Digitalising historical objects in the face of war

  • Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH)
    Université / Administration centrale et Rectorat
    02 septembre 2022
  • Category
    Recherche, Université
  • Topic
    Sciences humaines

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many scholars and scientists have left the country. More than 30 Ukrainian researchers displaced by the war have temporarily joined the University of Luxembourg mainly as research fellows and in some cases under temporary contracts funded by the FNR. In this series of interviews, we briefly present the researchers and their work.

Volodymyr Nemchenko is a professor at the National University of Radio Electronics in Kharkiv. He is currently working as a research fellow at the University of Luxembourg’s Centre for Contemporary Digital History (C2DH).

Could you please tell us about your background?

I am a computer scientist and I used to work as a lecturer at the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics for almost half a century. During this time, I had the chance to witness the development of computer science, from working on the first computers to modern microprocessor devices, including telecommunications networks (from the Internet to the Internet of Things). In 2020 I published my book, a student’s manual on the Internet of Things (IoT) at my university in Ukraine.

What project are you working on here in Luxembourg and what do you aim to achieve in your research work here?

Currently, I continue working on this tutorial with my local colleague and co-author Maxime Derian (PhD in Socio-Anthropology), translating the book into French and editing it. We are also integrating a social aspect into the book. At the same time, I remotely teach the students disciplines such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud technology, Microsystem Fiability, and Social engineering in office systems at Kharkiv University.

What kind of impact on people’s everyday lives can your research have?

In Ukraine, while teaching the course “Social Engineering in Office Systems”, I came to the conclusion that the technical disciplines (for example, IoT) should be closely connected with the social aspect, the history of technology development and its impact on society. At the University of Luxembourg, at C2DH, I found confirmation of this opinion. I became convinced of this due to the reading of such monographs as “Communicating Europe”, and “History of the international telecommunication union (ITU)” edited by Andreas Fickers and others. I am sure that the updated translation of the “IoT” book will find its readers both among the students as well as among those who want to master modern information technologies.

What do you think is the biggest contribution your work can bring?

Along with the above-mentioned ideas, I would like to add that the war in Ukraine gave me a push to another project. It is completely different from what I have done before. I started to work very intensively on “Reconstruction and preservation of the historical heritage of Kharkiv region”. Unfortunately, the aggressor destroys and turns into ruins many famous buildings and valuable historical objects which belong to the heritage of the Ukrainian and European civilisation (often listed in UNESCO catalogues). The necessity to “digitalise” them arises.

There could be inter-university cooperation between the University of Luxembourg and the Kharkiv University of Radio Electronics along these lines: the creation of the catalogue of historical objects of the Kharkiv region and their description, the creation and preservation of the results of research in digital format. Namely, 3D scanning of existing objects, and the creation of 3D models of completely or partially destroyed buildings. When the war will end, this will be valuable historical material for the restoration of Ukraine ready to use.

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