Faculty Exchange Program: An Opportunity to Learn And Foster Collaborations 

Fernando Manuel Morgado Dias  Fernando Morgado Dias, an assistant professor at the Universidade da Madeira (UMa) and researcher at the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI), spent four months at Carnegie Mellon University, more specifically at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, hosted by Mario Berges.

When he decided to participate in the Faculty Exchange Program, in the scope of the CMU Portugal Program, Fernando Morgado Dias had a double goal. Firstly, he wanted to attend and contribute to at least one course. “The idea was to experience the CMU culture and to understand the methods used and possibly apply them in Portugal,” he said. Secondly, he wanted to “develop a professional connection with colleagues at CMU in order to promote future collaborations.”  

While at CMU, Fernando Morgado Dias attended the Applied Machine Learning and the Machine Learning courses. The goal “was to expand my knowledge in these areas as they are relevant to my research. They not only complement my knowledge about Artificial Neural Networks, but they also make it possible to select the most appropriate tool for each problem within Machine Learning,” the professor explained. According to Fernando Morgado Dias, the choice of the second course was due to the fact that “it is closely related to a course that I teach, which is Advanced Digital Systems. Both courses are project-based and the approach followed at CMU will influence the next edition of this course at the Universidade da Madeira,” he said. In addition, “I was part of the Advanced Digital Design Project course where I worked on two project proposals and taught one of the lectures,” he explained. 

Fernando Morgado Dias worked with Mario Berges and his Ph.D. student Lucas Pereira (visiting researcher at CMU and Ph.D. Student at the UMa) on Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM). “My goal is to continue developing this work during the next semester,” he stated. The NILM approach has been broadly studied over the last few years and promises to monitor energy consumption with a limited number of resources. However, according to the researcher, the approach faces several challenges due to the lack of labeled data to develop algorithms or empirical solutions to control the consumption of energy. “It is this latter problem that we are addressing,” he stressed. 

The stay at CMU was also an opportunity to discuss opportunities for future collaborations with other colleagues, such as Yuvraj Agarwal and Norman Sadeh, professors at CMU, and Aminata Garba, professor at CMU-Rwanda. “With Yuvraj Agarwal and Norman Sadeh, I discussed a project proposal on smart grid management with applications to the Island of Madeira. With Aminata Garba, I discussed the possibility of collaborating with CMU-Rwanda, more specifically in terms of applied research that is useful to that country,” he concluded. 

 June 2014

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Faculty Exchange Program

The Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program supports a Faculty Exchange Program, in which individuals holding a doctoral degree and affiliated with Portuguese Higher Education Institutions or Research Labs, can spend one term working in research, education and innovation at Carnegie Mellon University to experience its culture and best practices.