A Monday, we woke up early to attend a lecture on AI SoC Design that Yilong had invited us to. It was a five day class that’s goal was to introduce a not as known field of AI. Going from the basics of AI and basic algorithms to the use of neural networks and the use of common AI programs. After that, we biked to the local movie theater and saw the long awaited Incredibles sequel! For dinner, Li Ye led us through several narrow, crowded alleys until we finally uncovered the hidden Jingyuan Dumplings, a tiny but very popular restaurant nestled between apartment complexes. There we shared an assortment of chow mein, spicy greens, dark plum juice, coconut milk, and of course, an assortment of their dumplings! Absolutely stuffed, we rushed back to Wudaokou to secure a good table at a pizza spot in order to watch Mexico and Brazil go head to head in that night's World Cup match.
Today marked Day 2 of the AI lecture, so members woke up bright am early to attend class. After class and lunch at the canteen, Liya took us to a shop in Wudaokou that taught us how to make ceramics. We spent hours trying to hone our pottery skills, with some succeeding and some failing, but everyone having fun. Afterwards we had a traditional north eastern chinese cuisine for dinner and explored the Wudaokou malls and shops further to conclude our night.
Aside from the lecture in the morning, today was primarily a rest day for the team with nothing else on the agenda. At night, however, the team decided to participate in Tsinghua's Graduation Run and ran 3km, following the Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics Department flag.
This morning we woke with the sun to visit Tsinghua's art museum. The exhibits spanned a spectrum of time and mediums; traditional Chinese relics such as painted scrolls, silk tapestries, and ornate porcelain were on display downstairs while the upper floors were filled with technicolor paintings, modern sculpture, and avant-garde installations from Tsinghua's own art students. After touring all the exhibits, we took the subway to see the CCTV building and then out to a outdoor shopping mall. Noticing a packed cafe with a ridiculously long line, we were curious what all the commotion was about and ordered their famous house-specialty cheese tea. Although quite hesitant at first, we were happy to discover that the mild saltiness and creamy aftertaste of the cheese complemented the sweetness of the fruit tea and was unexpectedly delicious! Drinks in hand, we returned to the subway and spent the rest of the night up studying for our imminent laboratory safety exam.
We headed to Department of Microelectronics to take our laboratory safety exam. Thankfully all the studying paid off, as everyone passed with flying colors! We had our ID photos taken and were proud to receive our newly minted laboratory clearance cards. In the afternoon, Liya took us to the Beijing Zoo, where we saw sleepy pandas, albino tigers and larger-than-life elephants, and then we biked down a few blocks for a stop at the massive national library.
The team woke up bright and early to meet with Assistant Dean Jun Wang, who was visiting from UCR for student recruitment. After a quick meeting and small campus tour, the team met up with Yilong to travel to the 798 Arts District. We spent the rest of the day at the Arts District; we ate dinner at a restaurant that had a live musical performance, wandered through several art galleries displaying various contemporary art styles, and marvelled at the small shops full of handmade, ornate items. On the way back, however, we were caught in a massive rainstorm and rushed back to campus to escape the cold downpour.
After spending much of the last night wading up to our ankles in the pouring rain, our host students decided it was best that we take a break from the dreary skies and give us the day to rest. For most of us, this downtime was spent sleeping off residual jet lag. Of course, this weather didn't deter some group members from taking advantage of the quiet streets to head downtown to peruse the local shops, returning with arms full of stationary, snacks and souvenirs to send to loved ones back home.