Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

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PUCRS launches unprecedented Data Science and Artificial Intelligence initiative

Unique model in the south of Brazil embraces new undergraduate program, research center, graduate studies and promotion of innovative businesses in the area

14/10/2020 - 17h07

This month PUCRS will be launching an unprecedented initiative in the area of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in the south of the country. A Center for Research, Teaching and Innovation and the region’s first face-to-face Bachelor’s degree in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two new fronts of action that add to the efforts of the fully-established internationally-recognized graduate and certificate programs, and Tecnopuc’s AI and Data Science hub.

State-of-the-art research and development of dedicated actions have been a reality at PUCRS for almost a decade. With the initiative, the university takes one step further towards its commitment to the comprehensive development of professionals, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels in this area. Additionally, it continues to foster innovative businesses and international partnerships. And, in an effort to anticipate the future, it seeks to become a major Data Science hub to meet the needs of the academia, the job market and innovation for society.

Professionals who are making the future Out of the 15 emerging professions in 2020 which have been mapped in a study by LinkedIn in Brazil, nine are directly associated with Information Technology. Although the market needs at least 70,000 professionals in this area every year, as few as 46,000 complete IT training programs in the country. This makes this segment even more competitive, according to a report by the Brazilian Association of Information and Communication Technology Companies (Brasscom).

“The professional of the future must be prepared to develop solutions to complex problems in situations of uncertainty. We want to be a bridge to an increasingly necessary professional niche, not only in startups and large corporations, but in society. This professional will be able to use expertise in data and technology ethically and responsibly to improve the lives of people and organizations” , Br. Evilázio Teixeira, President of PUCRS, says.

The university now has over 50 renowned researchers, whose internationally-recognized scientific production is of high impact. It also has 33 different research groups, 16 graduate programs and 21 laboratories that will compose the new Research Center. The following Schools are now affiliated to the Center: School of Technology, School of Communications, Arts and Design – Famecos, Law School, School of Humanities, School of Medicine and Business School. The Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul – BraIns, Institute of Petroleum and Natural Resources and Tecnopuc are part of it, too.

The Research Center, which will be coordinated by Professor Dr. Márcio Sarroglia Pinho, will open on Oct 21 in a web conference with the participation of Prof. Nivio Ziviani, who is a national reference in this area. The guests will discuss the social impact of Data Science with the Secretary of ST&I of Rio Grande do Sul, Prof. Luís da Cunha Lamb, and Prof. Dr. Jorge Nicolas Audy, Superintendent of Innovation and Development at PUCRS.

Teaching, research and innovation

These are the three lines of action of the Center. In the realm of education, the university aims to meet the high demand for professionals, at the undergraduate, certificate and graduate levels. The institution also wants to make Data Science programs popular outside the technological areas.

In terms of research, the goals are to strengthen international partnerships, develop further research in the areas of Data Science, such as Machine Learning, Big Data, Data Mining and Visualization, and provide support to the application in other areas such as Medical Images, Geoprocessing, Pharmaceuticals, Medicine, Genomics, Energy, Finance, Social Behavior, Smart Cities, among others.

As for innovation, the Center will strategically interact with Tecnopuc’s Data Science and AI hub. By using its own methodology, it will connect entrepreneurs with investors, mentors, companies and consultants, and connect startups to the market.

Undergraduate program in Data Science and AI

PUCRS’ four-year program in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence is the first face-to-face program at the Bachelor’s level in the south of Brazil. The program, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Daniel Antonio Callegari, comes to life in an innovation ecosystem. 60 seats will be offered every semester. Admission will be conditioned to passing the Vestibular 2021 (Entrance Exam 2021), on Dec 6.

Students who complete this undergraduate degree will be able to employ models, tools and techniques in several organizational and social contexts, be them either private or public, both nationally and internationally. Professionals will be able to perform multiple activities, and work as data scientists, engineers or data architects, AI and Machine Learning engineers, market intelligence analysts, to name a few.

Among the highlights offered by the institution, besides the faculty composed by renowned scholars and industry professionals, is the possibility to interact with the graduate program of international excellence in Computer Science. Undergraduate students can enroll in graduate courses while they work on their undergraduate degree to get deeper insights into the topics that are being researched both in Brazil and abroad.