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Claudio Moraga, SM '62

Machine-learning expert bridges international borders.

Computer scientist Claudio Moraga, SM ‘62, does not let opportunities slide–a skill he credits largely to MIT.

“At MIT, I learned to strive for a goal without stopping to consider how tough it could be,” he says. “Unique opportunities are not offered to you every other day.”

Studying electrical engineering at MIT on a Fulbright Scholarship was such a chance for Moraga, who is originally from Chile and graduated from the Catholic University of Valparaíso. “Moving from a young, small department of electronics at a Chilean university to one of the top universities in the world was a unique experience,” he says. “But the one year at MIT constituted a strong fundament for the development of my dedication to a university career.”

After earning a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, Moraga got a PhD in Chile at the Technical University Federico Santa María while maintaining a full teaching load at a nearby university. When he was offered an academic position in Germany in 1974, he and his family trekked across the globe. “It was difficult to work in a totally different environment and learn the new language together with the first teaching assignments,” he says.

Eleven years later, Moraga moved from the University of Dortmund to the University of Bremen, but he returned to Dortmund the next year to teach automata theory, the study of abstract machines and the problems they solve. Over the course of his career, Moraga has published dozens of technical books and papers on multivalued switch theory and intelligent systems. He has also traveled the world for his research and received fellowships and awards for his work in computer science.

Moraga retired from the University of Dortmund in 2002 but still works on European Commission education projects in Serbia and Macedonia and with a German-Chilean team studying machine learning. Currently, he is an emeritus researcher at the European Centre for Soft Computing in Asturias, Spain. He and his wife divide their time between Spain and Germany.

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