Co-author of first Net connection in Portugal was honoured

Jubilation Ceremony of José Esgalhado Valença, Full Professor of the Department of Informatics, had several testimonies and the honoree’s last lesson.

With the theme “A Journey with Math”, the ceremony was attended by family, friends, colleagues, students and alumni, among other personalities of the academic community. Pedro Guedes de Oliveira, Manuela Sobral, José Pina de Miranda, Alberto José Proença and José Nuno Oliveira presented their testimony and praise the experience of the Professor.

José Valença was an Internet pioneer in Portugal, when in 1985 sent an email fromthe Mathematics and Computer Science building, in Braga, to the University of Manchester (United Kingdom). The achievement had the collaboration of other Professors, such as Vasco Freitas, also from the Department of Informatics of UMinho. “For the first time in the country, we exchanged an email via modem at 200 bits per second, it was a euphoria!” Says José Valença.

In 1991 UMinho created the first “Home Page of Portugal”, at http://s700.uminho.pt/homepage-en-html (currently inactive), to give visibility to the work developed. “The Internet was seen as something just for academics. The idea was to have a map on the Internet of Europe and, in the various sites, would have this Portuguese page. The big concern was who controlled what, that every page should have a root, ”he recalls. The “1st World Wide Web Conference” was also held at UMinho in July 1995, and coordinated by José Valença. In the last decade, José Valença was the main consultant in the creation of the Citizen Card, co-founded the Association for the Promotion and Development of the Information Society and was linked to security projects for various government ministries, such as electronic voting, the law on digital certification, the reliability of the financial system and the elections to the European Parliament.

The School of Engineering has played a unique role in this area. Actually, including having the Portuguese supercomputer and the worldwide network in quantum technologies. “We gained consistency in the technology, in the education’s quality and the ability to change people by mobilizing them to create projects. Moreover, it has acquired a culture of its own, inside and outside the institution”, reinforces the full professor.

José Manuel Esgalhado Valença was born 70 years ago in Lisbon. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lourenço Marques (Mozambique) and a doctorate in Engineering from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom). He has been teaching since 1980 at UMinho, having been director of several courses at the Center and Department of Informatics, Centro Algoritmi, founder of the Trusted Software Laboratory (HASLab / INESC TEC) and mentor of research groups in Formal Logic and Methods, Cryptography and Information Security. He was also an evaluator for the European Commission, the Portuguese Universities Foundation and the Science and Technology Foundation, among others. He is the author of several seminal scientific publications, namely in areas whose teaching was pioneering in Portugal, and books, some even translated into Russian.

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