Current Proposals for Laurea and PhD Thesis

Prof. Franco Zambonelli - 0522 522215

General Information

All proposals situate in the general area of distributed artificial intelligence and adaptive computing for smart cities and the internet of things (what are distributed artificial intelligence, adaptive pervasive computing, collective intelligence and smart cities?) and touch issues related to both modeling, development of tools, and testing of innovative applications.

The thesis work will take place prominently at the Agents and Pervasive Computing Group, in a friendly athmosphere and with the possibility of daily interactions with young students and researchers.

Current Proposals

In particular, we are currently searching for students in the following areas:

A typical laurea thesis (Laurea Magistrale) last around 6 months and will consist in studying a specific problem and the state of the art, designing a specific tool or applications, developing and testing it on real hardware, and evaluating it in real scenarios. Please contact me directly in my office.

A typical PhD lasts three year and a half, and potential applicants have to contact me by email for a preliminary discussion.

What are Distributed Artificial Intelligence, Adaptive Pervasive Computing, Collective Inteligence, and Smart Cities?

Distributed artificial intelligence refers to complex distributed systems in which a multitude of intelligent components needs to interact and coordinate in order to reach consensus over a course of actions or a common goal.

Pervasive computing generally refers to those ICT technologies, applications, and services, that are increasingly populating our everyday environments and that open up the possibility for the ubiquitous fruition of advanced services.

The ICT landscape, yet notably changed by the advent of ubiquitous wireless connectivity, is further re-shaping due to the increasing deployment of pervasive computing technologies. Via RFID tags and alike, objects will carry on digital information of any sort. Wireless sensor networks and camera networks will be spread in our cities and buildings to monitor physical phenomena. Smart phones and alike will increasingly sense and store notable amounts of data related to our personal and social activities, other than feeding (and being fed by) the Web with spatial and social real-time information. D D

This evolution, in accord with the "Internet of Things" vision, is contributing to the shaping of integrated and dense infrastructures for the pervasive provisioning of general-purpose digital services. If all their components will be able to opportunistically and adaptively connect with each other, such infrastructures can be used to enrich existing services with the capability of autonomously adapting their behavior to the physical and social context in which they are invoked, and will also support innovative services for enhanced interactions with the surrounding physical and social worlds. Users will play an active role, by contributing data and services and by making available their own sensing and actuating devices. This will make pervasive computing infrastructures as participatory and capable of value co-creation as the Web, eventually acting as globally shared substrates to externalize and enhance our physical and social intelligence, and make it become collective and more valuable.

In other words, our everyday urban environment are becoming smarter and smarter (one could say we are going to live in Smart Cities and we are going to become Collectively Intelligent.

Indeed, we are already facing the release of various early pervasive services trying to exploit the possibilities opened by these new scenarios, and making both us and out environment smarter. These incliude, e.g. smart environmental displays reacting to users' presence; car navigation systems providing real-time traffic information; smart phones applications for interacting with close friends or to enrich what we see around with dynamically retrieved digital information.

Pushing these application scenarios forward, one can envision the future release of advanced services like:

Yet, the road towards the effective and systematic exploitation of these and further future scenarios calls for a radical rethinking of current service models and frameworks, to accommodate a number of emerging requirements and desirable characteristics.