Category Archives: DTU

The examination calendar at the DTU

At the end of the semester in which I studied at the DTU, I needed to find information about exams. The dates are decided well in advance, but the times and the place are told only a few days before.

At the beginning I was a bit afraid, then I was able to find everything. I discovered that the most important information about exams is given only in Danish. For this reason, I want to give some advice to those who are in the same situation.

There’s nothing worse than knowing the day of an exam, but not knowing where it will be. Look at the difference between the page in Danish and the one in English:

While I am writing this post, the page in Danish contains a notice:

Lokaleoversigt og tider for eksamen vil være tilgængelig en ugen inden eksamensperioden begynder på “Infosite for studerende” (kun tilgængelig for ansatte og studerende).

The meaning is:

Exam rooms and timetables will be available one week before the exam periods starts in the «Infosite for students» (only available for personnel and students).

The link sends you to Portalen.

As you have seen, the “magic word” is lokaleoversigt. In particular you can search:

  • Lokaleoversigt for vintereksamen for winter exams
  • Lokaleoversigt for sommereksamen for summer exams

The new version of the DTU website also contains a section called undervisnings lokaler. It allows to search rooms for classes and exams.

Written exams examples for Computer Science Modelling

It seems that at DTU it is not common to give some examples of old written exams to the students. Given that I attended the Computer Science Modelling course, I was able to access a “fake” exam and I scanned a copy of the real examination I did in June 2013. As a bonus, I used an OCR software (article in Italian) to make the PDF searchable. 😉

Towards the exams…

Almost two months have passed since my last post and they have been two very intense months. During the Easter break I went back to Italy to see again my parents, friends, Angela and also the places I am more familiar with. Silja came with me as well, in this way she was able to visit Venice and other cities.

When coming back I knew that the “normal” Danish university life was waiting for me. Indeed it was like that, and I spent the weeks with numerous assignments and projects. Except from karate, my time has been all spent for university. i worked hard to find some free time in an handful of occasions.

The most relaxing days have been between the 26th and 28th of April. In the first two, I went to visit Odense with Tana. We would have liked to meet all the other friends from the EILC course living there, however unfortunately Rosanne and Róisín had other obligations, so we met again Jakub and spent a nice evening all together. Odense is a nice city and I suggest you to visit it if you can. We saw only the Hans Christian Andersen museum and the railways one, for reasons of time, but many other touristic attractions are available.

On the 28th of April I went to Legoland with the trip organized by ESN DTU. The park is nice, and even if we had only five hours we had fun. After a minute all the group was already dispersed in the crowd, however I went around the park with Matteo and except for his refusal of high roller coasters, all went well. For this reason, if the purpose was that of creating new friendships between international students I would say it failed, if instead it was that of spending a funny day I think it has been reached!

On the next day Justina was in Copenhagen and we organized a dinner together with Henrik and Sergio. Fantastic evening, notwithstanding the “Hawaiian pizza” (I removed the pineapple before eating it, of course!).

Talking about May, I had to work for the university as usual. The only “amusement” moments have been the dinner with Xin Yee and her friends at the Campus Village (to celebrate the end of the Optimization Using Metaheuristics project) and obviously the kata seminar of JKA with Bura Sensei, taking place in Helsingør last Saturday. I am happy of being able to live a nice day of aggregation by practicing karate here.

Yesterday even I finally finished the last homework I had to do, and tomorrow will be the last day of lessons. After that, only the exams are left. Looking back, I am satisfied because this is what I had to do in this semester:

  • Error-correcting codes — 4 assignments and 1 “small” project
  • Optimization using metaheuristics — 1 “big” project with a detailed report and not much time for doing it
  • Social data modeling — 3 assignments and 1 final project
  • Computer science modelling — 3 assignments
  • Computer vision — 11 weekly exercises, each with a small report

When I was living those days I wasn’t sure to be able to do everything on schedule, but step by step all went well. It’s more or less the concept I wrote in the last post. My exams are between the 21th of May and the 3rd of June, after that I and Nanouk will go for 5 days to meet the girls living in Aarhus (always met at the EILC course, obviously!) and to visit the city.

Finally the return: I will take the plane to Venice on the 20th of June. 🙂

Audentes fortuna iuvat

I arrived to half of the semester. Looking backwards it doesn’t seem that two months already passed in Copenhagen. Almost three in Denmark. University here is different comparing to Italy, during the year many assignments are handed out and the workload is high. In Italy instead usually you follow the lectures and you study at the end for taking “big” exams.

Keeping regular is not very easy, however it can be done and up to now I managed to do it. The sentence I put in the title means «fortune helps the brave», and I like to keep it in mind when I think that there is always something to do or to study. Yesterday was the last day of lessons and in the afternoon we had a laboratory of Computer Vision. Doing the homework (even if not mandatory) every week required time, but it allowed me to finish the exercise of yesterday in 3 hours instead of 4: I felt happy!

During these days I also met again Henrik, Justina, Sergio and Johanna (on Sunday) and Silja (yesterday — and with her I will also go back to Italy to be a “tourist at home”). Even if I had a lot of homework I did my best for keeping the Sunday free, and it was a wonderful day.

On this point I was thinking (and I still think) that the Erasmus is nice and I study interesting subjects, I like it. But there is a “but”. 😛 If I have to evaluate the value of this experience abroad for sure the 80% goes to the EILC course. You can’t compare, and I am not surprised that Tana defined it «the best thing that ever happened to me».

I am happy with how it is going here, including the fact of being still able to see sometimes the friends from the Danish course. I can guarantee that this is a great fortune and so I can feel brave! 🙂

PS: I put here a gallery with some pictures taken during the first part of the semester, many are of Copenhagen but if there is something in particular that you would like to see, ask!

Report of a week of lessons

My first “real” week with the lessons ended recently. I’m not as good as Nanouk or Tana so I don’t keep track of what I do day by day, but I want to tell you a bit how the lessons and all the rest went.

Let’s start from the academic side: I had to change some classes immediately, in particular I removed Mobile application prototyping because there is a 40 places limit and the priority goes to full-time students. I added Social data modeling and Computer vision instead. Officially I sent the request for the changes today, but I have already started to attend the lessons. At the end my courses are these:

  • Error-correcting codes — Maybe the most mathematical class of all. The teacher explains very well and it’s interesting. I will have to review linear algebra a bit but at least it’s a topic that I have already met a bit in high school.
  • Optimization using metaheuristics — It’s a more exciting side of operations research. It’s taught for management courses but in my opinion it’s more oriented towards people studying computer science and knowing programming. The lessons are clear, the activity in the lab a bit less sometimes, but I like it.
  • Social data modeling — The most practical course of all. There is little theory but a lot of experimental work with Python and the APIs of some web services. Not bad at all!
  • Computer science modelling — It’s more or less the equivalent of the formal languages part that I studied in Venice. Even if the topics are not new I have the impression that the lessons are very fast paced, maybe a bit too much. But perhaps it’s only the first impact.
  • Computer vision — For this I will have to learn how to use Matlab and review linear algebra but it’s a class of a not very high level, so I shouldn’t have much problems.

In any case I think it’s normal to have some doubts when you start with new subjects. It’s a matter of time. 😉

From the “practical life” point of view, after a complicated beginning, we managed to buy step by step all we need to eat with variety, as well as some snacks and drinks. We got the laundry card (fundamental!) and I’m getting used to the public transport here in Copenhagen. today I got my residence permit and in the next day I will go to ask for the CPR.

The little mermaid: despite being surrounded by people she is staring into space, like as in the deep of the heart she is missing something
The little mermaid: despite being surrounded by people she is staring into space, like as in the deep of the heart she was missing something

Regarding the social aspect, I didn’t manage to know danish students, but I know that it’s difficult. 😛 However I met other international students with whom I will be able to make groups for the various classes.

Then yesterday it was a fantastic day! 🙂 For the first time I went to visit the city center, joining a tour organized by ESN Copenhagen. but the most important thing has been telling Henrik, Sergio and Johanna: the same morning they decided to come and so we could met after about 10 days!

It made me feel good, like it makes me feel good keeping in touch with almost everybody. 😉 I often chat with Tana (who turned out to be a great friend), but in different occasions also with Henrik and Sergio, sometimes with Johanna, Eva, Justina, Bettina, Wojtek and sporadically with the rest of the group, because I miss them all!

In the next weekends I should meet again Róisín, Bettina, Tana and some others. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it! 😀

I’ve been accepted at the DTU

I apologize for not keeping you updated: about in the middle of October I received the official email confirming that I’ve been accepted at the DTU!

Dear Andrea Lazzarotto,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted as an exchange student at The Technical University of Denmark. You will find your Acceptance Letter and some practical information about your studies at the DTU in the attachment. This Email is the official DTU Acceptance Letter and you will not receive a copy of it by post.

Best Regards,

Bjørn Sparre Johansson
Exchange Students Admission Officer
International Affairs
Study Division

As written in the email, I didn’t receive the confirmation by post. However, if it can be useful to you, keep in mind that the signed learning agreement was sent back to me. So I could have sent the original without caring to make a certified copy.

Attached to the email there were three PDF documents:

  • Information regarding CampusNet and Portalen which you can download from here
  • Acceptance letter on letterheaded paper
  • Information sheets which summarize what you find on the website, to download them click here

I also received the confirmation that I will take part in the Danish language EILC course, so I bought the plane ticket: I’ll leave on the 6th of January! I’ll write a more detailed article about that. 😉

The needed documentation to be sent to the DTU

Some days ago I sent the documentation to the DTU. The complete list of the necessary can be found on the official site, both for Erasmus students and for other international exchanges. In this post I want to briefly talk about the documents I had to send.

To avoid confusion, given that the requirements could change, here you find the note I have saved to exactly know what to send. As you can see I used Evernote to clip a part of the page, to add some notes and to insert the checkboxes in order to remember what was missing. I’ll talk more in detail about this tool in a future article.

Back to the documents, here are some notes and suggestions of mine:

  • Print of the application form: I already covered this theme in a previous article, if you use Linux or Mac it’s difficult to fill in but it can be done.
  • Certified copy of the transcript of grades: this is the list of the exams you have done with the corresponding marks. In my case I printed it from the reserved area of the site of my university and then I got it stamped and signed by the international relations office.
  • Letter documenting the English proficiency: the requisite is a bit vague and honestly I didn’t get much clarification from the DTU. So I decided to simply send a photocopy of the PET test I passed three years ago. Also, in my transcript of grades it’s written that I have passed the English exam, so it should be sufficient.
  • Learning agreement: here you must pay attention. Once you’ve got the learning agreement signed by your teacher and by the international relations office, don’t send the original! You must always keep it. I sent an email to Lyngby asking for information: the DTU doesn’t accept a simple photocopy, so you’ll have to ask your university to stamp it and sign it in order to guarantee it is a conformed copy.

Now I’m waiting for the confirmation email. I’ll let you know!

DTU Application Form also with Linux or Mac

In order to participate to the Erasmus program at the DTU, as in every other university, you need to fill in an Application Form on the internet. The problem with the one I had to fill in is that it’s expressely designed to work only with Internet Explorer, a browser which is available only for Windows. In the official page you read a very clear sentence:

Please note that this page is optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Trying to fill the form with other browsers might cause you trouble.

This is a problem for all of those who don’t use Windows: in fact the process becomes complicated for Linux users (like me) or Mac ones, because these operating systems are not officially supported. But the most ridiculous thing is that it doesn’t even work with all versions of Windows: in fact here’s what happens when using the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 (with Internet Explorer 10):

The same error you get with any standard-compliant browser

Judging from the source code, the page has been generated with a Microsoft software and it is declared to be compatible only with Internet Explorer.

So apparently it’s impossible to fill it in with and operating system different from Windows (and neither on Windows 8). This is quite frustrating, but luckily there’s a not so elegant solution that works. It is about installing Internet Explorer 6 through Wine.

Installing Internet Explorer 6

The process I describe is valid for Linux users who have installed Wine and the winetricks script, but Internet Explorer should work with Mac OS X using WineBottler. You can read this article for further information.

First of all I suggest you to start with a clean Wine profile, without any Windows program installed. If you use the software on a 64 bit Linux system, you first have to create a 32 bit Wine environment in this way:

WINEARCH=win32 winecfg

Simply close the window which opens up. Then proceed to the installation of Internet Explorer:

winetricks ie6

You will be shown a folder and a URL to the website will be opened, from which you’ll have to download the executable and save it in the right directory. Repeat the above command and the real installation will start. When you’ve finished, start Internet Explorer in this way:

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Internet\ Explorer/IEXPLORE.EXE ""
Internet Explorer 6 with the Application Form

At this point you can fill in the form in all of its parts. A very important thing: never user the calendar-shaped button to select dates, otherwise Internet Explorer will crash and you’ll have to start again. Always insert them with the keyboard.

Printing the signature page

Arrived at step 6, after you’ve given the confirmation the site will show you a final report of all the data you’ve inserted. On Windows the printing dialog is automatically fired up, but in Wine it doesn’t work. In order to have a safe copy of the page save it from the File menu of Internet Explorer and be sure to choose a folder from which you can easily retrieve it.

Go in the chosen directory and open DTU Incoming Students_files, inside you’ll find a file called icn. Rename this file in icn.html and then open it in any browser (e.g. Firefox). Now you’ll be able to print the page with a printer and if you want also to use the “print to PDF” function to secure another digital copy of the document.

At this point you can delete the Wine folder and if you want uninstall it.


At the beginning I was afraid to have to find a computer with Windows in order to complete the procedure, but then I was able to work without abandoning Linux. In my opinion it’s a real pity that the DTU developed the form so badly, this can create problems to people who don’t use Windows and it’s a bit discriminatory. I hope that in the future they can provide a more effective solution.