Research

Jaime E. Villate. University of Porto, Portugal

My main current research interests are small satellites for Earth observation, Computer Algebra (CAS) and E-learning Systems.

My research career started in the area of Theoretical Particle Physics, which was the subject of my Ph. D. When I accepted a teaching position in the Department of Chemical Engineering at FEUP in 1992, that research area was no longer germane to my teaching duties. I then decided to start research in the area of Physical Properties of Food; I proposed several senior projects for the B. S. Program in Chemical Engineering and participated in a European Project and a CYTED project.

In 1994 a new B. S. program in Computer Science was created at FEUP and I expressed my interest in teaching the two semesters of Physics proposed for that program, with the prospect of starting research in Computational Physics. Around that time I first heard of the new World Wide Web and I started creating Websites and exploring their advantages for teaching. At the root of the success of that new technology was information sharing using open standards. I thus became keen on Free Software and started using it exclusively.

I joined the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider of CERN in 2001. That opened the possibility of engaging some of my engineering students in areas that support particle physics experiments: GRID clusters, databases for experiment management and control, and information systems. Being such a large experiment, ATLAS involves several thousand researchers; to have any significant contribution in that project, one must participate in many meetings in various locations. That task became incompatible with my teaching duties, so I had to abandon that project.