Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Dr. Muhammad Syafrudin, Assistant Professor, Sejong University, South Korea
Sejong University (SJU) is one of Korea’s top private universities, specializing in research and education, with 800-plus educators who teach over 12,000 students across more than 10 colleges. The SJU's 2030+ vision is to be a top 100 prestigious university in the world, leading the creative convergence era. According to the World University Rankings 2022 report, SJU ranked in the top 50* universities in Asia and the top 10** universities in South Korea.
The Department of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is part of the College of Software Convergence, which provides various education programs emphasizing strengthened software education and industry-linked internships, seminars, and hands-on training. It also structures its education curriculum to reflect the latest technological themes, encouraging commercial-grade product creation and practice, and focusing on interdisciplinary studies. The AI department not only offers competitive programs that combine theory and practice, but it also cultivates forward thinkers by bringing in the best faculty in AI fields.
Dr. Muhammad Syafrudin is an Assistant Professor in the department. He earned a masters degree and PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Dongguk University. He teaches practical courses at SJU on undergraduate topics in programming languages, linear algebra, big data, and database systems.
Oracle Academy: How did you learn about Oracle Academy?
Muhammad Syafrudin: During the pandemic all lectures were converted to online classes, which was a major challenge for us in teaching practical courses. We did some research and discovered that the resources and cloud credits offered by Oracle Academy would be hugely beneficial. Therefore, without a second thought, we applied to become a member of Oracle Academy and requested cloud access so that the students could have the same machines and environments in the cloud throughout our practical classes. We are really grateful for the fast response from the Oracle Academy team and for providing us with the Oracle Academy Cloud Program and other world-class resources.
Oracle Academy: How are you using Oracle Cloud with your students?
Muhammad Syafrudin: We use Oracle Cloud, made available through the Oracle Academy Cloud Program, to teach the students how to install big data technology, setting it up and using it to solve real-world problems. First, we demonstrate how to create a virtual machine (VM) instance in the Oracle Cloud and manage their VM instances. For each big data technology, the students get the chance to practice and experience it by themselves. At the end, they work on their final project utilizing big data technology and hosting it in a VM instance on the Oracle Cloud.
Oracle Academy: And can you tell us about your Introduction to Big Data course?
Muhammad Syafrudin: The Introduction to Big Data course consists of four main parts: storage, processing, analytics, and visualization or representation. We use a compute virtual machine (VM) to introduce each part, which includes different big data technologies. Having the same environment for all the students helps us to easily provide the same step-by-step tutorials and minimize any headaches with technical issues. As a result, students are able to concentrate on learning rather than debugging computer or server environment issues or performing physical server maintenance. In addition, the cloud VM is easily managed via browser and internet connection, which provides great flexibility for the students. This cloud environment is basically what industry is currently using. Allowing the students to experience these industry tools will eventually help them increase their skillsets and help in fulfilling their future career dreams.
Next year, we plan to use Oracle Academy curriculum and resources for our web programming course.
Oracle Academy: Terrific! What is the importance of big data skills to your students?
Muhammad Syafrudin: Data is everywhere; even as you read this, data is being generated in massive quantities and at a fast speed, resulting in “big data”. Having big data is meaningless unless we know how to process, analyze, and present it. As a result, it is critical for AI students to learn big data from its fundamental theory to its practical implementation or utilization. This is possible thanks to Oracle Academy, which provides generous free credits to use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
Oracle Academy: And what are the benefits of teaching big data in the cloud?
Muhammad Syafrudin: The main benefits of storing big data in the cloud are flexibility and peace of mind. With the help of the Oracle Academy Cloud program, we have minimized our server and computer environment settings issues and improved the flexibility of our learning. Without the cloud, we would have to spend a lot of time debugging computer environments because students will have different machines, personal computers, and laptops with different operating systems, specifications, and so on. We recommend that everyone experiment with teaching big data and other practical courses in the cloud environment.
Oracle Academy: Can you give examples of how students are using their cloud credits?
Muhammad Syafrudin: The students mainly use the cloud credits to practice all the course exercises, such as installing, configuring, managing, and utilizing various big data technologies, as well as working on their final project, which will be hosted in the VM server of Oracle Cloud. At the end of the class, the students gave feedback and said that utilizing Oracle Cloud was one of the best experiences they had during their learning journey.
Oracle Academy: Can you tell us more about their final projects?
Muhammad Syafrudin: The main objective of the final project of our Introduction to Big Data course is to let the students solve real-world problems utilizing their understanding of the concepts of big data and its technology. The final projects can be divided into two categories: comprehensive web-based solutions and data analytics and visualization projects.
Also, DATAI’s recently created start-up accelerator has attracted over 50 companies, many of which are also keen to hire our graduates.
For example, for the first type of project, the students developed a web-based application that can be used to determine whether water is potable (drinkable) or not based on its ingredients. They collected the public dataset and used it to build the machine learning model, which was implemented in their final web app. Initially, they created a VM machine from the Oracle Cloud dashboard and then installed all the required technologies, such as Python, Flask, HTML, and MongoDB, used in their project. For the data analytics and prediction part, they evaluated several machine learning algorithms and found that random forest (RF) is the best at accurately predicting water quality. Therefore, they trained an RF model and used it in their web app. Finally, the web app includes several input forms for receiving data from end users. Once the users have filled out the form and clicked the “submit” button, their developed RF model will predict whether the water is potable or not. To summarize, it was an incredible experience for them to have the opportunity to create an end-to-end solution based on a big data concept.
For the second type of project, the students analyzed datasets by using Apache Superset, an open-source software for data exploration and visualization. One of the projects was to provide exploratory data analysis (EDA) on mental health issues. In order for them to provide EDA, they needed to create a VM server and install Apache Superset. Next, they had to enable data preprocessing and use Apache Superset to visually explore and represent the mental health dataset. The result of this project revealed that someone in their early 30s with a mentally ill family would have a higher risk of developing mental health issues. Those who have mental health problems should look for work that is close to their home and create a safe working environment. From this project, the students gained tremendous experience in data pre-processing, analysis, and visualization using big data tools and technologies.
Oracle Academy: Amazing. How do you see the job prospects for graduates?
Muhammad Syafrudin: Graduates from the AI department find careers in AI-related fields, which include the convergence of various technologies such as big data, data mining, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, robotics, autonomous driving, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, information technology (IT), and such. In addition, most future job prospects will be related to data analytics, AI, cloud computing, and IT. Therefore, we believe that introducing and equipping the students not only with theory but also with practical skills and world-class tools and resources as provided by the Oracle Academy Cloud Program are great assets toward their future careers.
Oracle Academy: In your opinion, what impact has Oracle Academy had on your students in preparing them for their future careers?
Muhammad Syafrudin: Oracle Academy has provided many resourceful curriculum and infrastructures, not only to learn theory but also to practice it in the world-class Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. This will eventually provide an unforgettable experience for the students in their learning and future career journeys. Teaching practical courses with real-world tools is challenging, but Oracle Academy provides many resources that help us achieve our goals easily and in fun ways. The students are very interested in our practical class since they have the chance to practice their understanding of big data and its technology and are able to work on their final project utilizing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. These cloud computing skills and experiences have enhanced their knowledge and practice, which will hopefully benefit them and their future careers.
Oracle Academy: What are your hobbies outside of teaching?
Muhammad Syafrudin: My current hobby is playing with my kids during the weekends. We enjoy playing with small toys and vehicles. I believe that introducing the technology and triggering their curiosity about it as early as possible is a great experience for them. I would love to introduce Internet of Things based-small vehicles to our kids and try to find the right Oracle technology that can support our do-it-yourself project.
Thank you, Muhammad Syafrudin, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.