Testimony of Marcos Roberto e Souza (Master - 2018) - SBC CTD Award 2019

The award for best master's dissertation from the Institute of Computing of the State University of Campinas (IC / UNICAMP) and the first place among the master's dissertations in the Thesis and Dissertations Competition of the Brazilian Computer Society (CTD / SBC), represent the recognition from the Brazilian academy and reward all the effort of a work developed over two years by me and professor Dr. Hélio Pedrini. The first place award among all the master's theses on computing defended in 2018 in the country also awards IC / UNICAMP and shows, once again, its excellence in the training of graduate students. I thank prof. Hélio, for the opportunity to be guided by him; to IC / Unicamp, for providing all the necessary conditions; and to my parents and my brother, for all the support and sacrifices that were made to get me here. I also thank all the other people who helped me in some way, both during the development of the work and in the stages prior to the master's degree.

My Trajectory in Computing

Period prior to UNICAMP

I was born in 1994 in Santa Adélia, a small town in the interior of São Paulo with 15 thousand inhabitants. I got my first computer when I was ten. During this period, this computer became my main source of leisure. Consequently, in a short time, I already knew that I would have something related to the computer as a profession. Throughout the rest of my childhood, I took several short professional courses, in rooms full of adults.

In 2009, I started, at high school, a technical course in computer science, at a school in the Paula Souza Center, in the neighboring city, Catanduva. During this time, I traveled daily to attend high school in the morning and the computer technician in the afternoon. My first contact with topics really related to computing, such as programming and databases, occurred during this technical course. My childhood certainty about having something related to the computer as a profession became clearer and I realized that Computer Science was the only course I would like to take.

I started my graduation in 2012, at the Federal Technological University of Paraná on the campus of Campo Mourão (UTFPR-CM). During the four-year period of the Computer Science course, I developed an interest in the most diverse areas of computing. My interest in scientific research was built over the years and reached its highest point during the development of my Course Conclusion Work (TCC), in which I had the opportunity to be guided by professor Dr. Diego Bertolini Gonçalves. With this work, I had more contact with the areas of analysis and image processing, which have become my research areas. At the end of 2015, I completed the course, being the first person in my family to attend higher education. Despite some difficulties at the beginning of my graduation, I was fortunate to win the Outstanding Student award from the Brazilian Computer Society.

Master at the Institute of Computing

With the encouragement of prof. Diego and other UTFPR teachers, in addition to the support of my parents and brother, decided to continue my studies with a master's degree. From a call made by prof. Diego, I talked for the first time with professor Dr. Hélio Pedrini, who promptly accepted me as his master's student. In the first semester of 2016, after going through the IC / UNICAMP selection process, I started the compulsory subjects, which were concluded with some difficulty.

In that first year, I also experienced some difficulties in relation to research. Until my Master's Qualification Exam, I knew my research topic and had done a bibliographic review. However, I did not know what could be done to contribute to the literature on that problem. Contrary to the work of scientific initiations and the undergraduate degree, in which contributions were defined mainly by the supervisor, in the master's degree, I needed to better develop the ability to determine what limitations are present in the literature and what would need to be done to overcome them .

Early in the second year of the master's degree, in an almost daily effort, I started to list new strategies that could be developed to contribute to the problem. From that and very frequent meetings with prof. Hélio, in a few months, we developed the first contribution of our work. For this contribution and all others that would come later, we carried out all the experiments and writing necessary to finalize an article that was publishable, before starting to develop the next contribution. Each of the five main contributions of our work has been published in journals in the area.

In a self-assessment made after the master's degree, I believe that the first contributions were simpler, obtained from assumptions made by our empirical knowledge. While the latest contributions were developed from greater knowledge about the problem. Our strategy also facilitated the final writing of the dissertation, and the writing of the articles was carried out throughout the master's period.

In addition to technical knowledge about the problem, I believe that the development of master's research gave me the opportunity to improve several other important skills for scientific research, such as self-taught learning, the ability to do a bibliographic research, the ability to analyze and solve problems, the development of critical thinking, and the improvement of a simple and clear scientific writing. After defending the master's degree, we were fortunate to win awards that validated our research effort and work. They are: the Best Master's Dissertation at IC / UNICAMP; 1st place among the master's dissertations at CTD / SBC; in addition to an honorable mention at the Conference on Graphics, Patterns and Images (XXXII SIBGRAPI) Thesis and Dissertation Workshop.