BOGOTA – A total of 25 projects in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru, including research into health issues such as skin cancer, fighting serious disease and the detection of pulmonary nodules, have been selected to receive the Google Latin American Research Awards, LARA organizers said on Tuesday.
Fifteen Brazilian projects, five in Colombia, two each in Argentina and Chile and one in Peru, all of them based on technology, were selected to receive a total of $500,000 in the seventh edition of LARA, according to organizers’ announcement in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
A total of 670 proposals were received for the 2019 edition of the awards, and the Masters and doctoral students selected, along with their advisers, will receive the scholarships to finance their research projects over the coming 12 months.
Technology is advancing with gigantic steps to meet human needs and academic research work is essential in the process of finding and analyzing the best ways to solve people’s daily problems, Google said in a statement.
Among the awardees this year at Google’s Engineering Center for Latin America in Belo Horizonte are Brazilians Sandra Avila and Alceu Bissoto, who developed a method based on Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) to create realistic synthetic data for improving models to classify skin cancer lesions, the most common type of that disease.
Two other Brazilians – Eduardo da Silva and Wesley Passos –, meanwhile, are seeking to perfect an automatic detection mechanism in breeding areas of the Aedes aegypti mosquito (which transmit deadly diseases such as dengue, chikugunya and Zika) using artificial vision and automatic learning with an eye toward eliminating those breeding sites.
Colombia’s Fabio Gonzalez and Santiago Toledo Cortes are seeking to design and implement a system for acquiring and processing images from the back of the eye to detect diseases linked to diabetes using low-cost hardware that interacts with more powerful systems based in the Cloud for more advanced analysis, a technique that would be made available to help low-income populations in difficult-to-access areas.
Less favored populations are also the priority for Peru’s Mirko Zimic and Macarena Vitte, who are seeking alternative diagnostic methods for autism in children in low-income areas using a portable computational device using automatic learning and techniques.
Since it was begun seven years ago, LARA, Google’s research scholarship program for Latin America, has awarded $3 million to 124 projects in the region.
The Google Research Awards for Latin America are one-year awards structured as unrestricted gifts to support the work of world-class permanent faculty members and their students who are pursuing cutting-edge research in specific fields related to Computer Science at top universities in Latin America.