highway, port, railway, bridges, telecommunication and so on and so forth). The rest is trickle down economy like President Obama said.

As an engineer, I ask a question “what is the heart of eCommerce in modern country like Germany, USA and Japan?” There’re so many variables but from my perspective: communication, supply chain and capital are the key.
Another question worth to ask is “where will be the competitive advantage of eCommerce company to be addressed in say 5 years later?” Communication? Nein. Capital? Nein. Every big players has big bucks to spend. I must said it’s the supply chain factor.
Why supply chain?” Typical consumers all around the world are the same, they always checks the price tag first then make a decision buy or not to buy. The lower the price the better, and we all know how the price of a product is determined (Raw Material cost, Manufacturing cost, Distribution cost and other non linear cost).

Next question is, “how to realize this so called supply chain enhancement to eCommerce company profit margin?” This is where engineering works well…hahaha.
In simple model, eCommerce company profit margin fundamentally come from gross margin dollars minus operating margin dollars. Let me put into context per order; gross margin dollar is order size (say $100) – cost of goods ($70) = $30. While operating margin dollars is: cost to fulfill ($10) + cost to deliver ($10) + cost to support ($5) = $25. Therefore the profit margin merely$5.

Now imagine, a customer order online a pack of soup with cost $0.89 and the cost to pick and pack in the warehouse is$1. And that’s before the company deliver to the customer! We have to fix this loophole, but how?

The main problem is, there’s no particular material handling tools (ex: forklift, reach truck, conveyor belt, robot arm) to overcome this efficient pick and pack function. Therefore we have to built one, isn’t that what engineers do?

The solution leads to combination of robotic and muti agent systems (MAS) research to provide a material handling tool that will change the paradigm for traditional pick-pack-ship warehouse and significantly improves worker productivity.

But before we depict to the solution, let me briefly explain the drawback of traditional automation approaches as I’ve seen one myself in my former company at Kawasaki, Japan.

1. Costly: price tags for automated material handling systems typically run in the tens of millions of dollars.

2. Long design cycles: most large DC projects takes 12 to 24 months to bring online, in part due to the difficulty of installing and tuning the automation.

3. Inflexible: once installed, conveyors, sorters, carousels, and other systems are difficult and costly to move. They also tend to be inflexible to changes in the inventory mix.
4. Not expandable: few automation systems can be incrementally expanded, which forces companies to buy enough capacity up front to handle several years worth of anticipated growth. This results in excessive capital expenditures for automation systems that run under capacity for several years.
5. Batch processing: attempts to improve the efficiency of the picking task leads to aggregating orders. Once the products are picked in batches, the warehouse employs expensive automation (sorters) to undo the aggregation and break the batches back up into individual orders.
6. Fixed locations: most of the automation systems rely on products being stored in fixed locations, and most warehouse management software assumes the pickable products are stored in a single location. Like in a retail store, a particular width of shelving must be designated to each product, which makes it difficult to adjust the shelf space to accommodate changes in the stocking level. Further, having fixed locations means that the replenishment worker must move the incoming product to that specific location in order to restock the product.
7. Manual reslotting: because of the batch processing and fixed locations, warehouse managers are constantly evaluating inventory locations to keep workloads balanced and the most popular products in the choicest picking locations. Re-slotting requires a lot of manual movement of product from one storage location to another.

So the solution must improve all above drawbacks, and in some cases, eliminate the problem completely.

Above figure is small region of the solution layout. The green cells represent pod storage locations, the orange ovals the robots (with pods/rack not pictured), and the purple and pink regions the queues around the inventory stations. And below picture is the snapshot of the solution workflow.

The benefit from above workflow are:

1. Greater accountability: each order is filled completely by a single individual, improving accuracy and accountability by reducing the number of “touches” on the product.
2. No downstream dependencies: no one worker’s productivity depends on the performance of workers earlier in a sequential process. Instead, each worker’s station is complete and self-contained.
3. No batch processing: in this warehouse, everything is done in real time. An order can literally be filled within minutes of being received.
4. Location-free replenishment: because any station can be used to put product away, the replenishment process is greatly simplified.
5. Adaptive slotting: because the resolution of the allocation of storage is bins rather than the faces of static shelves, the system much more easily adapts to changes in stocking policies. Every product is automatically given just enough pick faces.
6. No single point of failure: unlike a conveyor, if a drive unit fails, it does not stop the whole floor. The rest of the system continues to operate, and most likely there is no noticeable impact on productivity.

7. Rapid deployment: because there is no fixed infrastructure, a 50 station warehouse can be brought online in a matter of weeks rather than months.
8. Spatial flexibility: the systems can accommodate poles, flow into multiple rooms, and handle other oddities of the environment. By incorporating automated lifts, installation can use mezzanines to fill the vertical space.
9. Expandability: if a warehouse needs more capacity, they simply add more pods, drives and stations.

Key to this solution is the multi-agent control system implementation.

Resource allocation is the biggest holy grail as motivation on doing the research to ask such question:
1. Where to store the buckets in the warehouse?
2. Which buckets to bring to which stations?
3. Which buckets to store new inventory?
4. Which stations to assign order to?

And I’m working my brain off this issue to fully understand and improve this problem for my personal research all through the year as I’m going to make this for my M.Sc. thesis.

At the moment, there are two approach that I want to investigate such as combinatorial market allocation

and greedy task allocation based on current available research.

I hope I can manage to compile all the necessary thing into a simulated work in java like sample below (run on my Mac OSX 10.6.8).

I personally believe that the future of material handling in eCommerce will be so bright, especially with the latest innovation in semiconductor/superconductor, the sky is the limit to improve productivity in such warehouses.

And as for Indonesia, the logistics cost is just sky rocketing at the moment. Why? The infrastructure is terrible.
I can only hope for the best in logistics costs if only we’ll have at least 10 new bridges in the next 10 years….hahaha. wtf.

Improve or impair, because efficient supply chain contribute to company profit and nation profit.

That’s all for today’s sharing. Wish me luck.
Alles gute.
Horas.

Salam dari anak Medan di Jerman.

## Mild stuff in winter

January 20, 2013

The benefit of winter from my perspective is making you stay home longer than usual, working on your paper till 3 am late in the morning…hahaha…no I’m kidding.

Anyway, I’d like to share one of my favorite subject so far in UDE is a course called Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Software Engineering. Not much to say, since the course is so practical and  really food for thought. This class emphasize the immense impact of collaboration (3C model: communication, cooperation and coordination) in software engineering process which is not just code and pattern perspectives. Having that been said, the goal is to understand how groupware improve software engineering process on global engineering perspective.

The lab experiments is the most exciting one, we’ve got to get our hands dirty on electronic meeting room, video conferencing studios, electronic meeting system, desktop conferences and shared information workspace with BSCW. In this class we stripped down what “meeting” was built for in software engineering process with some fancy computer aid.

And the utmost thrilling experience is the Final paper and final presentation. In final paper you must sum it all up in a structural form and pick the most suitable groupware for your final presentation. The final presentation, you must build your own (software) company and perform global engineering out of it by using groupware that you’ve chosen and defend it. Isn’t that wicked? Love it so much indeed.
Thanks to my professional experience for the last five years on truly global engineering throughout Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries, this task really broadened my view of doing software engineering process in practical.

One great thing in this class is I’m not using any paper form anymore even tough paper form was imposed by the professor assistant (Herr Pascal Klein) to be used. All students wrote it on paper but I fought my own way and finally we both came up with a consensus that I can kept writing my lab paper on my iPad3 (paperless mode: saving the rain forest). Hehehe…danke schön Herr Pascal. Es war wirklich ein guter Kampf….maklum ya orang Batak suka keras kepala atau jogal memang kalo masalah prinsip…hehe.

Software engineering has never been the same again with this class, I’ll keep on practicing this great stuff and that’s for sure.

Horas dari anak Medan di Jerman.

## What countries make reveals what they know.

January 5, 2013

In the hectic days before entering exam period in Duisburg-Germany on February’13 and March’13, I read some pages of a great book by Prof. Hausmann (Harvard University). Countries trying to understand what’s next for their export industries often call this professor Hausmann for the solution. The book itself full of mathematical models and statistics that makes me obnoxious because Indonesia still on number 61 (it is 2008 data, in 2012 probably number 50 something) in term of Economic Complexity Index (ECI).

So what is ECI anyway?…it’s a tools to measure the amount of productive knowledge that each country holds.

Think of a particular country and consider a random product. Now, ask yourself the following question: If this country cannot make this product, in how many other countries can this product be made? If the answer is many countries, then this country probably does not have a complex economy. On the other hand, if few other countries are able to make a product that this country cannot make, this would suggest that this is a complex economy.

Example:

According to the book measures, Japan and Germany are the two countries with the highest levels of economic complexity.
Now ask yourself the question: If a good cannot be produced in Japan or Germany, where else can it be made? That list of countries is likely to be a very short one, indicating that Japan and Germany are complex economies.
Now take an opposite example: if a product cannot be made in Mauritania or Sudan, where else can it be made? For most products this is likely to be a long list of countries, indicating that Sudan and Mauritania are among the world’s least complex economies.

Using complexity theory and trade data, Hausmann looks at what a country is good at making and predicts what types of more valuable items it could produce next. Sweet!

That sounds plain enough, but the results of Hausmann’s analyses are often surprising. A country with a competitive garment industry might want to move into electronics assembly—both need an industrial zone with quality electrical power and good logistics. A country that exports flowers may find it has the expertise in cold-storage logistics necessary to spark an export boom in fresh produce.

So how do we go from what a country makes to what a country knows?
The book explains it in a simple statement: If making a product requires a particular type and mix of knowledge, then the countries that make the product reveal having the requisite knowledge.

Another example to make it easy to comprehend:

A game of scrabble is a useful analogy. In scrabble, players use tiles containing single letters to make words. For instance, a player can use the tiles R , and to construct the word CAR  or ARC . In this analogy, each product is represented by a word, and each capability, or module of embedded knowledge, is represented by a letter.
Assume that each player has plenty of copies of the letters they have. The book measures of economic complexity corresponds to estimating what fraction of the alphabet a player possesses, knowing only how many words he or she can make, and how many other players can also make those same words.

Players who have more letters will be able to make more words. So we can expect the diversity of words (products) that a player (country) can make to be strongly related to the number of letters (capabilities) that he (it) has.

Long words will tend to be rare, since they can only be put together by players with many letters. Hence, the number of players that can make a word tells us something about the variety of letters each word requires: longer words tend to be less ubiquitous (it is not everywhere), while shorter words tend to be more common (it is everywhere).

Similarly, ubiquitous products are more likely to require few capabilities, and less ubiquitous products are more likely to require a large variety of capabilities.

Some facts about Indonesia, Japan and German exports and imports (data 2008) are below:

The export gap in volumes and the varieties of products can be seen easily from above charts.
Indonesia still put their eggs on its “geological luck” heavily while the other two putting their eggs on “capabilities” to diversify products.

Long story short, how to solve this for Indonesia, right?
The answer is easy and I believe Prof. Hausmann will agree with me. It’s to improve Indonesia’s capabilities in all sectors!
One of the example is education. Good education for citizens of Indonesia will leads to a wealthy country because it’s like chain reaction!
With good education, Indonesian people can make aeroplane (Ex: BJ Habibie), electric car, computer and so on and so forth.
If we’re so good on making things, we can export it all and be on top 5 world biggest economy with USA, Germany, Japan, China and France.

I strongly believe, in the upcoming 30 years from now (2043) Indonesia can catch up with China and be in the top 5 world biggest economy (GDP based). At that time (2043) our extrapolation GDP per capita will be approximately \$30.781 (assume yearly economic growth stable on 6% and population not exceed than 260 Millions). Isn’t that great? 30 thousands USD a year… it’s a lot of doughnut…hahahaha.

The key to achieve that number is consistent on improving our capabilities on all sectors. Of course it easier said than done.
Good Luck Bangsa Indonesia!
Horas dari Anak Medan di Jerman.

## The Origin of My Name “Kaspar”

December 7, 2012

Just great, christmas with snow. Creme de La Creme!
Today is the first snowy day in the city where I live, Duisburg and surely add tremendous enjoyment in my activities during the day. Even tough it’s bloody freezing, but the show must go on. All routine activities still going on, mostly studies for the M.Sc…hehe.

Below view is from my window room in Studentenwohnheim.

A few days ago, me and my amigos went to visit Köln (20 minute by train from Duisburg) in the evening to watch Champion League over a bar there.

Other than that motives, Köln is in my top must visit place because the city has a tremendous cathedral. This cathedral magnitude is similar to Borobudur temple in Java, Indonesia. One word to describe it…HUGE!

In addition to that, this cathedral also kept the Three Kings shrines (tomb) within. For many christians, Three Kings also remembered as three Magi (three wise Kings from East) who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They have been commonly known as:  Melchior, Kaspar and Balthazar.
In Germanic areas, involves writing the initials of the three kings’ names (C+M+B or C M B, or K+M+B in those areas where Caspar is spelled Kaspar), above the main door of the home in chalk, to confer blessings on the occupants for the New Year

I’m not going to babbling about the religion stuff here, since I’m no good in religion.
But I truly admire that my father picked up that name for his son in 1985 and perhaps he had something in mind or experience in his adult life, overseas study or various business trip that made him picked up that name and had expectation on it…Kaspar.

Now, here I am in the Cathedral of Köln and finally find the root and true meaning as the origin of my given name… exhilarating.

Afterwards, I texted to my father in Indonesia and say thank you for giving such an inspiring name for me.

He said to me, be kind to your sister, brothers and all your families, especially worship the Lord Jesus who gives everything for you everyday….(my father turned to be religious in his old days…hehehe)….and don’t forget to come back to your family hometown “Lontung” when you’ve had enough over there…(I don’t know about this last favor dad, since German government has been kind to me…hehehe).

Early Merry Christmas 2012.

~Semangat anak Medan~
Kammerstrasse 206, Duisburg, Germany.

## Bonus Hunter on Computer Arithmetic

November 22, 2012

To dig deep about comp. engineering we need to have a good fundamental on computer arithmetic.
One of the the fundamental is performing arithmetic operation on numbers, but it’s not “just numbers” that I’d like to review today. It’s unusual number, as I might say.

Ok…there are a number of different bases, or radices. Most of us use the decimal positional numeral system, i.e. base 10 (decimal) for our everyday jobs. When it comes to computers most people use the binary, the hexadecimal or even the octal numeral system (you need to read, Why it’s easier for computer use binary instead of decimal like human). However, there are a number of different “unusual” bases.

For example, there are negative bases. An example is the negadecimal positional numeral system, that is using the base -10. Converting a number from base -10 to base 10 is as simple as:

$d_1d_2d_3d_4\ _{(-10)} = d_1(-10)^3 + d_2(-10)^2 +d_3(-10)^1 + d_4(-10)^0$

But why use such a base? It’s very simple, you can represent any number you want, positive or negative, without using a sign. For example:

$-1_{(10)} = 1(-10)^1 + 9(-10)^0 = 19_{(-10)}$

The conversion from decimal to negadecimal is pretty simple. You continuously divide by -10 and keep the remainder as you would do with any other positional numeral system. For example:

$-256 = 26 * (-10) + 4$

$26 = -2 * (-10) + 6$

$-2 = 1 * (-10) + 8$

$1 = 0 * (-10) + 1$

So $-256_{10} = 1864_{-10}$. Converting a positive number is done the same way too.

$256 = -25 * (-10) + 6$

$-25 = 3 * (-10) + 5$

$3 = 0 * (-10) + 3$

So $256_{(10)} = 356_{(-10)}$. As you can see, there is no need for a sign symbol (pretty neat huh?). And when using the negabinary numeral system there is no problem with signed and unsigned integers since there is no need for a sign bit!

But a negative base isn’t the only non-standard base. You can use complex numbers as bases too. This way there is no need to use a real and an imaginary part to represent a complex number. An example of such a base is $-1 + i$ where of course $i^2 = -1$. A number can then have the form

$d_1d_2d_3d_4 = d_1(-1 + i)^3 + d_2(-1 + i)^2 + d_3(-1 + i)^1 + d_4(-1 + i)^0, d_i \in {0,1}$

Using this base you can represent any complex you want without using the $i$ symbol (God bless the inventor of this technique).

Converting from this base to decimal is pretty simple, however the reverse is a little bit difficult. What you do for the convertion is divide continuously with $-1 + i$ as usual. The remainder will always be $0$ or $1$. So, if the quotient is $q = q_1 + q_2i$ then:

$a + bi = (q_1 + q_2i)(-1 + i) + r$

$a + bi = -q_1 + q_1i - q_2i - q_2 + r$

$a + bi = (-q_1 - q_2 + r) + (q_1 - q_2)i$

$-q_1 - q_2 + r = a$

$q_1 - q_2 = b$

$q_1 = \frac{b - a + r}{2}$

$q_2 = \frac{-b - a + r}{2}$

That means that if $a$ and $b$ are both odd or even, then $r = 0$, otherwise $r = 1$. Then we continue the division of the quotient as usual.

Now let’s calculate the value of 2.

2 has both the real and imaginary part even, so $r = 0$.

$\frac{2}{-1 + i} = \frac{2(-1 - i)}{(-1 + i)(-1 - i)} = -1 - i$

The real and imaginary part are both odd, so $r = 0$ again.

$\frac{-1 - i}{-1 + i} = \frac{(-1 - i)(-1 - i)}{(-1 + i)(-1 - i)} = i$

Since the real part is even and the imaginary is odd, $r = 1$. So, we can divide by the number minus 1 and the remainder will be 0.

$\frac{i - 1}{-1 + i} = 1$

Now, the real part is odd and the imaginary is even. So again $r = 1$. We divide by $1 - 1$ so,

$\frac{1 - 1}{-1 + i} = 0$

We now stop since $q = 0$. So we have $2_{(10)} = 1100_{(-1 + i)}$. Pretty cool, now anyone can code it on NetBeans!

That’s something that I dig deep on the library of engineering at UDE for the last few weeks…hehehe….geeks die hard!
Finally on Monday, I went to the front of Prof. Auer’s  Comp. Arithmetic class and solve some problems on the board and voila got bonus point as well.

Alright then, that’s all for today lesson.
Keep up the good work.

~Semangat Anak Medan.

Libas!

Studentenwerk, Kammerstrasse 206-208, 47057 Duisburg, Germany.

## My working schema to boost the productivity in UDE

November 13, 2012

Preparing your working environment as effective as possible is very crucial in order to reach the goal you set, said one of my former director (Naoto Minemura, 2009-2010).

Based on that, I always set up my own working environment as effective as I could design.
Some of the techniques also used in my journey to finish my M.Sc study in UDE, Germany.
This techniques below is the output of problem solving that I’ve approach for the motives at hand.

The motivation: I’m not such a clever person who can understand instantly after one time given lecture by Professor.

In short, the working schema can be described as below image (created with Notability apps in iPad3 with Bamboo stylus as my pen).

In order to boost my productivity to the maximum level, I’m using combination of apps and hardwares.
I split the working environment into two components, Campus and Home.

In Campus, I only brings iPad 3 + Stylus (Bamboo) and iPhone 4s with me (it’s really comforting since the bag really lights).
For each courses every day I applies the same techniques respectively.
My “buddy apps” in iPad3 are Notability (for note taking, pdf lecture notes annotation, doing exercise and lab practice), Camera and Wireless Transfer apps.
Thus in iPhone 4s is Audio Memos (for recording Lectures speech in each class) and Wireless Transfer apps.
Actually, iPad3 itself can be used to perform what iPhone did. However, I don’t want to interrupt any recording operation with taking notes and flipping ebook operation, so I tend to do this way.

In Home environment, my Macbook Pro is always the “center” for syncing notes, photos and records from iPad3 and iPhone 4s.
I just don’t buy into cables these days, that’s why I endorse the wireless operation in my daily operation.
My “buddy apps” in Macbook Pro are Google Drive (that has been sticked to the Finder like a common folder/drive) and Google Chrome.
Google Drives serves as a main hub between Notability apps and Macbook to sync all the notes and pdf annotation (lecture notes, exercise and lab practice).
Google Chrome is where all the magic happened…haha.
For transferring lectures photos, I used Wireless Transfer apps in both iPad & iPhone.
This apps serves as a web server in both devices that I can download all the data from Chrome browser and put it in the respective courses folder in Macbook pro.
And for transferring lectures records, Audio Memos apps has a built-in web server, thus I can download all the data from Chrome browser and put in the respective courses folder in Macbook pro as well.

After all “raw data” from classes has gathered, now it’s time to review it every evening till night (yep…no kidding, study in Germany is challenging for sure).

Comparing what the professor has said, noted and did some exercises makes us hands on to all the subjects respectively and I hope the exam will also be reachable…hahaha.

I think that’s all for today. Please share how you set up your working environment/schema.
Trying to take some rest after doing Computer Arithmetic review…hehehe.

Kammerstrasse 206-208, 47057 Duisburg, Germany.
Studentwohnheim.

## My Command Center at Studentenwerk, Duisburg

November 2, 2012

Back again to post some stuffs about my command center and productivity tools for handling multitasking tasks here in UDE campus.
First of all let me share the “schedule” that I choose this winter semester 2012.

Just great, I have 6 courses to tackle, 3 of them using English and 3 of them using Deutsch.
The schedule looks like my project schedules back in my previous work place as an IT Manager, compact..haha!

But I love to do it, because it’s my dream. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’ve got some tools to handle such heavy metal schedule.

My Command Center at Studentenwerk UDE.
I’m sorry the desk is a little bit packed with papers and electronic knick knack.
From the right side (Shaving Macine skipped..hehe):
1. TP Link – TL WR702N = it’s a small access point that shared broadband internet in my room from TCP IP cable (I bought it for 28 euros in Saturn – electronic store in duisburg).

2. Macbook Pro i7 13′ = this is the center for excellence

3. Iphone 4s = this is my mobile savior when skimming duisburg strasse/road with Sygic GPS inside (Jailbreak).

4. Ipad 3 = this is my second monitor when working with the Macbook. I use iDisplay to share the screen of them. A research say “Two is better than One”. Utah university said “people who use two monitors are as much as 44% more productive than those who are using a single monitor”….there you go.
Still on ipad 3, I also intend to replace all paper text book in my entire study here. Therefore all books were zipped into a pdf and read it thru iBooks.
Ipad 3 also act as a note taking book and whiteboard capturer (image or video) in classes, totally get rid of mumbo jumbo on papers.
Last but not least, ipad 3 is also works as internet radio (accuradio), to keep my insanity while working with exercise and papers.

5. Canon Legria FS305 = to record some of the lecturers class. Some professors speaks Deutschland with different tone and innuendo..haha…For short conversation I use ipad 3 or iphone 4s.

6. External Drive = “we don’t take chances, we double the precautions”. Always backup every day with time machine in Mac OSX.

7. In the software hemisphere:
Calendar: I use Google Calendar sync with iCal, so all my devices calendar’s sync simultaneously thru wi-fi.
Tasks: I use Ms.Outlook 2011 sync with iCal, perfectly sync. In order to manage the tasks I use Kanban Board (Backlog, In Progress, Complete). (Ex: buy groceries at Aldi Sud or Edeka near studentenwerk, do laundry, do papers this and that, etc…)
Email: I use Ms.Outlook 2011 sync with Gmail and University email account.
Mind Map: I’m using freemind app,  this is very helpful for brainstorming before you do the action. (STPDCA = See, Think, Plan, Do, Check, Action).
Mathematica, SPSS, Mathlab, Visual Studio 2010 and Net Bean were also ready to use in the Macbook.

So, every day I wake up at 5 am (German time) surrounds by these practical tools. I like to live by pattern not randomly….that’s my weakness.

My room mate next to my chamber is a German undergraduate student taking class on Sociology, his name is Philip Zimmerman from Koln. A friendly person and helps me a lot in understanding German culture, which is new to me.

I think that’s all for now. Let me know if you have your own productivity hardware or software.
Semangat Anak Medan
Danke.

~Studentenwerk UDE, Kammerstrasse 206-208, 40757, Duisburg, Germany.
Kaspar Situmorang.

## Dream Big, Do small, Do it right now!

October 31, 2012

Finally arrived at Duisburg, Germany.
Not so much to say, my experience for travelling alone in some business trip to Japan, China and other countries while working at my previous company makes it seems easy when travelling from Schiphol, Amsterdam to Duisburg, Germany.

It started at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.

Bought the ICE train ticket.

Schiphol Station to Centraal Uthrecht, Amsterdam.

Some panorama that I love from the ICE train route.

Finally arrived at Duisburg Hbf (station).

Hop in to the station.

Konnigstrasse (Landmark of Duisburg-1)

Konnigstrasse (Landmark of Duisburg-2)

Konnigstrasse (Landmark of Duisburg-3)

Konnigstrasse (Landmark of Duisburg-4)

The key is to study the map and their public transport meticulously and a little bit of ‘darah anak medan’…hehe. Libasss!
Just cut to the case, I still have other things to catch up in such a short moment this week.
So, keeping up the fighting spirit. Creme de la creme!

(It’s 6 degree outside…brrr)

## Shaping a new Future at Duisburg-Essen University, Germany

August 29, 2012

There’s always a tremendous pleasure for me to plan my own itinerary.
This is not another business trip like I used to have, but this time is about studying Computer Engineering for  M.Sc. title at Duisburg – Essen University, Germany on October’12.

Yep…this time for the real thing, moving to Germany and left my organization that nurture my skill in a complete skill set of supply chain, software architect and business process improvement since 5 years ago, it is really a big decision.
However, it’s a means to an end…Es ist ein Mittel zum Zweck.

Now let’s go to the itinerary part, I’ve done some work on how to get to Duisburg from CGK and here we go.

Plan-1
Jakarta – Amsterdam – Duisburg

This seems to be my favorite one, since it has a beautiful scenery along the trip….come on it’s Amsterdam.
Once I’ll arrive at Schiphol airport Amsterdam, I’ll go straight to the train station situated directly below the airport. From the instruction, I think I can pick up a free baggage trolley from the platform. Via Schiphol Plaza, I’ll  walk straight to the departure or arrival hall. Train departure information and international tickets are available at the ticket offices of NS Hispeed, which are situated close to the meeting point at Schiphol Plaza. It’ll take 2:15 hours to get to Duisburg from here.
The ticket fare is only € 19 using ICE International train.

The actual route: Schiphol (Airport) – Utrecht Centraal – Duisburg Hbf [Border station: Emmerich (Gr)]

Plan-2
Jakarta – Abu Dhabi – Dusseldorf – Duisburg
This is a plain and stiff way to reach Dusseldorf since I really hate transit so much…my experience in previous many overseas business trip.

However from Dusseldorf to Duisburg with train is much fancier compared to previous method, it’ll take only 8-10 minutes and it cost only € 4.

Actually there’s another plan3, which is Jakarta – Frankfurt and take the train to Duisburg. But according to my simulation, they’re just plain expensive and extravagant.

Anyway, I’ll just go with the shortest path..hehe.
Can’t wait to shape my future in europe to become expert in supply chain globally.
Wish me luck.

## The Future of Software

August 28, 2012

Last year I’ve got an invitation from a friend of mine to join one of the online class Stanford University conducted.
It was Introduction to Artificial Intelligence  (AI) class and taught directly by Prof. Sebastian Thrun, Ph.D and Prof. Peter Norvig, Ph.D.
Both of them are rock star in AI world, as Prof. Thrun is the lead inventor of robotic car at Stanford and Prof. Thrun is the Director of Research at Google.

The class was 3 months period from October’11 to December’11 and the Final Exam was on 16 December’11.
It was fantastic, they taught me about robotics, robot motion planning and machine learning but the most important thing is they taught us with many great examples in real world application so that we’re challenged to worked out some exercises and quizzes.

Some of my favorite subjects are NLP, robotics, and computer vision.
Final exam on 16 December 2011 was also tricky but still doable.
I was so happy when received the Statement of Accomplishment  from Stanford on 22 December 2011.

This class has taught me something about learning method, in machine learning there are supervised learning and unsupervised learning. I think this will be the future of software, it can make decisions based on their “learning” capability with very few of human involvement.
I hope someday my thesis on pursuing master of science (M.Sc) will be about supervised and unsupervised learning in supply chain arena, such as warehouse automation with robotics.
Thank you Stanford, really appreciate it.

Danke.