MSE Program Officially Welcomes New Program Coordinator

In March 2010, the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Professional Master of Software Engineering (MSE) program officially bid farewell to former Program Coordinator Paulo Marques and welcomed Marco Vieira to the helm. In a farewell letter, Marques said, “These last three years were extremely intense, with immense challenges as well as successes.”

Marques has been with the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program since day one. In 2007, he was the first Portuguese faculty member of the Program to spend time at Carnegie Mellon, an exchange which he says “had a profound effect on me, both at a personal and at a professional level.” Through his involvement with the Program, he was able to forge personal friendships and research contacts with many of Car-negie Mellon’s faculty and staff, as well act as a liaison between the Universidade de Coimbra (UC) and Carnegie Mellon.

“It was a very enriching experience to have contact with the many different cultures present at CMU,” Marques said, “which are so different from our European [culture].”
According to Marques, the relationship between Carnegie Mellon and Portugal “has grown stronger and deeper.”

“The relationship is very tight and, in fact, quite interdependent,” he said. “Work being done on-site at Carnegie Mellon University is daily being used in Coimbra and vice-versa. That involves a great deal of trust.”

The MSE program provides opportunities for those involved to work with top-level faculty and staff from both Universidade de Coimbra and Carnegie Mellon. It has led to the introduction of new advanced degrees in Software Engineering in Portugal, as well as allowing industry professionals to tap into university research and knowledge base.
“I really believe that the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program has a big impact on universities, industry, and the society at large,” said Marques. “I was the first volunteer, […] because I believe in it. I believed we are changing the world together.”

The coming year will see Marques on sabbatical, focusing on the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Aeminium research project (for which he serves a Principle Investigator), updating his book on software development in C# and .NET, and growing his spin-off company FeedZai.

The sabbatical is an opportunity afforded to faculty in Portugal every seven years, one that Marques did not want to say no to, despite the certainty that he would not have enough time to run the program. The trade-off? Saying goodbye to the program that he had seen from infancy to fruition. However, Marques leaves with the belief that this change will benefit the program in the long run. “It makes sense to let someone take the helm and ensure that the MSE program enjoys at least as much success, if not more, as it has in the last three years,” he said.

Vieira, for his part, is no stranger to the MSE program nor to Marques’ work. The two were colleagues during their undergra-duate years and worked together in the same Software and Systems Engineering group. They have collaborated on research projects, as industry consultants, and as educators.

Vieira has taught in the MSE program since the first year and was one of the first UC faculty members to go to CMU for training and certification. “Marco [Vieira] is one of the best researchers and teachers I know,” said Marques. “I think that the MSE program and the partnership are in great hands!” Vieira sees this new position as “a huge challenge,” but he is clear about his goals. One, perhaps the most obvious, is to “guarantee the continuity of the work performed by Paulo Marques,” with whom Vieira credits with the program’s success. “Paulo did extremely good work in implementing and coordinating the Program,” said Vieira. “He should be held responsible for the current success of the MSE program in Portugal.”

The future success of the program, however, will lie in its ability to garner recognition from other countries and to draw students from those countries. Vieira sees this as an important goal because the Portuguese software development market is small. The program rides on its affiliates’ capacity for software development. Thus, internatio-nalization will be a vital component to the lasting success of the MSE program, and yet it is one that has remained somewhat elusive. Attracting foreign students can be difficult, Vieira said, even more so because of the current economic situation.

“I hope I’ll bring new ideas and fresh vision to the MSE program,” said Vieira, who remains determined to ensure the program’s success. Vieira is an expert on experimental dependability and security assessment and benchmarking.

His research interests are in robustness assessment and improvement in Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), fault injection, security in database systems, software development processes, and software quality assurance. He has authored and co-authored of more than 60 papers in refereed international conferences and journals in these subjects.

September, 2010