CMU Portugal Inside Story: Andreia Mordido experience as a 2019 CMU Portugal Visiting Faculty & Researcher

Andreia Mordido is an Invited Assistant Professor in the Department of Informatics from Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL) and a researcher at LASIGE. She received a Ph.D. degree in Information Security from IST in 2017 and a M.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Applications, also from IST, in 2011. Her main research interests include logic, probabilistic reasoning, probabilistic satisfiability, and type theory.

In 2019, she participated in the CMU Portugal Visiting Faculty and Researchers Program, hosted by Professor Frank Pfenning at Carnegie Mellon University in the Computer Science Department. Here’s her opinion about this experience and the feedback from her host at CMU, Professor Frank Pfenning.

Why did you choose to enroll in the CMU Portugal Visiting Faculty & Researchers Program and what were your expectations?

When the call opened, I was in contact with Frank Pfenning, Professor at CMU. We had some ideas to collaborate on a topic emerging from the combination of our areas of interest and the work we were doing at the time. The Visiting Faculty & Researchers Program offered us the perfect opportunity to start this collaboration.

Were your expectations fulfilled and, in your opinion, what were the main benefits of this experience?

All expectations were definitely exceeded. From my experience, CMU gathers conditions of excellence for a completely focused mindset, which are ideal properties to boost our research work. These conditions not only result from the quality of the research being done, but (directly or indirectly related) also from students’ quality, the diversity within research topics, and the overall spirit of collaboration among the researchers. This program enables us to combine our work at Portuguese universities, which we greatly cherish, with a unique, insightful experience.

Do you think that the research that you’ve done and the connections that you built will have impact on your future work?

Absolutely! My collaboration with Frank Pfenning, Ankush Das, and Henry DeYoung did not finish with the end of the program. In this work, we are particularly interested in understanding how to type message-passing programs containing constructors for lists, queues, or trees, that are widely used in practical programming. I am confident that more ideas will follow for future work.

How was the experience to work so closely with peers at CMU, including Professor Frank Pfenning and his research group?

It was an extraordinary experience. Joining a new research group, with its own dynamics, with well-defined and synchronized working methods, and with relevant research topics in the community of programming languages, was as challenging as it was enriching. For me, it was extremely helpful and rewarding.

Would you recommend other Portuguese researchers to enroll in this Program?

I definitely recommend everyone that has the opportunity to enroll in this program to do it. It was of the greatest importance for me, both professionally and personally.

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Professor Frank Pfenning, her host at CMU, also said some words about this experience and the Visiting Faculty & Researchers Program:

Recently, under the CMU Portugal Visiting Faculty & Researchers Program, you hosted Professor Andreia Mordido in your Department. How did this experience go?

It went very well.  Andreia engaged frequently in research in group meetings and separately with some of my students.  We continue this work with the goal of preparing our results for publication sometime in the spring.

In your opinion, what are the main benefits of the Visiting Scholars Program and receiving peers from Portugal at CMU?

Engagement with faculty and scholars on research is the best way to build connections that will benefit the program long-term.  Moreover, experiencing the CMU academic culture is something that cannot be replicated remotely or via email, so I think the Visiting Scholars Programs is essential for the program.

Is this, in your opinion, a good way to establish solid partnerships and collaborations for the future?

Yes, absolutely.

Would you consider hosting Portuguese colleagues again in future editions of this Program?