History and contextualization of the program

Brazil currently occupies the sixth largest world market for information and communication technology (ICT) (ABES 2016). It is estimated that the ICT sector has grown by the US $ 152 billion in 2015. This positive scenario generates demand for the formation of qualified human resources, requiring planning and more significant investments. Also, a high degree of innovation and research is needed if the country is to reach increasingly prominent international positions. In this sense, it is of national interest to intensify postgraduate 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 by computer professionals increasingly able to extract knowledge from large volumes of data, so-called data scientists (Davenport and Patil 2012; DSC 2015). It can be said that several companies are urging the hiring of data scientists. They are immersed in the data deluge (Berman 2008), which is characterized by a great deal of data, with different types of information on an unprecedented scale. This demand for these Computer Science experts is well ahead of the supply capacity. The treatment of the data deluge being produced by the sciences and 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 key players in the Big Data scenario (Jagadish et al., 2014). They can structure this data and find patterns to advise executives on the implications for products, processes, and decisions (Dhar 2013).

The demand for data scientists is much broader. The data deluge is generally manifold in multiple facets, a fact that has been driving initiatives in several areas, in addition to the business world, to understand it better. In the sciences, the data deluge appeared as the expression of a new way of research (Wright 2014), encouraging biologists, astronomers, physicists, and other researchers from different scientific areas to face computational problems in the so-called e-science, which become Barriers to their findings. In the government sector, there are opportunities to look at huge public sector databases to generate more efficient planning as well as new services that can improve citizen service. The data scientist is, therefore, a professional trained mainly in the analysis, interpretation and manipulation of large volumes of data (MDS 2015), in order to bring the scientific method to the most different sectors aiming the generalized extraction of relevant knowledge from these data (Jacobs 2009; Lazer et al., 2014).

To meet this demand and, at the same time, considering the skills and competencies of its faculty, the Graduate Program in Computer Science (PPCIC) is initiated in June 2016. The PPCIC begins with a Master’s degree stricto sensu (academic master’s degree), being organized on a quarterly basis. To obtain a Master’s degree in Computer Science, students of the Program must obtain 24 credits in disciplines, develop a qualified scientific production and defend both a qualification examination and the master’s dissertation itself.

The PPCIC, together with CEFET/RJ’s the Technical Course in Informatics and the Undergraduate Course in Computer Science rise as a pioneer verticalization initiative. Its faculty act in all three educational levels and integration actions are made to enable an exchange among students from those levels. Such actions can be observed in the composition of its research groups, computational artifacts production and seminars. In the seminars there is an interrelation, participation and enrollment of students from all three educational levels.

In 2016,  the program had its first evaluation. The indicators based on its faculty performance in the 2013-2016 quadrennium were well evaluated, receiving a concept ‘good’ in all evaluation dimensions (Program Proposal, Faculty, Student, Intellectual, Social Insertion). The evaluation highlighted the qualified production in the restricted index, the academic production, and the distribution among faculty members of the 4*N publications, besides the acting as reviewers in conferences/journals. Such results point to a good performance of the program.  However, the regular grade (3)  was retained since the Program had been newly created and had no defenses of dissertations yet.

In 2017, CEFET/RJ became the headquarters of the National Exam for Post Graduation in Computing (POSCOMP) in Rio de Janeiro. This is an important visibility action for the program. In early 2018, two new professors were included as collaborators, following the plan indicated at the end of the 2013-2016 quadrennials. Moreover, recent visibility efforts culminated in the organization in 2018 of the VIII Latin American on Cliques in Graphs (LAWCG 2018) and the first Latin America Workshop on Data Science (LADaS 2018).

Given this contextualization focused on the challenges of Data Science, the program combines basic and applied research. This is a property both presented at the profile of our egresses and also present in the profile of the researchers of the current faculty and expected for the future teachers to be incorporated into the Program. This combination establishes a promising strategy since, at the same time as theoretical results are established that subsidize the construction of new applications to solve practical questions, practical problems often lead to the development of new theoretical frameworks. This approach adopted by our group is adherent to the multidisciplinary process of Computing.

The program is part of the Computer Science knowledge area and is organized in the lines of Algorithms, Optimization, and Computational Modeling and Data Management and Applications.

Institutional Context

CEFET/RJ – Federal Center for Technological Education of Rio de Janeiro – is a Federal Institution of Higher Education (HEI). Currently, the Institution has eight Post-Graduation Programs stricto sensu with the offer of eight academic Masters courses, four Ph.D. courses, and one professional Master’s degree. It also offer six postgraduate courses lato sensu; eleven Undergraduate courses in Computing, Engineering and Administration; two courses of Licentiate in Physics, and 31 courses of technical education. These courses are distributed in the Headquarters Unit (Maracanã) and in seven Decentralized Teaching Units (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 aimed at the training of teachers who work in basic education, and with the CEDERJ Consortium Superior to 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 made the option of not transforming into a Federal University of Education, Science and Technology (FI) , Which has the formal support of ANDIFES and the Forum of Pro-Rectors of Research and Post-Graduation (FOPROP). In line with the goal of becoming a Technological University, CEFET/RJ’s General Directorate has been investing heavily in research and in graduate studies, being aware of the strategic role of such activities in a university model. This support can be seen through a significant increase in its own resources for the needs of research groups and postgraduate programs. It is important to notice that the resources are allocated through internal  calls for research groups, for support of institucional research projects, as well as PIBIC, masters and doctorate scholarships. Such an approach characterizes an institutional maturity in resource application to research and allows PPCIC teachers to plan its operation. This commitment to the consolidation of research and graduate studies in the Institution is formalized in its Institutional Development Plan (IDP).

The steady growth of research and graduate activities in CEFET/RJ observed in recent years can be translated by the significant increase in qualified scientific production, the number of research groups, the number of postgraduate programs, the number of fellows Productivity of CNPq, the number of scientific and master’s degree fellowships. It can also be observed by 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 faculty in the institution, especially those with a doctorate. This scenario directly influences the prospects for the evolution and consolidation of PPCIC.

In order to increase the impact of its actions on the triad of teaching, research and extension, CEFET/RJ established an Institutional Plan for Internationalization. Such planning is the result of several previous initiatives of Internationalization, among which we highlight the numerous international collaborations in research already exist and the norms that allow dissertations and theses written in English and defenses presented in English and distance defenses.

The PPCIC has fully aligned itself with these institutional actions and promotes local actions that enable the participation of students and teachers in research projects and article production with international collaboration, reception of students of other nationalities, reception of visiting researchers, internationalization of the program page and even course offer in English.