FOSSASIA OpenTech Summit’19

Last month, I attended FOSSASIA’s annual conference which was held in Singapore. This conference was a collection of amazing, life-changing experiences. It was my first experience as a speaker and it taught me so much about the open-source culture. This summit took place from 14th March to 17th March in the beautiful city of Singapore. This was my second foreign trip as well. First one was to San Francisco as a part of the Student Startup Exposure Program.

My flight was scheduled for 12th March from Jaipur and had a layover at Chennai for 5 hours. I reached the Changi Airport in the early morning of 13th. This airport was quite scenic and is also ranked as the top airport in the world.

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The Changi airport has fairly good transportation connectivity, I took an MRT to Bendemeer where I was going to spend my next few days. I stayed at a hostel located in the heart of the city. It was the first time I was staying in a shared room with 12 others, from different countries. Luckily, I found some other participants and speakers of Fossasia Summit staying in the same hostel (I was not the only techie here, yay!). It was a leisure day, so I planned to go sightseeing around the city with my new friends. We went to the Marina Bay, Night safari and Gardens by the bay. Being a vegetarian was quite hard there as I could barely find some vegetarian food around. There was a lot of seafood available. It was a hot day and we finally reached the hostel back.

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Next day, I had my breakfast early and reached The Lifelong Learning Institute where the Summit was organized. There were many talks on various tracks from the experts. I was more interested in Cloud, Containers, DevOps and Science and Education tracks.  There were quick lightning talks on variety of topics.

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The next day was similar to the first,  I spent a lot amount of time interacting with the developers around the world and got to know about many new techs and some interesting projects. Another thing I love about these conferences is the goodies and swags, I got a lot of goodies of various open source organizations 🙂 And finally, I found some vegetarian food to eat. In the evening, we decided to explore the Singapore city more and went to Sentosa Island. The transportation facility was really great, the whole city was well-connected. With some fun and adventures, we finally came back to the hostel.

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Next day, there were talks on Artificial Intelligence and Web Technologies, I attended a few of them. A UNESCO Hackathon was also organized, I also participated in that whose theme was Indigenous languages. We formed a team of five and built a crowd-sourced corpus generator for translating Indigenous language sentences to English.

It was day 3 of the conference and I was very excited as I was going to deliver my talk “GCompris – The open source Educational suite”. I ended up speaking faster than I planned to, leaving more than enough time for a QA round. My previous contribution with the project as a part of Google  Summer of Code student helped me to answer questions related to tech stacks and how to contribute. Received some suggestions for the improvements of the current activities and met someone who was interested in translating activities in the Thai Language. Also, I met Shantanu Tushar and Sinny Kumari who are KDE contributors.

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After the talk, I interacted with many more people and it was a great overall experience for me. Later, we again started working on our Hackathon project and made good progress there. After a lot of hacking and interactions we went to the market for some shopping, exploring streets and dinner.

The best part of our hostel was rooftop, where I used to go at night to interact with people all around the world who were staying there. I made some new friends from Canada, Russia, and Singapore. Also, I met a person from India who was working as an agile DevOps Coach at Singapore. He took me to the nearest Gurudwara where I had my dinner.

It was the last day of the conference and I was also excited about the results of the Hackathon. And to our surprise, we won three out of five categories in the Hackathon. We got the first position in AI Dev and Audience attraction category and third place in Cloud Tech(Yayyyy!!). It was really a great moment of joy for us. We got some electric Gadgets including Bluetooth Speaker, earphones and badges. We also got the SUSI.ai and PSLab which are the open source hardware projects of Fossasia.

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After 4 days of  amazing experince and involvement with open-source, the conference finally came to end with its closing ceremony.

My flight back to home was on the 19th March. First leg was from Singapore to Bangkok and after two and half hours of layover, my final leg was to Jaipur. I had mixed emotions on landing in Jaipur with fresh memories of Singapore and my pending college assignments which I was going to do as soon as I return home 😛

Fossasia Summit was a great trip and learning experience for me. I hope I can make more trips like this in the future!

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