Brazil Studies Program: "The Brazilian Experience in Pursuing National Digital Transformation"


Thursday, February 11, 2016, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South S-050, 1730 Cambridge St.

Speaker: Virgilio Almeida, Professor of Computer Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais; Brazil Former National Secretary for Information Technology Policies (2011-2015); CAPES Visiting Professor, Harvard University

virgilio almeida

Digital technologies - internet, smartphones, software and networks - have spread quickly worldwide. Many countries are working on digital strategies to transform their economies and achieve the benefits of the use of information and communication technologies, in particular, innovation, inclusion and efficiency. This talk will examine the strategy of the Brazilian government towards the construction of a digital economy. It will focus on answering four questions.  

  1. Why are information and communication technologies fundamentally important for the social and economic development of Brazil?
  2. What are the main obstacles to create and implement a digital transformation strategy?
  3. What are positive characteristics of the Brazilian society for pursuing a digital transformation?
  4. What can be done to accelerate the digital transformation in the short term and long-term?  


Virgilio Almeida is a full-time professor of the Computer Science Department at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. His areas of research include large scale distributed systems, Internet, social computing, autonomic computing and performance modeling and analysis. He received a PhD degree in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University, an MS in Computer Science from the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro and a BS Electrical Engineering from UFMG, Brazil. He was a visiting professor at Boston University (1996), Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) in Barcelona (2003), Polytechnic Institute of NYU (2007) and held visiting appointments at Santa Fe Institute (2008), Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratory (2001 and 2004) and Xerox Research Center (PARC 1997).
He was the National Secretary for Information Technology Policy of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Brazil from 2011 to 2015. He is the chair of the Brazilian Internet Governance Committee ( He was the chairman of NETmundial, Global Multistakeholder Conference on the Future of Internet Governance, that was held in Sao Paulo in 2014.
He has published over 150 technical papers and co-authored five books on performance modeling, including "Performance By Design" (2004), "Capacity Planning for Web Services" (2002), and "Scaling for E-business" (2000) published by Prentice Hall. He has also been a member of the program committees of more than 20 national and international conferences as well as member of the editorial board of some important journals in his areas of research, such as IEEE Internet Computing, ACM Transactions on Modeling and Performance Evaluation of Computing Systems (ToMPECS) and The Journal of Web Science. He has supervised more than 55 PhD theses and MSc dissertations. As of November 2015, Google Scholar shows more than 8600 citations to his publications.
Prof. Almeida has received, among others, the National Award in Informatics (1991) and the Great Cross of the National Order of the Scientific Merit in 2009. In 2011, one of his PhD students received the Best PhD Dissertation Award in Brazil. Prof. Almeida is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).