NCGM at the 10th edition of Comic Con Portugal

Exponor recently hosted the 10th edition of Comic Con Portugal, the “biggest Iberian Pop Culture event”, that took place March 21-24.  The 200,000 square metres hosted stands and aficionados for whom comic books are no longer enough and who therefore eagerly await this great cosplay festival every year to “be whatever they want”.

In this edition, NCGM – Núcleo de Computação Gráfica e Multimédia was invited to be part of the programme and took to the Gaming Stage on the 22nd to answer the question: “How do you start a career in the video games industry?“.

António Matos, member of NECM and leader of Game Dev Meets, Teresa Matos, Developer at Mindera Gaming and invited Professor at DEI, and André Oliveira Santos, Cinematic Artist at Saber Interactive Porto, shared the stage and debated the most effective methods of entering the video game development industry, particularly for young people. Topics such as acquiring basic skills in the area, the importance of building a network of contacts, enabling the formation of an appropriate team, putting together a solid portfolio and even receiving and interpreting feedback, especially when it’s unfavorable, dominated the conversation, which also discussed the current state of the video game production industry in Portugal and the strategies a new developer can adopt to increase the visibility of their work in the eyes of the public and be recognised by the established companies in the sector.

We asked Teresa Matos what advice she would give to anyone who wants to start a career in the field, and her answer was assertive: “Having a degree is undoubtedly relevant, but it’s vital to start creating connections in the area, even if only within the institution itself. Participating in game jams and other similar events, having a portfolio with complete projects (even if they’re online tutorials) and attending game dev meets where people from the industry are usually present, are essential first steps.”

NCGM shared with us its enthusiasm about their participation which is reflected on a post in social media: “Finally, we would like to thank COMIC CON PORTUGAL OFICIAL and the Portuguese Game Developers Association for this opportunity, as well as everyone who attended the session. We hope we can continue our work of supporting small game developers and creating the means for exposure and networking.”

Also in this edition of Comic Con Portugal, we would like to highlight the participation of Rui Rodrigues, Professor at DEI, in Podcast 90 segundos de Ciência on the subject of “The Science of Video Games“, which will be available soon on the programme’s platform:

Best Paper Award in PROPOR 2024

The best scientific paper at PROPOR 2024The 16th International Conference on Computational Processing of Portuguese, is Portuguese and has DEI DNA. “Across the Atlantic: Distinguishing Between European and Brazilian Portuguese Dialects” was co-authored by David Preda (M.EIC), Tomás Osório (ProDEI) and Henrique Lopes Cardoso (DEI) and earned the distinction at what is considered to be the main scientific meeting in the area of language and speech technologies for the Portuguese/Galician language.

This year’s meeting was hosted by the University of Santiago de Compostela from 12 to 15 March, thus also opening up this biannual event, which has so far been held between Portugal and Brazil, to Galicia.

David Preda, lead author of the article and a final year student on the Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering, shares that this was the first conference he had attended and it couldn’t have been a more rewarding and enriching experience, not only because of the variety and high quality of the papers presented, but also because of the interaction between participants with great cultural differences but united by a common language.

The student also shares that it was during the first year of his master’s degree that he asked to join the weekly meetings with the researchers at LIACC who focus on NLP, led by Prof. Henrique Lopes Cardoso, which was an opportunity to research in the area and carry out more exploratory work, the type of project he particularly enjoys, resulting in this article.

David is now developing his master’s thesis under the guidance of Luis Filipe Teixeira and Isabel Rio-Torto (DEI), focusing on Computer Vision (CV) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) in the medical domain, and will try to explore ways in which the connection between the vision and language domains can improve performance and/or reduce the amount of data needed and possibly apply the developed strategies to other fields, such as medical imaging.

As for the future, the final year student still sees it undefined but believes that it won’t be in Portugal and that it will, in one way or another, involve Artificial Intelligence with a focus on the textual domain.

SEMINÁRIO | “Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity: The (lack of) security of Machine Learning models” by João Vitorino

There are several technological and ethical challenges that undermine the trustworthiness of Machine Learning. One of the main challenges is the lack of robustness, which is an essential property to ensure that ML models are used in a secure way. Improving robustness is no easy task because the models are inherently susceptible to adversarial examples: data samples with subtle perturbations that cause unexpected behaviors. ML engineers and security practitioners still lack the knowledge and tools to prevent such disruptions, so adversarial examples pose a major threat to ML and to the intelligent systems that rely on it.

“Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity: The (lack of) security of Machine Learning models” will be presented by João Vitorino (ProDEI student), March 21, at 14:00, room I -115.

Short Bio:

João Vitorino is a researcher at GECAD, an R&D unit of ISEP, and a PhD candidate at FEUP, in the Doctoral Program in Informatics Engineering. He holds a Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence Engineering, in addition to several certifications in the fields of AI and computer networking. He has collaborated with various companies and institutions in international R&D projects, and has been responsible for the conceptualization and development of AI solutions for several real-world cybersecurity applications.
The focus of his work has been adversarial robustness in complex tabular data domains. He has developed an intelligent method that performs realistic adversarial attacks, and training mechanisms that provide secure ML models for complex tasks like cyber-attack classification. João was awarded the “2023 Outstanding MSc Thesis Award”, by IEEE Portugal Section. His thesis “Realistic Adversarial Machine Learning to improve Network Intrusion Detection” analyses the robustness of machine learning algorithms and proposes the “AP2M – Adaptive Perturbation Pattern Method”.

“Bad Seeds” qualify for the final stage of the Bosch Future Mobility Challenge

The week ended with the exciting news that Bad Seeds qualified for the Bosch Future Mobility Challenge 2024. Of the 80 teams that took part, only 24 were selected to move on to the next stage of the competition, the semi-finals/finals, which will be held from 15 to 19 May in Romania.

The team, formed by L.EIC students Félix Martins, Pedro Madureira, Rita Lopes, Sofia Pinto, M.EIC student, Guilherme Sequeira, and DEI Professor, Alexandra Mendes, performed “exceptionally well” and impressed the jury with their “dedication, hard work and creativity”.

BFMC2024 is an international technical competition started by the Bosch Engineering Centre Cluj-Napoca in 2017. Every year teams of bachelor’s and master’s students are invited to develop autonomous driving and connectivity algorithms in 1/10th scale vehicles (such as lane keeping, navigating junctions, reacting to traffic lights, navigating based on location data and, of course, reacting to other traffic participants such as other cars or pedestrians), provided by the company, to navigate in a designated environment that simulates a miniature smart city.

The students work on their projects in collaboration with Bosch experts and teachers over several months to develop the best-performing algorithms. The best teams are selected for the finals and the 3 winners will be awarded a cash prize of €7000, €5000 and €3000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

There will also be a €1000 prize for the best first time team, and highlights for the team elected by the public and the team with the best presence in social media.

Romania’s third largest city and one of the main academic, cultural, industrial and commercial centres of this country, which is considered by many to be the most enigmatic in Europe, will welcome the Bad Seeds with open arms and we can only wish them an excellent result in the competition and, above all, that it will be an unforgettable experience!




“Solutions R Us” and “InfoExperts” in the podium of EBEC Challenge Porto 2024

The 16th edition of the EBEC Challenge – European BEST Engineering Competition Challenge, took place at FEUP on February 24 and 25 2024, with mandatory preparatory training the week before. Dozens of teams made up of students from FEUP and FCUP designed a prototype in 24 hours, putting their creativity, problem-solving skills and teamwork to the test.

This competition is divided into two categories, Case Study (a theoretical test where a real company problem is given to solve) and Innovative Design (a practical test where the main objective is to build a prototype, with a limited number of materials and at low cost), and it was in the latter that the team “Solutions R Us“, composed of four 2nd year students from the Bachelor in Informatics and Computing Engineering, achieved the 1st place.

Afonso Machado, Bruno Aguiar, Francisco Fernandes and Lara Coelho took on the challenge of creating an attraction for an amusement park and built a prototype of an attraction with the theme of games of chance, such as casino roulette and russian roulette, adding suspense to the fun. The attraction spins, like a roulette wheel, and one of the sections is then lifted at random, leaving the participants almost in an horizontal position.

“The biggest challenge was to idealise and design our prototype taking into account our basic idea and some material limitations. We wanted it to be something original and different from today’s common attractions,” Lara Coelho tells us about the challenge which, in her words, “was overcome thanks to teamwork, high spirits and enthusiasm!”. The team ends their testimony by saying that what they enjoyed most were the moments of conviviality that this experience gave them, the friendliness of the other competitors and those in charge, and the satisfaction of seeing the result of their work, which made them very proud.

It was also with great pride that Amanda Tartarotti, Leonardo Garcia, Pedro Castro and Sara Cortez, the “InfoExperts“, L.EIC’s 2nd year students, won 2nd place in the Case Study category. The challenge consisted of presenting theoretical solutions to two problems placed on the spot: the first was about managing the reconstruction of a war-torn city in a sustainable way and the second was about developing a compression system for hydrogen fuel cells. According to Sara Cortez, the latter was really challenging because it wasn’t related to informatics, which made the result even more rewarding. Sara adds, “I’m immensely grateful for the amazing people in my team and for our proud second place”.

The EBEC Challenge Iberia, which would take the winning teams from the local rounds in Portugal and Spain to a grand final, will not be held this year, as happened last year with the “magic FoRMula” team, which after winning 1st place in the Porto competition, achieved 2nd place in this Iberian competition.

Since the 2013/2014 academic year, the EBEC Challenge Porto has been credited with 1,5 ECTS as a 40,5 hour training course.

Photo: BEST Porto

DEI TALKS | “A Survey of Tasks Derived from or Related to Natural Language Inference” by Prof. Martin Víta

“Natural language inference (recognizing textual entailment task in the past) belongs to the most prominent tasks in current NLP, it is a keystone of natural language understanding. NLI can be stated as a classification task whether a given hypothesis can be inferred from a  given premise. In this talk, we are going introduce a large variety of tasks accompanied by illustrative examples and review corresponding state-of-the-art results. This talk may serve as starting point for anyone who want to apply new approaches and models to investigate these not so much known tasks (as well as apply them in downstream applications).”

A Survey of Tasks Derived from or Related to Natural Language Inference” will be presented February 23, at 17:00, room I 025, moderated by Prof. Carlos Soares (DEI).

Martin Víta graduated at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague in the field of discrete models and algorithms. Later, he obtained PhD degree at the Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University in Brno in natural language processing. Currently, he serves as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Informatics and Statistics, Prague University of Economics and Business where he teaches mathematics and text analytics. He is also a researcher at Czech Academy of Sciences where he focuses in ML and text mining topics.”

Creativity Talks | “Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination: The Creative Act of Value Sensitive Design” by Batya Friedman

The thirteenth session of the Creativity Talks, the first of 2024, will have as keynote speaker the distinguished University of Washington Professor Batya Friedman, a value sensitive design (VSD) pioneer, an approach that takes human values into account when designing technical systems. She will demonstrate how her work in this area has resulted in robust theoretical constructs, dozens of innovative methods and practical toolkits such as Envisioning Cards. Value-sensitive design has been widely adopted and is currently used in architecture, biomedical informatics, civil engineering, cybersecurity, energy, global health, human-computer interaction, human-robotics interaction, information management, legal theory, moral philosophy, technology policy, transport and urban planning, among other areas.

“Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination: The Creative Act of Value Sensitive Design” will be presented February 22, 18:00, on the You Tube channel of the C Talks, The session will be moderated by Prof. Eliana Santiago, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto.

All the information on this talk can be seen on the Creativity Talks webpage.

Batya Friedman is a Professor in the Information School and holds adjunct appointments in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, the School of Law, and the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington where she co-founded the Value Sensitive Design Lab and the UW Tech Policy Lab. At the heart of Dr. Friedman’s work lies a fascination with cultivating moral and technical imagination. Dr. Friedman pioneered value sensitive design (VSD), an approach to account for human values in the design of technical systems. Over the course of three decades, her work in value sensitive design has resulted in robust theoretical constructs, dozens of innovative methods, and practical toolkits such as the Envisioning Cards. Value sensitive design has had wide appeal globally where it has been used in architecture, biomedical health informatics, civil engineering, computer security, energy, global health, human-computer interaction, human-robotic interaction, information management, legal theory, moral philosophy, tech policy, transportation, and urban planning, among other fields. Additionally, value sensitive design is emerging in higher education, government, and industry as a key approach to address computing ethics and responsible innovation. Today, Dr. Friedman is working on open questions in value sensitive design including multi-lifespan design, and designing for and with non-human stakeholders – questions critical for the wellbeing of human societies and the planet.”

Presentation of DEI’s Master Programmes

The Department of Informatics Engineering will promote a session aimed to introduce the master programmes hosted by this department. The session will be held on Wednesday afternoon, February 14, in FEUP Auditorium.
It will be an opportunity for undergraduate students to find out details about these masters, their areas of study, employability and the prospects associated with attending a second cycle of studies.
This session aims to provide guidance and clarification, thus making the choice a little easier when it comes to submitting an application.

14:45 | Reception of participants
15:00 | Opening Session
15:15 | Presentation M.EIC – Master in Informatics and Computing Engineering (Prof. Rui Rodrigues)
15:30 | Presentation M.IA – Master in Artificial Intelligence (Prof. João Cardoso/ Prof. João Pedro Pedroso)
15:45 | Presentation MM – Master in Multimedia (Prof. Jorge Barbosa)
16:00 | Presentation MCI – Master in Information Science (Prof. Carla Teixeira Lopes)
16:15 | Presentation MESW – Master in Software Engineering (Prof. João Pascoal Faria)
16:30 | Presentation MECD – Master in Data Science and Engineering (Prof. José Luís Borges)
16:45 | Q&A (with intervention from the secretariat)

The session is free and does not require registration. Everyone is invited!

DEI TALKS | “Architectures for building Extraordinary Software” with Joseph Yoder, Graziela Simone Tonin, Neil Harrison and Filipe Correia

When building complex systems, it can be all too easy to primarily focus on features and overlook software qualities, specifically those related to the architecture. Pressure to adapt to and shape the market requires organizations to add new features, accommodate new interactions, and have new teams work on adapting the software. Some believe that by simply following Agile practices—starting as fast as possible, keeping code clean, and having lots of tests—a good architecture will magically emerge. While an architecture will emerge, if there is not enough attention paid to the architecture and the code, technical debt, and design problems will creep in until it becomes muddy, making it hard to deliver new features quickly and reliably. Sometimes a straightforward software architecture that starts out small when communication is easy can support guided, incremental architectural changes and can gradually evolve with its environment, remaining fit for its purposes. Other times it is not so simple: the initial software architecture can be poorly suited for supporting required changes, or the accumulation of suboptimal architectural decisions (also known as architectural technical debt) can be too severe. It is essential to have a sustainable architecture that can evolve through the project life-cycle. Sustainable architecture requires ongoing attention, especially when there are evolving priorities, a lot of technical risks, and many dependencies. This will be a roundtable spirited discussion by invited panelists and participants discussing architectural considerations for designing systems, specifically on architectures for building excellent software.

“Architectures for building Extraordinary Software” will be presented February 7, 15:00-16:15, in room B033 and will be moderated by Carlos Duarte (DEI).


Short Bios:

 Joseph (Joe) Yoder is a research collaborator at IME/USP, president and a fellow of the Hillside Group (, a group dedicated to improving the quality of software development, and is a founder and principal of the Refactory (, a company focused on software architecture, design, implementation, consulting, and mentoring on all facets of software development. He is best known as an author of the “Big Ball of Mud” pattern, illuminating fallacies in software architecture. Joe is also a co-author of “A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game”; which includes 94 patterns and 2 pattern languages about getting the most out of Scrum. Joe teaches and mentors developers on agile and lean practices, architecture, flexible systems, clean design, patterns, refactoring, and testing. Joe has presented many tutorials and talks, arranged workshops, given keynotes, and helped organize leading international agile and technical conferences. Joe believes software is still too hard to change and wants to do something about this. Recently, the ACM recognized Joe as a Distinguished Member in the category of “Outstanding Engineering Contributions to Computing” and the Hillside Group awarded Joe as a Hillside Fellow.”

Graziela Simone Tonin has worked in the technology market for over 19 years in Brazil and abroad. Ph.D. in Computer Science. She received the US IBM World Award and the Women of Value Award. Graziela mentors and worked in several national entrepreneurship and innovation programs, such as Innovativa Brasil. Ambassador of Clube Bora Fazer, an entrepreneurship community. She works as a professor at Insper Institution, a Teacher of Executive Education and customized programs for C-Levels, and also is a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering program. She led the Women In Tech Project and co-leader in the Gender Front of the Diversity Committee at Insper. Graziela leads volunteer projects throughout Brazil through the Grupo Mulheres do Brasil. In addition, she is part of a worldwide research project that analyzes initiatives aimed at women in software engineering.”

Neil Harrison is a professor and former head of the Department of Computer Science at Utah Valley University, USA. He led the department for seven years, in which he directed the creation of three new baccalaureate programs and two new emphases within the BS in Computer Science program. He oversaw the rollout of a graduate program. He led the accreditation of the software engineering program, and the re-accreditation of the computer science program.

Dr. Harrison is the author of over twenty-five widely cited articles in the areas of software patterns, software architecture, and software engineering and organizations. He is the co-author of the book, “Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development.” He has been a leader in the software patterns movement and is the namesake of the “Neil Harrison Shepherding Award”, which is awarded annually at patterns conferences. He has been an invited speaker and keynote speaker at conferences, including Agile Portugal. Dr. Harrison holds a PhD from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), an MS from Purdue University and a BS from Brigham Young University, all in computer science.”

Filipe Correia is a professor of Software Engineering at the University of Porto / FEUP and a researcher at INESC TEC. In the past, he played other roles, from software architect to coach, to developer.His research interests tend to revolve around software design, architecture, agility, and DevOps. In the last few years, his work has been focusing on microservice-based architectures and the highly maintainable and flexible systems they allow to create, and on strategies to improve the Developer Experience across the software development lifecycle. You can find more information on Filipe’s website.”

Carlos Duarte (Moderador) is a software engineer and researcher at INESC TEC. He is also a PhD student at FEUP’s ProDEI, and an invited assistant lecturer at FEUP (software engineering course). He previously worked at DevScope. His research interests revolve around software architecture, more specifically architectural erosion and evolution. Currently, he is researching the relationship between architectural erosion and technical debt, and how software visualization techniques can help identify and prevent erosion from affecting software systems. His Master thesis focused on improving the refactoring experience in IDEs, allowing the creation of custom refactoring tools by describing detection and transformation patterns using a DSL. The thesis won the 2022 Vestas award for best Master thesis in informatics engineering at FEUP.”

DEI TALKS | “Let’s discuss about Models and Languages for embedded systems in Industry 4.0” by Prof. Julio Medina

“This talk proposes to have a conversation about the trends in conceptual modelling languages used for the design and analysis of real-time and embedded systems in the context of the ever changing industrial environments but never changing business demands”.

Let’s discuss about Models and Languages for embedded systems in Industry 4.0” will be presented February 1, at 11:00, room I-105, moderated by Prof. Gil Gonçalves (DEI).

Short Bio:
“Julio Medina is Associate Professor at Universidad de Cantabria, Spain. His main research areas include the modeling of real-time distributed systems for schedulability analysis and dependability, standards and languages for the representation of such models, and their usage for modular and component-based development software engineering strategies. He contributes to the OMG in the standardization of languages like SysML, MARTE, UCM, UTP, among others.”