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CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022

Over 170 people gathered to discuss research progress in ICT under the CMU Portugal Program

The CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022 “New Frontiers in tech” gathered, on November 9 and 10, 179 members of its community for two days of discussion on cutting-edge topics in ICT. The Factory Lisbon was the gathering place for the community of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Portugal.

The CMU committee counted sixteen faculty members, including the Dean of the College of Engineering at CMU, Bill Sanders, and the University’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer, James H. Garrett. They were joined in Lisbon by many CMU Portugal students, faculty & researchers from Portuguese partner research Institutions, and representatives from Portuguese partner Companies, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, and the Embassy of the United States of America in Portugal. 

The Program’s National Co-Director, Inês Lynce, opened the Welcome Session, highlighting the Program’s achievements over the past 16 years. Afterward, Sir John O’Reilly, who has Chaired the CMU Portugal External Review Committee (ERC) since its beginning, shared his view on the evolution of CMU Portugal to this point, and CMU Provost James H. Garrett emphasized the importance of the Partnership to Carnegie Mellon University’s global reach. The President of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Madalena Alves, closed this session by expressing the Institution’s long-lasting support to the CMU Portugal international partnership that counts on more than 16 years of activity in Research, Education, and Innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies.

Watch the Welcome Note on Youtube.

The CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022 also served as a platform to present to the CMU Portugal External Review Committee the work and the outcomes that have been made by the Program in the last year, giving them a broad perspective of the research and education initiatives being developed under the scope of the Program. Throughout the two days, the ERC had the opportunity to evaluate the Program’s activities and assess its overall performance at internal meetings. ERC Chair Sir John O’Reilly, Giulio Sandini, Senior Researcher and Founding Director of the Italian Institute of Technology, and Fernando Pereira, VP and Engineering Fellow at Google, attended the Conference onsight, leading the discussion in several panels as moderators. Joining remotely were Yvonne Rogers, Professor and Director at the Centre of Excellence in Human-Computer Interaction of the University College London, and Ali Sayed, Dean of Engineering EPFL School of Engineering.

Industry commitment to the Program

During CMU Portugal’s third phase, several Portuguese ICT companies have been associated with the  Program, with 16 CMU Portugal Industrial Affiliates, 17 Companies involved in large-scale projects, and several more in the Ph.D. thesis. In addition to the companies already involved with the Program, others were present at CMU Portugal Summit 2022, such as Fundação Santander Portugal, Startup Lisboa, Neuraspace, and WoW Systems, expressed being open to future collaboration opportunities that may arise in the future. 

The first talk of the day was held by the President of Fundação Santander Portugal and head of ESG at the Santander Group, Inês Oom de Sousa, who shared with the audience the Foundation’s investment strategy in R&D+I for social impact and to open the CMU Portugal engagement to foundations promoting the social impact of world-class research. 

Inês Oom de Sousa, Fundação Santander Portugal

Watch the Talk on Youtube

Vasco Pedro, Co-Founder, and CEO at Unbabel, led the first Keynote session.  During his talk, he spoke about the work developed under Unbabel. This AI-powered Language Operations platform helps businesses deliver multilingual support at scale, focusing on its long-lasting relationship with the CMU Portugal Program. Vasco Pedro is a CMU’s Language Technology Institute (LTI) graduate, and Unbabel is currently one of the Program’s Industrial Affiliated Partners and is leading the Large Scale Project, MAIA. Vasco’s involvement with Carnegie Mellon University has spanned over 15 years, and he is a big supporter of the collaborative research initiatives made possible through the CMU Portugal Program.

Vasco Pedro, Unbabel

Watch the Keynote I on Youtube.

After a great presentation by Unbabel’s CEO, the first Roundtable under the topic “Mobilizing agendas for business innovation” took place, a discussion moderated by Sir John O Reilly, Chair of CMU Portugal External Review Committee (University College London; Chairman at SERC, A*STAR in Singapore and President of Khalifa University of Science and Technology) and Joana Mendonça, former CMU Portugal Scientific Director and now President at ANI (Portuguese Innovation Agency).

Paulo Dimas, VP of Product Innovation at Unbabel, spoke about the initiative “Responsible AI,” which aims to lead the charge on developing the next generation of AI products created ethically and used to change society for the better. Paulo’s intervention was followed by Miguel Campos, CEO at Wow Systems that leads the “The Egames Lab ” consortium that aims to boost Portugal’s eGames development sector and creatives Industries.  Carlos Cerqueira, Business Development Manager at Neuraspace, completed the panel on the work developed by the company, which is exploring AI smarter space traffic management to fight space debris.

Watch the Session on Youtube.

Continued investment in graduate education through CMU Portugal

The CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022 “New Frontiers in tech”  counted with a high participation of CMU Portugal students, with 54 posters submitted, allowing them to present their research work at the Poster Sessions held throughout the Summit. The posters were exhibited during the two-day event at Factory Lisbon rooftop. They were a great way for students to interact with CMU Portugal Community during coffee and lunch breaks. The Exhibit continues even after the end of the meeting with all the posters available online- E-Posters.

The work and the legacy of the CMU Portugal Program in higher education was the discussion topic at the Roundtable “Talent Development”. This session gathered five students and alums from the Dual Degree and Affiliated Ph.D. Programs, to share with the audience their experience and other useful insights. The discussion was conducted by Bill Sanders, Dean of CMU College of Engineering and João Magalhães, Professor at FCT NOVA.

To represent the Alumni community: Sabina Zejnilovic, CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. Alumni and Data Scientist at Cloudflare, and Susana Brandão, CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. Alumni and Expert Data Scientist at Feedzai. As students were part of the panel: Alex Gaudio, CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. in ECE; Maria Andrada, CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. in Robotics and Rudolph Santarromana, CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. in EPP.

The discussion was a success, with a large participation from the audience at the Q&A, a great way to show the outcomes of the CMU Portugal Educational Initiatives and the impact that they have on the higher education system in Portugal and at CMU. 

Watch the Panel on Youtube.

Improving machine learning and applications in healthcare

The following panel, “Improving machine learning and applications in healthcare,” was led by Jodi Forlizzi, Professor in Computer Science and HCII at CMU and João Paulo Cunha, one of our Scientific Directors and Professor at Universidade do Porto (FEUP). Three of our Large Scale projects focused on health topics were under discussion: “TAMI: Transparent Artificial Medical Intelligence” presented by Asim Smailagic (CMU); Nuno André da Silva (Hospital da Luz Learning Health) to introduce “IntelligentCare: Intelligent Multimorbidity Management System”; and Margarida Nery (Glintt) with  “WoW: Wireless biOmonitoring stickers and smart bed architecture: toWards Untethered Patients”.  

Watch the Panel on Youtube.

Startup Lisboa & Unicorn Factory Lisboa

Gil Azevedo, Startup Lisboa

The Second Keynote speaker with the last presentation of the day was Gil Azevedo, the Executive Director of Startup Lisboa, on the work developed by the private non-profit association founded in 2012 that provides entrepreneurs with office space as well as a support structure – mentoring, strategic partnerships and perks, access to investment. Startup Lisbon is now leading the development and implementation of HUB Criativo do Beato, an Innovation Center for creative and technological companies emerging in the eastern riverside front of Lisbon, where Factory Lisbon is located and where the Conference took place.

Day 1 of the Summit demonstrated great participation of CMU Portugal attendees, who benefitted from the Q&A moments during the sessions to question and give fruitful insights to the speakers. Even better were the many networking moments happening during the coffee and lunch breaks, which after more than two years of remote events, allowed the CMU Portugal Community to get back together, catch up and share the developments of their work but also build the ground for future collaborations.

Watch the Keynote II on Youtube.

Societal Computing to address societal issues and create technologies that impact society.

On the second day, everything was ready to launch another day of discussion and networking! Nicolas Christin, Professor in Engineering and Public Policy, Software and Societal Systems at CMU started with a Keynote on “Societal Computing,” focusing on the importance for computer scientists to study the societal impacts of their work to prevent (or at least limit) the undesirable use of the new technologies and ensure they are used to improve our lives.

Nicholas Christin, CMU

The  CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022 “New Frontiers in tech” second day was also a platform to present the research being developed under the Program, with five panels to present and discuss the Program’s Large Scale Collaborative Projects and Exploratory Research Projects.

Watch the Keynote III on Youtube.

AI for extracting value from data

Ana Luísa Pereira, dstSolar

The panel “AI for extracting value from data” was conducted by Giulio Sandini, CMU Portugal ERC Member and Senior Researcher and Founding Director at the Italian Institute of Technology and Paulo Marques, Co-founder and Technical Fellow at Feedzai. Four CMU Portugal projects were presented: “Building HOPE – Building Holistic Optimization of Prosumed Energy” by Carlos Silva (Técnico) and Ana Luísa Pereira (dstSolar); BEE2WasteCrypto by Ian Scott (NOVA IMS) and Rui He (CMU); “FLOYD: 5G/SDN Intelligent Systems For LOw latencY V2X communications in cross-Domain mobility applications” by João Silva (Capgemini Engineering); “SafeForest: Semi-Autonomous Robotic System for Forest Cleaning and Fire Prevention” by Michael Couceiro (Ingeniarius). 

Watch Panel on Youtube

Adaptive, automated, and autonomic computing

Isabel Trancoso (Tècnico and INESC ID) and João Barros (Nexar)

The “Adaptive, automated, and autonomic computing” panel was led by Isabel Trancoso, faculty at Técnico and researcher at INESC ID alongside João Barros, former CMU Portugal National Director who founded Veniam, an example of a CMU Portugal project launched in 2009 (DRIVE IN) that was turned into a successful startup. Over the last decade, Veniam became a leading provider of intelligent networking for the internet of moving things led by João Barros as CEO. The company was recently acquired by Nexar, the largest collector of vision data from vehicles in the US (news article).

To present the three LSCRPs, we were happy to welcome the Industry PIs from all the projects, including Pedro Bizarro, Chief Science Officer at Feedzai leading the CAMELOT presentation; João Abril de Abreu, Managing product research and innovation at OutSystems, joined João Costa Seco (FCT NOVA) and Ruben Martins (CMU) to introduce GOLEM; and finally Pedro Artur Fidalgo, Director of Risk Management at Mobileum, the company leading the AIDA consortium.

Watch Panel on Youtube

Understanding conversations to improve productivity

Fernando Pereira (Google) and Lia Patrício (FEUP)

Fernando Pereira, CMU Portugal ERC member and VP and Engineering Fellow at Google joined Lia Patricio, CMU Portugal Scientific Director from FEUP to lead the panel “Understanding conversations to improve productivity”. At this session João Magalhães (FCT NOVA), Pedro Ferreira (Farfetch) and Alexander Rudnicky (CMU) showed the work being developed by the project’s consortium under “iFetch: Multimodal conversational agents for the online fashion Marketplace”, a Large Scale initiative led by the Portuguese Unicorn Company Farfetch. To present “MAIA: Multilingual Virtual Agents for Customer Service”, two members of the team: Paulo Dimas (Unbabel) and Graham Neubig (CMU). 

Watch Panel on Youtube

Explorative ideas for ambitious goals

In the past year, 6 new Exploratory Research Projects have initiated their activities.  The panel “Explorative ideas for ambitious goals I” was led by Ruben Martins, CMU Faculty member, and João Ferreira, Faculty at Técnico and researcher at INESC ID. Three Exploratory Research Projects were invited to present, starting with José Fragoso Santos (Técnico) of the project “DIVINA: Detecting Injection Vulnerabilities In Node.js Applications”, followed by Alexandre Ferreira da Silva (Universidade do Minho) with “Prometheus – PocketQube Framework Designed for Research and Educational access to Space”, and Nuno Santos (INESC ID) with “DAnon: Supervised Deanonymization of Dark Web Traffic for Cybercrime Investigation”.

The last panel of Exploratory Research Projects was focused on Healthcare under the title “Explorative ideas for ambitious goals II”. Rema Padman, CMU Professor, alongside Francisca Leite, Director at Hospital da Luz Learning Health to lead the discussion. 

Mahmoud Tavakoli, from ISR Coimbra  (Universidade de Coimbra) explained the goal of “Exoskins: AI Codesign of Robotic and Personalized Compliant Exoskins for Physical Exercises, Prosthesis and Rehabilitation.”, followed by Jodi Forlizzi who is leading the “shiftHRI: Exploring the Transfer of Agency to Older Adults in HRI” project at CMU; and last Cláudia Soares (FCT NOVA) and Qiwei Han (NOVA SBE) introduced “MD2TRUST: Trustworthy data science for improving healthcare efficiency: the case of the medical referral process”.

Watch Panel on Youtube

From hands-on experimentation to Industry Commons

Michela Magas joined CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022 remotely for the last keynote. Michela Magas is  Chair at the Industry Commons Foundation and innovation advisor to the European Commission, and the G7 leaders gave the talk “From hands-on experimentation to Industry Commons”. Michela Magas bridges research and industry with a track record of over 25 years of innovation. She is a member of President von der Leyen’s High-Level Round Table for the New European Bauhaus, and a member of the Advisory Board of CERN IdeaSquare (ISAB-G). In 2017 she was awarded European Woman Innovator of the Year.

Watch Talk on Youtube

Closing Remarks

To close the “CMU Portugal Program Summit 2022 “New Frontiers in tech”,  James H. Garrett Provost at Carnegie Mellon University, Sir John O’Reilly Chair of CMU Portugal ERC, and José M.F.Moura, CMU Portugal Program Director at CMU, expressed their gratitude to all the attendees coming from CMU and across Portugal, and also their satisfaction with what has been achieved under the Program to date, but above all to see the possibilities that have arisen for future collaborations which were strengthened during this two days of discussion. 

Watch Closing Remarks on Youtube

This two-day meeting was a great platform to gather expertise from Industry and Academia from both sides of the Atlantic, opening a pathway for network collaborations between the two countries and exploring the many opportunities offered within the scope of the international partnership.

But this Conference and the CMU Portugal Program are, above all, about people: students under our Ph.D. Programs, alumni who now have leading positions in companies that are still connected to the Program, Researchers and Faculty involved in our initiatives, partners from Industry who support CMU Portugal collaborative research activities, non-corporate entities, and Institutions of the Portuguese R&D System that are a key part of the Program. All gathered to celebrate and share what has been accomplished and establish the groundwork for the future in a joint commitment to keep defining the “New Frontiers in Tech”.

Building the future

After the Closing Ceremony, the CMU Portugal Program Directors, along with the Dean of the College of Engineering at CMU, Bill Sanders, CMU Provost, and Chief Academic Officer, James H. Garrett, the Program’s Board of Directors, and the External Review Committee members, met with the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato to share an overview of the Program and its achievements, sharing a perspective of what can be improved in the future. The meeting was followed by a high-level dinner which allowed a further assessment of the outcomes of the international partnership, which is expected to be renewed at the end of 2023.

With an end to the 2022 Summit, the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program hosted on the next day, November 11th, its annual Board of Directors (BoD) Meeting, which is part of CMU Portugal’s governing structure and is responsible for policy oversight and discussion of the CMU Portugal Program plan of activities. The Meeting was chaired by  Madalena Alves, President, at  Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and counted with the presence of  James H. Garrett, Provost, at Carnegie Mellon University, William H. Sanders, Dean at Carnegie Mellon University, College of Engineering, Rogério Carapuça, President of the Portuguese Association for Development of Communications (APDC), Representative of Industry and was joined remotely by Paulo Jorge Ferreira, Rector, Universidade de Aveiro, Representative of the Council of Portuguese Rectors. The Board Meeting also counted the participation of the CMU Portugal National Directors, Inês Lynce and Nuno Nunes; the CMU Portugal Director at CMU, José M.F. Moura; the Executive Director in Portugal, Sílvia Castro; the Associate Director at CMU, Megan Berty; and Ana Reis from the International Partnerships Office at FCT.

After the initial opening remarks by Madalena Alves (FCT) and James H. Garrett (CMU), the CMU Portugal directors presented the CMU Portugal Progress Report for 2022 and the plan of activities for 2023. In the end, it was discussed the vision plan for CMU Portugal’s next funding phase after 2023. 

In a meeting held in parallel, the ERC gathered for a final internal meeting to evaluate the Program’s overall performance, followed by the presentation of the Committee’s report to the CMU Portugal Directors. 

The External Review Committee is appointed by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). This committee reviews the yearly activities implemented by the CMU Portugal Program in general and has an advisory role oriented toward the independent evaluation of the activities of the Program. The CMU Portugal ERC members elected for CMU Portugal 3rd phase are: Sir John O’Reilly as Chair (UCL, UK and A* STAR Singapore; Fernando Pereira (Google, USA); Yvonne Rogers (UCL, UK); Giulio Sandini (IIT, Italy); and Ali Sayed (EPFL, Switzerland).

As a result of these extensive interactions during the two days of the Conference, the ERC will soon present a Public Report that will be published on our website.