Science and Technology

IBM Scientific Award once again recognises PhD thesis by a Técnico alumnus

Afonso Teodoro, former PhD student, won the 2018 IBM Scientific Award.

For the second consecutive year, the IBM Scientific Award recognises the value and the disruptive effect of a PhD thesis by a Técnico alumnus. Afonso Teodoro, former PhD student, is the author of the study entitled “Mixture Models for Inverse Imaging Problems – Going Beyond Denoising in a Plug-and-Play Fashion”, under the guidance of professor Mário Figueiredo.

“It was a pleasant surprise to be honoured with this award”, says Afonso Teodoro, who considers that “it is a recognition of my work over the past four years and a proof that commitment always ends up being rewarded” . The work developed by Afonso Teodoro aims to improve the information that can be extracted from images or photographs with poor resolution. “Basically, in this work, I start with a noisy and blurred image and try to imagine a richer and cleaner version”, explains the Técnico alumnus. “To this end, I developed a methodology that is applicable to various types of image degradation, as I just mentioned, which produces very interesting results in terms of final image quality” he adds.

Afonso Teodoro’s work has a wide range of applications: medicine, industry, automation, safety, agriculture and recreational activities. “Nowadays, with the large number of image-based applications, such as automatic detection of objects or people, video surveillance, automatic diagnosis of medical exams, among others, it is very important to ensure that these images have the highest quality possible. Otherwise it may compromise the final result”, underlines the IBM Scientific award winner.

With a strong theoretical component and based on various principles of mathematics and statistics, the work “uses techniques and methodologies related to areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and optimization”, stresses the author.

After completing his PhD, Afonso Teodoro worked as Artificial Intelligence Systems consultant at Nimble Portal, a consulting firm that provides outsourcing services to various national companies, namely Fidelidade, where he currently works. Afonso Teodoro has good memories of his academic life at Técnico. He considered to pursue a research career, but “in Portugal opportunities are scarce” he says. “In addition, scientific careers are precarious, which discourages many potential candidates, including me”, he says.

Afonso Teodoro will receive the award at a ceremony that will take place at Técnico next Tuesday, 17th December 2019. The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, will attend the ceremony.