Rodrigo Rodrigues, one of the two Directors for the 3rd Phase of the CMU Portugal Program, was the only researcher from Portuguese universities included in the 2017 edition of the Google Faculty Research Awards. This annual call launched by Google for proposals on computer sciences and related topics is highly competitive, with only 15% of applicants receiving funding.
The co-director of the third phase of the CMU-Portugal partnership, who is a faculty member at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST – Técnico Lisboa), was one of the winners in the Systems (software and hardware) subject area with a proposal on enforcing causal consistency guarantees across ecosystems comprised of multiple distributed systems.
According to Rodrigo Rodrigues “it’s always rewarding to see a Portuguese university listed alongside the leading research institutions in the world, including Carnegie Mellon”.
This call from Google is dedicated to computer science and related topics such as machine learning, machine perception, natural language processing, and quantum computing. Among the winners, there were also 14 faculty members from different departments of Carnegie Mellon University:
• Machine Learning Department: Virginia Smith, Ameet Talwalkar, David Held in the “Machine Learning and data mining” category and Katerina Fragkiadaki in the “Machine Perception” category.
• Computer Science Department: Andy Pavlo and Bryan Jeffrey Parno in the “Systems” category; Scott E. Fahlman and David P. Woodruff in “Machine Learning and data mining”; Bhiksha Raj in “Privacy”; Carolyn Rose “Human-computer Interaction” and Venkatesan Guruswami in “Algorithms and Optimization”.
• Human-Computer Interaction Institute: Jodi Forlizzi in the “other” category and Aniket Kittur in “Human-computer Interaction”.
• Robotics Institute: David Held in the “other” Category.
Overall, in this round, Google received 1033 proposals covering 46 countries and over 360 universities but only 152 projects were selected for funding. Among the winning projects, a third of them (50 projects) were from universities outside the United States, with a total of 34 from Europe.
Google’s main goal with this competition is to identify and strengthen long-term collaborative relationships with faculty working on problems that will impact how future generations use technology. Google Faculty Research Awards are structured as seed funding to support one graduate student for one year.