I – Curricular Structure
The Master’s course in Computer Science is organized on a quarterly basis. According to the Program’s norms, to obtain the title of Master in Computer Science, students of the Program need to obtain 24 credits in subjects, with at least nine credits from subjects in the basic nucleus, with the rest being complemented with specific core disciplines. Students also need to take the Seminar for Dissertation and Research for Dissertation subjects, both without attribution of credits, but mandatory. In the Seminar for Dissertation discipline, students present the dissertation proposal, which must be approved by the Examining Board. The students take the course Research for Dissertation, once their proposal has already been approved, for the preparation and defense of their dissertation. In the case of scholarship students, the discipline of Teaching Internship is mandatory.
It is worth noting the PPCIC’s commitment to train graduates with a solid background in Computer Science with an emphasis in Data Science. In this context, a methodical study for the generalized and relevant extraction of relevant knowledge from a huge mass of data, generally dynamic, is a technical-scientific challenge in computing. Because of this, the program establishes a balance between offers of basic disciplines that offer a theoretical framework referring to basic training in Computer Science and the elective disciplines that meet the demands related to the extraction of knowledge from the processing of large volumes of data.
Specifically, we identified two main lines of research whose maturity leads to a comprehensive formation of Computer Scientist with a solid background in Data Science in a horizon of some years of research and development: (i) Data and Application Analysis and (ii) Learning Machine and Optimization.
Considering the graduate profile, the Program aims to train highly qualified human resources and serve as a foundation for its projection in the knowledge society. The PPCIC master’s course offers students a range of computer disciplines, linked to the Program’s research lines, promoting comprehensive and up-to-date training.
The Program offers six basic subjects: (i) Algorithm Analysis and Design; (ii) Computer Architecture; (iii) Database; (iv) Parallel and Distributed Computing; (v) Statistics and Probability and (vi) Scientific Methodology in Computing. The student must take at least three basic subjects. The supervisor, in the light of the student’s previous training, establishes which subjects the student must take and whether there is a need to do more than three basic subjects. This structure is in accordance with the latest update of the area document in Computing of 2019.
The other subjects are electives. To provide training in Data Science, the range of subjects offered by the Program has been compared to the 23 largest data science master’s programs in the United States. The disciplines offered are the main ones contextualized in Data Science. They are homogeneously distributed among the Program’s professors and support the research objectives listed in the Program’s research lines and projects. From the growth in the number of professors and lines, new disciplines are mapped to be offered, expanding the coverage in Data Science.
On the Program page, the subjects offered are presented, identifying those that belong to the basic nucleus, as well as those belonging to a specific nucleus. It should be noted that the offer of subjects per quarter is planned and published at the end of the previous year, which allows students to plan ahead in terms of the subjects to be taken in each quarter.
II – Innovative Training Experiences
PPCIC uses educational technologies in the Master’s Program. Its teaching materials are essential and preferably accessed through the Moodle Platform. Through the platform, students have access to support materials, submit papers and interact with each other, as well as with teachers. The classrooms have recently been equipped with interactive whiteboards with resources for teachers.
In addition, there is a plan for greater interaction between undergraduate and graduate courses through the undergraduate discipline called Applied Research Practice. In this discipline, master students can carry out Teaching Practice by formulating themes that are peripheral to their master’s research, which are developed by groups of students throughout the discipline and that can be used as work themes for completing the undergraduate course. These initiatives are positive because they generate greater synergy between undergraduate and graduate courses, more quickly arouse the vocation of collaborative work in Research & Development in master’s students and, at the same time, the interest of undergraduate students in improving their training throughout decide to take the master’s degree.
Another innovative feature is in the Weekly Research Seminars. Such seminars aim to stimulate PPCIC students in their ability to organize their research and present their ideas. The seminars take place throughout each academic quarter, with the participation of students enrolled from the second quarter of the course onwards. In seminars, students present: (i) articles accepted for publication in conferences, for the purpose of prior / essay; (ii) articles made during any course taken in the previous quarter; (iii) an account of the evolution of his research. Through such presentations, students obtain feedback on their work and presentations, assisting in their academic development.
The Weekly Research Seminars are integrated into the discipline of Scientific Methodology in Computing. Thus, students who recently joined the course have the opportunity to observe in practice the concepts explored in the discipline, as well as to know the research in progress by other students, which mobilizes greater integration between them.
It is also worth mentioning the participation of undergraduate students in seminars, as a complementary activity to their training, through the calculation of mandatory hours. Such participation is important, allowing for a greater integration of these with PPCIC students. Along with the discipline of Applied Research Practice, the seminars represent another stimulus for undergraduate students to follow in the master’s degree.
It is also worth mentioning the interaction with high school technical students, through the PIBIC-EM Program, effectively seeking the verticalization of teaching; these students, therefore, have the opportunity to interact with students from other levels of education, experiencing the practice of research.