The Graduate Program in Computer Science (PPGI) at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) was the first Program in the large area of Computer Science to have “Information Systems” as its main concentration area. In the case of PPGI-UNIRIO, “Information Systems” is the only concentration area.
PPGI-UNIRIO is structured in three lines of research:
The “Distribution and Networks” line of research focuses on the aspect of developing Information Systems, dealing with topics related both to the construction of Systems and to the management of Information in organizations. The researched topics follow the trend of Information Systems to adapt their structure and development to distributed architectures and organizational environments. The needs for integration and globalized access for intra and inter-organizational information and the advent and consolidation of the Web as an infrastructure for the execution of Information Systems make the issue of distribution a broad space for research.
The research themes are part of a greater purpose of developing advanced information systems, considering the current trend of globalization, in which environments are increasingly distributed and interconnected. More specifically, the research topics in this line aim to discuss and propose solutions to problems related to two major topics:
- Urban Mobility and its Impact on Smart Transportation Systems
- Advanced Operation, Evaluation and Management of Computer Networks and New Architectures for the Internet
Professors in the line of research:
The line of research “Knowledge and Reasoning Representation” focuses on the Modeling aspect, and studies alternatives for modeling and representing the knowledge of human and computational agents that interact in an Information System.
This line of research takes on the current trend of Information Systems to handle not only information but also knowledge. The data management component relevant to Information Systems, and the recent advances in both research and market levels in terms of transforming data into information, and information into knowledge and intelligence, indicate that the transformation process of data into knowledge constitutes a wide field of research.
The objects in the domains to which Information Systems are applied often need to be represented by complex data structures and cannot be analyzed isolately. In this sense, the line of research investigates not only the alternatives for modeling and representing objects in the domain in which Information Systems are applied, but also the relationships between such objects and the methods for automatic reasoning based on this representation.
The research topics of this line are organized mainly under:
- Advances in Educational, Social and Business Technologies
- Data Science for Social Welfare
- Human Computing and Collective Intelligence: New Paradigms of Computing
- Ubiquitous Computing and Artificial Intelligence
- Intelligent Heuristics: Techniques and Applications
- Research and Analysis of Online Social Media
The line of research “Business Support Systems” focuses on the Management aspect, concerned with the impact that Information Systems represent in the several domains of current business and how its use can be continuously improved in organizations. The line of research studies the different contexts of application and use of Information Systems, as well as the management of their development and deployment processes.
Some of the topics of this line of research are:
- Analysis of complexity in information systems governance and engineering
- Network conversation in education
- Development of Computational Thinking through unplugged artifacts
- Search-based software engineering
- Digital Games with Purpose for Understanding Business Processes
- Process improvement and measurement of software and IT services
- Processes for aligning usability requirements with accessibility guidelines
- Information systems for social management
- Support for managing inter-organizational relationships
The general purpose of the Graduate Program in Computer Science at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PPGI-UNIRIO) is promoting the Information Systems area through performance of excellence in teaching, research, innovation and extension in the area.
Considering its scope, PPGI-UNIRIO stands out for presenting Information Systems as a research concentration area. Information systems have a preponderant role in the operation of organizations and continuous influence in society. Virtually all human activities in modern society involve Information Systems, where human and computational agents interact to achieve the purposes. Systems have been integrating and acquiring complexity that goes beyond technological issues. Information Systems have different facets and require specific solutions according to their application in different domains, with different needs for use and administration. Given their complexity, solutions that expand the development and use of Information Systems require both a general view and an integrated view of multiple technologies, application domains and, consequently, research areas.
Positioning Information Systems as the main research area represents meeting a demand for innovation and academic research necessary for organizations, society and the country. The latter, in particular, has been managing the policy of increasingly investing in the training of qualified personnel, not only to develop and carry out the effective management of Information Systems, but also for innovation.
The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), a foundation of the Ministry of Education (MEC), is responsible for the Evaluation of the National Graduate System. Currently, this evaluation is carried out every four years. In the evaluation of the 2012-2016 quadrennial, the Graduate Program in Computer Science (PPGI) of the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) was evaluated with Grade 4.
- CAPES Graduate Program evaluation grades range from 3 to 7. Normally, when a new Program is approved, it receives grade 3 and its grade increases as it matures.
- PPGI-UNIRIO was created in 2006, with the Master’s Degree in Computer Science, with the concentration area “Information Systems”. At the time of the Program’s proposal, the evaluators pointe to its innovative character by focusing on Information Systems.
- In 2013, the Doctorate Degree in Computer Science was approved, with the first class starting in 2014.
- Back then, the average time to start a doctorate degree in relation to the beginning of a master’s degree in Computer Science was 13.3 years.
- Only considering level 4 programs (before the last three-year evaluation), the average time to start a doctorate degree in relation to the beginning of the master’s degree in CS was 16.9 years.
- The programs that offered a doctorate degree in 7 years or less were: UFF (7 years), UFAM (7 years), USP (0 years), UFRJ – COPPE (0 years). PUC-Rio took 8 years and UFRN 9 years to offer their doctorate degree programs.
- Among the grade-4 programs at the time, the one that started its doctorate degree program in less time was PUC/PR (started its master’s degree program in 1996 and the doctorate degree program in 2006 – 10 years).
Background and Context of the Program
The Graduate Program in Computer Science at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (PPGI-UNIRIO) was created in 2006, with the approval of the Master’s Degree in Computer Science. Just six years after its creation, it progressed to level 4 of the evaluation of graduate programs in Computing in Brazil, in the 2010-2012 triennial evaluation, and UNIRIO had its Doctorate degree course in Computer Science approved. In the 2013-2016 quadrennium, the course of Master’s Degree remained at level 4 and the course of Doctorate degree began, with two years of operation, which evidenced the competence for the continuous improvement of scientific and technological production, as well as the strengthening of its internationalization actions, despite the investment restrictions that the national Graduate Programs go through.
PPGI-UNIRIO advances in the 2017-2020 quadrennium secure in its consolidation as a graduate education space, an environment capable of quality scientific production, a relevant and outstanding hub of national articulation in the area of Information Systems and a base for international articulations. The nature of research with an applied vision and the themes developed, in line with the needs of the market and society, attract a portion of the demand for graduate education unlike other courses in the area.
The capillarity and social insertion of PPGI-UNIRIO can be noted by the fact that the vast majority of candidates for master’s and doctorate degree courses are professionals in public and private organizations working in Information Technology activities, who return to their companies of origin with education and research vision, increasing the competence of these companies. Despite its short existence, the Doctorate degree course has been in good demand, receiving enrollments from many students of the Master’s Degree at PPGI-UNIRIO, as well as from Masters graduated from other institutions, such as COPPE-UFRJ, IF-UFRJ, IME, PUC-Rio, UERJ, UFES, UFF, UFJF, UFPA and UFSC. In September 2018, the first Doctorate degree student at PPGI-UNIRIO graduated. In 2019, seven (7) other dissertations were examined and approved, initiating the continuous flow of students of the Doctorate degree course.
The evolution of PPGI-UNIRIO follows a strategic vision in line with national and Computer Science area demands. At the national level, since its creation in 2006, PPGI-UNIRIO has acted as a catalyst for the recognition of Information Systems (SI), as a research area in the national scenario, following and creating cutting-edge trends and research in the area. This challenge involved the contextualization of the Information Systems area in terms of research, bringing to the academic-scientific community discussions about the peculiarities inherent to this area of concentration, the strengthening of applied research and the construction of a community of researchers around Information Systems, within the Computer Science area. In particular, professors from PPGI-UNIRIO participated in both the organization and the proposition of the Great Challenges of Research in Information Systems for the years 2016 to 2026, approved by the Brazilian Computer Society; as well as acted as editor and authors of the special edition of 10 years of iSys: Brazilian Journal of Information Systems, activities related to the organization of SBSI – Brazilian Symposium on Information Systems, such as the creation of the Research Quality Workshop on Information Systems in Brazil, led discussions related to the Education References for Undergraduate Courses in Information Systems, also supported by the Brazilian Computer Society, are involved in the production of textbooks of the Brazilian Computer Society in related subjects (specifically: Information Systems, Computing in Education and Collaborative Systems), as well as stand out as a national reference in epistemological-methodological terms on Design Science Research, which has been consolidating itself as an important approach to scientific research in Information Systems.
As a result of this performance, it is possible to observe the maturation of the Brazilian Symposium on Information Systems (SBSI), the consolidation of the Special Information Systems Commission (CESI) as part of the Brazilian Computer Society and the creation and development of Brazilian Journal of Information Systems (iSys), which in 2014 started to be managed by the community itself through CESI/SBC. Thus, as already observed when creating the Master’s Degree in Information Systems at PPGI-UNIRIO, several national courses and research groups started to direct strategies for the area, in view of the signaling that this would be an area of continuous evolution. Other IS graduate courses were created and the trend is for this direction to intensify.