Prospective Students

If you are interested on doing research with me in Brazil, read the appropriate sections below, divided by undergraduate and graduate students.

Graduate Students

Prospective Students

A note to prospective students at any level: I do not respond to mass mailings (unless you have made an outstanding AI software that convinces me yours is not a mass email). If you will not take the time to read a couple of pages in my website and the abstract of a couple of my papers to discover if I am a good fit for your areas of interest in research, then I will not spend more than the 2 seconds it takes to delete your email (and mark you as a spammer). Note that this does not mean I will not advise work outside my specific areas of interest within AI---should you want me to advise you, explaining to me why you are excited about a different area is an excellent start. Finally, I do not take part-time PhD students. I will take part-time MSc students, but not PhDs because I reckon the commitment and amount of free time required to think of innovative research ideas is non-trivial.

I have curated all MSc and PhD manuscripts I advised in Github.


Current Students

Learn to Write

Before you start doing any kind of research, you need to be able to write about it in decent English. Understandably, for most of prospective students in Brazil, English is not the first language, so there are two obstacles to conveying research ideas: mastering the language, and writing about research in a style that is concise, direct, and unambiguous. For the first problem, there is not much I can do. However, for the second one, there is a slew of resources available on the web, which I have condensed in a site covering writing style.

How to finish a graduate programme

Michael Luck's lecture on How to finish a graduate programme and have a successful defence.

Jason Eisner's advice on how to write a PhD thesis.

Conference Impact Ratings

Brazilian impact rating for conferences and journals from PPGCC/PUCRS

Google Scholar impact rating for AI venues: Google Scholar

MSc Checkpoints

Below, I provide general guidance about the nature and content of each checkpoint/deliverable for MSc students in Brazil, and what I expect to see in a first draft of each one of these documents.

Study and Research Project (Projeto de Estudo e Pesquisa)

As the name implies, this checkpoint consists of a report that outlines what you will be doing in your second year of MSc. This deliverable is a small survey of what you have studied in your first year, followed by a project describing the activities and expected timeline of their conclusion in the subsequent year, key elements in this project are:

  • one background section with an extensive literature review and survey of the area of the proposed MSc dissertation;
  • one clear research question that your work aims to solve (note that MSc research questions need not be entirely original) that is substantiated by the survey above;
  • a general objective (i.e. how do you aim to address the question posed above) followed by specific objectives (activities, deliverables you will do throughout the second year); and
  • a plan of activities that will ensure the objectives above will be done.

Progress Report (Seminário de Andamento)

This looks like a regular paper, and most of its content should look like one. However, you should be careful about the actual objective of this check point, which is to assess how your MSc/PhD is going in relation to your Study and Research Project.
Key elements in this report include:

  • an introduction reinforcing the objectives stated in the research project (see above)
  • content sections describing the progress made so far and the results obtained;
  • a section describing the progress made on each activity: explain what was done, what were the results, and when things are not done, explain what is missing and which activities are on time; and
  • a conclusion summarising the contributions so far and describing, in general terms the prospects of finishing the work on time.

MSc dissertation

This is the primary deliverable of your MSc (and not a shiny implementation that only you understand). The dissertation is a self-contained contribution to science, you should include not only results of your implementation (if your work is on the practical side) and the proofs of your results (if your work on the theoretical side), but also a solid background on the theory behind your contribution, situating it within the specific area of your work. Thus, the dissertation should be a self-contained document that allows a specialist in your key subject area (e.g. if you are my student, this means a specialist in Artificial Intelligence) to read the document without necessarily consulting outside material. Key elements in the dissertation include:

  • an introduction outlining the objectives of your work (i.e. including a clear problem statement) and explicitly enumerating the contributions;
  • a background section explaining the theoretical underpinnings of the techniques you use to develop your contribution (it is mostly OK to overdo it here, readers who know it can easily skip ahead);
  • one or more chapters explaining your contributions in as much detail as possible to substantiate claims of contribution and replicability (ideally with an associated code package)
  • one or more evaluation sections, especially for empirical work, where you provide evidence of the effectiveness of your contributions (i.e. for every claim of a contribution, one evaluation);
  • a related work chapter explaining in moderate detail any other approaches to solve the problem you pose (or related problems) comparing these approaches to what you described in your contribution chapters (to substantiate novelty); and
  • a conclusion chapter where you summarise your contributions and provide a vision for their applicability and future development.
You would do well to look at the checklists I provided for my undergraduate students.

Useful links

Undergraduate Students

Scientific Apprenticeship (Iniciação Científica)

If you are currently under my advice as a scientific apprentice scholar, here are the key events you need to mindful of (and aware of the deadlines):

Final year projects

Potential final year projects

For suggestions of potential final year projects, I have set up a small Github repository with ideas for final year projects.

Current Students

These are the checkpoints for the students finishing their graduation at PUCRS. I have prepared checklists for each deliverable in the final year project courses.

Checkpoints (Computer Science)

Final Year Project Proposal (Proposta de TC1)

This is basically a plan for what you aim to study in your final year project. What you need to have in this document:

  • Some reviewers complain if you do not write an abstract, so do it just to be on the safeside;
  • An introduction motivating the work (see my research page)
  • A small literature review to show the reviewer you have an idea of what you want to study
  • A work/study schedule stating what you will do during the semester (a monthly granularity is good enough)

Final Year Project Plan (TC1 / Integradora III)

The text you deliver at the end of TC1 is a much expanded version of your plan, but here, you must have a clearly defined problem you will solve, and concrete plans of how you will spend the following semester solving it.

Final Year Project Report (TC2 / Integradora IV)

The text you deliver at the end of the final project II must show that you are able to apply what you learned throughout your undergrad course to solve a concrete problem. You must convince the reader that you are capable of digging deeper into a CS subject and then use this to solve a problem.