About DI-Smalltalks

  • What: concise and interactive presentations on diverse research and/or academic topics
  • When: once a week (when announced), 11h30-12h00 (feel free to show up 1 or 2 minutes before)
  • Where: FCUL, building C6, third floor, room 6.3.38 (“sala de reuniƵes”)
  • By Whom: volunteer speakers — anyone can propose to present a DI-Smalltalk (students, faculty, researchers, staff, visitors … including from different departments and institutions)
  • To whom: anyone interested in interacting/learning about the topic being presented (even if you still don’t know what it is about!) … or simply getting to know a little better other DI colleagues
  • How: speaker presents the basics of a research-related idea and promotes interaction with the audience (questions, comments, brainstorming) — make it suitable for people outside your area of expertise
  • Why presenting: to get feedback about the idea, to train skills of brief presentation, to let yourself be known, …
  • Why attending: to grasp a bit of the diversity of topics being tackled at DI-FCUL, to know better your colleagues, …
  • Just to emphasize: you don’t need to have a solid result to present, just bring enthusiasm for an interesting research idea and motivate the audience
  • Material available: video-projector, white-board, tables, chairs
  • Organization: every week an email will be sent confirming the next speaker, topic, room, and schedule — there will be flexibility to accommodate needed changes.


The DI-Smalltalks are concise and interactive presentations, presented in an informal atmosphere, providing a complementary space to share knowledge and motivation on interesting and diverse research or academic related topics here at DI-FCUL. The content of the presentation may be formal or informal.

Presentation and attendance are completely voluntary and open to all (students, faculty, researchers, staff, visitors).

We encourage that each presentation has at most 15 min of unidirectional informative component (never more than 25 min), so that at least 15 min are left for active interaction with the audience. After 30 min have passed, the audience thanks the speaker and leaves. The time constraint should not be seen as a limitation, but as a challenge to distil the elements of your presentation into something that is simple and interesting enough to be understood quickly by someone that is not an expert in your field, and to motivate the audience for some interaction. If the discussion gets really interesting, those captivated by it can take it out for lunch at 12h00.

Examples of styles

Theory: For example, the speaker briefly introduces a topic, creatively describes a current challenge and a possible solution sketch, and then promotes a brain-storming with the audience to obtain ideas for solution paths, application scenarios, or even ways to practically motivate the topic to a different audience. A high-school student attending the presentation should be able to participate and learn something.

Tech: For example, the presenter shows how a particular and specific technology works. The audience should leave the room after 30 min with the feeling that they learned HOW TO DO something new. Examples: how to configure a DSN network, how to use threads in Python, how to extract relevant succinct information from a database, how to digitally sign a document, how to use PGP to encrypt an email.

Academic: For example, the presenter directs and mediates a brainstorming with the audience to gather opinions / supporters for an academic initiative, or to inform / explain details about an ongoing academic matter (e.g., new regulations, or a theme in public discussion), or to do an informal poll about research practices and environment.

… Feel free to present a DI-Smalltalk using your own original style and/or creative topic!

Preferably, some part of the presentation should include the presenter promoting bilateral interaction with the audience (questions, conversation, experiments), while at the same time taking the time limit in consideration.

Time management

(within the allowed 30 min)
- the DI-Smalltalk should be prepared for interruptions in the middle, such as questions initiated by the audience — this interaction is encouraged;
- the descriptive and informative parts of the presentation should finish at least 5 min before the overall 30 min, so that there is time free for final questions;
- at 12h00 sharp the audience thanks the speaker.


A short written abstract will help promote your presentation. See list of previous abstracts here. With the intent of promoting the DI-”Smalltalks” concept, emphasizing its concise, informal and interactive nature, please consider the following guidelines:
- write it with less than 101 words (if it is larger, the readers may become doubtful about the “small” in “Smalltalk”);
- reflect the context of the specific smalltalk, saying what you will do in this specific presentation and what is your goal, e.g., “In this DI-Smalltalk, I/we will …” (rather than being a copy-paste of a paper abstract);
- when applicable, say how you will promote interaction with the audience and what the audience will learn by coming to your presentation (e.g., “I will ask suggestions from the audience about…” or “we will engage in a brainstorming to obtain ideas…”).

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