António de Almeida Foundation Award awarded to Bruno Lima

Last Friday, May 26, the Auditorium José Marques dos Santos hosted another Conferement Ceremony, an event where the Faculty of Engineering confers the most honourable distinction to those who completed their doctoral degree and defended their thesis in the previous academic year.

The ceremony, which began with the entrance of the Academic Procession, honoured not only the New Doctorates 2022, but also the winners of the Institutional Awards (Prof. Dr. Joaquim Sarmento Award, António de Almeida Foundation Award and Prof. Dr. António Silva Cardoso Award). António Silva Cardoso Award), the FEUP Doctorates that celebrated this year the 25th and 50th anniversary of their doctorate date and the winner of the Career Award, given annually by FEUP to an alumnus who distinguished himself by his extraordinary professional career, this year presented to António Mota, who gave an emotional speech before an audience that gave him back a standing ovation.

In this edition DEI highlights its Alumnus Bruno Miguel Carvalhido Lima, ProDEI Doctorate, who, with his thesis “Observability and Controllability in Scenario-based Integration Testing of Time-Constrained Distributed Systems”, received the António de Almeida Foundation Award, a pecuniary prize of €1500 which rewards the most original thesis, of high scientific merit and socio-economic interest, from the following Doctoral Programmes: Electrical and Computer Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering, Physics Engineering and Informatics Engineering (the group of doctoral programmes competing in this edition).

This thesis, supervised by Prof. João Pascoal Faria (DEI/FEUP), whose abstract and the full version can be seen in the open repository of the U.Porto, was for its author a stimulating and rewarding challenge, which allowed him to collaborate with other researchers and professionals in the area and to acquire new skills and experiences that enriched his education and curriculum. “This award was an honour and a public recognition for the work developed”, Bruno Lima tells us at the end of the ceremony.

*Were 19 the new Doctorates from DEI doctoral programmes distinguished in this ceremony (4 ProDEI, 7 Digital Media and 8 from MAP.i – joint program of the U.Porto, University of Aveiro and University of Minho), whose list can be seen in the page of the honoured Alumni.

Linking Great Partners – “Learning by Innovating” is presented on June 2 at FEUP

We start the week already thinking about Friday and the celebration of another edition of the DEI’s flagship event, LGP – Linking Great Partners, that will return to the Auditorium José Marques dos Santos after the “Unboxing Edition“, hosted last year by Lionesa Business Hub.

On June 2, the teams formed by 250 students from several master programs of the Faculty of Engineering of U.Porto (Informatics and Computing Engineering, Software Engineering, Multimedia, Services Engineering and Management, Eletrical and Computer Engineering) and 5 students from the Faculty of Fine Arts of U.Porto ( Communication Design), will go on stage to present the 23 technology based projects developed over the semester.

Gil Gonçalves, coordinator of this curricular unit, tells us that this year’s edition was named “Learning by innovating“, for promoting learning through the development of innovative solutions, intending to reinforce the importance of the link between the University and the Industry. June 2, it will be presented in 4 acts:

The first one – learning with society – is composed by a panel with LGP startups that have developed solutions in collaboration with associations (for example, the Cerebral Palsy Association of Porto) and with research units;

The second and third acts – learning with industry – include LGP startups which have developed solutions in collaboration with companies from different areas (technological consultancy, IT solutions, manufacturing industry, health, …);

The last act – learning with the market – includes the startups that explored ideas proposed by the students and developed those products interacting with the market.

From this which is known to be a “living laboratory”, which creates a unique context and provides students with the ideal environment to develop and practice transversal and multidisciplinary skills of project management, collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and communication, will come out projects carried out with real companies, born from proposals of technological products based on needs validated by the market.

Throughout the various stages of the LGP methodology – from the organisation of companies and multidisciplinary teams, to the presentation of the product – students contact clients, partners and competitors, encounter the complexity and uncertainty inherent in technology-based innovation, and experience first-hand the culture of a startup.

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

The “magic FoRMuLa” team conquers the 2nd place in the Ebec Challenge Iberia

It was in a festive atmosphere that the “magic FoRMuLa” team took the stage at the Ebec Challenge Iberia to receive the distinction of 2nd place in the competition held in Madrid.

After reaching the 1st place in the local phase held in Porto, the team formed by Lucas Santos, Francisco Pires, Rita Ramada and Mafalda Magalhães, made magic once again in the two days of competition, accompanied by six other teams representing the Universities of Lisbon, Aveiro, Coimbra, two from Madrid and one from Valladolid. Over the two long days, the team had the opportunity to collaborate intensely among the team but also to share knowledge with the other participants. In everyone’s opinion, it was a very enriching experience, both personally and professionally.

They were two intense  days, each one with a different proposal for the Innovative Design challenge. “On the first day, we were challenged to create a prototype of an underwater tunnel, and use a 3D printer to do it. On the second day, the goal was to use debris from demolished buildings as material for a 3D machine, which would be responsible for printing new buildings” Rita Ramada told us. “These proposals encouraged our creativity, and the exploration of the combination between technology and engineering to create viable solutions. At the same time, it made us reflect on the importance of sustainability and the reuse of materials in construction” concludes the future computer engineer.

After the challenges, the team explained their ideas and presented their prototypes before a jury, thus winning the 2nd place.

“This recognition fills us with pride and validates our hard work and dedication throughout the challenge. It was an honour to have participated in Ebec Challenge Iberia and to have had the opportunity to represent our college and course outside Portugal” ends the team.

Photo: BEST Iberia

XX Conference on Information Science brings to discussion the “Ethics in the Information Era”

On the 22nd of May, the FEUP Auditorium will host the XX Conference on Information Science, an event promoted by the undergraduate and master  students of the Information Science programs, a partnership between the Faculties of Arts and Humanities and Engineering of the University of Porto.

As in previous years, the aim of the conference is to promote an open discussion of a current theme, involving the participation of guests, the promotion of the Bachelor and Master’s degrees, as well as of the skills of its graduates and masters, among different business, institutional, professional and academic areas.

Under the theme “Ethics in the Information Era“, the programme of the edition that celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the conference includes an opening conference on Ethics and ethical issues in the context of organisations.

This will be followed by two panels that will analyse the global conjuncture, as well as the current and future challenges regarding the ethical parameters assumed by the different organisations in the use of information in the set of services made available. Two panels will also address the issues of access, understanding and evaluation of information in different media, and also the responsibility and ethical behaviour when dealing with research data and personal information in the digital era.

Before the closing session there will also be a round table with invited Alumni who, over the two decades, have benefited from an innovative model of training in Information Science at U. Porto and who, at the same time, have actively contributed to the success of the Conference on Information Science over twenty years.

Registration is free but compulsory, HERE

Beatriz Miranda wins the APDC Best Media Thesis Award

With the support of CEE – Consortium of Engineering Schools, APDC – Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications, launched in February 2021, the Best Thesis Award, with the purpose of rewarding anually the best master’s dissertations in the areas of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Media.

On May 10, Beatriz Almeida Miranda, student of the Master in Multimedia of the U. Porto, will go on stage in the 32nd Digital Business Congress of APDC, to receive the distinction of best master’s dissertation in the area of media, with the work entitled “Immersive VR eHealth Strategies: VR games to treat schizophrenia negative symptoms“, which was conducted under the guidance of Professors Paula Alexandra Carvalho de Sousa Rego (IPVC) and António Fernando Vasconcelos Cunha Castro Coelho (DEI/FEUP), who tell us a little about this dissertation:

“Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that resorts to cognitive rehabilitation treatments to help reduce symptoms that cannot be treated with medication. In general, pharmacological treatments are not effective in controlling the negative symptoms of the illness. Negative symptoms include, among others, decreased motivation and interest in performing simple activities. In this context, this thesis aimed to contribute to the study of the application of serious Virtual Reality (VR) games in the treatment of negative symptoms in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, through the development of a prototype of a serious game in Virtual Reality (VR) that simulates spaces and tasks of daily life activities, proposing the resolution of problems, with the ultimate purpose of recovering autonomy and increasing motivation to perform tasks in patients diagnosed with the schizophrenia spectrum. The prototype was validated with a sample of healthy participants with very interesting and relevant results for the project, which indicate good prospects for use with patients. The study and the results obtained allowed us to identify a set of important characteristics that can be useful in the development of games in this area. This thesis was developed in the context of a larger project – Greenhealth, which has IPVC as a partner (together with IPB, IPCA, IPP and ULSNE)”.

Chatting with Beatriz, she told us about the immense satisfaction of receiving this distinction: “Having my work recognized means a lot to me. When I started it I knew very little about the subject I chose, which made me work even harder to develop a thesis with the level of rigor I wanted. This distinction served as yet another demonstration that I successfully achieved my goal. Despite this, I feel that in the end the greatest prize I won was my personal growth. I believe that this research has served not only as a way to help in the development of better solutions for the for the treatment of schizophrenia, but also as a way to help demystify misconceptions that exist about the usefulness of games and about the way we see and deal with mental illnesses.”

As for the future, Beatriz wants to finish the research project she is working on, GreenHealth, and then enter the job market, preferably in a company that works in the area of Virtual Reality.

In the 2022 edition, Aisha Animashaun, also an alumna of the Master in Multimedia, received this same distinction with the work entitled “Generative Soundscapes for Enhanced Engagement in Non-Invasive Neurorehabilitation”, a proposal for a generative strategy of sound environments to dynamically mask the frequency bands of the noise identified with negative auditory stimuli, to promote a relaxing soundscape from a range of ambient sounds connoted in the literature with low degrees of valence and arousal, in dementia patients.

In the 1st edition of this award, back in 2021, André Cruz, Alumnus of the Integrated Masters in Informatics and Computer Engineering, was also distinguished in the area of Information and Communication Technologies, with the dissertation “Fairness-Aware Hyperparameter Optimisation”, which focused on the study of biases and potential discriminations in the use of artificial intelligence systems related to gender, age, ethnicity or geographical location.

Datattack is back for its 2nd edition

Organized by IEEE UP Student Branch, NEB-FEUP/ICBAS and NIAEFEUP, the second edition of Datattack took place last weekend (April 21-23), a 24 hours Data Science hackathon that aims to offer students the opportunity to contact with professionals in this area, enriching the marathon experience.

On the 1st day of the event, 2 workshops were held: Rain and river level analysis using data science, where participants could analyse the relationship between the amount of rainfall and the level of a river, using the numpy, pandas, matplotlib and sklearn libraries to perform the analysis and create a model to determine the possibility of flooding and, CRISP-DM – An Introduction to Effective Data Mining, an introduction on data mining and how CRISP-DM works, with a discussion on a case study at the end.

The 2nd day was dedicated to the competition itself that started at 10:30 am on the Saturday and ended 24 hours later with the teams of four to five elements working intensely to accomplish the proposed tasks and thus be awarded the prizes for best project.

The winning teams:

1º Lugar: DataFreaks

2º Lugar: Asociación Fusqi

3º Lugar: Attack on Python

“Organising a Data Science event for students is key to inspiring the next generation of Data Scientists. By providing opportunities to explore and learn about this growing area, we can help them develop critical skills and prepare them to deal with the ever-increasing volume of data we will face in the future,” stresses the event’s organisation.

CreativityTalks | “The Creativity Virus” by Katja Tschimmel

Creativity is one of our most precious human resources. We owe to it our civilisation, our culture, and every benefit that arts, science or technology offer. Today, we live on the results produced by creative people over the ages. In this sense, creativity is inexhaustible. Creativity creates creativity. We can define creativity as the capacity to transform ideas and knowledge to obtain new knowledge. Creative thinking and action create new creative thinking and action. Creativity is contagious, and so infects the people around us. This is the idea which will be explored in Katja Tschimmel’s talk. In this approach, she will not focus only on the creative individual – the artist, the designer, the writer or the scientist – but she wants to understand the creative person as an integral part of a complex system. A living system which can be a group of people, a team, an organisation, a city or/and the whole society. This Creativity Talk aims to infect the audience with creativity by 1. offering knowledge about the creativity phenomenon and 2. inspiring the generation of new ideas and knowledge through information, images and short thinking exercises.

 “The Creativity Virus” will be presented by Katja Tschimmel on May 4, at 6 pm, room B021. The session will be moderated by Prof. João José Pinto Ferreira and will also be streamed via Youtube

Free entrance but registration required.

Short-Bio:

Katja Tschimmel, German by birth and Portuguese by choice, is a consultant and executive trainer, researcher and lecturer, coach, and conference speaker. Having a Ph.D. in Design and a Master in Applied Creativity, Katja researches and works in the fields of Creative Thinking, Design Thinking, Creative Processes and Innovation for more than 25 years. She is the author of several books and articles about Creativity and Innovation. Katja Tschimmel is the managing owner of MINDSHAKE, a Consultancy in Creative Thinking and Design (www.mindshake.pt). She is also a Guest Professor at the University of Porto (FEP/FEUP) and Porto Business School, giving Master Classes in several other educational higher institutions in Portugal and abroad. Since January 2023, she is the Portuguese Ambassador of the World Creativity and Innovation Week (https://wciw.org/)

Huawei Scholarship Programme rewards DEI students once again

The 2nd edition of the Huawei Scholarship Programme awarded once again 50 students with €5000 from several Portuguese universities, 14 of which belong to the University of Porto.

Among these 14 winners we find Ana Beatriz Aguiar, João Gil Mesquita, Maria Beatriz Russo and Pedro Castro Correia, from the Master in Informatics and Computer Engineering (M.EIC) and Luís Filipe Gomes and Cláudio Prata Gomes from the PhD in Informatics (MAP-i), a joint program of the Universities of Minho, Aveiro and Porto (FEUP (DEI) and FCUP (DCC)).

After going through the 3 application phases (application form, interview and 2-minute video), our students proved to be deserving of this scholarship whose recipients are students who stand out not only for their academic path but also, and with great weight, in social initiatives (philanthropy and/or volunteering), activities related to entrepreneurship, associations and student groups, involvement in sports activities and professional experience (full or part-time).

Ana Beatriz Aguiar believes that her involvement in extracurricular activities was highly valued as it demonstrated proactivity and ambition for personal development. “Being specific, I think it was the fact that I was a member of a junior company, a member of the board of the informatics student group and had an internship, which stood out the most on my CV. Involvement in sports activities and volunteering was mentioned in the video of stage 3 and will also have had its weight,” tells us the student who aims to use the scholarship support to get her thesis done with a (technologically acclaimed) company abroad. “I believe that you learn a lot by working with professionals from different countries and I intend to absorb knowledge from all possible sources”. Uncertain about which area will pursue in the future, but ambitious to develop herself to the maximum in order to have a digital impact, whether in Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity or Software.

 

João Gil Mesquita’s ambition is to contribute in the future to the evolution within STEM through scientific research and working at the forefront of an expanding area, such as virtual reality or neuroscience. As for the scholarship he already clearly knows the destination: a semester of mobility at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “One of the main reasons for choosing this destination was the prestige of the university and the offer of courses that aroused my interest. Another decisive factor was the desire to get to know a completely different culture that is sometimes isolated from ours. Additionally, I intend to use part of the scholarship to support some personal projects in the area of neuroscience, in order to obtain some practical knowledge to complement the online courses I have previously done” tells us João, who believes that there were several factors that distinguished his candidacy: extracurricular activities, work experience in 2 different companies (Smartex.ai and Critical Software) and the creation of his own virtual reality company in partnership with his brother, VRPortal, the first virtual reality company in Portugal.

Maria Beatriz Russo was eager to apply for Huawei’s programme since the 1st edition and grabbed the opportunity as soon as she heard about the opening of the applications for a new edition. When asked about the impact of the scholarship in her path, Beatriz does not hesitate to tell us that she will use the scholarship money to carry out the Erasmus+ programme in Slovenia as she believes that it will be an extremely enriching experience on a cultural, personal and professional level, and that she will extend her contact network with all the associated advantages. The student, with a very full curriculum in several areas, believes that belonging to the direction of NIAEFEUP as events co-coordinator, being senior developer and team leader at JuniFEUP, having been involved as a volunteer in the reconstruction of houses in Just a Change and having done an internship in Machine Learning at NilgAI, motivated her to overcome herself inspired by all the people she had met. She believes that with work, commitment, organisation and, no less important, a balance between work and rest, everything is possible.

She wants to finish her Masters in Informatics and Computing Engineering and then work in something where she feels she is really making a difference as she believes that technology is capable of solving several challenges, many of them social and environmental. She ends by saying “as a woman in a field where the male presence is so strong, I would like, with my path, to inspire other women and encourage them to enter this technological world, because after knowing that, according to a study made by McKenzie, the EU GDP would increase up to 600 billion euros if twice as many women entered this field, I believe that we are capable of much more than people think!”.

Pedro Castro Correia applied in the first edition of the programme and, not having been selected, decided to apply again. Pedro tells us about the impact that the scholarship will have in the short and medium term:

“The scholarship will undoubtedly be a great asset. For now, I will buy a new laptop which will increase my productivity in my work and projects, since mine is substantially old. I also consider using it to participate in summer schools, workshops or conferences that may interest me and that may be beneficial to my learning and future, namely in the area of natural language processing”. He believes that what was most valued in his application were the participations in external projects, such as the creation of a tool that automates the generation of statistical reports of social networks for a marketing and communication company and the development (pro bono) of a program for the Public Health Unit of Matosinhos, which automates the emission of declarations for the effect of prophylactic isolation, contributing significantly to the efficiency of this unit during the COVID-19 pandemic where, before this help, the delay in the emission was up to one month. His love for teaching also contributed a lot, having been a monitor in a university and a maths tutor in secondary and higher education, as well as his interest in research in the area of language processing, which resulted in him being awarded an initiation scholarship for research in this area.

As for the future, Pedro is still not sure what he will do professionally but, regardless of the path he chooses, he wishes above all to create an impact around him and to feel that he is helping someone. For now he is developing with other colleagues a management tool and automatic generation of schedules, an idea that originally came at the request of the Centro Hospitalar do Médio Ave, in the context of a curricular unit, and that is now being worked on for other sectors.

Luís Filipe Gomes believes that the value of his application depended largely on his successful academic career, the professional experience gained from various internships in industry as well as his dedication to sports (football and kickboxing) and participation in musical activities. Luís intends to finish his doctorate (under the guidance of DEI professor Rui Maranhão), publishing his research and disseminating what is best done in Portugal at a technological level and, in the long term, to continue with partnerships with industry and eventually enter the world of entrepreneurship in his area of specialisation. When we ask him about the impact of the scholarship on his career, Luís tells us “A a student at CMU Portugal, I will be able to visit the USA and Carnegie Mellon more often, working on research and attending workshops and conferences. In addition, I will use the resources to buy the necessary material for my studies, which will enhance my learning experience and help me achieve my academic goals”.

Cláudio Prata Gomes considers himself lucky since he applied in the last possible week when he heard about this scholarship programme through a friend. Cláudio believes that his involvement in CMU Portugal was the flagship of his CV, since it is a challenging and enriching program that confers double degree in PhD, one by the University of Porto, and the other by Carnegie Mellon University. For the successful application also contributed, in his opinion, the strong competence in entrepreneurship and some professional experience in internships and junior companies. When asked about the impact of the scholarship, Cláudio tells us that this amount will allow him to purchase equipment and participate in more scientific events such as conferences and workshops, thus keeping up to date in a constantly evolving area.

“I have the ambition at the end of my current stage with CMU Portugal, to establish a company, even if it is after a period in industry acquiring professional experience. My research in academia involves the use of quantum computers and also algorithms to solve large-scale optimization problems, focused on the complex reality of industry. I would be very happy to use my interests in research to respond to real needs of the industry”, concludes the student who is being supervised by the DEI professor, João Paulo Fernandes.

Diogo Madeira da Silva, Director and Head of Public Affairs, Communications and CSR at Huawei in Portugal, says that Huawei has a history of investment in the area of education that speaks for itself and refers specifically to the Seeds for the Future programme, which has enabled portuguese engineering students to get to know Huawei and learn from its engineers, the ICT Academy programme, under the scope of which they have been signing cooperation and knowledge transfer protocols with portuguese universities, SmartBus, an initiative aimed at younger children and, obviously, this Huawei Scholarship Programme, in which investment has already reached €500,000, with the attribution of 100 scholarships to portuguese students. In reference to this, Diogo Madeira da Silva transmitted that there is a great will to contribute to the reduction of gender inequalities in the ICT industry, therefore half of these scholarships were awarded to female students.

Luísa Ribeiro Lopes, Chairwoman of .PT, partner of the initiative, agrees with this vision and recently stated to Forbes Portugal that “more than a human rights issue – which would be enough on its own – this positive discrimination in the attribution of half of the scholarships to women is an issue of economic, social and competitive valorisation for the country”.

DEI Talks |”Network construction from data and network visualization” by Prof. Eliška Ochodková

“Network construction from data and network visualization” will be presented on Wednesday, April the 26th, at 14:30, room I-105, moderated by Prof. Rui Camacho from DEI.

 

By the author:

The lecture will show how to extract data from vector data in the form of a network – and how the analysis of the constructed network helps to improve the results of classical datamining, e.g. to reveal otherwise undetectable relationships.  The advantage of networks is that the data is extended with links between certain (similar) pairs of data objects.

If we focus on biomedical data, the network approach is one of the innovative multivariate approaches to analyze complex biomedical datasets.  Patient profile similarities are essential for observers to study and visually assess relationships between groups of similar patients, and to do this, patient data is converted into a patient similarity network.

 

Bio

Dr. Eliška Ochodková is an assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, VŠB – Technical University Ostrava. She holds a Master’s degree in computer science from Palacký University in Olomouc and a PhD degree in computer science ( in cryptography) from VŠB – TU Ostrava.

Her research interests are social network analysis (network science) and bioinformatics, focusing on the analysis of biomedical data using network construction from biomedical data.  Currently she is also working on new methods for protein complex detection and information processing and retrieval from microarray data.

She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses related to data analysis and cryptography. She is a Deputy Head of the Department of Computer Science at home university.

 

Incentive Award 2023

In a scenario of commemoration of the 112th anniversary of the University of Porto, 20 students received the Incentive Award, created to reward the performance and the results of the students who conclude their 1st year of their course with the best average.

In the list of students who concluded their 1st year, 2021/2022, with the best average, we find three students from L.EIC (FEUP/FCUP) with an average higher than 19 values. They are Félix Martins (19,73 values), Marco Vilas Boas (19,45) and Mansur Mustafin (19,33).

Félix Martins, who has always been curious about what is behind the functioning of programs and games, saw in Computer Engineering a so obvious choice that ended up influencing, in some way, the choice of his sister, 3 years older. He tells us that “the first year at the University of Porto was a challenging but very rewarding experience” and that what he liked the most was to realize that he was in the right course. The young student from Vila Nova de Famalicão, who hopes, 10 years from now, to have already completed his first major project with a positive impact on society, collaborating with people from different parts of the world, in order to enrich his experience and broaden his knowledge.

Marco Vilas Boas, who entered L.EIC from Barcelos Secondary School, where he discovered the taste for programming “because it involves a lot of logical reasoning and allows him to develop interesting and useful projects”, tells us that “this award symbolises the potential reward that arises when I put everything I am into something I like to do”. Despite the difficulties felt in the first year due to so many sudden changes, like leaving secondary school and entering university, with a move to the city of Porto in between, it was a year full of good experiences that “made him grow as a person”. The taste for solving “programming problems” is one of the reasons that led him to be part of the nucleus NIAEFEUP and neACM, but he says that were the several moments of conviviality provided by the nucleus that helped his integration in the FEUP community. He does not usually think much about the future but he believes that he will certainly be working in something that he likes and that challenges him, either in the areas of research, teaching or in the industry.

Mansur Mustafin was born in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan and acknowledges that the “pleasant and international environment” was one of the points that most impressed him in his first year at the University as well as his experience teaching in the “Uniformização de Matemática” course for other international students. He defined U.Porto with the word “opportunity” and hopes in 10 years’ time “to have a significant positive impact on the industry and at the same time continue my connection with the University to share my experience and knowledge”. He has lifelong learning ambitions and at this point wishes to “thank all the people who support me in this challenge”.

The Incentive Award, given annually since 2010, corresponds to an individual monetary prize, corresponding to the value of the annual tuition fee applied to national students at the U.Porto.