At Control Data Brazil As a manager At University of North Dakota At University of Notre Dame At Midwestern State University
Dr. Nelson L. Passos is a naturalized American citizen, born in Brazil. He graduated in 1974 in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Telecommunications from the Escola Politecnica da Universidade de Sao Paulo (EPUSP, Polytechnic School of University of Sao Paulo), Brazil. During his junior year, Dr. Passos worked in an internship with Control Data Brazil (CDB), a subsidiary of Control Data Corporation (CDC), headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. In his senior year at EPUSP, Dr. Passos was hired as a Computer System Analyst Trainee in the CDB Department of System Analysis and Programming. His initial duties included planning and design of commercial software systems. That same year, due to his engineering background and previous Fortran knowledge, Dr. Passos was invited to work in the Control Data Cybernet Services Division, which was just beginning to do business in Brazil. In this new area, Dr. Passos was assigned to work with scientific computing, one of the focal business of CDC.
Following his college graduation, Dr. Passos received a salary raise of more than 400% (1,350 cruzeiros to 6,000 cruzeiros) as a reward for his dedication and professionalism, being promoted to Junior System Analyst. During the period between 1974 and 1978, the Brazilian branch of the Cybernet Services Division grew from one customer, using a computer terminal to access powerful processors in Rockyville, MD, to hundreds of users using the first scientific supercomputer (at the time) to be installed in Brazil a CDC 6600). It was Dr. Passos responsibility to teach this group of users the basics of the new computer architecture and the usage of scientific programming languages. Dr. Passos developed several seminars and short courses in scientific processing as part of his assignments. In the meantime, Dr. Passos was promoted to System Analyst, Senior System Analyst and Supervisor of Cybernet Operations in the Sao Paulo branch. Due to his experience in teaching (user training), Dr. Passos was invited to occupy a position as an adjunct professor at University of Mogi das Cruzes (UMC) during 1977 and 1978, concurrently with his job at CDC.
Among the CDC users that benefited from Dr. Passos' work, were important research institutions such as Nuclebras, the Brazilian nuclear regulatory agency, several universities including the University of Sao Paulo, and some of the largest engineering companies in the world, such as Themag and Promon, which were responsible for design, management and construction of hydroelectric power plants, subways, roads, bridges and other signicant projects around the world. Dr. Passos' areas of consulting and training included project management, structural analysis, statistics, power systems design, development and implementation of FORTRAN programs and data base systems. In 1978, Dr. Passos received the award of "Best System Analyst" in the Control Data Corporation - Panam Pacific region. At the end of 1978, Dr. Passos left the teaching position at UMC due to the frequent trips required by CDC, which lead to schedule conflicts with the academic job.
In 1979, Dr. Passos was promoted to the position of Services Support Manager for the South region of Brazil. Dr. Passos assumed the responsibility for a number of people including two Ph.D.'s in engineering, 5 engineers, two secretaries and three computer operators. In the same year, Control Data had an opportunity to sell their first supercomputer in South America. The prospective client was the Brazilian Center for Aerospace Technology (CTA) which required as part of their bid a very strong technical proposal with a competitive benchmark. Dr. Passos was the most experienced and knowledgeable Systems Analyst at Control Data (even considering his current management position) and he was offered a new position as Technical Consultant. Dr. Passos was then promoted in order to work on the technical sale process. Dr. Passos traveled to Minneapolis and worked alone at the Control Data Corporation benchmark lab in an effort to produce the best benchmark results of the bid in the shortest time. His results were successful helping Control Data to win the bid over IBM, which was the current provider at CTA, and other manufacturers. The total revenue generated by that sale was in the order of millions of dollars.
In 1980, Dr. Passos received the most prestigious CDC company award. He was inducted as a member of the Bill Norris Shark Club, receiving his award from the hands of William Norris, President and Co-founder of Control Data Corporation. This annual award was reserved for a select group of 50 people among the 60 thousands employees working for the company at that time. Dr. Passos also received the CDC Professional Excellence Award and the Outstanding System Analyst for the Panam/Pacific regions.
After the first system sale, Control Data Brazil started diversifying its businessre-organized in 3 divisions: Cybernet Services (remote access to scientific computers), EDP Systems (super computer sales and support), and Application and Products Services (Consulting Services). The synergism required in order to have those 3 lines of business working together was considered the most important goal in the company's management decisions. In 1982, Dr. Passos was promoted to the position of Manager of Products and Services, with responsibility over the technical staff assigned to those 3 product lines, including several engineers, a librarian, secretaries and computer operators. Dr. Passos' new position involved responsibility for significant technical work, including the design and management of the installation of computer systems at Petrobras (the Brazilian Petroleum Company), Nuclebras, Natron (an engineering company), IPT (Institute of Technology Research), and other organizations. While at CDC, Dr. Passos was offered a part time professorship at PUC (Pontifical Catholic University), which he managed to work on for one year. During this period, Dr. Passos published two papers related to Data Analysis and Data Base Design.
In 1984, Control Data decided to bring a new line of services to Brazil: Meteorological Systems. This field required someone with technical expertise in the scientific computing area, as well as knowledge on satellite images and data communications. Dr. Passos was again called to take over the technical aspects of the new services in the position of Systems Consultant. In his new area, Dr. Passos worked in the design and implementation of several meteorological systems installed in important Brazilian government agencies such as the Instituto de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE (Institute for Space Research). At INPE, Dr. Passos designed the interface of the meteorological system with the satellite METEOSAT. This involvement with the meteorology community was the source for two other publications. Dr. Passos then went on to design and implement a meteorology system to be installed in the University of Pelotas, South of Brazil, where he was also responsible for the design of an interface with the existing radar system. During this period, Dr. Passos was also involved with the technical support and sales of a new generation of supercomputers, the ETA 10.
In 1988, Dr. Passos was invited by the University of Campinas (one of the largest universities in Brazil) to conduct the efforts of a strategic plan development for their data processing systems. Using his computer knowledge, diplomacy and communication skills, Dr. Passos provided the necessary coordination which resulted in a well defined plan. In 1990, Dr. Passos published one more paper related to psychological behavior and customer-provider relations.
Unfortunately, at the end of the 80's, Control Data Corporation was suffering the effects from a computer market crisis. Among the downsizing decisions was the closing of most of their international subsidiaries, including the Brazilian branch offices. After 16 years working for Control Data Corporation, Dr. Passos decided to pursue different goals and left his employment with the Brazilian company which took over the local CDC customer base. Dr. Passos enrolled in a graduate study program in the USA.
In 1992, Dr. Passos, under the academic advise of Dr. Tom O'Neil, earned his Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of North Dakota. In his second semester at UND, Dr. Passos was assigned to be lab instructor for the Computer Science II class. The following semester, Dr. Passos was assigned to be the lecturer and lab instructor for that same class. This short period at UND may be considered a success, based on evaluations received from his students, most of them Computer Science and Aerospace majors. These students qualified Dr. Passos as one of their best instructors. As a student, Dr. Passos was awarded the Computer Science Department scholarship and was nominated and accepted as a member of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honors Society. Dr. Passos involvement in community related activities was also significant. Dr. Passos was an officer at the International Students Organization where he was responsible for organizing cultural meetings that became a success in the Grand Forks community. He also worked in the translation of printed books to electronic formats which would help blind students.
In 1992, Dr. Passos joined the graduate program at the University of Notre Dame in order to obtain his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Dr. Passos worked under the advice of Dr. Edwin Sha in the research of loop transformations that could improve the parallel execution of multi-dimensional applications (nested loops). Dr. Passos assisted Dr. Sha to launch the Notre Dame Laboratory for Parallel Processing, and to develop a project which was later funded by the National Science Foundation. From his publication list during his graduate program it is easy to see how productive was his research. Dr. Passos wrote more than 13 conference papers and 4 journal papers during this four year period. Dr. Passos solved several open problems by developing novel techniques such as the multidimensional (MD) retiming, MD rotation and MD interleaving. Dr. Passos' research achieved the best-known results at that time in terms of execution schedule length, memory requirement and computation complexity. One of his papers, presented at the Design Automation Conference, was nominated for the Best Paper Award. Dr. Passos research accomplishments were rewarded with the William Mensch Jr. Fellowship. Dr. Passos research topic was under study at Notre Dame for a very long time, and provided a number of other students the basis for the development of new theories. Dr. Passos' work has also been studied as a research topic at University of Minnesota, University of Texas Austin and at the Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Canada, and also at University of Texas at Dallas, where Dr, Sha had accepted a professorship offer..
In 1996, Dr. Passos was invited to work at Midwestern State University. That same year, Dr. Passos developed a research program for the benefit of the undergraduate students aimed to the study of Loop Transformations applied to multi-dimensional problems. This project was proposed to the National Science Foundation and as May 15, 1997 it was recommended for funding. The final grant of US $ 240,000.00 for the three years project was awarded on July 21, 1997. Dr. Passos received his tenure at MSU in 1998 and a promotion to Associate Professor in 1999. In the research area, he has authored and co-authored more than 70 conference papers and 13 journal papers on instruction-level parallelism, high-level synthesis and other areas, involving software and hardware innovations. He was also appointed associate editor for Computer Science of the Texas Journal of Science. Dr. Passos has in his resume the work as a referee for the DAC conference, IEEE Transactions on Education, and IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, among many other referee works. He was also a member of the reviewer board for the Computer Science Exit Exam. In 2001, Dr. Passos joined forces with Drs. Sajal Das and Mohan Kumar, from the University of Texas at Arlington, on applying for a research grant with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The proposal, titled "Flexible Integrated Caching Approach (FICA) for Efficient Content Delivery in Wireless Internet" was approved for funding on October, 2001, with a total value of US $ 197,222.00, being US$ 66,000.00 awarded to Midwestern State and the remaining to UT Arlington. Two supplemental grants of US$ 8,100.00 were awarded by the THECB (2002 and 2003) for participation of a high-school teacher in the research. Dr. Passos followed those efforts with new research projects in the fields of memory design, software engineering methodologies in courseware authoring through the WEB, and in the continuity of the loop transformations and web caching projects. More recently Dr. Passos has focused his research on cluster computing and promoting advanced degrees among undergraduate students.
Dr. Passos professional career has always been recognized. At MSU, Dr. Passos was nominated and accepted for the International Who is Who society. Later, he was also chosen for the Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and the 10th Anniversary Edition of Who's Who in Science and Engineering. At the end of the 1999/2000 academic year, Dr. Passos received the most prestigious award at Midwestern State University, the 2000 Hardin Professor for Outstanding Academic Contributions. He also received the Department of Computer Science Professor of the Year Award for the 2000/2001 academic year. That was his first of many other gathered in the following years. In the 2002/2003 academic year, he was awarded Faculty of the Year by the Caribbean Students Organization. In 2004, Dr. Passos was nominated by the College of Science and Mathematics as a candidate for the Piper Professor Award. This nomination was later endorsed by the MSU Faculty Senate. He was also selected by the Midwestern State University Faculty as the recipient for the 2003 Faculty Award. In 2004, Dr. Passos was awarded 2003/2004 Faculty of the Year by the MSU Student Government Association. On May 2004, Dr. Passos promotion to the position of Full Professor was announced by the MSU Board of Regents. On August 2009, Dr. Passos assumed the position of Graduate Coordinator for the department of Computer Science. At MSU, Dr. Passos has served as a member of the MSU Faculty Senate, Student Conduct Committee, College of Science and Mathematics Faculty Research Committee, Rank and Tenure Committee and many others.
Back to Dr. Passos Home Page