DEI Talks | ”Mergeable Nervous System for Robot Swarms” by Marco Dorigo

Marco Dorigo is the proponent of the well-known “Ant Colony Optimization” meta-heuristic optimization algorithm and a leading researcher in the field of swarm robotics, which allows groups of individually very simple agents/robots to obtain group intelligence that allows coordinating large groups of autonomous agents/robots without relying on any external infrastructure or any form of centralized control. This approach is very promising for performing tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for humans using very simple and inexpensive sets of agents/robots.

 ”Mergeable Nervous System for Robot Swarms” will be presented June 29, at 16:00, in room I-105.

 Abstract:

Typically, robot swarms coordinate through self-organization. With the proposal of the mergeable nervous system concept, we study how self-organization can be made more powerful as a tool to coordinate the activities of a robot swarm by injecting some components of hierarchical control. In the presentation, I will give a brief overview of the mergeable nervous systems concept and then illustrate the first steps we have made in implementing it in a heterogeneous swarm composed of drones and ground robots.

Bio:

Marco Dorigo received the Ph.D. degree in electronic engineering in 1992 from Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy. From 1992 to 1993, he was a Research Fellow at the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, CA. In 1993, he was a NATO-CNR Fellow, and from 1994 to 1996, a Marie Curie Fellow. Since 1996, he has been a tenured Researcher of the FNRS, the Belgian National Funds for Scientific Research, and co-director of IRIDIA, the artificial intelligence laboratory of the ULB. His current research interests include swarm intelligence, swarm robotics, and metaheuristics for discrete optimization. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Swarm Intelligence, and an Associate Editor or member of the Editorial Boards of many journals on computational intelligence and adaptive systems. Dr. Dorigo is a Fellow of the AAAI, EurAI, and IEEE. He was awarded numerous international prizes among which the Marie Curie Excellence Award in 2003, the IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award in 2015, and the IEEE Evolutionary Computation Pioneer Award, awarded in 2016.

Habilitation Exams: “Case studies of development of verified programs with Dafny”

Habilitation exams in the field of Computing Engineering: “Case studies of development of verified programs with Dafny

Requested by:

João Carlos Pascoal de Faria, PhD

July 7 2022, 14:30, Sala de Atos FEUP

Assessment of the curriculum and the report on the study cycle: “Do Mestrado Integrado à Licenciatura e Mestrado em Engenharia Informática e Computação na FEUP”

July 8 2022, 14:30, Sala de Atos FEUP

Discussion of the summary lesson entitled: “Case studies of development of verified programs with Dafny”

President of the Jury:

– João Bernardo de Sena Esteves Falcão e Cunha, PhD, Full Professor and Dean of the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

Members:

– Vasco Manuel Thudichum de Serpa Vasconcelos, PhD, Full Professor at Departamento de Informática da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa;

– Luís Manuel Marques da Costa Caires, PhD, Full Professor at Departamento de Informática da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa;

– José Nuno Fonseca Oliveira, PhD, Full Professor at Departamento de Informática da Universidade do Minho;

– Rui Filipe Lima Maranhão de Abreu, PhD, Full Professor at Departamento de Engenharia Informática da Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto;

– Pedro Nuno Ferreira da Rosa da Cruz Diniz, PhD, Full Professor at Departamento de Engenharia Informática da Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

PhD Defense in Digital Media: “Migration as movement – repurposing the voice/interface to explore aspects of human migratory movement through artistic research”

Candidate:
Terhi Tuulikki Marttila

Date, Time and place:
June 27, 10:00, Sala de Atos of FEUP

 President:

António Fernando Vasconcelos Cunha Castro Coelho, PhD, Associate Professor with Habilitation, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

Members:

Anne Karhio, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of education of Inland Norway, University of Applied Sciences;

Manuel José de Freitas Portela, PhD, Full Professor, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra;

Vitor Manuel Pereira Duarte dos Santos, PhD, Assistant Professor, NOVA IMS da Universidade Nova de Lisboa;

José Miguel Santos Araújo Carvalhais Fonseca, Professor Auxiliar da Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto;

Diamantino Rui da Silva Freitas, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (Supervisor).

Abstract:

In this artistic research we start from the idea that digital works can be utilized for imagining and playing with yet impossible realities, for asking questions, and for portraying aspects of life such that we can explore these from a distance. This dissertation consists of three browser-based artworks programmed by myself in HTML, Javascript and CSS. These art experiences unfold on the screen, asking the person to interact with them in order to complete their meanings. The works incorporate, among other things, voice interaction through synthetic speech and speech input, the uses of which form an essential component of the works meanings. Each work is concerned with very different types of questions around migration, but overall, and as a triptych, the works explore what the movement brought about by migration implies from a human standpoint. The themes encompassed extend from exploring perspectives on language, where movement results in linguistic accent which provokes a notion of the Other through external difference (in We cannot take them all), or exploring the movement induced by the tension between our body and our personal needs and desires, but that is governed by (shifting) borders (in Speak out) and finally, at exploring migratory movement through the ambivalent relationship between the here and the there, the simultaneous processes of (re-)rooting and of living with homesickness (in Transplanted). While this research may not depart from clear research questions, it nevertheless arrives at observations about the artistic strategies that emerge when migration is explored through notions of voice/interaction. The works themselves open up a space of contemplation about the respective themes, inviting participation through voice.

Keywords: migration, voice interaction, electronic literature, digital art, artistic research

LGP is back on June 15 for “The Unboxing Edition”

Lionesa Business Hub hosts on June 15 the event Linking Great Partners, which takes place throughout the day with a fair space (for demonstration of the products developed), several lectures and networking space. This year’s edition of the event was named “The Unboxing Edition“, as it is the first time that it takes place outside the walls of the University, in order to reinforce the importance of the connection with companies.

There are 24 proto-startups created by about 250 students enrolled in the curricular unit of Project Management Laboratory (LGP), from several courses of the Faculty of Engineering (FEUP) and also involving 5 students from the Faculty of Fine Arts (FBAUP) of the U.Porto, to respond to real problems identified by the 16 partner organizations and to problems identified in the market.

As stated by the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel at the launch of the European initiative “Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education”, universities play a critical role in the development and growth of local and regional innovation ecosystems. By promoting experimentation and the connection between science, technology, culture and art, this educational project at the U.Porto, this year supported by the INVENTHEI project – Innovation and Entrepreneurship in HEIs (http://www.inventhei.eu), fits into the foundations of the European initiative, developing in students the skills that allow them to create innovative solutions that result from a creative and interdisciplinary mentality.

By applying agile software development methods and lean experimentation, student teams have developed several innovative technological solutions, such as AutoRocket+, a rocket navigation simulator, designed for all levels of primary and secondary education, in which students can design and program a rocket with autonomous decision-making capacity, at the request of Visionarium. In this 2022 edition, a solution for the interactive identification of defects in the automobile industry was also designed for the Stellantis Production Centre in Mangualde, and also the app CheapShop, an entrepreneurial project that aims to help choose the best place to do the weekly shopping. There is also an installation that merges art with technology and that has the war in Ukraine as its theme. These are just some examples of the projects that will be demonstrated during the event.

Gil Gonçalves, coordinator of the curricular unit and Professor of the Department of Informatics Engineering of FEUP, highlights that this initiative is essential for “students to understand that the collaborative, entrepreneurial and creative spirit are fundamental ingredients in the innovation and success of any project” and adds that “LGP”, through its teaching-learning model and the links it promotes and enhances between education, research and society, aims to have a systemic impact on the university, contributing to increase the innovation and entrepreneurship capacity of its students, as well as enhancing the contribution of students and the university in the regional innovation ecosystem. ”

For Raul Vidal, Emeritus Professor of the Faculty of Engineering, “by involving students from various curricular spheres and distinct profiles in a collaborative work that instigates critical and creative thinking, the LGP assumes itself as a unique opportunity to develop skills in the areas of project management, teamwork, interaction with clients, marketing, communication, and so many other valences that make our students future professionals with a truly differentiated profile and prepare them to be future leaders.”

The Linking Great Partners event can be followed on the event’s social networks and Youtube channel:

Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube

PhD Defense in Informatics Engineering: ”An Agent-based Approach to Design Decentralized Cloud-Edge Data Analysis in Cyber-Physical System”

Candidate:
Jonas Felipe Pereira de Queiroz

Date, Time and place:
June 14, 14:00, Sala de Atos of FEUP

President:

Carlos Manuel Milheiro de Oliveira Pinto Soares, PhD, Associate Professor, Departamento de Engenharia Informática, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

Members:

Luís Filipe Santos Gomes, PhD, Associate Professor with Habilitation, Departamento de Engenharia Electrotécnica e de Computadores, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa;

Maria Goreti Carvalho Marreiros, PhD, Coordinating Professor with Habilitation, Departamento de Engenharia Informática, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto;

Paulo Jorge Pinto Leitão, PhD, Full Professor, Departamento de Engenharia Eléctrica, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança (Supervisor);

Rosaldo José Fernandes Rossetti, PhD, Associate Professor, Departamento de Engenharia Informática, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

Abstract:

The 4th industrial revolution is characterized by the digitization of industrial environments, based on the use of Internet of Things, Cloud/Edge Computing and Artificial Intelligence technologies. This technological advances are pushed by the ever-changing market that besides posing new business challenges, further increase the already existing complexity and related issues faced by industries at the operational environments. In this context, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) have been considered the new paradigm to develop the next generation of intelligent and distributed industrial automation systems that can achieve higher levels of flexibility and dynamic adaptation. Although data analysis has shown to be a key enabler of industrial CPS in the development of smart machines and products, the traditional Cloud-centric solutions are not suitable to attend the data and time-sensitive requirements. Aiming to cope with that, Edge Computing has been adopted to enable the data processing capabilities at or close to the physical components, complementing the Cloud solutions. However, defining what data analysis capabilities should be deployed along Cloud-Edge computational layers is not a straightforward task. Motivated by this challenge, this work proposes a conceptual framework that defines a modular agent-based architecture to design and develop cyber-physical components, together with a general guideline to support the system engineers to evaluate and determine the most suitable computing layer to deploy a given data analysis task. The proposed framework was implemented and evaluated considering some experiments based on a smart machine CPS testbed, and different scenarios that illustrate the benefits of distributing the data analysis capabilities along Cloud-Edge layers. The modular structure of the agent-based cyber-physical component architecture shown to be suitable, enabling to easily configure and distribute data analysis tasks along the CPS components and their deployment in the different computing layers, also providing a seamless and transparent interaction between the components. In addition, the proposed guideline and the Fuzzy Logic decision-making systems were used to recommend, in a less ad-hoc manner, the most suitable layer to deploy three data analysis tasks identified in the case study. 

Keywords: Cyber-Physical Systems, Data Analysis, Multi-Agent Systems, Edge Computing

XIX Conference on Information Science – 27th June 2022

JCI – Jornadas de Ciência da Informação” are an annual event promoted and organized by the students of the Bachelor and Master Degrees in Information Science (LCI and MCI), taught in partnership by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FLUP and FEUP). Being a reference in the scientific community and among professionals in the area, this event has been an opportunity for guests and participants from the industry, public institutions and academia to interact and debate current issues in the field of Information and its management.

In its 19th edition, the JCI will take place at the FLUP’s Amphitheatre, on June 27th, between 9am and 6pm. Under debate will be “THE ROLE OF INFORMATION SCIENCE FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION”.

Registration is free but compulsory (given the limited number of places available).

Follow the event on its social networks, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin.

PhD Defense in Digital Media: “Modular Architecture for 3D Game Environment Art with Photogrammetry”

Candidate:
Nataska Statham

 Date, Time and place:
June 22, 09:00, remotely with streaming at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvsg2ymeaHLRLbsGt67JmKw

 President:

Doutor António Fernando Vasconcelos Cunha Castro Coelho, Associate Professor with Habilitation, Departamento de Engenharia Informática of Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto.

Members:

PhD Richard A. Bartle, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Professor of Computer Game Design at the University of Essex, UK;

PhD Andrija Bernik, Assistant Professor at the Department of Multimedia, Design and Application, University North in Varazdin, Croácia;

PhD Rui Pedro da Silva Nóbrega, Assistant Professor, Departamento de Informática of Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa;

PhD Luís Filipe Pinto de Almeida Teixeira, Assistant Professor, Departamento de Engenharia Informática of Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto;

PhD João Tiago Pinheiro Neto Jacob, Technical Product Owner at Mindera Gaming (Supervisor).

Abstract

 Photogrammetry is a technology increasingly used in games for modelling 3D characters and natural environments, with the potential of time-efficient generation of realistic meshes with a higher level of detail than is normally achieved via hand-modelling. In architectural environments, however, although textures are photoscanned, meshes are still hand-modelled. A key challenge is that architecture for games tends to rely on modular meshes, which require high precision and standardisation, whereas photoscans of real-world architecture tend to output irregular meshes that are hard to conform to modularity. This investigation aims to address this lack of integration with a focus on high granularity modular architecture for 1st and 3rd person 3D games. It starts with a review of 3D game graphics production and modular architectural assets for games, as well as the integration of photogrammetry in the creation of 3D assets for games and for 3D environment art in particular. This is followed by a theoretical contribution, consolidating the principles of modular architecture for games within the game development lifecycle. Next, it identifies the inherent incompatibilities preventing the integration of photogrammetry with modular architecture for games and postulates solutions, implemented and tested via a series of controlled experiments using commonly available software. It concludes that integration is possible, but that a manual process is presently required due to the lack of tools designed to conform detailed surfaces to the profile of standardised reference meshes. The investigation proposes a workflow to achieve sectional modularity of architectural photoscans via tileable borders to which mesh variations can be integrated via modular swapping. It proposes a modified game development lifecycle with longer pre-production and potentially multiple photoscanning sessions to incorporate architectural photoscans into modular game environment art production. Via this workflow, a wide range of types of photoscanned architectural surfaces and types of geometry were standardised into the requirements optimal for modular meshes for 3D environment art, indicating its viability as a workflow for game development in general.

 Keywords: 3D environment art, game development lifecycle, level design, modular architecture, photogrammetry.

DEI Talks | “Digital Culture and Cultural User experience” by Markos Konstantakis

Markos Konstantakis is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication at Aegean University, in the field of Augmented Reality, entitled: «Augmented Cultural User Experience – ACUX». He receives a Master’s Degree in “Specialization in Information Systems, Networks and Telecommunications”, from the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the Hellenic Open University ( HOU ). Markos completed a Degree and a Master’s Degree in Marine Mechanical Engineer NTUA (National Technical University of Athens). Since November 2013 he is a Research Fellow – Lecturer for the implementation of the Act «Supplementary Program Distance Learning e-learning», University of Athens, teaching and writing program notes: «Network Engineer», «Matlab» and «Digital Culture». Since September 2016 is working as a Research Assistant for the implementation of projects regarding cultural tourism, conservation of arts and digital culture. His research includes the technologies of Virtual and Augmented Reality, Ubiquitous Computing, Digital Culture, User Experience, Cultural Heritage, Prototyping, Human-Computer Interaction, the Internet of Things and Serious Games.

 Join us on the 6th of June, at 14:00, in room I-105 of FEUP, for the presentation of “Digital Culture and Cultural User experience”.

 Abstract:

The immense interest in academia and the cultural industry has been to augment users’ participation during their interaction with cultural artefacts by making them an actor in their own cultural experience. Cultural User eXperience (CUX) has gained momentum in recent years, and a factor that affects CUX is the cultural background and profile of the individual user. Users have their own cultural characteristics and preferences, they learn and interact differently with a particular artefact, and finally, they obtain a unique cultural experience.

CUX is an essential consideration that should be acknowledged and implemented when initiating the Cultural Heritage (CH) domain. It is beyond the usability of a cultural product or system. It includes both pragmatic and hedonic user factors that could influence a user’s positive experience when interacting with the system or product, leading to the effectiveness of CH activities. The diversity of visitors to cultural spaces is one of their unique attributes and is becoming a significant challenge for these venues to meet their visitors’ needs. How can they address the variety of interests and needs of all their visitors? Therefore, it is necessary to know visitors’ expectations when visiting cultural spaces.

The cultural tourists of today (at least in developed countries) travel more than the tourists of the past, and it is possible that the tourists of tomorrow will travel even more often, increasing the level of cultural user experience. Therefore, travelling, which was considered a ”luxury good” in the past, is an integral part of people’s lives nowadays. Also, tourists do not leave their previous experiences, motivations, preconceptions, and attitudes behind when they travel, the same way they leave their coats in the cloakroom upon entering a museum. Furthermore, the effects of a journey are not limited to the time spent at the destination. Tourists connect information and construct meaning before travelling to a place and continue to do so months or even years after their journey.

It is indisputable that cultural tourism destinations require detailed categorization of their visitors and their underlying motivations since not every person is motivated by the exact reasons for learning, experimenting, or self-exploring. Because of this assumption that cultural tourists are not alike, most of the literature in cultural tourism follows a clustering approach, emphasizing determining the typology of the cultural tourists.

Amongst the abundance of tools available for interaction design, user typologies have been claimed to be “the most effective and fundamental”. By creating a concrete image of the user, designers gain insight into the elements a User Interface (UI) should have and how the user is likely to respond to those elements.

Furthermore, during the past years, cultural interactive experiences are produced in an increased pace to bring back the lost fiction, as well as the functional and ritual nature of the cultural objects. To date, there are various technologies available in cultural environments to support cultural exhibitions directly or indirectly (augmented reality, digital storytelling, serious games, linked open data, context awareness), and every technology used makes an impact on the exhibition or the visitors.

Celebration of the 50th anniversary of LEE.1972

Last Saturday, May 28th, 2022, 32 former students of the Bachelor in Electrotechnical Engineering from FEUP, LEE.1972, headed to Viseu, for the long-awaited 50th anniversary commemorative meeting.

During an afternoon of long conversations at Quinta da Magarenha Restaurant, they remembered the times of Rua dos Bragas, the adventures lived in the youth, the great events that marked an effervescent time among the student community, the professional paths and the families. The memories, religiously kept for years, are proudly shared in these meetings that are living proof that friendships resist time and life.

And so much has changed in Engineering in the past 50 years. From 18 440 m2 of Rua dos Bragas, home to 6 undergraduate courses and some postgraduate courses, 61 teachers, 551 students (with only 6.5% female students) and 48 staff members, it grew in 2001 to 93 918 m2, thus giving rise to new possibilities of evolution at Asprela. This allowed for a growth that in 2020 counted with 9 Departments, 56 degree courses and 46 non-degree courses, 611 teachers, 7518 students enrolled in degree courses and 1113 in non-degree courses (32% female) and 257 staff members.

Raul Moreira Vidal, Emeritus Professor at the University of Porto and former teacher and Director of DEI, member of the Organizing Committee of the event, of which António Taveira de Vasconcelos, Henrique Albuquerque Cruz, José Cardoso Ayres and Maria dos Prazeres Lomba also took part, reveals that “the secret for these meetings to continue to take place is the immense desire to celebrate friendship, to keep alive the ties that unite the harvest of 72, to remember and pay homage to colleagues who have already left”.

“A retrospective look is necessary. To understand the evolution of things, to understand that informatics and technologies have a cradle, this exercise is fundamental!” says the Professor, who reminds us that for him Engineering is a Dream Come True, believing that the new generations will not let the motto “Engineering with Soul” fade away in everything they create.

*Data refers to 1969/1970

FEUP welcomes “LITHME – Language In The Human Machine Era” 1-2 June

The announced LITHME Roadshow arrives this week at FEUP, 1 – 2 of June, and the program is already online.

This roadshow will focus on language technologies and Human-Machine interaction, which allow us to speak with and through technology, the software that powers the Human-Machine era, and the embedded human devices. It includes, but is not limited to: innovative Human-Machine interfaces; machine translation and interpretation; automatic sign language interpretation; text-to-speech, speech-to-text and speech-to-speech technologies; and virtual reality and augmented reality, among others.

The stands of Altice Labs, Alana AI, Cortical.io, BCN – Sistemas de Escritório e Imagem, SA/Class VR, Flowchase, Naturalvox, S.A.U., Pangeanic Language Technologies and Translation Services and ReadSpeaker can be visited. In addition to the showcases, it will be possible to attend lectures promoted by these companies, with free access.

On the afternoon of day 1, in room B015, will take place the lectures of Alana Ai (14:00), the project Augmented Video 360 (15:30) and Cortical.io (17:00).

On the afternoon of day 2, in room B026, it will be time for Altice Labs (14:00), Flowchase (15:30) and Natural Vox (17:00) present their latest products and services.

Simultaneously, the Faculty of Arts will host the LITHME Training School (30 May – 3 June), which aims to broaden the knowledge of LITHME activities, bring together trainees from across the field of linguistics, language research and language technology, provide intensive training on new and emerging interdisciplinary challenges and familiarize them with unique technologies developed by the event sponsors.

Henrique Lopes Cardoso (DEI/FEUP) and Rui Sousa-Silva (FLUP), responsible for the Working Group on ‘Computational Linguistics’ of this Cost Action, believe it is an opportunity not to be missed by enthusiasts and those curious about new language technologies and their themes.