Faris Nizamic is a PhD student at the Johann Bernoulli Institute of the University of Groningen. His main research interest lies in the field of Distributed Systems and Service-Oriented Computing.
Simply put, a distributed system consists of a collection of computers linked by a network, which is perceived by its users as a single computing facility even though it may be implemented by many computers in different locations. Think of the distributed system of a bank – from whichever location you execute a transaction, your balance should always be correct. The real question is what to do when systems like this start misbehaving and develop faults; or even more important – how to prevent those faults from happening in the first place.
I knew that I wanted to do a PhD, I just did not know where. So I started looking for opportunities within Europe. I ended up in Groningen for several reasons. Obviously and most importantly, there was a match between my research interests and those of the JBI Distributed Systems research group. But that was not all. I was able to explore Europe during my Bachelor’s degree and I discovered that the Netherlands is a relatively easy country to start up a new life, and also a very pleasant place to spend some years. Everyone speaks English, not only at work but outside the University too. Also, the online information that was available appealed to me. I often looked at the webcam that was directed at the entrance to the Academy Building. What I saw was a very lively scene, with students coming and going all the time. What really clinched the deal, however, was the cooperation between the University of Groningen and the JoinEU-SEE funding organization. I applied and was lucky enough to get a scholarship grant from JoinEU-SEE. That allowed me to create my own position and start working in Groningen.
Excellent research facilities
After I arrived in Groningen, I soon realized that I had made the right choice. The research facilities are excellent: there’s good supervision, excellent equipment and a pleasant environment to work in. When conditions are this good, you don’t have any excuse not to get a good result.
The Green Mind Award
In 2012, my colleague Tuan Anh Nguyen and I won the Green Mind Award. We saw a call for ideas to save energy, and we came up with a plan for making the building where we work, the Bernoulliborg, more sustainable. Our plan includes ideas on how to save electricity, reduce the consumption of water and increase recycling rates. Basically, we want to implement a system that will reduce the unnecessary waste of energy. In addition, we want to encourage people who work in this building to change their mind-set and start saving energy. The great thing is that the University granted € 100,000 to put our ideas into practice.
In my free time, I am a member of the board of Gopher, an organization for PhD students. Gopher organizes both educational and recreational events for PhD students. One of these events is the annual PhD Day. I am head of the organizing team, which I consider an honour. This year’s PhD event will concentrate on themes that are inspired by the University’s focus points, Energy, Healthy Ageing and Sustainable Society, and it is definitely an event every PhD student in Groningen should visit at least once during their time here.
Of course, there is also life outside work. When I want to relax, I go out with my friends or I do some sports. I must admit that I am very happy with the sports facilities that are offered by the University. For a small annual fee, you can try out several new sports. And let’s not forget the swimming pool, that is only 5 minutes from my office. That I consider a real advantage.
Finally, of course, there is the city of Groningen itself. The population in Groningen is relatively young, which makes it a very dynamic city, full of energy. The city offers you the opportunity to learn new things and develop your interests, which is important for each individual. Add to this a vibrant nightlife, and you will probably understand why I am enjoying my work and life in Groningen.
|Last modified:||25 April 2016 2.52 p.m.|