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Virtual YDSP Science & Technology Camp 2021

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Introduction to YDSP camp
The theme for this year’s Young Defense Scientists Programme (YDSP) Science and Technology (S&T) camp was “Using AI on Satellite Images”, and the participants mainly learnt about satellites and their various purposes, ranging from national security to location finding, as well as basic programming involving machine learning. At the end of the 5 days, the participants were challenged to make use of machine learning to solve a problem involving national security.

Recap of activities
The camp consisted of sharings by DSTA engineers, introductions to satellites, as well as various elements of machine learning and coding, such as doing data annotations, image classifications through AI and building CNNs (Convolutional Neural Networks). There were also 2-3 hours set aside each day for us to do challenge work in our teams. The last day was filled with presentations by the various teams across many different schools and age levels, and we were able to see how our peers utilised the new knowledge to solve unique problems.

Personal reflections/areas of growth
“The YDSP camp was a very fulfilling experience that allowed me to dive into the world of machine learning and satellites. At the start of this camp, I was apprehensive as I did not know what to expect of a virtual camp. However, the instructors were engaging and helpful, giving us much-appreciated guidance when we embarked on our group challenge (my group worked on predicting dengue trends based on land types and weather patterns). We were also able to bond with other participants over the Discord platform too. In all, these five days were very well-spent and I am thankful for the opportunity to further my interest in machine learning.”
- Aislinn Goh

“As a complete beginner to coding and someone who was not really familiar with satellites and the engineering sector, I was able to leave this camp with several takeaways! The instructors were engaged from TinkerAcademy and the various elements of machine learning were taught in a digestible and easy to understand manner. For the group challenge, my group mates were all strangers at first and we were all complete beginners at coding! (Our issue was to identify black ships from satellite images.) Despite the foreignness of this challenge, I am really grateful for this experience which allowed me to learn many new things.”
- Olivia Chiam