Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge 2013 Winners

Fraunhofer Portugal Challenge is an initiative from Fraunhofer AICOS, whose main objective is to reward the scientific investigation with “practical utility” in Portuguese Universities.

Among the large number of applications received from all Universities all over the country, our jury chose six finalists - three in MSc and three in PhD. The awarded students were invited to make a public presentation of their ideas at the Closing Event Ceremony which took place on October 30th at the Fraunhofer AICOS building, in Porto.


Best ideas in the PhD Category


1st - 3.000€

"Disambiguating Implicit Temporal Queries for Temporal Information Retrieval Applications"
Ricardo Campos – Universidade do Porto

Ricardo Campos developed a set of methods with the idea of optimizing the search of information on the web, offering a temporal context within the results obtained. This aims to improve the clustering and ranking of search results, in order to provide users with a historical perspective of the results. His two methods (able to operate in different languages) are based on the premise of: a temporal similarity measure to evaluate the correlation between the query and the candidate dates identified, and a threshold-based classifier that selects the most relevant dates while filtering out the non-relevant or incorrect ones.

2nd - 1.500€

"A New Approach to Disruption Management in Airline Operations Control"
António Castro – Universidade do Porto 

António Castro proposed a new approach to the disruption management in Operations Control of airline companies. He developed a software that uses several autonomous agents with decision self-sufficiency and learning capabilities. These agents are also rational in the sense that they will try to maximize its individual utility. Results show that it is possible to have a cost reduction between 17% and 58% considering only the average cost for aircraft and crew, and between 13% and 48% if we consider the average of the combined aircraft, crew and passenger cost.

3rd - 1.000€

"A Precision Grammar for Programming Biological Systems"
João Guimarães – Universidade do Minho

Control of gene expression underlies the majority of cellular processes and, as such, it is of the utmost importance to understand how living organisms tailor protein levels precisely at all times. Using computational methods, João Guimarães developed an innovative framework for information processing in biological settings, with the basis of predictable engineering of living organisms. Essentially, this means that biological engineers have now access to a set of reliable and predictable biological components that can be used to build custom genetic circuits and encode new programs for biological systems. Such efforts are of greatest importance for human commodity and are already providing several cost-effective solutions in multiple areas such as pharmaceutical production, therapeutics or diagnostics.


Best ideas in the MSc Category


1st - 2.000€

"Broadband UHF RFID Passive Tag Antenna for Near-Body Operation"
André Santiago – Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa

André Santiago, developed a new generation of the RFID tags, with a higher range and lower costs. RFID has emerged as one of the most popular methods for asset, person and object identification through the use of active or passive chipped tag antennas baring a univocal identification code.

2nd - 1.000€

"NovaEmotions: Enabling affective-interaction in computer application"
André Mourão – Universidade Nova de Lisboa

It is possible to control a game with facial expressions? André Mourão, developed an affect-based framework that encompasses face detection, face recognition and facial expression recognition and applied it in a computer game. "NovaEmotions" is a two-player game where the player who best mimics an expression wins. The game combines face detection with facial expression recognition to recognize and rate an expression in real time.

3rd - 500€

"Is There Hidden Information in My Movement?"
Inês Prata Machado – Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Inês Machado developed a method for convenient monitoring of detailed ambulatory movements in daily life, by the use of a portable accelerometer device. The focus of the work is the discovery of the information hidden in the signals produced by an accelerometer, interpreting them in terms of human movement and identifying clinically relevant parameters from the information obtained.