History and General Context
According to ABES, Brazil occupies the ninth position in the world ranking of investments in information and communication technology (ICT). The ICT sector generated US $ 47 billion in 2018. This positive scenario generates demand for the training of qualified human resources, requiring planning and greater investments. In addition, for the country to reach ever greater positions in international prominence, research and development (R&D) and innovation is necessary. In this sense, it is of national interest to intensify graduate programs aimed at training masters and doctors with a higher degree of specialization in strategic sectors of Computing.
It is also observed that there is a demand for Computer professionals increasingly qualified to extract knowledge from large volumes of data, the so-called data scientists. It can be said that several companies demand to hire data scientists. They are immersed in the deluge of data (from English, Data Deluge), which is characterized by a large volume of data, with different types of information on an unprecedented scale. This demand for these Computer Science specialists is well ahead of the supply capacity. The treatment of the flood of data being produced by the sciences and by billions of users of global Internet services presents itself as one of the great challenges for the current knowledge society. In the business world, data scientists are instrumental in addressing the Big Data landscape. They are able to structure this data and find patterns in order to advise executives on the implications for products, processes and decisions.
In fact, the demand for data scientists is much broader. The deluge of data appears, in general, in multiple facets, a fact that has been driving initiatives in several areas. In the sciences, the flood of data appeared as the expression of a new way of investigation, encouraging biologists, astronomers, physicists, and other researchers from the most different scientific areas to face computational problems in the so-called e-science, which become barriers for their discoveries. In the government sector, there are opportunities to focus on immense public sector databases with a view to generating more efficient planning, as well as new services that can improve service to citizens. The data scientist is, therefore, a professional trained, mainly, in the analysis, interpretation and manipulation of large volumes of data, in order to bring the scientific method to the most different sectors aiming at the generalized extraction of relevant knowledge from these data .
Aiming to meet this demand and, at the same time, considering the skills and competences of its faculty, the Graduate Program in Computer Science (PPCIC) started in June 2016. The PPCIC starts with a stricto sensu master’s (academic master’s), organized on a quarterly basis. To obtain the title of Master in Computer Science, students of the Program need to obtain 24 credits in subjects, develop a qualified scientific production and defend both a qualification exam and a master’s dissertation.
The PPCIC, together with the technical course in Informatics and the graduation in Computer Science from CEFET / RJ, stand out as a pioneering initiative of verticalization. Its teachers work at the three levels of education and integration actions are carried out in order to allow an exchange between students at these levels. Such actions can be observed in the compositions of research groups, production of computational artifacts and in seminars, in which there is an interrelation, participation and involvement of students at the three levels of education.
In 2016, the Program underwent its first evaluation, the indicators raised based on the performance of teachers in the 2013-2016 quadrennium were well evaluated having received a ‘good’ concept in all five dimensions (Program Proposal, Faculty, Student, Production Intellectual Property, Social Insertion). Qualified production in a restricted index, production and distribution among the professors of the 4 * N publications, and the role of teachers as reviewers in events / journals were highlighted. Such results point to a good performance of the Program. However, the regular concept (note 3) was maintained since the Program had just been created and still had no dissertation defense.
Since 2017, CEFET / RJ has become the regular headquarters of the National Examination for Admission to Graduate Studies in Computing (POSCOMP) in Rio de Janeiro, being an important visibility action for the Program. At the beginning of 2018, two professors were added as collaborators, following the planning indicated at the end of the 2013-2016 quadrennial. In addition, recent visibility efforts culminated in the organization, in 2018, of the VIII Latin American on Clicks in Graphs (LAWCG 2018) and the first Latin America Workshop on Data Science (LADaS 2018) and in 2019, Brazilian e -Science Workshop (BreSci 2019), the Regional High Performance School (ERAD 2019) and the Brazilian Symposium on Multimedia and Web Systems (WebMedia 2019).
Given this contextualization centered on the challenges of Data Science, the Program combines basic and applied research associated with the resolution of real problems. This is a characteristic both designed for the profile of the graduate and also present in the profile of researchers in the current teaching staff and expected for future teachers to be incorporated into the Program. This approach adopted by our group is in line with the multidisciplinary process of Computing. This fact also corroborates the fact that the Program’s teachers are trained in Computing from different programs of excellence. The professors work exclusively and have a staggered planning for postdoctoral training for the coming years, which enhances the production of research with the greatest impact.
The program is inserted in the Computer Science knowledge area and is organized in the lines: (i) Data and Application Analysis and (ii) Machine Learning and Optimization. The lines are organized respectively into four and three research projects, which correspond to the main research axes in each of the lines. The distribution of teachers on the lines is balanced. Likewise, the distribution of teachers across projects is also balanced.
CEFET / RJ – Federal Center for Technological Education Celso Suckow da Fonseca – is a Federal Institution of Higher Education (IES). The Institution currently has nine stricto sensu Graduate Programs offering seven academic Master’s courses, four Doctorate courses and one professional Master’s program. It also has six lato sensu Postgraduate courses; eleven Undergraduate courses in the areas of Computing, Engineering and Administration; two Physics Degree courses and 31 High School technical courses. The courses are distributed at the Headquarters Unit (Maracanã) and seven campuses (Nova Iguaçu, Maria da Graça, Petrópolis, Nova Friburgo, Valença, Angra dos Reis and Itaguaí). CEFET / RJ also operates in the distance education modality, with participation in the Open University of Brazil (UAB), offering a specialization course in Technological Education aiming at the formation of teachers who work in basic education and in the CEDERJ Consortium (Higher Education Center) the Distance from Rio de Janeiro), which brings together federal and state public universities in the State of Rio de Janeiro.
At that moment, when the Federal Network of Professional, Scientific and Technological Education was consolidated, CEFET / RJ chose not to transform itself into a Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology (IF) aiming at becoming a University, a claim that it has the formal support of ANDIFES and the Forum of Pro-Rectors of Research and Graduate Studies (FOPROP). In line with the objective of becoming a University, the General Directorate of CEFET / RJ has been investing heavily in research and graduate studies, being aware of the strategic role of exercising such activities in a university model. This support can be seen through the significant increase in own resources destined to the needs of research groups and graduate programs. It is worth mentioning that the resources are allocated through internal calls for proposals for research groups, support for institutional research projects, as well as PIBIC, master’s and doctoral scholarships. Such an approach characterizes an institutional maturity in the provision of resources to research and enables the planning of PPCIC teachers to support its functioning. This commitment to the consolidation of research and postgraduate studies at the Institution is formalized in its Institutional Development plan (PDI).
The strong growth in research and graduate activities at CEFET / RJ observed in recent years can be translated by the expressive increase in qualified scientific production, in the number of research groups, in the number of graduate programs, in the number of fellows of CNPq productivity, the number of scientific initiation and master’s scholarships. It can also be seen from the expansion of its research infrastructure with the creation of new laboratories and the modernization of existing ones. The renewal of the teaching staff in recent years was an essential factor in promoting the increase of the teaching staff at the Institution, especially those with a doctorate. This panorama directly influences the prospects for the evolution and consolidation of the PPCIC.
In order to increase the impact of its actions on the teaching, research and extension triad, CEFET / RJ established its Institutional Plan for Internationalization. Such planning is the result of several previous internationalization initiatives, among which we highlight the numerous international collaborations in research that already exist and the norms that enable dissertations and theses written in English and defenses also in English and at a distance.
PPCIC is fully aligned with these institutional actions and promotes local actions that enable the participation of students and teachers in research projects and production of articles in international collaboration, reception of students of other nationalities, reception of visiting researchers, internationalization of the program page and even the offer of program subjects taught in English.