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Ivica Ružić: I want to connect the whole world!

Diana Šperanda

Diana Šperanda


In 2008, M.Sc. Ivica Ružić, Head of Department for IT in the Department of Professional Studies University of Split, got the idea for the project to build a database of the scientific community. Fortunately, it didn’t remain just an idea, the project is at the end of implementation. It consists of three applications, List of equipment and CV that are already available and the first version of the third part, List od final, graduate and doctoral thesis, is expected by the end of September. The whole project was made by students through their theses. Department of IT has only 7 lecturers on 350 students.

List of equipment

This application is made first, and allows you to search and hire of equipment that someone has. “Someone gets million worth instument and the only one has it in a certain area. For its needs, this instrument is used once a week for an hour, and sometimes even less. The whole rest of the time the one million US dollars worth instrument remains unused. Imagine there is someone else who would need to use an identical instrument for their needs and let’s asume that intsrument has to be used only for a month. Of course, that someone else will not invest one million US dollars to use such instrument several time. Therefore, it would be great if he/she knew that such an instrument already someone has and that it can be rented for a much smaller amount than the required one million dollars. The goal of this application is to know what we have and what we can offer to others to use, and it wouldn’t be limited only to the University; this application could be used by anyone. Why wouldn’t businessmen offer their equipment to the scientists? ” said Ruzic.

Over the years, the number of students involved in the development of this application: “The greatest achievement in the past are going to Mladen Mihanović, who was the first to set a useful version. However, in order the application to be fully functional, in recent years the largest contribution was by students Vojko Pribudić and Stipe Semenić. Especially, I must point out Vojka, with whom I have worked intensively on the application from October last year to March this year. Vojko worked more than eight hours a day, I worked bit less.

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The second part of this project is CV , the database of personnel where it is possible to search for data on the overall work of the employees of the University of Split .

Although there were several students who worked on this application , current design and full functionality was given by Domagoj Gojak . We have worked on it for more then two years , of which it was six months intensive and totally professional. Every Tuesday, Thursday and the weekend we spent on joint work , and the other days we worked independently. Although I have put a lot of my money and private time for making these applications, I must say that I’m not sorry. I can not describe you enough how much it is pleasure to work with good students. Domagoj , Stipe and Vojko not only are excellent students , they are also excellent young people eager to learn and develop , and above really valuable . I’m sorry only that on our University we do not have the ability to evaluate someone’s work , let alone reward someone for quality work , ” said the professor.

List od final, graduate and doctoral thesis

The third application I do not see just as an ordinary list ; it should enable better assignment of students’ works and mentoring them. Our University has expressed the intention to use these or similar applications . We have already made the plan and architecture of the application itself , and in May we start with intensive work on production . Colleague Gojak will make an initial version for his final graduate thesis , and then the other members of the team can join,” said Ruzic , superimposing that these three applications are only an introduction to the project and what almost all universities in the world want to have.

So, what is the project?

The project is actually all three applications together. The goal is to provide complete transparency of the University to the interested parties, that is to show all of the resources that the University offers, including knowledge, the greatest wealth of each University in Ružić’s opinion. The application will allow easy connection of businessmen and / or scientists with other entrepreneurs and / or scientists.

The project will connect all three applications in one unit. We always use the best current technology, so for searching we will implement Elasticsearch because it has the ability to search data written in different digital formats. The project will enable a simple and quick way in which we can get all the information about each employee. Currently about me from a CV you can see just what it says, but what I actually do, am I great? Is the data from the CV true? Realistic picture of each employee we can get only by data connectivity, found in these applications. Only searching the works published by some scientist, or his/her projects, equipment at the disposal to him/her and the mentoring of students’ thesis can accurately show in which area he/she is a good, that is what he/she actually does. The goal of this is not us being policemen so we can to tell someone: “Yeah, you’re doing wrong!” or “You are doing great”, but the aim is that when you are searching for a specialist, be they scientists or entrepreneurs,you just reach to the right person and you connect. I would be happy to connect with scientist or expert who is engaged in research in the area of Big Data from Copenhagen, but I can not find him/her or it is very difficult, “explained the professor, once again pointing up that the idea originated not only because of transparency, but also to those who want to finally connect.

I often hear that we have no strong economy, and even more often about how business people are crying out for good scientists. And my colleagues want to work and cooperate, but it is difficult for them to correlate with those with whom they could cooperate. It’s important to me that in this whole process we can also include students who would also even easier get to the high-quality jobs. I contend that the applications were made in accordance with all standards of professional software development, and students who are in the development team have developed into excellent programmers, ready to work in the best computer companies. We always encourage them as much as possible to improve and develop themsels. I must also point out that the work on these applications is beyond the limits of the study; my wish is that students from across the University to come explore and work on this project. It is common to all the leading universities do not know why it would not be on our own. 

As for the technology used in the development of applications, we found out that everything was written in pure PHP, CV was developed in Symphony, and List of equipment in Laravel. Some of the things were written in JavaScript. A few years ago they even worked on their own framework, which they called Uniframe. They even began work on applications using Uniframe, but without the constant influx of students who would work in it, there was no point to further develop the framework so they have switched to the most popular framework.

Project funding

Within the project, algorithms would be developed, and with whom quality information could be received. That would be a prerequisite for what prof. Ruzic believes would finalize the idea of funding: “I imagine that everyone could write data without any charge, which would be particularly valuable for scientists and all employees of the University. I would also love to give even businessmen this service free of charge, but I think that, just because they are businessmen, they should pay a symbolic fee. Searching data would be completely free, but using advanced algorithms for search would be to businessmen symbolically charged. Also it would be normal that, if someone rents the equipment, a few percentage of that payment would came to our account. In that way, this system could be able to finance itself very quickly. If everything worked as I hope it will work, that is that the whole of the EU tbeing registered in the system or, why not, even the whole world in some way, profit will be expected, which would finance the development of further projects that are comming to my mind. Of course, I am aware that it takes to do a lot more than we have done so far on the project. However, to make it all come to life, it is important to invest now, at the beginning, and also it would be great that it becomes an ideal story for what the University is constantly and mostly supports, that is the opening of the start-ups. 

Launching startup

Prof. Ruzic is considering the transformation of the entire project in a start-up: “My wish is to open a startup, where the initial cash investment of the University would be zero, but the University would invested exclusively with knowledge that belongs to it . I think this is a great option. I’m sure there are many other options for the development of this project, but it is beyond the limits of student work and requires a fully professional performance. Maybe all will remain in the current mode, but without investment, especially cash, it can not be able to work in a quality manner. I have led a number of projects in Croatia and Slovenia, I know very well what needs to develop this project, how to solve any problems and all of which require high-quality professional work. For starters, it requires funding! ”

The professor pointed out that the average student certainly can not work as an experienced programmer: “I do not want to flatter to students, telling them that they are able to provide work that is required on this project, and I do not want them disrespect telling them they do not know anything because the students can be employed on this project. The fact is simple; the average student is just that – a student. He/she are only at the begining and certainly is capable of excellent work as a novice job for which he was educated (of course, I can only say this to those who I know, and they are students of our deparment). However, on this project are necessarily needed workers who already know a lot, and who could lead students beginners, but we need them and fair pay for the work, otherwise they will not come. I’m lucky because my team are three students who are just finishing a five-year study of IT, who already have several years of work experience and who would be able to employ at the world’s best computer companies. However, I am currently unpleasant keeping them on this project, and not paying them. Certainly I do not think that the startup is only option, but I think it is a perfect option. Perfect mainly due to the idea of the project, but also because of us who work on it, and for the University. Finally, the project fits in all documents issued by the University, including the Strategy and Action Plan. ”

Soon it will be finished the third component of the project, followed by the integration of all three parts. We wanted to find out if the ultimate goal of the project is integration around the world, a professor answered: “Of course, in the beginning, the aim is our University, then Croatia, then our environment, but I do not know why would, in this day and age of information and communication technologies, be the anything limited. I can not say that I will succeed in this, but surely I will try. Everyone I’ve showed applications were delighted. We have a support from the Office of Technology Transfer, whose members have recognized our efforts and the quality of applications. Even at the Rector’s Office considered the compulsory use of these applications to the University, but for some reason it stopped. Probably there are good reasons, but I hope that we will soon pick up where we left off. When the entire project is completed, we hope to present it through the University, just hope that it will be soon because of this project for quite a few people already know, and competition that has the money and the people can for six months to a year do something similar. 

We also hope that this great project will happily come to an end and we invite all interested people to contact Professor Ruzic, whom we once again thank for his time!


About author:

Diana Šperanda

Trenutno studira na FESB-u i u misiji da od voljenog rodnog Splita napravi najbolju IT startup zajednicu.

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