Faculty Exchange Program Is “First Step Towards Identifying Common Research Interests”

 /uploadedImages/people/faculty_exchange/jorge_sa_silva.jpg  Jorge Sá Silva, assistant professor at the Universidade de Coimbra, spent four months at Carnegie Mellon University – Silicon Valley, between January and May 2014. According to the professor – who is also senior researcher at the Laboratory of Communication and Telematics of the Centre of Informatics Engineering (LCT) of the Universidade de Coimbra (CISUC) – when he decided to stay at the Silicon Valley campus of CMU his main goal was “to contact with a new research group at CMU that works in an area similar to mine.” 

The opportunity to exchange ideas with scientific research groups from a different country was an asset to “conceptualize and develop new research subjects,” particularly the meetings with faculty members and with the director of CMU’s Silicon Valley, Bob Iannucci, and the participation in Pei Zhang’s (one of the leading experts in Electrical and Computer Engineering at CMU Silicon Valley) research group activities.  

Passionate by wireless sensor networks, mobile environments and next-generation networks, Jorge Sá Silva explains that this visit to CMU’s Silicon Valley campus, located in California, U.S., was a chance to “discuss the state-of-the-art, and to analyze and refine what I am currently working on,” as well as “to discuss future research projects,” he adds. The meetings with the Nokia and Renault teams, and the visit to the Nissan Research Centre, also highlighted by the professor, were examples of that. 

While in the U.S., “we proposed and explored new joint models for the Internet of Things, integrating wireless sensor networks with Human in the Loop systems,” Jorge Sá Silva explains. As a result of this work, the visiting researcher, together with Pei Zhang, has been involved in the organization of two international conferences: ExtremeCom 2014 – Extreme Conference on Communication and Computing – The Galápagos Expedition, held between August 11 and 15, 2014, on the Galápagos Islands, in Ecuador; and Mobiquitous 2015 – 12th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Computing, Networking and Services, which will take place in Coimbra, Portugal, between September 16 and 19, 2015. 

The Faculty Exchange Program was also fruitful in the sense that Jorge Sá Silva was given the opportunity to attend some Master classes in Electrical and Computer Engineering, more specifically “Wireless Network Security,” taught by Patrick Tague, “Mobile and Pervasive Computing,” taught by Pei Zhang, and “Java for Smartphone Development,” taught by Bob Singh. 

More specifically, during the four-month stay, Jorge Sá Silva, who received his Ph.D. in Informatics Engineering in 2001, managed to improve his research about the Human in the Loop model, leading a joint research paper titled “Human in the Loop: state-of-the-art analysis,” submitted to IEEE Tutorials and Surveys. Having also worked on the development of new algorithms and protocols suitable for the Internet of Things, the visiting researcher is now working on a new joint research paper titled “Human in the Loop over Networks,” to be submitted to the INFOCOMM Conference. 

“The main benefit of this visit was the contact with an excellent research center that necessarily has a different view on possible approaches to research objectives,” he states. Moreover, “this scientific mission opened new communication channels between the two research groups, which is a first step towards identifying common research interests,” he concludes. 

The four-month stay was made possible by the Faculty Exchange Program, offered by Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program that is funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).  

September 2014 



The Faculty Exchange Program is offered by the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program and it allows academics from Portuguese universities to spend at least one term working in research and education at Carnegie Mellon, experiencing the culture of a top university in the United States. Carnegie Mellon professors are also given the opportunity to spend time in Portugal to engage in teaching and research activities with local higher education institutions and research labs.