CMU Portugal Alumnus Receives the 2014 IBM Scientific Award


Ricardo Cabral, recently graduated from the dual degree doctoral program in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) by Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), won the IBM Scientific Award 2014 with his doctoral thesis "Unifying Low-rank Models for Visual Learning." Ricardo Cabral's advisors were João Paulo Costeira and Alexandre Bernardino, from ISR-IST-UL, and Fernando De la Torre, from CMU.

“It’s an honor to receive this award, a scientific distinction that has been renowned for 25 years. I am very happy and proud to see my work alongside the other winners, scientists with worldwide impact, that I admire and respect,” says Ricardo Cabral.

According with the press release sent by IBM, “Ricardo Cabral's thesis work may be an evolution in the field of computer vision, allowing computers to ‘see' like humans.” This researcher of the Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR/IST) explains “we studied models of 'low-rank' learning that seek the simplest possible explanation for a data set. In the 'low-rank' learning problem, there are two main models proposed; a traditional one that was discovered 30 years ago, and another one that was recently proposed as a replacement five years ago. In this research, we discovered a model that encompasses both strategies, and allows the unification of the advantages from both sides."

As a result, this research work attempts to contribute to the theoretical understanding of the ‘low-rank’ learning models and improves the outcomes of its application. Computer vision is a growing field, expanding to robotics, architecture, virtual reality, special effects or mapping and navigation.

The IBM Scientific Award jury has distinguished this research due to its quality and mathematical rigor, and the potential demonstrated in object classification issues in low supervision images. The IBM Scientific Award was created in 1990 by IBM Portugal with the goal of highlighting the best work within the Computer Science field. It is intended to motivate young Portuguese researchers to disseminate their projects, fostering the relation between the business, academic and scientific research communities. André Martins, also a CMU Portugal alum, was distinguished with this award for his paper in 2011

The jury was composed by a group of internationally renowed experts and recognized leaders in the main areas of knowledge that the Scientific Prize encompasses: Prof. Carlos Salema (IST and president of the jury), Prof. Carlos Mota Soares (IST), Prof. João Rocha (UA), Prof. Joaquim Júdice (UC), Prof. José Esgalhado Valença (U. Minho), Prof. José Fernando Ferreira Mendes (UA), Prof. José Júlio Alferes (FCT UNL), Prof. Luís Oliveira e Silva (IST), Prof. Maria Isabel Lobato Faria Ribeiro (IST), Prof. Pedro Veiga (FCUL), Prof. Vladimiro Miranda (FEUP) e Carlos da Naia Sardo (IBM).

Ricardo Cabral defended his Ph.D. thesis in February 2015 and is now part of the research team at an international company.


2014 IBM Ricardo Cabral

The ceremony was held on November 11, 2015, at Fundação Champalimaud, in Lisbon.

June 2015
(updated on November 11, 2015)