AIT professor provides inside look at the Budapest Institute of Computer Science

A student holding a Rubik's cube.

(Zoe Tiet, a sophomore considering a double major in computer science and digital media studies, won the drawing for a Rubik’s Cube  -- autographed by its inventor -- at an information session about the AIT Budapest study abroad program. Erno Rubik is a faculty member of the institute. ‘It was nice to get an in-depth summary of some of the classes,” Tiet said. Originally looking at study abroad in Singapore, Tiet is now thinking that AIT, with its courses on computer graphics and its design workshops, “would really work with what I want to do.”)

Did you ever wonder:

How one actor can simultaneously play “twin” parts in a scene from a Hollywood movie? The answer lies in the intricate computer coding of a post-production process that merges videos by means of compositing and matchmoving.

Or how you can find the most profitable matchups of people and tasks in a corporate setting – sorting through a bewildering array of possible pairings—in a matter of seconds?  The answer lies in an algorithm.

Or whether you have it in you to be the next great software entrepreneur? The answer lies within—you!

UR students can explore all of these topics—and more—with a study abroad semester at AIT Budapest, an elite institute specifically designed for English-speaking computer science students.

szeszler“When you study abroad, it is often accepted – even expected – that you can fall behind a little bit in your academic and professional classes and focus more on humanities and electives,” said AIT professor David Szeszler, shown at left, who was on campus recently to meet with UR faculty and students.

However, at AIT UR students also have the opportunity to take courses in both foundational and applied computer sciences that will satisfy their UR degree requirements—from people who definitely know what they’re talking about.

For example, did you know that:

Gergely Vass, who teaches a class on “computer vision for digital film post production,” is a researcher and developer at Colorfront Ltd. of Budapest, one of Europe's leading digital film post-production facilities? Colorfront won an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement.

“The software is somewhat similar to Photoshop, but for movies,” Szeszler explained. “There is lot of math and science behind it, and basically that’s what the course is going to be about.”

Or that Gabor Bojar, AIT's founder and teacher of entrepreneurship, founded Graphisoft, which developed software for 3D architectural modeling that is now used worldwide.

In his class, “Gabor teaches that businessmen are born, not made,” Szeszler noted, “and what’s important is to get to know if you yourself might be a successful entrepreneur, and even if not, to get to know how businessmen operate, because you will have to work with them.”

AIT, launched by Bojar in 2011, now draws about 50 U.S. students each semester, and is eager to attract more. Class sizes are intimate—a minimum of only three students is required for most classes.

AIT is located in a business park on the banks of the Danube River—alongside the Hungarian headquarters of major corporations, such as Microsoft and SAP. As a result of both its geographical proximity to major software companies – and the close ties of its faculty to those companies—AIT incorporates site visits to companies and production studios in many of its classes, and can  help arrange full-time summer internships.

Szeszler’s information session drew nearly 30 students – and pretty much the entire staff of study abroad advisors from both the UR Center for Study Abroad and the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Both Jacqueline Levine, director of the center, and Marty Guenther, undergraduate coordinator for the Department of Computer Science, visited AIT in May.

“We were very impressed by the quality of the students there,”  Levine said. “This is a great opportunity for Rochester students.”

Guenther and other staffers offered these suggestions for students interested in studying at AIT:

  1. Consider going during your fifth, sixth or seventh semester. “By then you will have some core courses under you and some confidence in your programming,” Guenther said.
  2. Check to be sure you have the prerequisites for the AIT courses you want to take. Course descriptions can be found at
  3. Start planning now if you are thinking about going next fall. Go to 
  4. Guenther and Rohan Palma, Hajim’s study abroad advisor, can assist in helping you schedule your classes to accommodate the trip.

“Often when we plan study abroad at other schools, we have to find a semester where we can shove all of our computer science requirements out of the way, dumping them on the previous or following semester,” Guenther noted. “At AIT you would be able to complete a core and an elective, at a minimum, and complete two of the courses (you would be taking here).”

“This does provide a unique opportunity compared to some of the other study abroad programs,” Guenther said.