University of Minho
The University of Minho (UMinho) is one of the Portuguese new universities created in the early 1970s. Currently it has around 20,000 students enrolled in the degree programs offered by its eleven schools that cover most areas of knowledge (sciences, engineering, psychology, education, social sciences, economics and management, law, humanities and arts, architecture, medicine, nursing).
The University is named after the Northwest region of Portugal where it is located. The University campi, and other main infrastructures, are situated in the cities of Braga and Guimarães. The region has a strong tradition of vibrant entrepreneurship rooted in a rich history associated to the Roman empire, to the Christianisation of the Iberic Peninsula and to the foundation of the Portuguese nation.
In its establishment, back in 1974, UMinho sought to set up its strategy taking into consideration the socio-economic characteristics of the region and paying attention to emerging fields of knowledge with major potential for development and consolidation of the small and medium enterprises that constitute the majority of Minho’s economic fabric. By the time, informatics was such an emerging academic field. At UMinho informatics emerged associated to the areas of industrial management and control, areas that gave origin to several degree programs and departments related to computers and to informatics.
Informatics at UMinho
UMinho has been the first Portuguese university to offer a full degree program in Informatics in the country. It is not surprising, thus, that informatics is an important area at UMinho, with more than 10% of its students enrolled in degree programs in the area. UMinho currently offers five initial degree programs in informatics or somehow related to computers, namely: Informatics Engineering (integrated master); Engineering and Management of Information Systems (integrated master); Telecommunications and Informatics (integrated master); Industrial Electronics and Computers (integrated master); Computation Sciences (bachelor). The annual intake of new students for these programs amounts to close to 400. The offer of postgraduate programs includes several master programs (information systems; informatics; entrepreneurship in information technologies and services; technology and digital arts; bioinformatics; law and informatics; engineering of networks and telematics services; management of engineering projects) and several PhD programs (Information Systems and Technologies; Informatics (in cooperation with universities of Porto and Aveiro); Telecommunications (in cooperation with universities of Porto and Aveiro); Electronics and Computers Engineering).
Several departments are associated to this educational offer. Not just the departments more related to the informatics and computers (Informatics, Information Systems, and Industrial Electronics) but also departments from other schools like the Mathematics and the Biology departments from the School of Sciences, the School of Law; and the Management department from the School of Economics and Management (this School is an important contributor to the integrated master in Engineering and Management of Information Systems, taking care of most courses in the areas of economics, organizational sciences and management).
The Department of Information Systems
The academic interests of the Department of Information Systems are related to the adoption and use of information technology (IT) in organizations and society. They address two concerns: (1) those related to the development and improvement of socio-technical units (work units, processes, organizations, businesses, society sectors); (2) those related to the construction of IT applications capable of addressing the needs of the contexts where they will be used or to enable new forms of setting up work structures.
In order to accomplish its academic mission the Department of Information Systems combines academic approaches adequate to the socio-technical nature of its interests. On one hand the technological approaches associated to the development of IT products. On the other hand the approaches adequate to deal with the human and social facets inherent to the study and interventions in phenomena where humans are central.
The Department of Information Systems has around 35 faculty members. Most of them hold a doctoral degree and are in a tenure track. A few of them, collaborating with the department in a part time basis, are recruited among reputed IST professionals. The department has also six collaborators with administrative and technical duties.
The department aims at providing a rich and challenging environment for teaching and research. Cultural diversity is viewed as an asset. Creativity and innovation are valued as crucial to the department’s academic mission. The department is installed in modern facilities, adequate to the fulfilment of its mission.
The portfolio of educational offer promoted by the Department of Information Systems in the information systems and technologies (IST) area – TSI@UMinho, http://tsiuminho.dsi.uminho.pt/ – covers all levels of higher education. Initial training of IST professionals is achieved through the integrated Master in Engineering and Management of Information Systems. This program has its roots in an early program created in 1990. Challenges from keeping up with constant evolution of IST professional training and the demands of adjusting higher education programs to the new principles and rules for higher education have been addressed through several changes in the program structure. Besides this IST initial training program, the TSI@UMinho portfolio also includes the following programs: Master in Information Systems; Master in Information Services and Technologies Entrepreneurship; Doctoral Program in Information Systems and Technologies.
TSI@UMinho students are offered a broad range of possibilities in what concerns international mobility and cooperation. The department has mobility agreements with a large set of partners from several countries and promotes the affiliation to networks whose thematic motivation might facilitate the exchange of students (e.g., ERCIS, IS-LINK, AIS Student Chapter@UMinho).
Research and outreach
R&D activities are central to the university vision assumed by the UMinho, the Engineering School and the Department of Information Systems. Therefore it is a concern of the department to ensure that there are R&D programs that address the development of the IST body of knowledge and the application of this knowledge to whatever problems and situations where it might be beneficial.
The R&D activities in information systems and technologies encompass a broad range of research topics and problems, such as:
Studies of phenomena related to the adoption and use of IT;
Studies of phenomena that involve the use of information;
Studies of IT impact on organizations and society;
Development of methodologies and tools to support organizational intervention activities;
Studies and experiments of IT tools to support different activities with special emphasis on knowledge work;
Development of innovative IT products based upon emergent technologies.
Providing services to the community is also viewed as an important academic activity as it is an opportunity to contact with real world situations that constitute potential R&D cases. This is particularly relevant due to the fact that the nature of most problems addressed in the IST area does not allow their study in laboratorial settings.
Research - the ALGORTIMI R&D centre
Research activities in the information systems and other informatics-related fields are carried out in the ALGORTIMI R&D centre. ALGORTIMI is a UMinho’s research unit funded by the Portuguese agency for science and technology. It combines basic, applied and translational research in a broad range of areas that include: information systems, software, multimedia, communications, networks, pervasive computing, electronics, operations research, statistics. Most researchers of ALGORITMI centre are also faculty in four departments of the schools of engineering: Information Systems; Informatics; Production and Systems; Industrial Electronics.
ALGORITMI organizes its activities along two dimensions. On one dimension (research lines) R&D activities are aligned with the areas of the departments associated to the centre mentioned above. On the other dimension (research strands), activities focus on a selection of societal challenges, namely: wealthy and innovative industry; sustainable and smart cities; healthy and secure people; resilient and agile organizations.
Research in Information Systems and Technologies
Information Systems and Technologies (IST) is a research line close to the interest of the Information Systems Department. It embraces three research groups: i) Information systems and technologies for the transformation of organizations and society; ii) Advanced and intelligent technologies for information systems; iii) Engineering and management of the development process of software-based information systems.
The first area addresses the adoption, use and exploitation of Information Technology to enhance desirable organizational and societal traits, namely collective intelligence, agility, resilience, transparency and citizen empowerment. The second area focuses on adaptive systems that use data to enhance individual, group or organizational work or to enable new work practices and structures. Finally, the third area addresses the processes of building and deploying information systems. It covers both the engineering and the management dimensions of the development process. The three groups are highly complementary and interdependent, acting as a crosscut research agenda for stimulating cooperation when addressing specific IST research topics, such as: business intelligence & process management, information services, information systems security & audit, knowledge management, semantic web & scholarly communication, and sustainable development of organizational software.
The IST R&D line covers the full range of research activities that precede innovation, including basic, applied and translation research. The addressed phenomena include Information Technology (IT artifacts, methods and conceptual tools and also the behaviour of individuals, groups, organizations or even societal phenomena. This diversity of research activities and phenomena of interest leads to a diversity of research methods, which is likely to include: case studies, field studies, field experiments, surveys, laboratory experiments, computer simulations, action-research, proof-of-concept, benchmarking, panels of specialists, and Delphic studies.
By addressing complex questions that bring together all the dimensions of the issues at stake, IST researchers contribute to a more dynamic development of research and education activities targeted at the information systems and software industries, which can spill over to society at large and result in sustainable and inclusive growth and quality of live through a more productive use of IT. For further details about the Information Systems and Technologies research line, please visit http://algoritmi.uminho.pt/researchlteams/ist/.
The Master Program in Information Systems aims to train professionals capable of: (i) Understanding the role of information and information systems and technology (IST) in organizations and society; (ii) Explaining the technological, organizational, political, social and cultural reasons for the success of IST adoption and management; (iii) Diagnosing problems associated with the use of IST; (iv) Designing IST solutions to solve organizational or societal problems and seizing opportunities arising from changing markets and society. Thus, the graduate in Information Systems should be able to perform organizational activities such as: (i) To help to define the technological infrastructure to support business strategy; (ii) To participate in innovation processes and organizational change where IST play a central role; (iii) To manage organization’s IST to ensure the support of the implemented business model taking into account the business goals and constraints.
The Doctoral Program in Information Systems and Technologies (PDTSI) aims at training researchers to, in an autonomous way, conduct R&D activities in the field of information systems and technology (TSI). Training is certified with acquiring the title of Doctor
The performed R&D activities focus on social and organizational phenomenons related with the adoption and use of information technologies. PhD projects may result in technological or theoretical contributions relevant to organizational interventions aiming to enhance organizational development and well being or to develop innovative computational platforms with the potential to transform organizational or social practices, interactions and relationships.
The program has a 4-year duration. PDTSI’s first year implies the successful completion of disciplines designed to allow students to get familiar with relevant literature to their field and the existing research approaches and methods. During this first year, students also prepare their doctorate’s project proposal. The program’s remaining time is dedicated to the research development and writing the doctorate’s dissertation.
PDTSI is intended to a wide range of potential candidates, including:
- Young graduates that seek to prepare for research or academic careers
- Professionals the seek to increase their knowledge and skills to lead the development of IT applications and to be more effective in addressing the multidisciplinary nature of organizational and social phenomenons related with the adoption and use of information techologies.
- Those who seek to contribute for the organizational and social change trough the use of innovative information technology.
The R&D’s activities developed for PDTSI are performed at the Centro Algoritmi, one of the UMINHO R&D centers financed by FCT.
The ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions underlying two scientific paradigms: positivism and interpretivism. The case study: main phases and used techniques (quantitative and qualitative). The rigor criteria to be applied to qualitative case studies.
The IST field; comparison with other fields where information and information technology also play an important role (e.g., computer science; software engineering; information and library science). Professional profiles associated to the IST field. Fundamental concepts in the IST field: information; systems; information systems; organizations. Theories that result from IST research: explanatory theories addressing phenomena in organizations (e.g., IT adoption, use, and success); methods for IT related interventions in organizations. Theories from reference fields that are used in IST research (the actual theories to be addressed will be chosen attending to student interests).
T1. Information Systems and Software Engineering
1.1. Socio-technical systems
1.2. IT projects and systems development
1.3. Systems analysis and requirements specification
1.4. SWEBoK and OMG reference models
2. Engineering and management of requirements
2.1. Requirements engineering process
2.2. Requirements elicitation
2.3. Requirements prioritization
2.4. Requirements negociation
2.5. Writing requirements
3. Systems modeling
3.1. OCL/UML/SysML/BPMN and BMM/BPDM/BABoK reference models
3.2. Requirements mapping and transformation (4SRS method)
4. Patterns and systems architecture
4.1. Architectural styles
4.2. Types and classification of patterns
4.3. Catalogs of patterns
4.4. Representation and refinement of systems architectures (recursice 4SRS method)
4.5. Enterprise architectures
4.6. SoaML/EAI, EABoK/TOGAF and Zachman reference models
This course aims to address the fundamentals of Database Systems, its characteristics and the various technologies used in its implementation. In this context, it examines the role of the Database Management System (DBMS) to develop computer systems and the features they made available to the application level. It is intended, in particular, to address the characteristics, application areas and major limitations of the relational model of databases. One of the strengths of this course is the emphasis in the development of skills needed for the design of conceptual data models and corresponding relational databases schemes. Similarly, great attention is given to the development of the skills needed to interact with database systems through the use of relational languages.
The purpose of this unit course is to provide an integrated overview of the most important concepts in corporate finance. It covers issues such as the different criteria to evaluate investments and the cost of capital estimation.
This course unit has two major objectives:
- To familiarize students with the practices, challenges, and opportunities currently associated with the use of IST to support, transform and modernize the execution of the multiple State governance activities, a phenomenon currently know by Electronic Government (e-Government); and
- To provide students with the knowledge and capacity to collaborate in management, design, and implementation of e-Government projects and initiatives.
This course unit presents e-Government as a multidimensional and sociotechnical phenomenon, thus giving not only a pure technological perspective of this phenomenon, but also stressing the set of organizational, semantic, political and social issues that surround, affect and restrain e-Gov development.
The elective Information Systems Security Management focuses on the theme of information systems security management, assuming a multidimensional and integrated approach, which articulates aspects of different nature, such as technological, organizational and social.
In terms of training in Information Systems Security, the elective Information Systems Security Management is linked to the elective Information Systems Security Engineering.
This course aims to explore the role of information systems in supporting the Management of Knowledge, Learning and Organizational Intelligence.
Support of activities like management, monitoring, planning and decision is assumed as the main objective of business intelligence systems. The provision of adequate information is essential to the success and competitiveness of organizations. The course of Business Intellence explores advanced concepts of storage and data management, analytical processing, information visualization, models and data mining techniques to build BI systems.