Johor Bahru – Singapore with 100 SGD

I have travelled to Singapore for several times. There was time when I went there without touristing intention but for transit purpose. My actual destination was Johor Bahru, located in Malaysia peninsula. At that time Johor Bahru was still an unpopular travel destination for Indonesian, making the airfare was considerably high. The alternative and cheaper way was to transit at Singapore and travel via bus on Johor-Singapore causeway. *In 2015 Air Asia has good offer for airfare ticket due to the rising popularity of JB whereas LEGOLAND located there. Direct travel maybe cheaper depends on the occassion though.

The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is located on Skudai, Johor Bahru. My purpose was actually to compete in Oil Rig Competition during the Oil and Gas Festival held by the Society of Petroleum Engineer UTM Student Chapter. Long story short, I stayed in UTM for 2 days and 1 night. Lodging and food (lunch and dinner) are provided so not much money I spent in Malaysia. Last day when I departed to Singapore I bought a lunch box in campus cafetaria priced around 4 RM.

Blissful Loft Inn at Clarke Quay area

One night cost on dormitory room type (bunk bed, mix man – woman room) was 30 SGD . Facilities:

– 2 Share bathroom

– Free breakfast (bread and jam with coffee or tea)

– Free internet wifi and desktop computer

– Living room

My impression about this place: such a quiet and nice place to rest located on Clarke Quay neighbourhood. We had surveyed other inns around there, this is one of the cheapest in price with high availability of rooms. Blissful Loft inn and China Town put distance between two MRT station and could be reached with 10 minutes of walking.

How to save 30 SGD for lodging budget? The way that I have tried is to sleep in Changi airport to avoid inn cost, one time in 2012 and one time in 2013. At night, you can see several passengers sleep on bench on terminal 2. They sleep with their suitcase and bag beside them or below them as they used it as pillow. As we know Singapore is one of safest country in the world, it can be assumed their airport is safe. At least I already proved it for 2 times I slept there, every person in our group have nothing stolen there. Maybe the real reason was our frugal looks made nobody even had intention to stole something from us. Apart from that, until now I have never heard about criminality on Changi airport.

Total spent

10 SGD 10 pieces of low quality Singapore keychain bought at Chinatown

30 SGD Blissful Loft Inn

5 SGD Hainamese rice with sweet pork for lunch

20 SGD EZTicket for MRT transportation

35 SGD for spending in Johor Bahru and intercountry bus

Total spending 100 SGD

 

Korean Noodle 101

I’m a big fan of noodle, any kind of noodle especially instant noodle or usually called ramyeon (Korean) or ramen (Japanese). During my stay in Korea, I tried to taste all kinds of noodles here. Yeah, they do have a lot of different noodle name and variative ways of serving. Some served with gochujang while the other served with no sauce but only soup. For my first two weeks lived in Pohang,  I have eaten about five different types of noodles at least.  At first I was kinda skeptical for korean’s variative noodle. I thought that they will tasted the same each other despite their decorative look. After several tasting…. I founded that they are really unique taste. I bet first time eater would recognize the taste as unique. So if you wanna know about Korean noodle or maybe planning to taste some of them, I have a recommendation of noodle that you should eat:

  1. 칼국수 (Kalguksu) or the knife noodle.

    Called by knife noodle because of its preparation process that uses knife to cut the wheat into ‘noodles like’

    Knife noodle
    Knife noodle

    form. Noodle nowadays processed using modern machinery. Kalguksu served by conventional method and it is become its distinctive point among other noodles. No wonder you will found the noodle’s size is kinda wide and not symmetrically cut. It usually served with soup and other additional ingredients like seafood (clamp, prawn, fish, etc) or beef/pork. I tasted the haemul version or the seafood kalguksu.
    First tought: the texture is very addicting, makes me wanna eat more and more. Personally, I like noodles which has chewy and soft texture and this one truly has it. Albeit it is a little plain in taste, I recommend kalguksu as must try list. Actually kalguksu is a kind of summer food but it is still worth to try in the winter. Delicious food has no time domain though. This food gives refreshing taste after eat and of course the “full” pleasure because it containts much wheat (High GI). Image of kalguksu noodle, courtesy to wikipedia.org.

  2. 냉면 (naengmyeon) or the cold noodle.

    I am not kidding, this kind of food really is served cold. Actually it’s a winter food but I don’t feel very good

    Cold noodle
    Cold noodle

    when tasting this cold noodle. I prefer hot noodle to the cold one. In my opinion noodle should served hot no matter what . So my first impression is not good with this one because I ate it on the chilly winter. But still worth to try because it’s very popular even they make a song of this noodle.Jessicafrom Girl’s Generation sings about this noodle! Haha. Maybe it’s kind of promotional music, I don’t know the exact meaning of the song. And yeah, it is usually eaten with dumplings (you can choose for the fried or steamed one). Dumplings called Mandu in Korean and is tremendous in taste.

 

  1. Chinese noodle – the Korean version

    I went to Chinese restaurant and they served two kind of noodle as their speciality. Yeah, one is my favorite and

    Black bean noodle
    Black bean noodle

    the most famous one: 짜장면 (jajangmyeon)! The noodle with black sauce! And the other is jjamppong (짬뽕). Jjamppong is soup noodle with many seafood in it, and not tempting so let’s just skip jjamppong. Jajangmyeon tastes best when combined with tangsuyuk (sweet and sour sauced fried pork). Jajang’s appereance is really tempting. Main tastes of jajang are oily, blackbean, and yummy. The black sauce stain at your face also become an after pleasure of eating jajangmyeon.
    Look how jajangmyeon looks like, how tempting it is. Jajangmyeon has a best partner, it is called tangsuyuk (sweet and sour fried pork).

  1. Ramyeon!

    This one is actually an instant noodle but some restaurant also served this as a fast served menu. Several popular variation of ramyeon are cheese-ramyeon, ham-ramyeon, bulgogi-ramyeon, kimchi-ramyeon, and tteokbokki-ramyeon. I tasted the latter, which is a mix between ramyeon and tteokbokki (spicy fish cake). Tteokbokki is a very famous snack food in korea. Nothing special about this because basically you can easly found these two food so when you are going to ordering ramyeon, avoid to order these ramyeon. Order a cheese or unique one instead! Hehehe.

 

Genetic Algorithm 101

Genetic algorithm (GA) has been a popular technique in engineering optimization problems. It is grouped on evolutionary algorithm class together with genetic and evolutionary programming. GA’s main rivals are neural network and simulated annealing. And yes, the latter is based on annealing concept in metallurgy where heating and cooling are applied subsequently to control the crystal grain in order to reach a more ductile material. I will only talk about the GA for the following paragraph because it is the only method I have been working with.

"In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." Charles Darwin - The Descant of Man.

If you comprehend the meaning of the sentence above, you may understand the main idea already. In optimization process, we expect to get the best result of anything we want to optimize at the end of the result. That is the point of genetic algorithm, where natural selection and genetics take part in the process. Most prominent individual is expected to be selected and reproduce with each other in the population to generate the best offspring.  At the end of optimization process, best offspring should contains the best genes that will make a best fitness value.

Here is the equivalency:

EVOLUTION  : PROMINENT INDIVIDUAL

OPTIMIZATION : OPTIMUM RESULT

Several popular terms on Genetic Algorithm:

  1. Genes : components of an individual which bring each unique value
  2. Allele: value of gene
  3. Individual: consisting of many genes on its body that inherit unique traits
  4. Population: bunch of individuals which become the constraint of optimization area
  5. Mutation: arbitary change of gene which happened to several chosen individual and resulting whether positive or negative effect
  6. Selection: process that netting only the chosen individual with prominent attribute to involve in the next crossover process
  7. Generation: one process of generation including selection, crossover, and mutation. Several generations ought to be involved to reach optimum value
  8. Global optimum: maximum or minimum value of the problem we want to optimize

If someone wants to know the best way to reach Bangkok among some alternative ways, we optimize it to know the CHEAPEST way. At this case the parameters are maybe the ticket price, lenght of route, transit option.

If someone wants to know the best CNC machine parameters to produce best machine components, we optimize it to know the combination that gives the SHORTEST PROCESS TIME and MOST PRECISE. Parameters are cutting speed, cutter material, or process steps.

If I want to know the best thermal efficiency some cogeneration power plant could reach, I optimize it to obtain the working parameter of the fluids that gives the highest thermal efficiency. Parameters are the pressure and temperature of each working fluids.

On the GA term, the parameter that we want to optimize named Fitness. Depends on the objective, sometimes we want the lowest fitness or the highest fitness. Fitness symbolized the global value we want to reach upon optimization problem. Fitness itself symbolized some individual’s capability to survive in the population during the evolution process. During the optimization process, we expect the fitness in each generation will raise until the maximum it could reach. The fitness will be higher if best gen combinations are happening.

I will tell a brief about my project that apply genetic algorithm method for finding the best efficiency of a cogeneration power plant. Basically what I did is doing simulation with simultaneous variable changing to find which combination gives the best thermal efficiency of power plant. Variables that changed are the genes of individual, and for my case they are the state of working fluid on the plant. State of fluid can be described as the temperature or pressure of the fluid. Picture below is my plant subject for the optimization:

cogen
Cogeneration power plant

In this case, I set the optimization variables of six value of working fluid parameters. The sixes are modeled as the genes of individual. After several generation, individuals will evolve to more proficient one. So in the end, we will get the ‘best’  value that resulting higher efficiency.

That is a brief story about genetic algorithm, hope that can enlighten your mind about genetic algorithm.