FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Matemática

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Ciências Matemáticas - CCM [MATH-Madeira-Funchal-219] visitada em 24/07/2008

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
Since the last FCT evaluation, rather substantial changes occurred in the scientific life of this Centre, which explains why this year the global appreciation rate differs from the preceding one.
Two major changes actually occurred: first, the Unit Leader in 2004, who also was the charismatic leader of the Mathematics and Physics group, retired and is no longer a member of the Unit.
Second, in 2006 Prof. Larry Constantine arrived in the Unit and became responsible for the Engineering Informatics group.
The landscape is now as follows. The Unit has around 20 PhD researchers and is divided in two groups: the Pure and Applied Mathematics group and the Engineering Informatics group.

The Engineering Informatics group has a huge activity and strong international relations, particularly with Carnegie Mellon University within the CMU-Portugal program. Its leader has just been made Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and is of one the top international leaders in his field (software engineering and design). However the panel committee has not sufficient expertise in this field, and recommends that this group, which seems to be quite unique in Portugal, is evaluated by computer scientists and possibly becomes a separate unit.
The Pure and Applied Mathematics group counts around 20 PhD members. It is divided in two subgroups, one working in stochastic analysis, and the other one working in applied Plasma Physics.

Again, the panel committee does not feel competent to evaluate the Physics subgroup which, in spite of its very small size (2 PhD researchers), is very active and productive, trained 1 PhD student in the period and is training 3 new PhD students, and has several industrial and EU contracts with substantial fundings. The committee also emphasizes the real applications resulting from the works by this subgroup. However, as it has no collaboration with the mathematics subgroup (and with no mathematician), the committee recommends that this subgroup is evaluated by physicists and possibly becomes part of another unit.

Concerning the stochastic analysis and statistics subgroup, its publication record is below average: with around ten PhD members it published less than 15 papers in journals, a couple of them being published in top journals such as Stochastics. Most of the papers were published by the preceding and the present PI of the group. Only three papers were published in journals by the statisticians of the subgroup. With around 5 PhD supervisions during the evaluation period and 3 PhD students being supervised, the training is satisfying.

This subgroup seems to suffer from lack of strong scientific leadership. The oral presentation and the written report were poor in terms of perspectives and mathematical challenges. In addition, high quality research in the field of Mathematical Physics is conducted in groups in Lisbon and Porto, but the subgroup seems to have weak relationships with these researchers. More generally, its real international collaborations are limited in spite of the large success, in terms of top plenary speakers and number of participants, of the international meetings that they organized.

In conclusion, the Pure and Applied Mathematics is ranked Good. It is encouraged to develop its collaborations with excellent national and international teams working in well identified relevant questions in Mathematical Physics, possibly less abstract but better motivated than before.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Engineering Informatics [RG-MATH-Madeira-Funchal-219-1262]
Pure and Applied Mathematics [RG-MATH-Madeira-Funchal-219-1261]

Comentários da unidade

The evaluation commission does not know the Portuguese rules for financing I&D Units. In fact, they claimed "... the Unit Leader in 2004, who also was the charismatic leader of the Mathematics and Physics group, retired and is no longer a member of the Unit." In fact, Professor Ludwig Streit remains a member of CCM and was responsible for the research group Pure and Applied Mathematics during the period under evaluation, c.f. Unit report submitted on July 2007. Though Professor Ludwig Streit is retired, the FCT explicitly states "see https://www.fct.mctes.pt/avaliacaounidades/default.asp?action=ajudadentro":
"São membros integrados de uma unidade os doutorados:
Para efeitos da alínea a) do nº 4 do artigo 10º do Regulamento (Financiamento), podem ser tomados em consideração os membros integrados atrás referidos, reformados ou jubilados desde que continuem a desenvolver investigação na mesma unidade, activamente e com carácter de continuidade."

The Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering, indicated in the evaluation report as the Engineering Informatics group, appreciates the evaluation committee’s acknowledgement of the activities, achievements, and potential of the lab. The lab also understands the committee’s incapability to assess this line of research and, appreciating the importance of a quality assessment, agrees with the necessity to have our activities evaluated by a panel with expertise in the specific area of computer science.
Regarding the committee’s suggestion to separate the activities of the lab from the research center CCM, the lab will consider this option in conjunction with other possibilities for future development and organization of the lab and the research center, bearing in mind the optimization of conditions and structure required to perform research of the highest possible quality.

The Theoretical Physics group appreciates evaluation committee’s acknowledgement of the activity and productivity of the group. A small correction: Professor Streit, while being the Unit Leader, was not leader of the Theoretical Physics group. Although there have been no joint papers with members of the mathematics group, there have been an informal collaboration and discussions. Nevertheless, Committee’s suggestion that the Physics group becomes part of another unit is certainly an option that must be seriously considered.