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Brazilian Research Celebrated

March 21, 2011 | Posted by Microsoft Research Blog

On March 17, Microsoft Research Connections and the São Paulo Research Foundation (better known by its Portuguese acronym: FAPESP) held a workshop to mark the ongoing collaborative efforts of the Microsoft Research-FAPESP Institute. The theme of the workshop—revisiting the past and planning for the future—provided the scientific community with a historical perspective on the Institute’s completed projects, its ongoing initiatives, and the prospects for future investments.

Harold Javid, Director of Microsoft Research Connections, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, Scientific Director of FAPESP and Michel Levy, President of Microsoft Brazil during the meeting MSR-FAPESP Institute Workshop: revisiting the past and planning the future.

Harold Javid, Director of Microsoft Research Connections, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, Scientific Director of FAPESP and Michel Levy, President of Microsoft Brazil during the meeting MSR-FAPESP Institute Workshop: revisiting the past and planning the future. 

The presentation of newly funded research projects broke with tradition this year: previously restricted to researchers and teams who are directly involved with the selected projects, the event was opened to all professionals and researchers interested in learning more about the opportunities created by the program. By so doing, the Institute reached out to researchers and scientists from other areas of knowledge, while simultaneously stressing the role of information technology in accelerating scientific research on priority themes.

The event was attended by Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of FAPESP, and Michel Levy, president of Microsoft Brazil. Leonardo de Moura, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research in the United States who specializes in theorems and the optimization and verification of software, presented the first lecture, “Symbolic Reasoning @ Microsoft: Tackling Impossible Tasks.” Harold Javid, the director of Microsoft Research Connections (a division of Microsoft Research) explored the theme of e-science, addressing such fertile areas for collaboration as medical imaging research, a new approach to creating digital narratives, and compelling possibilities for sharing “big time” views of history.

Announced at the workshop were the four projects that were selected in the latest call for proposals. The researchers who were responsible for the approved proposals then made brief presentations of their studies.

  • Eleanor Patricia Cerdeira Morellato, Bioscience Institute of Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), presented the e-Phenology project, which implements new technologies to monitor ecology and climate change in the tropics. This multidisciplinary project combines research in computer science and phenology, a branch of ecology that studies the development cycle of living organisms and its relation to such environmental conditions as temperature, light, and humidity.
  • Junia Coutinho Anacleto, Center of Exact Sciences and Technologies at Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), presented a project that will use natural user interface (NUI) technology to help patients develop their social skills. Developed in partnership with the Center for Intensive Attention to Health (CAIS) and Clemente Ferreira, a hospital that serves people with neurological and psychiatric disorders, the project also seeks to improve the interaction between health professionals.
  • Ronaldo Fumio Hashimoto, Institute of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of São Paulo (USP), presented a project that will use math and computational modeling to examine the biological processes that underlie molecular organization and the regulatory relationships of molecules and genes. The research will use new computational and statistical techniques to understand how biological processes occur and how to prevent those that cause disease from taking place.
  • Regina Célia de Matos Pires, Instituto Agronômico (IAC), presented a project that will use environmental monitoring and genetic modeling to calculate the potential of sugarcane cultivars based on the availability of groundwater. This research is important in light of forecasts that predict expanded cultivation of sugarcane in arid regions of Brazil. Pires intends to use sensors that monitor the interactions of climate, soil, and water with the development of plants, in order to understand the dynamics that are involved in the transfer of water among the soil, plant, and atmosphere, and to illuminate its interactions in the production system.

All of these endeavors align perfectly with the mission of the Microsoft Research-FAPESP Institute for IT Research, which is to support bold, innovative projects that apply technology to enable or accelerate research that will help humanity.

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—Juliana Salles, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections