Welcome Back event to students in Pittsburgh

The CMU Portugal Program held a Welcome Back event on September 19th addressed to all students spending this next semester in Pittsburgh. From the 23 students currently attending the Fall semester at Carnegie Mellon, 10 attended the event and stopped by to grab coffee & donuts, while meeting other CMU Portugal colleagues.

On Campus  events are an excellent opportunity to network and foster a supportive community of Ph.D. candidates, providing participants the opportunity to connect and share experiences with their peers. 

The Program currently has 23 active students attending the Fall semester at Carnegie Mellon, and anticipates 22 visiting students and faculty later in the semester. 

This year 6 new Dual Degree students have joined the Program and will soon be able to spend two years at Carnegie Mellon.

13th Lisbon Machine Learning School gathers 170 participants in Lisbon

The 2023 edition of the Lisbon Machine Learning Summer School (LxMLS 2023) was held in July, bringing together more than 170 students for an intensive week focused on exploring the realms of machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP). Once again,  CMU Portugal Program has supported this event, continuing the strong connection with this annual event, which has now spanned over a decade.

Credits: Instituto Superior Técnico

The school encompasses a wide spectrum of machine learning topics, ranging from theoretical foundations to practical applications, all of which play a pivotal role in tackling the challenges presented by language processing problems arising in different application areas. The event is a collaborative effort involving Instituto Superior Técnico (Técnico), Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa (INESC-ID), the Lisbon ELLIS Unit for Learning and Intelligent Systems (LUMLIS), and Unbabel, Zendesk, and IBM Research, with the support of the CMU Portugal Program.

The 13th edition drew in a diverse group of participants, including experts in the field of ML and NLP, reaching out to students of various nationalities and academic backgrounds, such as Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Linguistics, and Economics. 

Among the speakers at the event was Bhiksha Raj, Carnegie Mellon University Professor at  Language Technologies Institute and  Fellow at IEEE. Bhiksha Raj works in four broad areas: Speech recognition, Audio processing, Neural networks, and Privacy/Security for voice processing.  His involvement in multiple LxMLS editions underscores his commitment to the program. Additionally, he has collaborated with Portuguese researchers on projects backed by the CMU Portugal initiative and has co-supervised dual-degree Ph.D. candidates.

The event also featured the active participation of CMU Portugal faculty and alums in the organization and speaking engagements. They were André Martins, Isabel Trancoso, Mário Figueiredo, and Zita Marinho, contributing to the event’s success. The steering committee also included Fernando Pereira, a member of CMU Portugal’s External Review Committee, who serves as a VP and Engineering Fellow at Google, where hehe leads pioneering research and development efforts in the realms of natural language understanding and machine learning.

Using AI Towards a cleaner energy future: Building Hope Closing event

On July 14th, the CMU Portugal Large Scale Collaborative Project “Building Hope” concluded its journey with a closing session. This online event brought together more than 50 participants to discuss the project’s latest advancements in energy management.

Funded through PT2020 and FCT under the CMU Portugal Program, Building HOPE – Building Holistic Optimization of Prosumed Energy – aimed to revolutionize energy management practices in smart urban environments. The project focused on the development and validation of an innovative tool known as Holistic Optimization of Prosumed Energy (HOPE) specifically designed for buildings. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as data collection, sensing advancements, and AI-based methodologies, the project aimed to pave the way toward a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. The potential impact of such advancements on smart urban environments is immense.

The session was moderated by Ana Luísa Pereira, Innovation Manager at dstsolar, and kicked off with an opening by Sílvia Castro,  CMU Portugal Executive Director. Sílvia provided insight into the Program’s overall activities and the significance of the Large Scale Projects initiative, which has proven to be impactful in various ways. Building Hope was one of the 12 flagship projects selected under the 2018 competitive Call launched by COMPETE 2020, ANI, and FCT under the GO PORTUGAL initiative that was concluded in June 2023.

Mauro Costa, R&D Project Manager at dstsolar, took the stage and delivered a presentation, providing a comprehensive overview of Building Hope’s primary objectives, team achievements, and key responsibilities. The project was led by dstsolar in collaboration with  WATT-IS, InnovationPoint, S.A., Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Coimbra, and the Electrical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

Together, this consortium of expertise and knowledge has driven Building Hope toward its goal of revolutionizing energy management practices in smart urban environments. The HOPE platform has been extensively tested throughout the project in diverse contexts, including industrial, office, and retail buildings. These real-world trials have been instrumental in not only validating the platform’s capabilities but also showcasing its innovative features and the significant impact it can have on energy management.

To present the developed models, Henrique Pombeiro from the partner company Watt.IS focused on the outcomes of using data analytics with the presentation “Smarter and more efficient buildings through data analytics: contributions of load forecasting and non-intrusive disaggregation of consumption”.  The use of data analytics has proven to be a powerful tool in optimizing energy consumption and improving overall efficiency. Next, Carlos Santos Silva from Instituto Superior Técnico took the stage and delved into his team’s contributions, presenting “Flexibility, Performance, and SmartContracts: New services in intelligent building management.” His presentation focused on three critical aspects of the project: estimating hourly flexibility, predicting asset performance, and evaluating smart contracts. These focus areas are key to unlocking the full potential of smart urban environments and ensuring energy optimization. From Universidade de Coimbra, Ehsan Asadi delivered a compelling presentation entitled “Optimization of energy efficiency in buildings through the integration of flexibility resource integration.” This presentation showcased how integrating flexibility resources into building management can significantly enhance energy efficiency, making strides toward a greener and more sustainable future.

Finally, Ricardo Lopes, representing InnovationPoint, provided an in-depth exploration of the HOPE platform during his presentation. He highlighted the platform’s main features and showcased its overall performance. 

According to the project PI from dstsolar,  Ana Luísa Pereira “participating in this project was extremely important. It opened up the possibility for us to explore different areas with partners, valuing our investment in digital research projects associated with transition and energy efficiency. The cooperation between the teams of the different partners (dstsolar, Watt.IS, IST, UC and CMU) was enriching and allowed us to explore data processing and the interconnection of different areas of knowledge. We believe that these initiatives centered in the cooperation between entities of the academic and scientific system with companies, are essential for the development of new technologies and really innovative products.”

Giving a look into the project main outcomes, Ana Luísa Pereira refers that “the main advantage of the HOPE platform is that it is a tool to help reduce energy consumption in service, commercial or industrial buildings. During the project, a functional prototype of the platform was developed, but it will still be necessary to continue the development to reach a market-ready version. We are aware of the added value of this platform and its perfect alignment with dstsolar’s business strategy.” 

To conclude the session, the Building Hope consortia expressed their gratitude to SONAE, a prominent Portuguese multinational company that played a vital role in the project’s success. SONAE’s support involved providing their buildings for extensive testing, allowing the project to flourish and achieve its objectives. 

Catarina Nunes Soares, representing SONAE, took a moment to reflect on the impact of Building Hope on the company. She emphasized that the project had been a transformative experience, providing invaluable insights into the practices that can drive energy efficiency and sustainability within their facilities. The knowledge gained through this collaboration will not only enhance SONAE’s current buildings but will also inform the construction of future structures, ensuring a more eco-conscious approach.

As the session unfolded, it became evident that Building Hope’s journey has not only been one of innovation but also a testament to effective collaboration and the pursuit of positive change. The collective achievements of this project will undoubtedly serve as a beacon for future initiatives seeking to create a lasting impact on energy management and sustainability.

The Building Hope – Building Holistic Optimization of Prosumed Energy  – project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalisation (COMPETE 2020) and by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the CMU Portugal Program.

IntelligentCare Final Workshop: Improving Multimorbidity Management Using AI-Based Solutions

On June 30th, the IntelligentCare project consortia gathered at Hospital da Luz Learning Health for the presentation of the CMU Portugal Large Scale Project results. The IntelligentCare project presents an innovative approach to managing multimorbidity (MM) by adopting a patient-centric perspective and striving for optimized allocation of hospital resources, thus promoting the transition to value-based healthcare.

The primary challenge involved developing a patient-centric solution by leveraging analytical methods and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze data derived from electronic health records (EHR) and remotely reported measures such as patient-reported outcomes (PROMs), life events, quality of life, and physical activity. IntelligentCare, to capture additional value, incorporated intelligent sensors and mobile solutions to capture these variables, referred to as additional value variables (AVVs).

The ultimate goal was to create a comprehensive platform that aggregates all patient data, provides suggestions for medical interventions, and generates a risk score for hospitalization based on the patient’s condition.

Nuno André Silva, Head of the Intelligent Care and Complexity Science Center and the innovation area of ​​Hospital da Luz Learning Health delivered the opening remarks. In his introduction, he focused on the project’s objectives and highlighted the pressing challenges an aging population poses. One significant challenge emphasized was the rise in patients with multimorbidity (MM) and the resulting strain on the sustainability of the healthcare sector. Providing some context, he mentioned that according to the SNS (Portuguese Healthcare System), 38% of the Portuguese population is affected by this issue, leading to a greater demand for medical assistance and, consequently, increased healthcare utilization and costs.

The project consortia were represented at the meeting by members of all the involved Institutions, starting with Carlos Amaral of Priberam, who discussed data collection and NLP techniques. Mário Gaspar Silva, from INESC-ID, talked about disease phenotypes and the importance of early signaling and characterization of patients with MM. Plínio Moreno from Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR-Lisboa) focused on smart sensing technology. Pedro Ferreira joined remotely from CMU (Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy) and discussed the extraction methodologies for clinical pathways developed along the project.  Jaime Machado, from Luz Saúde, presented the IntelligentCare platform that has been developed and which combines all the previous elements. And Bernardo Neves, Internal Medicine Doctor at Hospital da Luz Lisboa, showcased the clinical application with a real-world case study.

Pedro Ferreira, PI of the project at Carnegie Mellon, highlighted the benefits of this collaboration between CMU and Portuguese partners. “The IntelligentCare project brought together a unique multidisciplinary team, including faculty at CMU, faculty in Portuguese Universities, and practitioners in a novel and inspiring way. The leadership of Hospital da Luz was extraordinarily impactful and allowed us to focus the project on outcomes that matter for the hospital and patients. This project exemplifies how one can successfully publish state-of-the-art research immediately used in practice to improve people’s lives. I look forward to working with our Portuguese partners in subsequent research questions that our project identified”.    

To close the meeting, Francisca Leite, Director at Hospital da Luz Learning Health, discussed the future and its focus on the impact of AI in the Healthcare sector in the upcoming years. According to her, “The accomplishments of the IntelligentCare project will enable Hospital da Luz to revolutionize multimorbidity management. Integrating AI technologies will ensure every patient receives the care they need while reducing unnecessary costs and strains on our system. This project sets a pioneering example for the broader adoption of AI in healthcare, underscoring how technological innovation can positively impact patient care and system productivity. As we move forward, our goal is to continue incorporating AI across various healthcare domains, ensuring optimized resource allocation, early risk detection, and an overall more sustainable healthcare sector. We are thrilled to see what the future holds and are confident that AI will play a significant role in shaping a more sustainable, effective, and patient-centric healthcare sector in the coming years.”

The CMU Portugal large Scale Project IntelligentCare is led by Hospital da Luz Lisboa/Hospital da Luz Learning Health in collaboration with Priberam, INESC-ID, Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR-Lisboa), Instituto Superior Técnico and the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

IntelliGentCare(LISBOA-01-0247-FEDER-045948) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization (COMPETE 2020) and by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the CMU Portugal Program.


FLOYD Project Workshop and Presentations: “Unleashing the Future of Connected Mobility”

The FLOYD project, a CMU Portugal Large Scale Collaborative initiative,  hosted a final Workshop on June 22nd at Altice Labs HQ in Aveiro and online. The event brought together members of the consortia and a diverse audience for a discussion on connected mobility and the integration of autonomous driving in our society.

The R&I project, led by Capgemini Engineering, aims to build a technological stack for offering high-performance network/computation services to vehicular users. The project has worked on improving mobility services and accelerating the integration of autonomous driving in society by advancing the networking and computation technological basis on which complex mobility and autonomy services and functionalities can be built. These include uninterrupted and seamless connectivity in diverse environments, leveraging edge and cloud computing, measuring network quality, control and prediction mechanisms, orchestration, security, and integration in various application use cases.

Funded through PT2020 and FCT under the CMU Portugal Program, the FLOYD – 5G/SDN Intelligent Systems For LOw latencY V2X communications in cross-Domain mobility applications initiative is led by Capgemini Engineering in collaboration with ALTICE LABS, S.A. , Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto,  Instituto de TelecomunicaçõesVORTEX Colab and the Computer Science Department at CMU. 

Through the collaboration between all these R&I industrial and academic entities, FLOYD has enabled the development, validation, and exploitation of various components and technologies, addressing multiple unanswered interrogations between vehicular and network communications.

“The collaboration between the different partners was extremely important, and each played its part. Capgemini was highly focused in the collection and analysis of 5G data, to make predictions to improve network performance and also with Edge Cloud concepts. Altice Labs made contributions to support the platoons between public and private 5G networks. Cister contributed with the use of Applications to assist the autonomous platoons and communications to 5G radio access points, IT for Wifi edge offloading and Multipath concept, Vortex in the security of the communications between the platoon members and CMU as deep app know-how.”, explains João Silva, Capgemini Engineering.

According to the project PI at CMU, Peter Steenkiste, Professor of Computer Science and of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “The FLOYD project was a great opportunity for both students and faculty in the CMU Portugal Program to work with industry research at Altice Labs and Capgemini Engineering.  The collaboration provided valuable insights into important challenges in using 5G technology for connected mobility. This led to interesting and relevant research projects in areas such as analyzing the latency of 5G communication, energy efficiency, and the overhead of the 5G control plane.”

Artificial Intelligence has been combined with breakthrough technologies in edge computing and 5G, which allowed the development of a framework of tools for networking and communications to support platooning applications. Platooning is an application where a group of vehicles moves one after another in proximity, acting jointly as a single physical system. The scope of platooning is to improve safety, reduce fuel consumption, and increase road use efficiency.

“It was a truly enriching experience to have the invaluable support and expertise of Carnegie Mellon University as well as the partners and entities involved in the challenging Floyd project. Through all the hard work and collective work, it was possible to make significant and promising advances in supporting autonomous driving in platoons, exploring topics such as 5G infrastructure, ‘Edge Cloud,’ or Artificial Intelligence. I hope that these important contributions and collaborations with CMU will serve as a basis for establishing promising partnerships in the future.”, adds João Silva, Capgemini Engineering.

In addition to disclosing the project’s outcomes, the workshop also featured presentations from other projects addressing related topics such as Route 255G-AutoInSecTT, and STEROID. 

Project FLOYD (POCI-01-0247-FEDER-045912) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization (COMPETE 2020) and by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the CMU Portugal Program.

You can learn more on the project’s website and through the video below.


CMU Nanotechnologies and Material Science Team visits Portugal

Between June 19 and 23, a delegation of four faculty members from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) visited  19  Portuguese Labs, Research Centers, and Institutes in the areas of nanotechnologies and material characterization. Over four intensive days,  the CMU Professors engaged in brainstorming sessions and meaningful discussions with the Portuguese Researchers, identifying common interests and directions of  future research directions and collaborations under the scope of CMU Portugal Program.

The CMU delegation consisted of Theresa S. Mayer, Vice-President of Research at CMU and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Elizabeth Dickey, Department Head, Teddy and Wilton Hawkins, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Gary Fedder, Faculty Director, Manufacturing Futures Initiatives, Howard M. Wilkoff Professor, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & the Robotics Institute; and Gianluca Piazza, Nanofab Director and STMicroelectronics Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Throughout the visit, they were accompanied by José M. F. Moura, Director of the CMU Portugal Program at CMU, Philip L. and Marsha Dowd University Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Sílvia Castro, the CMU Portugal Program Executive Director in Portugal. 

This visit followed the visit by Elvira Fortunato, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education, and Madalena Alves, President of Fundação para a CIência e a Tecnologia (FCT)  to Carnegie Mellon in March. The discussions then suggested that the CMU Portugal Program explore nanotechnologies and nanomaterials as potential new areas of future collaboration.

On June 20th, the delegation’s first stop was at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory INL, where Madalena Alves (FCT’s president) and Paulo Freitas, INL Deputy Director General, welcomed the group. The visit started with a comprehensive presentation of INL activities and infrastructures by Paulo Freitas and leaders of INL’s research groups related to nanostructures and advanced materials. The delegation had the opportunity to visit several INL laboratories and INL’s research core facilities, engaging with their principal investigators and research teams. 

The CMU faculty followed then with a visit to CF-UM-UP (Physics Center of Minho and Porto Universities), where they were received by António Onofre and Mikhail Vasilevskiy, the current and former CF-UM-UP Directors, respectively, along with research group members at the Gualtar campus of the University of Minho. Mikhail Vasilevskiy presented the institution’s main research fields and strategic lines of research.

Transitioning from the Universidade do Minho Gualtar Campus in Braga to the Azurém Campus in Guimarães, the group was welcomed by Pedro Arezes, the President of the School of Engineering of the Universidade do Minho, and representatives from five different Institutions:  Pedro NunesIPC (Institute for Polymers and Composites), André Matos – DTx (Digital Transformation CoLab),  António J Pontes, DONE Lab (Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory of Products and Tools), André Catarino – 2C2T (Centre for Textile Science and Technology) and Pedro Mimoso – PIEP (Centre for Innovation in Polymer Engineering). The CMU group had the opportunity to interact with members of each institution, visit their research facilities, and gain insight into their capabilities and accomplishments.

On June 21st,  the CMU delegation made their way to Porto, starting their visit at CEiiA (Centre of Engineering and Product Development), where they were received by Rui Magalhães,  Director of the Space & Ocean Unit. Rui Magalhães provided an overview of CEiiA’s foundations and the ongoing work in aeronautics, mobility, naval/offshore, and automotive sectors. The visit concluded with a guided tour of CEiiA’s facilities and manufacturing plant.

The CMU delegation next visited the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS in Porto, a non-profit private association founded by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest organization for applied research. The delegation was welcomed by Liliana Ferreira, the Director of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, and her team. They presented the Center’s research work, including two projects developed within the scope of FCT’s international partnerships. One notable project was TAMI,  a CMU Portugal Large-Scale project that uses AI tools to develop a platform to support medical decisions.

The CMU delegation’s next destination was Aveiro, the hometown of Universidade de Aveiro, where they visited two institutions. First, they visited CICECO -Aveiro Institute of Materials, where they were welcomed by Artur Silva, Universidade de Aveiro Vice-Rector, to research, innovation, and third cycle training. João Coutinho, Director of CICECO, provided an overview of the institution’s organization and facilities. Several CICECO group leaders briefly presented their main activities and research topics. Rute Ferreira, the Vice-Director of CICECO, then guided the group through a visit to some of its facilities and laboratories, giving them a firsthand experience of the institution’s research capabilities. Next, the group explored I3N Aveiro, where António Luís Ferreira, the Vice-Coordinator, presented the institution and the research lines being conducted at the Aveiro campus. The meeting was attended by some of the institution’s principal investigators, who guided the group through a visit to their respective laboratories. This allowed the delegation to gain insights into the ongoing research activities and collaborations at I3N Aveiro.

On June 22nd,  the tour headed to the city of Coimbra, home to the  Universidade de Coimbra. Founded in 1290, it is one of the oldest universities in Europe and has been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The Universidade de Coimbra tour included stops at CFisUC (Centre for Physics of the University of Coimbra), hosted by José Paixão, Head of CFisUC. Researchers from the institution joined the discussion, where they elaborated on the research lines of the five working groups within CFisUC. Continuing their visit to Coimbra, the delegation then proceeded to  CEMMPRE (Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials, and Processes). Albano Cavaleiro, the Center President, and colleagues from the research center received them. During their visit, the group discussed the research lines pursued by CEMMPRE, focusing on examples of nanomaterials and nanotechnology applications. This gave the delegation valuable insights into their cutting-edge research and innovations in these fields.

After visiting Coimbra, the delegation moved on to the Lisbon area, where they visited two  universities: Universidade de Lisboa and Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Starting at Universidade de Lisboa, their first stop was at the Laboratory for Robotics and Engineering Systems (LARSyS) at Instituto Superior Técnico, where José Santos-Victor, the President of LARSyS, hosted them. Pedro Lima, President of the ISR (Institute for Systems and Robotics), Alexandre Bernardino, who had previously led CMU Portugal research projects, and Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal Co-Director and ITI president, also participated in the visit.

The delegation then had the opportunity to discuss research lines and opportunities with CeFEMA (Center of Physics and Engineering of Advanced Materials). The discussion was led by João Seixas, the President of CeFEMA, and researchers from each of the seven research topics being developed at the institution actively participated.

The day concluded with a visit to the facilities of INESC-MN (INESC Microsistemas e Nanotechnologies), where they were received by João Conde, President at INESC MN, Virginia Chu and Susana Cardoso. The discussion  revolved around micro- and nanotechnologies and their applications in electronics, biology, and biomedical devices.

June 23rd marked the last day of the tour, and the final visit was to FCT NOVA, where the group had the opportunity to visit CENIMAT hosted by Rodrigo Martins, Director of CENIMAT | i3N. The delegation familiarized themselves with the work of the six research groups organized into four thematic lines at i3N, particularly focusing on the ones based at CENIMAT, as they had previously visited the i3N polo in Aveiro. The visit also included a tour of the facilities and laboratories.

The visit concluded with a wrap-up meeting and lunch at Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) with Elvira Fortunato, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education; Madalena Alves, the President of FCT; and Francisco Santos, the Vice-President of FCT. The group was joined by Inês Lynce, CMU Portugal Co-Director; Mariana Carmo, CMU Portugal Communications office; and Ana Reis, from FCT Department for International Relations. During the working lunch, Theresa S. Mayer summarized the visit to the 19 institutions, highlighting the collaboration opportunities that had emerged from the trip. Gary Fedder and Gianluca Piazza supported Mayer’s conclusions, adding potential future intersections with the work being developed at the institutions that they lead at CMU. The fruitful discussion on the outcomes of the visit led the Minister to emphasize the importance of this new area of research. 

CMU Portugal would like to express its gratitude to all the Portuguese teams and institutions for their warm welcome, insightful presentations, and for the invaluable opportunity to explore their research facilities and share their expertise and dedication to advancing scientific research that inspire groundbreaking work.

The visit to Portugal’s research institutions showcased the country’s strong commitment to scientific advance and innovation. The fruitful discussions, valuable exchanges, and exposure to cutting-edge research conducted by the Portuguese institutions demonstrated the opportunity for meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration and the potential for synergy between CMU and the Portuguese institutions.  The discussions highlighted emerging research areas, including nanotechnologies, advanced materials, robotics, engineering systems, and intelligent manufacturing where products, processes and entire factories are automatically updated by collecting data on their digital twins.  This visit by the CMU Professors further strengthened the ties between CMU and the Portuguese institutions, fostering a spirit of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual growth. 


CMU Portugal “Building bridges across the Atlantic” at Encontro Ciência 2023

The Encontro Ciência 2023 Summit took place July 5th to 7th, 2023, featuring the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato. The event is the central Science Conference in Portugal promoted by the Ministry of Science Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) along with Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). 

During the Opening Ceremony on July 5th, the Prime Minister bestowed Medals of Scientific Merit upon both national and foreign individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the advancement of science and the fostering of scientific culture in Portugal. One of the esteemed recipients was Manuela Veloso, a distinguished computer scientist and AI researcher, who has been an integral part of the CMU Portugal faculty since the partnership’s inception in 2006. 

Manuela Veloso speech at Opening Session: 1.21.30 

In the afternoon, the CMU Portugal Program hosted the “FCT International Partnerships: Building bridges across the Atlantic” session in collaboration with the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) and UT Austin PortugalThis year, the three international partnerships joined forces to promote a discussion on the far-reaching impact of the FCT GO Portugal collaborations with US institutions.

To showcase the remarkable accomplishments spanning nearly two decades of existence, these partnerships have collaborated on creating an overview video that offers a glimpse into their key outcomes. These include promoting the internationalization of Portuguese scientific and higher education institutions to boost the competitiveness of Portuguese companies and facilitating the mobility and development of highly skilled individuals.

The first panel began with an open discussion involving stakeholders from the three Programs. Each discussion was moderated by a director from the respective partnerships, ensuring a well-rounded exploration of the Program’s impact.

Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal Program Director, opened the discussion starting by inviting Petia Georgieva, an Associate Professor with Habilitation of Machine Learning at the University of Aveiro, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Electronics Engineering and Telematics of Aveiro (IEETA), as a distinguished guest. Georgieva was a CMU Portugal visiting faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, having spent time at both the Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh campuses. During her testimony, she referred to her time at CMU as a “game-changing experience”. During her mobility visit, she was hosted by Tom Mitchell, a well-renowned computer scientist and the Founders University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and former Chair of the Machine Learning Department at CMU.

“It was a transformative moment in my life. Thanks to my experience at CMU and under the guidance of Tom Mitchell, I acquired the necessary knowledge to pioneer the launch of Machine Learning and AI courses at Universidade de Aveiro. To this day, I am recognized within my university for this significant contribution.” Petia Georgieva

Pedro Arezes, MIT Portugal Director, and MPP Ph.D. alum Eunice Costa represented the MPP. Eunice currently holds a prominent role as the leader of the Research & Development area of Inhalation and Advanced Drug Delivery at Hovione. During her intervention, she emphasized the significant impact of her MPP Ph.D. and her experience at MIT, highlighting how her company highly regarded these achievements and was instrumental in her professional growth. From UT Austin Portugal, the program’s Co-Director, Rui Oliveira, joined forces with Jorge Sá Silva, Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DEEC) of FCTUC and a Researcher at INESC Coimbra.  Jorge shared his experience and insights gained through their involvement with the UT Austin Portugal Program, highlighting its profound impact on his professional pathways.

Transitioning to the project presentations, the second panel brought together representatives from research consortia funded through international partnerships.

Inês Lynce, the National Co-Director of CMU Portugal, Doug Hart, the Co-Director of the MIT Portugal Program at MIT, and Rui Oliveira, the National Co-Director of UT Austin Portugal, showcased the projects and initiatives undertaken by their respective programs. Their presentations encapsulated the essence of the partnerships, demonstrating their commitment to driving innovation and fostering collaboration between Portuguese and US institutions.

The round of presentations started with Carlos Viegas,  one of the researchers that led the CMU Portugal Project Safeforest. Carlos Viegas holds the position of Invited Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Coimbra, where he also serves as the head of the Field Tech Laboratory of ADAI.   His research focuses on developing cutting-edge technological solutions in autonomous robots, remote sensing, mechatronics, and fire engineering. In addition to his academic achievements, Carlos Viegas is also the Co-Founder and Manager of three technology-based spinoff companies: Bold Robotics, Lda., Hazred Lda., and Sim4Safety Lda.

During his presentation, Carlos Viegas highlighted the work accomplished under the Safeforest, a CMU Portugal Large Scale Collaborative Project. This initiative was led by the company Ingeniarius, in partnership with SILVAPOR, ADAI, ISR from Universidade de Coimbra, and CMU. Its primary objective is to revolutionize forest wildfire prevention by developing an advanced robotic system to prevent wildland and wildland-urban interface fires.

Leveraging on the opportunities for interaction and research advancement, Carlos Viegas highlighted the strengths of this partnership to drive innovation: 

“It has been a highly collaborative endeavor, combining efforts from both academia and industry in a multidisciplinary project. The full commitment of all teams involved in Portugal and CMU, led by George Kantor, the Project PI in the US, enabled us to achieve the project’s ambitious goals. Through more than 11 research visits spanning Portugal and CMU, we have had abundant opportunities to foster meaningful interactions and propel our research to new heights. This partnership has enabled us to harness the very best from both sides, unlocking the full potential of our collective expertise and presenting state-of-the-art technical solutions to address the global problem of wildfires.” – Carlos Viegas

The session featured two other project presentations: Eduardo Pereira (University of Minho) presented the MPP flagship project K2D – Knowledge and Data from the Deep to Space, which is developing a system for monitoring the oceans on a global scale. And Tiago Hormigo from the company Spin.Works, introduced the UT Austin Portugal project uPGRADE, which focused on how the water moves on the Earth’s near-surface at a regional scale.

After the presentations, the Co-Directors of the international partnerships moderated a brief discussion on the impact and contribution of the US partner institutions to the projects. The discussion focused on the results of the projects and offered a look into the future of these collaborations.

Additionally, CMU Portugal had three posters exhibited at the Poster Session with great examples of the research work being led by its candidates under their Ph.D.:

More about Encontro Ciência 2023.

The overview video of the FCT International Partnerships is available on CMU Portugal Youtube. 

CMU Portugal Summer Luncheon on CMU Campus

The CMU Portugal program hosted a summer luncheon on the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh on July 10, 2023. National Co-Director Nuno Nunes was visiting Pittsburgh along with CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student Shuhao Ma that will be presenting the paper “Uncovering Gig Worker-Centered Design Opportunities in Food Delivery Work” at the Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2023 taking place at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (USA) between July 10 and 14th.

This event brought him together with CMU Portugal students currently studying in Pittsburgh. Attending students included Dual Degree Ph.D., Affiliated Ph.D., and visiting students from across disciplines, including Software and Societal Systems (S3D), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Human Computer Interaction (HCII) and Robotics. Valentina Nisi, Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Tecnico and advisor to CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. students in the HCII also attended the luncheon. This gathering  gave everyone an opportunity to catch-up while enjoying a meal together, sharing their experiences at CMU in Pittsburgh over the last year and addressing potential challenges for the upcoming academic year. 

Front row: Neeta Khanuja (Dual Degree Ph.D. Student), Maria da Loura Casimiro (Dual Degree Ph.D Student) and Valentina Nisi (Técnico and ITI).
Back row: Shuhao Ma (Affiliated Ph.D. student), Hugo Simão (Unaffiliated Visiting student), Nuno Nunes (CMU Portugal and ITI),
Tamás Karácsony (Affiliated Ph.D. Student), Catarina Gamboa (Dual Degree Ph.D. student), Beatrice Maggipinto (Dual Degree Ph.D. Student) in the back row and Marta Ferreira (Técnico and ITI). 

Not Pictured: Pedro Valdeira and Diogo Mendes Cardoso, both Dual Degree Ph.D. Students. 

Carol Smith (CMU) led @CMUPortugal Talk “Human-Centered and Responsible AI”

On May 26th, 2023, the CMU Portugal Program hosted the Talk “Human-Centered and Responsible AI” by Carol Smith,  a senior research scientist in human-machine interaction in the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute’s Artificial Intelligence Division, which addresses the need for leap-ahead AI capabilities that are reliable, responsible, safe, fair, and transparent.

Under an invitation by the CMU Portugal Program, Carol Smith spent a fruitful morning learning more about some of the initiatives in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Responsible AI in which the Program is involved.

Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal National Director and ITI President, started by sharing  an overview of the Program and its main activities. 

Shuhao Ma and Pedro Ferreira had the opportunity to present their work under Ph.Ds. Shuhao Ma is a CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student in HCI and an HCI design researcher at ITI, LARSyS. Pedro Ferreira is a CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student whose primary interest is research and development in Child-Computer Interaction and the participation of educational communities. The discussion also included the participation of Duarte Ferreira, a CMU Portugal affiliated Ph.D. Student. 

The presentations continued with Hugo Nicolau, Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and researcher at the Interactive Technologies Institute / LARSyS. Hugo presented the DCitizens project that aims to build the capacity to conduct research in the field of Digital Civics. Particularly how digital technologies can scaffold a move from transactional to relational service models and the potential of such models to reconfigure power relations between citizens, communities, and institutions.

João Guerreiro, Assistant Professor at Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa and a researcher at LASIGE, followed the conversation with the highlights of HCI being conducted at this institution mainly in Human-Computer Interaction, Non-Visual Interaction, and Accessible Computing.

Helena Moniz, President of the European Association for Machine Translation, Vice President of the International Association for Machine Translation, and Vice-Coordinator of the Human Language Technologies Lab at INESC-ID presented next the new project Center for Responsible AI, where she Chairs the Ethics Committee. This Center, led by the Portuguese startup Unbabel and launched within the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan, is one of the largest centers dedicated to Responsible AI.

The discussion sessions concluded with  the CMU Portugal Talk “Human-Centered and Responsible AI”. The event gathered over 30 participants at CMU Portugal/ITI Premises at Factory (Hub Criativo do Beato). During this talk, Carol Smith focused on new insights for building AI systems that are human-centered and responsible to support participants in creating systems that people are willing to be accountable for.

According to Smith, through decades of HCI and UX efforts, excellent methods and practices have been developed. Still, the dynamic nature of AI systems requires more speculative thinking and more flexible designs. For example, there’s the need to decide which decisions systems are allowed to make; what exchanges between humans and machines will occur; how the interactions will change over time; and how people can be kept safe and in control. It is also crucial to focus on problems such as: how the system will share information on which decisions were based on, how it will convey its capabilities within new contexts, and how the system’s confidence in its responses will be shared. 

The talk ended with a Q&A by the audience focusing on some issues related to the importance of Responsible AI, ethics, and the role of human-centered design, namely in serving but also preserving humans and a younger generation of users. The discussion continued during a light lunch at the premises, an opportunity to network and open doors for future collaborations.

Learn more about the speaker at Carol J. Smith.
CMU Artificial Intelligence (AI) Division