Carnegie Mellon University
February 03, 2023

Chagas Engineers Computing Solutions

By Kirsten Heuring

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Nuno Chagas, the Linux Systems Administrator for the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Mellon College of Science, assists faculty, students and staff with computer issues and research endeavors.

"My position is ever-changing," Chagas said. "The students and faculty keep it very lively, and they're always in tune with the latest technology requirements."

Chagas' role varies from day to day. Sometimes, he is assisting with hardware and software issues. He also assists graduate students performing computational research, suggesting ways that they can improve their code or work through a problem.

"Engineers and mathematicians get along great," Chagas said. "It's the lingua franca of rationality. It's fantastic."

Chagas has a long career in engineering. He received a bachelor's and a master's in informatics engineering in his native Portugal. He spent a few years pursing a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence at the University at Edinburgh, where he found he enjoyed teaching students, and he appreciated the academic environment. He left before graduation to work at a company that focused on robotics and artificial intelligence.

Chagas arrived at CMU in September 2019. Since then, he has become a major part of the Department of Mathematical Sciences and MCS at large.

"Nuno has an uncanny ability to feel pulse of the department on many matters, not just IT related, likely because he serves all members of the department and many in the college, and I am truly grateful for all the support and advice he provides," said Prasad Tetali, Alexander M. Knaster Professor of Mathematical Sciences and department head.

In 2020, he was first author on a paper on remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering. The paper was cowritten with Florin Manolache, director of scientific computing for MCS.

Currently, Chagas is working with graduate students in the Department of Mathematical Sciences to improve software across MCS. The software is designed to make day-to-day research processes run faster and smoother.

"The most interesting thing about working with students is to see their take on the solution and how that may differ from our preconceptions," Chagas said. "It goes back to their passion and naivete and exploration and novelty, and it's just very creative."