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19/09/2016 - 07:00hs

Saudis to use technology developed in Brazil

Federal University of Pernambuco scientist Fred Freitas is the head of creation of a reasoner that will be used in a Saudi Arabian university.

São Paulo – A team of Brazilians is working to create a technological tool to be used in research in Saudi Arabia. The crew from the Computing Center of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), led by professor Fred Freitas, has developed the ReAsoner based on the Connection Calculus over Ontologies (Raccoon) and is working on a version for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Press Release

Fred Freitas: studies in Germany and Brazil

The reasoner is a kind of high-complexity calculator to assist with research into specific ontologies, i.e. sets of interrelated concepts relating to the same subject matter. Practically speaking, ontologies are like large databanks containing broad, deep information, and the reasoner helps relate the concepts they contain, and then shed new light and reach new conclusions on the topic at hand.

Freitas expects the Raccoon to be made available to Saudis before the end of the year. The version will be an adaptation designed to tap into the potential of the supercomputers available at KAUST, according to information conveyed to ANBA by phone. The Raccoon will be used for research on biology and some biochemistry. The professor explains that the Saudi Arabians already use a reasoner, albeit a slower one. The Brazilian creation is expected to yield more effective responses, according to Freitas.

The team includes students from the UFPE, but the mathematical calculi that originated the reasoner are professor Freitas’. The German researcher Jens Otten helped perfect the Brazilian’s calculations, and the student Dimas de Melo Filho developed the reasoner along with four other students and another professor.

Fred Freitas holds a degree in Computer Technology from Instituto Tecnológico da Aeronáutica (ITA, the Brazilian aeronautical technology institute) and a doctorate in Artificial Intelligence from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). He completed a postdoctoral degree in Web Semantics at the University of Mannheim, in Germany. While there, he conducted extensive research on the subject in a partnership with Jen Otten, of the Institut Für Informatik at the University of Potsdam. That was when the idea for the reasoner was born.

Through his contact with German researchers, Freitas eventually met Robert Hoehndorf, currently a tenured professor at KAUST. The latter invited him to teach a lecture cycle in Saudi Arabia in March of this year. He discussed the Raccoon there and it piqued people’s interests. As soon as the reasoner is complete, part of the team will spend some time in the Arab country to get it started.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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