We are students of Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) who are fortunate enough to have a chance to participate SAKURA Exchange Program (http://ssp.jst.go.jp/EN/outline/index.html) in 2014. The program itself is sponsored by Japan Science and Technology (JST). In this opportunity, we want to share some of our experiences in joining this program, which is held for a month from October 27, 2014 until November 26, 2014. 

First of all, let us introduce ourself! We are consisted of several different majors: Ken Kinanti Purnamasari as graduate student of Informatics; Aji Nugraha Santosa Kasmaji, Atika Yusuf and Gilang Laksana Laba as undergraduate student of Informatics 2010; Kumowarih Trisno Aji as undergraduate student of Engineering Physics 2010; Widya Rarasati as undergraduate student of Information System and Technology 2010; Aldi Doanta Kurnia, Iskandar Setiadi, Michael Ingga Gunawan, and Pandu Kartika Putra as undergraduate students of Informatics 2011.


Picture 1. Departure from Soekarno-Hatta


Fortunately, this internship program covered several expenditures and allowances such as airfare and living cost including apartment rent, daily food, Kansai-Komatsu round-trip cost, entertainment expenses, etc. The airplane tickets were already reserved by JAIST and the rest of allowances were given when we arrived at JAIST campus.


Our flight from Soekarno-Hatta Airport departed on Monday evening, October 27, and arrived on Tuesday morning at Kansai Airport. From Kansai Airport we went to Komatsu Station by train, then we went to JAIST campus by JAIST shuttle bus (for free!). Since there’s none of us who could communicate in Japanese language, we were late to arrive at JAIST campus for around three hours because of our confusion. We were supposedly to use a certain Shinkansen (bullet train); yet, the train used a different route for each departure. Nevertheless, we were still welcomed well in JAIST. After finished several administration things, we attended opening ceremony which was also attended by JAIST Muslim Circle (JMC) who kindly explained about several tips for daily lives, especially to find halal food in Japan. The picture below was taken in the ceremony.


Picture 2. Sakura Internship Program Opening Ceremony


Picture 3. Presentation by JAIST Muslim Circle


In this internship program, we conducted scientific research in several laboratories of JAIST. Everyone had their own research in a laboratory which he/she had chosen. Initially, we chose our own topic of research before joining the respective laboratory. In each laboratory, we were guided by a professor / professor assistant and accompanied by a tutor. Several laboratories had their own welcome party and they were kindly enough to welcome us in their laboratories. Without further ado, we will share several brief examples of our research activities there.


Iskandar decided to join Miyaji Laboratory (http://grampus.jaist.ac.jp/miyaji-lab), which is focused on Information Security. In this internship program, the main focus of his research is about several techniques and optimizations which can be used to implement Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC). ECC itself has a better performance if we compare it with other asymmetric cryptography such as RSA. The output of this research is a performance benchmarking between several computation techniques in mixed coordinates under a standardized platform (http://bit.ly/1FPUXZW).


In Aoki Laboratory, Michael was interested with one of Aoki-sensei’s topic “Study on making specifications in formal specification languages”, which is related with Software Engineering field of study. During this internship program, he chose a specific topic that related from Aoki-sensei about AUTOSAR Operating System. The main focus of this research is to learn how to model the OS-Application of AUTOSAR specification using a formal specifications languages. In this research, he obligated to use an Event-B language to model it and every week he should  present the progress about his work. This study about formal specification method wasn’t taught in his undergraduate study program and it’s only taught in graduate level, but everyones in Aoki-sensei Laboratory was very kind and helpful. They taught him about how to conduct a good research and formal specifications method also how to using an Event-B language. Besides that, in every presentation Aoki-sensei and Chiba-sensei (Associate Professor) always evaluate, explain, and give feedback to him about the progress of his work.


Widya chose Hiraishi Laboratory with the topic “Formal Modeling and Analysis of Systems”, which is quite related to her undergraduate study program. But since the internship program is just for a short period in this laboratory, she just learned about how to model systems by using Petri Net. Prof. Kunihiko Hiraishi held a regular meeting, which is attended by Widya, Prof. Koichi Kobayashi as assistant professor and Kaoru Satoh (Widya’s tutor) almost every day at 2 p.m. In the meeting, Prof. Hira explained about modeling systems by Petri Net and also gave some tasks for Widya’s exercises including the final task for modeling a (Production) business process by using Petri Net.


Ken did her research in Nguyen Le-Minh Laboratory, which has a primary goal on Knowledge Acquisition with Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. During her stay in this lab, Ken was accompanied by a tutor, whose name is Ichino Takurou. In the beginning of the research, she learned to work with other members of laboratory in Question-Answering task (at Semeval 2015). This task is intended to classify the answers and find the best for each questions. The challenge in this task is noisy and poor grammar dataset. Besides, she also studied about Alignment and Textual Entailment (TE) implementation. Both of these methods are useful for her thesis research about Question Generator (QG). So, in the future research, she will use TE in QG system for reading-comprehension evaluation task.


Picture 4. Together with Professor Minh and other members in Knowledge Acquisition Lab



SAKURA Program also included a “Bus Excursion” held on November 9th. The destinations of this trip were Osaka Science Museum in Osaka and Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. In this excursion, there were also several lecturers, Japanese student, and also some foreign students in JMC group who decided to join our trip. The following photos were taken from this excursion. 🙂


Picture 5. Excursion Trip to Osaka Science Museum


Picture 6. Excursion Trip to Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera Temple)


Our activities were not limited to research activity in JAIST laboratories. We also attended some events there, such as Japanese culture class, Mochi Pounding held by JAIST with the villagers around campus, and PPI JAIST Welcoming Party in November 2, 2014. We also travelled from JAIST to Kenrokuken garden and several other tourism spots in Kanazawa (capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture), 100man Volt electronic shop in Nonoichi, 100 Yen Shop and Ishikawa Zoo in Tatsunokuchi.


Picture 7. Japanese Culture Class


Picture 8. PPI JAIST Welcoming Party

In short, this exchange program has created a vast opportunity for us to conduct a research experience in Japan. We have learned a lot of new things: new knowledge about research in graduate schools, new experience in facing difference culture, and also a lot of new friends. We feel thankful for this wonderful opportunity and we want to promote this once-a-lifetime chance for other ITB students in the future!


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