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Undergraduate Internships Program: A Valuable, Rewarding and Unforgettable Experience

Undergraduate Internship Program:
A Valuable, Rewarding and Unforgettable Experience
Albert Linde, Mariana Oliveira, Tiago Cardoso, and Salomé Azevedo, were the first young Portuguese researchers of the Undergraduate Internship Program, offered by the CMU Portugal Program, that went to CMU to experience an entirely different culture and to participate in state-of-the-art projects. After their return, they see it as a valuable cultural and social experience that they will remember forever.

João Claro, national director of the CMU Portugal, is positively impressed with the support and receptiveness of academia in Portugal and at CMU to this Program, as well as with the strong research experiences these young researchers are bringing to Portugal. “The students typically stay at CMU between eight to twelve weeks and are hosted by a faculty member that guides their immersion according to the work plan submitted during the application process,” João Claro explains. “I had the opportunity to read the reports of these four students, and to talk with some of them, and their feedback is enriching,” says João Claro adding that “we should look at UIP as a seed for collaboration that can flourish according to the willingness and research interests of all parties involved.”

A Learning, Social and Cultural Experience

Tiago Cardoso Tiago Cardoso is a student at Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto (FEUP), who was at CMU between July and September, 2014. Hosted at CMU by David Garlan, Tiago Cardoso carried out research at the Institute for Software Research (ISR), on the ABLE group to help out with their research on time/fidelity trade-off models for end user compositions.

“I found the project to be very interesting and was able to fulfil the goals that I set out for myself,” the student states. “During my stay, I met other researchers at ISR, namely Bradley Schmerl, Ivan Ruchkin and Vishal Dwivedi. Working with them and with Professor David Garlan was a very valuable learning experience and I look forward to collaborating with them again in the future,” he adds.

David Garlan accepted to host Tiago Cardoso because of his research collaboration with Rui Maranhão, from Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto (FEUP), that began in the Fall of 2010 when Rui was at CMU, under the Faculty Exchange Program. “I have been working with Rui Maranhão for several years on NSF-funded research. Rui strongly recommended Tiago, and the topic that he was interested in fit well with my research projects.” says David Garlan. “Tiago did an excellent job,” states David Garlan emphasising “his final presentation to my research group was excellent. I think he learned a lot by being here.” David Garlan

But not only did CMU leave an impression on Tiago Cardoso, but also the Pittsburgh area. “I was very impressed with the city of Pittsburgh and was glad to have the chance to see many of its attractions, as well as meeting many nice people from different cultures. For that reason, this internship was very valuable for me, not only as a learning experience, but socially and culturally as well,” he concludes.

A Way to Get New Skills

Mariana Oliveira Mariana Oliveira is currently studying at Faculdade de Ciências of the Universidade do Porto (FCUP) and she was at CMU between August and October, 2014. Hosted by J. Ziko Kolter, assistant professor at CMU’s School of Computer Science, her main goal “was to develop a web platform for new materials science database.” Since she had no previous experience with web development, Mariana Oliveira says “this task was particularly valuable to me as it allowed me to obtain new skills.” The final result was a web framework for finding, parsing and managing image data, “which laid the foundations for a collaborative effort between the Computer Science and the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) departments,” she explains.

Meeting other professors and students involved in the project was also an asset, and “in the future I hope to remain involved in the work they are doing,” Mariana Oliveira reveals. According to the student, the environment at the Gates-Hillman Complex “was very stimulating, in particular the lecture I attended on ‘Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing’ given by Guruduth S. Banavar, which especially peaked my interest.’ Overall, the “entire experience was very enriching from a cultural and social standpoint. The city of Pittsburgh has a lot to offer and it was great to explore it, while enjoying the company of wonderful people. I would definitely recommend it to anyone in my field of study,” she concludes.

Expanding the Network

Salomé Azevedo Salomé Azevedo is a young research assistant at Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, who went to CMU between August and October 31, 2014. Salomé Azevedo was hosted by Pedro Ferreira, from CMU, and carried out research at the Engineering and Public Policy department.

During her two-months stay, Salomé Azevedo had the opportunity to meet David Hounshell, researcher at CMU, who helped her “in the exploration of methods to search for the sources of innovation,” as well as provided her valuable feedback about “the set of validation criteria to authenticate the sources of patient innovations.”

One of the goals of Salomé Azevedo is to publish a book “that translates an investigation of patients to innovate,” she states. This young researcher, also met Doug Sicker and Erica Fuchs, researchers at CMU, that guided her to talk “to the right people, and they gave me their feedback on my work allowing me to evolve.” Salomé Azevedo also attended many seminars related to different areas such us the “Academic Conference and Memorial Event, ‘Celebrating the Work of Steven Klepper’ at Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, CMU and “A conversation with Serkan Piantino, Facebook New York” at the School of Computer Science, CMU.

A Will to Study Led to Research Outcomes

Albert Linde “I gave a small talk on my findings and an overview of Naiad and it’s incremental computation capabilities.” This was one of Albert Linde’s achievements during his stay at CMU which was hosted by Umut Acar, researcher at CMU. Between August and October 2014, Albert Linde, from Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCTUNL), accepted the challenge to study Naiad, “an investigation by Microsoft Research on data-parallel data flow computation, with a focus on low-latency streaming and cyclic computations.” This study led him to “get performance measures of Naiad, and a better comparative analysis with the system being built at CMU,” Albert Linde explains adding that he “also participated in a small comparative study between Spark Streaming and Naiad.”

Recently, the CMU Portugal Program announced the name of the 11 Portuguese young researchers that will benefit from the Undergraduate Internship Program (UIP).

December 2014