Search
Close this search box.

CMU Portugal welcomes a visit from the Innovation College of Korea

On July 10th, a delegation from the Innovation College of Korea visited the Beato Innovation District in  Lisbon, hosted by the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, INESC ID – Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores: Investigação e Desenvolvimento, and ITI – Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI). 

Ki-Seok Nam, Head of the Project Team from the Innovation Support Project Group at the Council for the Innovation College of Korea (ICK), welcomed the delegation of ICK, a consortium established to promote innovative development among 104 specialist colleges in South Korea. The group is currently in Europe to explore research and development opportunities and collaborative initiatives such as the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program. Recently, South Korea has completed negotiations to become the first East Asian nation to ‘associate to’ the European Union’s Horizon Europe program, starting in 2025. 

Silvia Castro, Executive Director of the CMU Portugal Program, launched the session and shared an overview of the Program’s initiatives. The round of presentations continued with Inês Lynce, President of INESC-ID and National Co-Director of CMU Portugal, and Nuno Nunes, President of ITI  and National Co-Director of CMU Portugal, who presented an overview of both  Institutes, their research work and ecosystems, and of the projects carried out in the areas of ICT.  José Mota Leal, Project Manager of Beato Innovation District, also attended the meeting to introduce how the Hub has become an innovation center for creative and technological companies based in Lisbon and the Unicorn Factory Lisboa as a platform to support startups and scaleups. To close the meeting, Ricardo Pinto and Francisco Paiva from the Mobility and International Cooperation Office of the Instituto Superior Técnico shared  an overview of the technological  school. 

CMU Portugal will be hosting 18 research visitors to Carnegie Mellon in 2024

In 2024, CMU Portugal will host 18 research visitors from Portuguese Institutions at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) field: 8 faculty & researchers and 10 master’s students & recent master’s graduates. The CMU Portugal’s Mobility initiatives “Visiting Students” and “Visiting Faculty & Researchers are supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). 

The 8 selected candidates under the Visiting Faculty & Researchers Program will have the opportunity to spend up to 2 months engaging in ICT research, education, and innovation. They will collaborate with peers at Carnegie Mellon University,  gaining valuable insights into the university’s culture and best practices.  This  group of eight new scholars represent six different Portuguese Academic Institutions: (1) Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics (CLSBE), NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA), (1) Faculty of Sciences –  Universidade de Lisboa  (FCUL), (3) Instituto Superior Técnico (Técnico), (1) Universidade do Minho (UMinho), and (1) Instituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave (IPCA).
They will be hosted in six CMU Departments including the Heinz College, Mathematical Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Robotics Institute, the Computer Science Department and the HCI Institute. This program has already benefited 89 faculty members from Portuguese research centers, a total of 97, including the 2024 visitors.                                                                                   

The CMU Portugal Visiting Students Program will support 10 visits to CMU in 2024. The students  will have the opportunity to spend up to three months working in research in ICT at CMU, mentored by leading faculty and researchers, fully immersing themselves in Carnegie Mellon’s culture. These selected candidates represent four different Portuguese Institutions: (2) Faculty of Engineering – University of Porto (FEUP), (5) Instituto Superior Técnico (Técnico), (2) NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA) and (1) Universidade de Coimbra (UC).

They will be hosted in seven  CMU Departments including the Computer Science Department, the Language Technologies Institute, the Robotics Institute, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering,  and Electrical & Computer Engineering. This initiative has already benefited 59 students from Portuguese Universities, a total of 69, including the 2024 visitors.  

2024 Visiting Faculty & Researchers:

  • Alcides Fonseca, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, hosted at the Robotics Institute and the National Robotics Engineering Center by Christopher S. Timperley.
    Research Topic: Applying software verification techniques to prevent misconfigurations in ROS.            
                                                                
  • Alessandro Gianola, Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted at the Computer Science Department by Ruben Martins.
    Research Topic: Establish standardized and optimized SAT-based methods for the automatic analysis of DAPs.
  • Ana Isabel Neto, Postdoc researcher at Interactive Technologies Institute Laboratory of Robotics, hosted at the Robotics Institute by Reid Simmons.
    Research Topic: Human-robot interaction, robots acting as social mediators
  • Anna Bernard, Assistant Researcher at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, hosted at the Heinz College by Michael D. Smith.
    Research Topic: Intersection of cultural and digital economics; policy piracy, intellectual property, and technological disruption
  • Fabio Chalub, Associate Professor at Nova School of Science and Technology, hosted at Department of Mathematical Sciences by Robert Pego.
    Research Topic: Using modern techniques in kinetic models to define spatial models in epidemiology
  • João Ferreira, Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department by Limin Jia.
    Research Topic: Language-based security, and automated program repair.
  • José Pereira, Associate Professor at University of Minho, hosted at the Computer Science Department by Andy Pavlo.
    Research Topic: Database systems, collaboration network, dependable distributed systems
  • Nuno Rodrigues, Associate Professor at Instituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave, hosted at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute by John Stamper.
    Research Topic: Large Language Model (LLM) in the Osler project with medical algorithms

2024 Visiting Students:

  • Carlos Carvalho, Master alum at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted by the Language Technologies Institute by Shinji Watanabe.
    Research Topic/field: Automatic speech recognition (ASR)
  • Diogo Araújo, Master student at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted at the Robotics Institute by Fernando De La Torre.
    Research Topic: Vision transformers (ViTs) and multiple instance learning (MIL) to identify the patches of interest in dermoscopic images.
  • Frederico Vicente, Master alum at Nova School of Science and Technology, hosted at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department  by Soummya Kar.
    Research Topic: Federated Learning frameworks, develop new neural mechanisms.

  • Gabriel Santos,  Master student at University of Coimbra, hosted at the Mechanical Engineering Department by Carmel Majidi.
    Research Topic: Fabricate micro-electrode arrays to be embedded in the soft neural probe

  • Gonçalo Frazão, Master student at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted at the Robotics Institute by Fernando De La Torre.
    Research Topic: Pioneering system capable of hybrid multiple object location and tracking in large spaces; robotics, artificial intelligence, and computer vision
  • Gonçalo Mesquita, Master student at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted at the Robotics Institute by Artur W. Dubrawski.
    Research Topic: Computer vision in biomedical imaging
  • João Mesquita, Master student at the Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto, hosted at the Biomedical Engineering Department by Steven M. Chase.
    Research Topic: Neuromorphic computing, to analyze neuronal activity in real-time

  • Martim Afonso, Master alum at Instituto Superior Técnico, hosted at the Computer Science Department by Ruben Martins.
    Research Topic: Using LLMs to identify faulty lines in software

  • Sahil Kumar, Master student at NOVA School of Science and Technology, hosted at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute by Hong Shen.
    Research Topic: Developing a causal explanation method tailored for Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) in healthcare applications
  • Tiago Santos, Master alum at Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto, hosted at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department by James C. Hoe.
    Research Topic: Heterogeneous Computing using CPU-FPGA systems

2023 News

 

Small Pocketqube Satellite developed under CMU Portugal project PROMETHEUS is ready for Space Launch

The 5cm cubic satellite “PROMETHEUS-1”, the size of a Rubik’s-Cube, developed under CMU Portugal Exploratory Research project Prometheus, will soon be launched to Space.

Alba Orbital, the world’s leading PocketQube company, has announced that seven pocket-sized satellites from six countries, including “PROMETHEUS-1”, are scheduled to lift off as part of flight SpaceX’s Transporter-12 Rideshare mission, scheduled for the fall of 2024.

PROMETHEUS-1 and the other six satellites, were integrated into Alba Orbital’s PocketQube Deployer (‘AlbaPod’) at their new facilities in Glasgow, the world’s first PocketQube factory in the beginning of july.

After integration, the cluster of pocket-sized satellites will be shipped to SpaceX before hitching a ride to Low Earth Orbit.

PROMETHEUS-1 was developed at Universidade do Minho in collaboration with Instituto Superior Técnico  and Carnegie Mellon University, to provide easy access to space for the research and education community. The project aims to test and validate the Pycubed-mini platform designed at CMU’s Rexlab by Zac Macnhester team. Alexandre Ferreira da Silva, PI of the project, aims to use this platform in the next academic year in a classroom as an education tool for Aerospace Engineering students at UMinho.

PROMETHEUS project was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), and this initiative aims to enhance research and educational access to space. 

PocketQubes satellites have the right features for education and research purposes. Their small size, cost, and build simplicity (based on COTS), provide versatile options for various missions, from educational projects to advanced technological demonstrations.

Stay tuned for further updates on PROMETHEUS-1 in the next few months!

PROMETHEUS-1 instants before being integrated into AlbaPod at Alba Orbital”

In the Media: Expresso

More in the Alba Orbital original article here.

CMU Portugal at 2024 Encontro Ciência: The impact of partnerships with American universities on the Portuguese ecosystem

On July 3rd, the CMU Portugal Program, along with the MIT Portugal Program and UT Austin Portugal, hosted the session “Collaborative projects under FCT’s international partnerships with CMU, MIT and UT Austin” at the 2024 Encontro Ciência Summit. The summit was held at Centro de Congressos da Alfândega do Porto with the session aimed to discuss the impact of partnerships with American universities on the Portuguese ecosystem. 

Seventeen years ago, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) established international partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). These collaborations led to the creation of the CMU Portugal, MIT Portugal, and UT Austin Portugal Programs. Each program, while distinct in its characteristics and scientific focus, shares the common objective of advancing the Portuguese academic and industrial ecosystem in areas where these American universities excel globally.

José Manuel Mendonça, National Director of the UT Austin Portugal Program, welcomed the audience with a brief retrospective on FCT’s International Partnerships since 2006, emphasizing their significant impact on the Portuguese scientific and technological community. Mendonça stated, “It is about putting technology and science at the service of society” urging the current government to view these international partnerships as strategic allies for Portugal. The UT Austin Director highlighted that their value extends beyond research, influencing society and the environment.

Two discussion panels followed with representatives from academia and industry collaborating with the international partnerships.

The first panel, “International Partnerships and Talent Development”, was moderated by Inês Lynce,National Co-Director of the CMU Portugal Program and INESC-ID President. The panel included the participation of Lia Patrício, coordinator of the Center of Industrial Engineering and Management, Member of the Board at INESC TEC, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of Universidade do Porto, and the scientific director of the CMU Portugal Program; Nélson Costa, an Ergonomics and Human Factors Professor at Universidade do Minho who was a Visiting Scholar at MIT AGELAB, under the MIT Portugal Program; and Mariana Miranda, Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Universidade do Minho, who also completed an internship at TACC through the UT Austin Portugal Program. 

The session showcased the impact of the CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. programs, which create opportunities for students to develop technical skills and engage with key players and professionals. The discussion also covered the mobility initiatives of the three partnerships, emphasizing their role in promoting research projects with tangible social impacts. Additionally, these initiatives offer a unique opportunity for students to experience campus culture and immerse themselves in the innovative environments of American universities.

Inês Lynce, Lia Patrício, Nelson Costa and Mariana Miranda

The second panel “International Partnerships and their Contribution to Scientific and Technological-Based Innovation and Entrepreneurship” was moderated by Pedro Arezes, National Director of MIT Portugal. The second panel counted on the participation of Pedro Oliveira,  Dean of the Nova School of Business and Economics and co-founder of the Patient Innovation initiative created within  the scope of the CMU Portugal Program; Simão Soares (CEO of SilicoLife , a spin-off of the MIT Portugal program) and Rosa Romero (CEO of  Sphere Ultrafast Photonics and former beneficiary of UT Austin Portugal’s Global Startup Program. 

The session reflected on research projects that were leveraged by the partnerships, such as SilicoLife, that produce microorganisms and novel pathways for industrial biotechnology applications, combining Artificial Intelligence and Biological knowledge; Sphere Ultrafast Photonics, that develop products to improve performance of femtosecond laser applications; and Patient Innovation an online platform where patients and caregivers around the world connect to share the solutions they developed to cope with a health-related problem.

Through Patient Innovation, unconventional entrepreneurs, such as patients and caretakers,  are able to create and present innovative solutions to solve healthcare issues and work on implementing   their solutions in the market. “We launched a platform to offer patient-developed solutions: more than 5000 patient-developed solutions were created. The platform has more than 1 million annual users”, Pedro Oliveira shared. Since its beginning 10 years ago, the project grew to launch the Patient Innovation Bootcamp and, more recently, the CMU Portugal Patient Innovation Accelerator

Simão Soares believes that, through the partnerships, it is possible to develop very interesting projects with a global impact, and shared that Portuguese Academia should take advantage of the American culture and example by believing in projects and investing in them. 

Rosa Romero stated that the UT Austin Portugal Program played a crucial role, as Sphere Ultrafast Photonics was one of the 11 R&TD projects selected for an investment of €21.9M back  in 2020.  She also highlighted the importance of these partnerships as a way to better understand and support the integration of her company in the American market.

Pedro Arezes, Pedro Oliveira, Simão Soares and Rosa Romero

In conclusion, the session hosted by the three FCT international partnerships at the 2024 Encontro Ciência demonstrated the transformative impact of FCT’s international collaborations on the Portuguese scientific and technological landscape. CMU Portugal, MIT Portugal, and UT Austin Portugal initiatives have been able to nurture talent, foster innovation, enhance technical skills and industry connections, and promote groundbreaking projects with significant social impact. The insights and testimonies shared during the panels reinforced the importance of continuing to leverage these strategic alliances to further strengthen Portugal’s position in the global scientific community.

Finally, 8 CMU Portugal Ph.D. students presented their work in an e-poster format that will soon be available on the conference’s virtual gallery:  Cláudia Mamede (FEUP), Diogo Silva (FCT NOVA), Francisco Neves (FCT NOVA), Manuel Carneiro (Universidade de Coimbra), Maria Eduarda Andrada (Universidade de Coimbra), Marta Freitas (Universidade de Coimbra), Sofia Ferraz (FEUP) e Tamás Karácsony (FEUP).

Jeria Quesenberry (CMU) speaks on Gender Balance in two CMU Portugal events

On June 26th and 28th, the CMU Portugal Program hosted two invited talks to discuss gender balance in Academia. Continuing its tradition of bringing Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) speakers to Portugal to share best practices and experiences on this topic, the Program welcomed Jeria Quesenberry from CMU as the guest speaker.

During her visit to Portugal, the professor of Information Systems, delivered the talk “Breaking Barriers in Technology: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon and Global Perspectives” on two occasions. The first event was held at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, co-organized by INESC-ID and the Instituto Superior Técnico Gender Balance Group. The second occurred at INESC TEC in Porto, supported by its Diversity & Inclusion Commission.

At Técnico, President Rogério Colaço opened the session, sharing the institution’s commitment to gender balance. He highlighted the foundation of the Gender Balance Group in 2016, now led by Professor Alexandre Bernardino and Beatriz Silva from Técnico. According to President Colaço, while we can talk about gender equality nowadays, true equity has yet to be achieved, stressing that supporting gender equity has been one of the concerns of his presidency. 

Jeria´s research focuses on cultural influences in technology, particularly social inclusion, broadening participation, career values, organizational interventions, and work-life balance.  Currently, she stands as the Associate Dean of Faculty in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a Teaching Professor of Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University and has published the book Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University”. 

Jeria Quesenberry (CMU)

Jeria shared the outcomes of her research on women in computing, highlighting best practices and challenges from her experience at CMU and showcasing examples from the Computer Science undergraduate program at CMU over the years.

According to the researcher, “Gender imbalance is a topic that requires work. It is a multifaceted problem that demands a multilayered approach.” She added: “When I started my research 25 years ago, this was a new topic. Now there is a broader recognition of the problem; speaking about gender balance is no longer a question.” 

As of 2019, in the US, women represent just over half of the professional workforce but only 27% of computing jobs, and African American and Latinx women hold less than 10% of computing occupations. The highest representation of women in ICT work can be found in the Asia-Pacific region (30.4% women) and Africa (31.3% women). 

Regarding Carnegie Mellon University reality, CMU SCS undergrad gender diversity has been higher than national averages for 15+ years. In 2019, 49% of new CS students were women. Since 2022, that percentage has been divided between women and nonbinary; in 2023, it was registered at 46% and 3%, respectively. Regarding major graduates, females and males are at about the same rate – women are 93%, and men are 92%. In the mid to late 90s, female students only represented 5-12% of the students in the field. 

The 2000s brought some changes, not only in the admissions processes (looking for students with strong potential as opposed to prior programming experience) but also in culture and environment, which brought in more female students with a broader range of interests. However, the curriculum was NOT changed to be “female-friendly”. 

In 1999, the Women@SCS Advisory Committee was created to support female students. Its mission is to create, encourage, and support women’s academic, social, and professional opportunities in computer science and to promote the breadth of the field and its diverse community. 

Since then, the percentage of women has risen as the culture & environment improved for all. At the end of her presentation, Jeria shared: “Let’s stop perpetuating Western cultural myths about women’s low participation in computing once and for all. Instead, let’s commit to discussions that explore the wide range of obstacles and catalysts within our various cultures and environments. Addressing the gender gap requires a broader understanding of how we think about women and the computing field”, declares Jeria Quesenberry.

In Lisbon, Jeria’s talk was followed by a roundtable discussion on “Gender imbalance in STEM: the Portuguese academic experiencewith the participation of  Ana Paiva, Portuguese Secretary of State for Science; Anália Cardoso Torres, Professor at Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade de Lisboa; Inês Lynce,  National Co-Director of the CMU Portugal Program and President of INESC-ID; Jeria Quesenberry, João PeixotoVice-Rector of Universidade de Lisboa; Leonor Barreiros master student at Instituto Superior Técnico and Luís Lemos Alves, Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico. Sara Sá, science writer, moderated the discussion.

Ana Paiva highlighted the need to guarantee gender balance in the law, but supporting education, awareness, and cultural activities can have a big impact. The Secretary of State mentioned some activities that have been developed, such as the  RESTART Program. This funding instrument was created to promote gender equality and opportunities through the competitive funding of individual R&D projects in all scientific fields by researchers recently taking parental leave. In her intervention, Ana Paiva also highlighted the recent call for science-for-policy projects that aim to ensure that scientific knowledge drives and supports the development of new policies. It was also mentioned the program Engenheiras por um dia that encourages female students to choose engineering and technology, challenging the notion that these are male-dominated fields.

 

Ana Paiva – Portuguese Secretary of State for Science

Anália Torres shared with the audience the results of the recent study “Gender Equality in Higher Education Institutions: Knowing the Reality to improve it,” which aims to provide a synopsis of the results found on promoting Gender Equality (henceforth GE) in Portuguese Higher Education. The four Case Studies conducted (with interviews with institutional managers, teachers, non-teaching staff, and students from four Portuguese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), allowed us to understand the specific institutional, contextual, and circumstantial factors that can help in explaining the level of adherence to policies and practices that promote Gender Equality (GE). The conclusions drawn from this research project show that, although Portugal started late in tackling gender inequalities in higher education, it is already taking steps to balance the existing gaps. Precisely because imbalances persist, it is important to consider the clues drawn up and grounded in the project results.

Anália Cardoso Torres – ISCSP, Universidade de Lisboa

Inês Lynce, the first female CMU Portugal National co-Director and the first female President of INESC-ID, addressed the issue of underrepresentation in Academic leadership, evaluation processes, panels, etc. Despite the significant demand for her participation in events and other initiatives, she makes an active effort to participate, ensuring female representation;  otherwise, their seat at the discussion table will remain vacant. Inês also emphasized the importance of fostering a cultural environment that builds self-confidence in young girls, enabling them to find their own voice and be heard. Lynce highlighted that this work must begin at a very young age, starting at the primary education level.

Inês Lynce – CMU Portugal I INESC-ID

João Peixoto, Vice Rector of Universidade de Lisboa and Professor at ISEG (Lisbon School of Economics & Management), shared an overview of the institution, a sister school of Instituto Superior Técnico. Since 2013, ISEG and Técnico have been integrated into the Universidade de Lisboa, the largest university in the country, emphasizing the historical moment registered seven years ago when ISEG appointed Clara Raposo as the first woman President. The University of Lisbon Vice-Rector highlighted the institution’s commitment to supporting gender balance with a significant step taken two years ago, when ULisboa launched the Plan for Gender Equality, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination to develop a structure, a culture, and a set of actions to create and monitor equal opportunities and the reduction of inequalities, including those arising from gender. ULisboa’s Network for Gender Equality, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination was created to monitor the measures associated with implementing the plan and to promote the exchange of experiences, actions, and recommendations to contribute to an inclusive University. The Vice Rector highlighted that diversity, at all levels, is a key factor in driving Innovation. According to him, the next goal for the upcoming years is to have the first elected female rector at the Universidade de Lisboa. 

João Peixoto – Universidade de Lisboa

Leonor Barreiros, an MSc Computer Science (CS) and Engineering student at Técnico, spoke about her experience as a Computer Science student and some challenges girls in science still face. However, she also underlined some positive initiatives that exist nowadays to support Girls in STEM, like the “Feedzai” scholarship that she won in 2023 as a recognition of her academic effort and work. The scholarship helped her support her Erasmus experience in Munich and was a way to confirm that she is “on the right path”. According to her, these kinds of awards are a great incentive to continue working and show that dedication can be rewarded. This particular scholarship, exclusively for women, provides essential encouragement for girls to keep investing in themselves.

Leonor Barreiros – Instituto Superior Técnico

Luis Lemos Alves emphasized that awareness is crucial for cultural change, especially since many people today assume that gender balance is no longer an issue. On the contrary, this assumption underscores the need to assess and understand the problem thoroughly. The professor at Técnico advocates that, while there is no need to change curricula to make STEAM accessible to girls, there is a need to revise, implement, and evaluate existing policies. For example, although there is a clear non-discriminatory policy for STEM positions in academia, the fact that women are not applying, highlights the need to understand why this is occurring and what can be done to change it.

Luís Lemos Alves – Instituto Superior Técnico

Overall, the key message was that broad recognition of the problem motivates those seeking to create change. We all have the agency to work together on this.

CMU Portugal Students meet for Ice Cream Social

On June 27th, the CMU Portugal Program at CMU hosted an Ice Cream Social for students currently studying in Pittsburgh. This event was an opportunity for the students to have a break from their studies and the heat. The attending students included Dual-Degree Ph. D.s and Affiliated Ph. D.s from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), Software and Societal Systems (S3D), Software Engineering (SE), Engineering and Public Policy (EPP), and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). 

The Program currently has 16 active students who are expected to be at Carnegie Mellon starting in the Fall semester, and anticipates 18 visiting students and faculty later this year. The Visitors will span across 9 CMU departments, including those from the Heinz College, Mathematical Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Robotics, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Language Technologies, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. 

In 2024, 7 new Dual Degree students and 12 new Affiliated Ph.D. students will join the Program and will soon be able to spend time at CMU.

CMU Fence painted in Portuguese colors by CMU Portugal students

For 70 years, painting The Fence has been a staple in Carnegie Mellon University culture. Originally built to surround a bridge over a ravine in the early 1900s, the fence is now a way for students and organizations to express themselves artistically. CMU Portugal students painted the fence on the evening of June 10th in honor of Portugal Day.

The students who participated are Hugo Simão (HCII),  Cláudia Mamede (S3D), João Tomé (ECE), Diana Vieira Fernandes (EPP), Luís Gomes (S3D), & Lília Dias (ECE). Here is their account of the evening. 

How did you come up with the idea to paint the fence?

The original idea came up for April 25th (also known as the Carnation Revolution, which ended 48 years of dictatorship in Portugal in 1974; this year, we celebrate its 50th anniversary!), but we had to postpone it due to the cold weather and rain. A fitting alternative was June 10th, the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities. Camões is one of Portugal’s greatest poets and he died on June 10th. This day was also a landmark day in Portugal during the New State (or “Estado Novo”) regime led by Salazar. Before the Carnation Revolution, this day was known as “Race Day”, but in 1978, the Third Republic changed its meaning to what it is known for now. Nowadays, we celebrate the unity and cooperation between Portugal and the Portuguese communities around the world.

Did you have multiple design ideas? Who created the final design?

We made multiple PDF designs and had different people contribute ideas at different times. We iterated over a WhatsApp group called “The Fence”. The process was to think beyond the colors that represent Portugal, what symbols would be interesting to represent, and how we distribute them over the fence. In the end, that same night, despite having a design that served as inspiration, as we were having fun and had time, we still decided to incorporate more Portuguese elements. Originally from the design, we only had carnations,  the Portuguese guitar and the caravels and we didn’t know how complicated it could be to make them. As it was easier than expected we decided to incorporate more elements such as sardines, popular saints festivities, grapes and other small characteristic symbols.

Can you describe the evening you painted: What time did you get there? How long did it all take? Any other highlights of the evening?

We arrived at 11:45 at night and were painting until close to sunrise, as the sky began to light up. We thought it was really cool. We arrived tired, after a day of work, but it ended up exciting us and it was fun because we had folklore Portuguese music playing, we were able to laugh with each other and talk while the paint dried between the various layers. As there was some last minute improvisation in some elements that we were going to paint, it was fun that some of those elements were Portuguese “memes”.

The fence was painted with Portuguese colors and symbols, reflecting the country’s cultural heritage and marking the presence of CMU Portugal community in Pittsburg.

Mahmoud Tavakoli and Manuel Carneiro secure second place in the business idea competition ArriscaC

On May 22nd, CMU Portugal Ph.D. student Manuel Carneiro and his Ph.D. supervisor Mahmoud Tavakoli and CMU Portugal researcher at FCTUC I Universidade de Coimbra, won 2nd place in the Sustainability category of the 12th edition of ArriscaC, a business idea competition promoted by Universidade de Coimbra. 

The awarded idea, GreenTag, is based on their published work on  conductive ink and bio stickers

GreenTag is a pioneer in the integration of advanced sensors (temperature, moisture, movement, location), low-time energy communications (Ble and NFC) and recyclable flexible circuit technology in conventional product labels in various industries. With a commitment to environmental sustainability, it uses the first water-based conductive paint that is totally recyclable and reusable through scalable and sustainable methods, contributing to a circular economy and minimizing electronic waste.

GreenTag exceeds traditional functions such as displaying basic product information and expiration dates. It offers real-time data for inventory management, product location and product dynamic information on smart shelves.

In addition to €1000 prize money to implement their business idea, the team also received 6 months of virtual incubation and mentoring by Instituto Pedro Nunes, an additional 6 months period of physical or virtual incubation at Startup Leiria; and support in the development of an Intellectual Property strategy by Patentree.

Manuel Carneiro shares how honored he is with this distinction “This award recognizes not only the quality of our scientific work but also the potential of our smart labels to reach the market and make a real impact in people’s lives. It feels great to have well-established entities like Instituto Pedro Nunes believe in the promise of our work and support us in the next steps to move science out of the lab”.

CMU Portugal Academy: Applications are Open to Advanced Training Programs in digital technologies

The CMU Portugal Academy, a recently launched advanced training center in digital technologies based in Lisbon, Portugal, has open applications to three advanced training programs: AI, Data Science, and Machine Learning; Product Management; and User Experience and Service Design. The deadline for applications is September 9, 2024 and each program has 30 available positions

Developed through a collaborative effort between the Instituto Superior Técnico, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, NOVA School of Science and Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University, with the support from the Santander Portugal Foundation support, the CMU Portugal Academy will offer in-person postgraduate programs to train new talents and professionals with experience in other fields.

Program Details

The Courses will start in September 2024 and convene through May 2025, comprising 246 contact hours scheduled on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. The activities will start already in June with a bootcamp common to the three courses where participants will engage in practical case studies and group exercises. The curriculum diversifies into three specialized modules unique to each program, and four optional modules, and culminates with a capstone project where participants apply their acquired skills to solve a real-world design challenge.

Classes will take place primarily onsite at ITI – Hub do Beato facilities, in Lisbon, with some modules taught by Técnico, FCUL, FCT NOVA, and CMU faculty members.

Eligibility and Application Process

Applicants should have a pre-Bologna degree (Licenciado) or master’s degree. Professional experience will be considered during the evaluation process, and submission of IELTS/TOEFL scores is optional. Applications can be submitted through the CMU Portugal Academy website. until September 9, 2024.

Early applicants will gain access to an introductory bootcamp covering the three topics, taking place on June 21, 22, 28, 29, and July 5 and 6 after work hours.

Program Overview

AI, Data Science, and Machine Learning program

This program provides foundational knowledge and skills in data science, machine learning, and big data technologies. Participants will learn data acquisition, preprocessing, machine learning algorithms, and model deployment to solve real-world problems and inform business decisions. It is ideal for data analysts, data engineers, software developers, and other professionals transitioning into data science or machine learning roles.

What to expect?  Applicants will learn foundational skills in data acquisition, preprocessing, statistical analysis, and machine learning algorithms. They can expect to develop proficiency in using data science tools and techniques to extract valuable insights from data and build predictive models.

Product management

This program focuses on methodologies and case studies of product development across start-ups, scale-ups, and large tech companies. It covers value creation, experimentation, testing, growth, and cross-functional team collaboration. Designed for entrepreneurs, product managers, engineers, project managers, and product designers, the program aims to empower teams to drive sustainable growth, innovation, and business impact.

What to expect? Applicants will acquire knowledge in product discovery, market research, metrics analysis, and agile methodologies. They will learn to identify market opportunities, define product strategies, manage cross-functional teams, and drive product growth and success.

User Experience and Service Design 

Offering comprehensive training in user-centered design, this program teaches participants to conduct user research, create interactive prototypes, and develop usable interfaces that enhance user satisfaction and business outcomes. It is suitable for aspiring UX/UI designers, graphic designers, web developers, and professionals interested in improving user experience in digital products and services.

What to expect? Applicants can expect to gain skills in user research, interaction design, prototyping, and usability testing. They will learn to create user-friendly interfaces and improve user satisfaction, which are essential for designing successful digital products.

For more information on the modules, faculty, and course structure, visit the program’s website the CMU Portugal Academy website.