UIP Members: Bernardo Cardoso and João Martins

“Both Bernardo and João Did an Excellent Job in Research”

The strong collaboration between researchers from Portuguese universities and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has been an enabler for young Portuguese researchers to embrace the unique opportunity to spend a two-month period at CMU. Bernardo Cardoso and João Martins, both from Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto (FEUP), spent a period during the 2015 spring semester at CMU.

“Both Bernardo and João were recommended by Vítor Grade Tavares, from FEUP/INESC TEC, with whom I have a collaboration, and both students have excellent academic records,” explains Xin Li, the faculty member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at CMU who hosted these young researchers.

Xin_Li_UIP   Xin Li is very pleased with the commitment and research work from both students. “Both Bernardo and João did an excellent job in research. Their research tasks were not trivial,” he explained adding, “They worked on hardware (FPGA) implementation for real-time image processing.” According with Xin Li “within a very short time period, they were able to fully understand the image processing algorithms and then design the appropriate hardware architecture to accelerate these algorithms for real-time processing. I am very impressed by their outcome.
“I am very confident that the research work done by Bernardo and João will have a significant long-term impact on the community,” said Xin Li explaining that “their work is part of a large project that the group is actively pursuing. Today, there is a strong need to implement computer vision algorithms in real time (e.g., for self-driving cars).”

“High Cooperation Between Students and Professors” 

Bernardo_Cardoso_UIP   “My participation in this Program was very enriching, not only on a professional note, but also on a cultural and social level, because I had the opportunity to meet people from other cultures and experience the amazing city of Pittsburgh,” stated Bernardo Cardoso after returning from his internship at the Center for Silicon System Implementation (CSSI) of the ECE department, at CMU (Feb. to May, 2015; report).

Bernardo Cardoso, who is 22 years old, was encouraged to apply to the Undergraduate Internship Program by Vítor Grade Tavares, faculty member at FEUP and researcher at INESC TEC. While at CMU, Bernardo Cardoso had the opportunity to “develop a hardware implementation of the BM3D image denoising algorithm.” At the end of his stay, he is very proud to say, “The hardware module description and validation was complete.” This task involved “the functional analysis of the algorithm in order to find bottlenecks, which are more suitable to be hardware accelerated, leading to reduced execution time and power consumption,” he explained.

Before going to Pittsburgh, Bernardo Cardoso wanted to get acquainted with best practices in research, to participate in research activities within the project “Hardware architecture and design for scene recognition,” and to be in contact with other types of organization, teaching/learning at a top American university.

For Bernardo Cardoso, the working environment was very stimulating as well as the several lectures he participated in. “I had the opportunity to attend several lectures given by leading researchers on various subjects, for example, novel manufacturing techniques for integrated circuits”, the young researcher stressed.

“Experience a Different, More Dynamic Work Environment” 


João Martins is very grateful for having had the opportunity to be part of a “different work and research environment”. João Martins, main goal with the internship was to participate in research activities within the project “Energy-efficient hardware implementation for compressive sensing,” and that was what he did. (Feb. to April 2015; report).

During his stay at CMU, he was able “to develop and test hardware implementation of a recovery algorithm for compressive sensing measurements, especially images,” he explained.
“The development of this project went through several phases starting with a high level implementation of the algorithm using Matlab,” the young researcher stated, adding that “after this phase, an architecture for the hardware processing core was devised and implemented using the hardware description language, Verilog.”

By being part of Xin Li’s research group and taking part of its weekly meetings, opened the opportunity to “experience a different, more dynamic work environment where while each person had a different task to complete, there was an effort to help each other.” João Martins added that “the presence and input from both professors (Xin Li and Donald Thomas), also led to a better and faster development.”

Bernardo Cardoso and João Martins emphasized the different opportunities offered to the students within CMU. From job fairs to carnival, as well as other activities outside the campus. Both visited the city of Pittsburgh, which has a lot to offer, namely sports, art and natural museums.

After returning from CMU, João Martins "continued working on the optimization of the hardware developed. Having as the main focus this project, I have since then written my thesis, which allowed me to achieve my Master's degree, and will soon start working on digital microelectronics design." João Martins is proud to say that "given the interest on the work developed, a paper will also be written."

On the other hand, Bernardo Cardoso finished his Master's, and is doing research on the same areas he did his internship. "At the moment I am searching for work opportunities in Europe in the area of Digital IC Design," he explains.

Bernardo Cardoso and João Martins 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