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Young Portuguese Researchers Thrilled with Carnegie Mellon University

UIP Members: César Carpinteiro and Francisco Torres Young Portuguese Researchers Thrilled with Carnegie Mellon University

César Carpinteiro Francisco_Torres_UIP César Carpinteiro and Francisco Torres, both from Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto (FEUP), were at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the scope of the Undergraduate Internship Program (UIP), promoted by the CMU Portugal Program. The students were hosted by Shawn Blanton, faculty member at the ECE department at CMU, and sponsored by José Machado Silva and Vítor Grade Tavares, faculty members at FEUP and researchers at INESC TEC. During the undergraduate internship they were immersed in a new academic environment.

From February to May 2015, César Carpinteiro (report) moved to CMU to work on an algorithm aimed to improve chip detection of circuit failure. This research work helped him to “learn more about parallel hardware architectures.” César explains, “In a first stage I devised an architecture and implemented the algorithm in an hardware description language. In a second stage I synthesized my design to a Field-programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and evaluated its performance. Although I had familiarity with the design of digital circuits, the bigger scale of this task provided me invaluable experience.”

Francisco Torres (report) was also at CMU at the same time, with the goal of implementing a novel security system in hardware. By working closely with his host at CMU and his sponsor in Portugal, Francisco Torres was able to complete the schedule and tasks successfully, and “the final result was a complete implementation of the system in a board,” he says.

While at CMU, these two Portuguese young researchers had several opportunities to present their research work. “I had the opportunity to join the weekly meetings of the Statistical Learning in Chip Group with Professor Don Thomas and four more Ph.D. students,” says Francisco Torres adding “I led this meeting two times, where I presented my work and got some excellent feedback about it.” César Carpinteiro also participated in several meetings, and led a meeting to present the results of his hardware implementation.

“The CMU campus has endless activities for students,” says César Carpinteiro adding “I left specially impressed with the size and quality of the job fair held in the first week I was at Pittsburgh.” For Francisco Torres, “the whole experience was absolutely great, in a professional, cultural and social standpoint,” adding that “I was in touch with the best research that is being done in ECE and in a city that has a lot to offer.”

Shawn Blanton Shawn Blanton was very pleased to receive these young researchers. “Cesar Carpinteiro’s work at CMU was excellent. He exceeded our expectations and we hope to have him as a PHD student here at Carnegie Mellon,” adding “we continue to follow-up on Cesar’s research work and hope to soon publish the results.” For Francisco Torres, Shawn Blanton wrote a recommendation letter in support of his nomination for the Best Master Thesis Prize where he states “We established a very agressive work schedule for Francisco that included milestones that were not only technical in nature but also included occasional updates that required formal presentations to our Ph.D. students. (…) Francisco not only completed the entire project but did so in a very stellar manner.”

After returning from CMU, César Carpinteiro continued the project he was developing there and presented it as part of his Master’s thesis. For him, “this Undergraduate Internship made me stand out among the competition, and this month, [September 2015], I started my first job as a Electronics Engineer Trainee at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.”

Francisco Torres, after returning from CMU, also presented his thesis and finished his Master’s degree. “The project developed at Carnegie Mellon allowed me to have a highly successful thesis. Furthermore, I am still in contact with both my supervisors, Professor Vítor Tavares and Professor Shawn Blanton, in order to write a paper publishing the results obtained. Fortunately, this three-month internship opened excellent doors and brought me exceptional opportunities,” says Francisco Torres.

César Carpinteiro and Francisco Torres were at CMU in the scope of the Undergraduate Internship Program (UIP), offered by the CMU Portugal Program, funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).

September 2015