Friday, September 01, 2017

Computer Science at the Gran Sasso Science Institute

I recently advertised a call for four PhD positions in computer science at the Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI) in L'Aquila, Italy. That post included a link to a web site with some information about the GSSI. However, some potential applicants, and colleagues in general, might be interested in knowing more about the CS group in this new institute, without having to browse through a series of web pages. I therefore decided to collect some relevant information on CS@GSSI in this blog post in the form of a FAQ, hoping it may be of help to students and computer science researchers who might wish to consider working at the GSSI.

  1. What is the GSSI? The GSSI is a recently established university in Italy. It is an institute for advanced study and an international PhD school, having English as its official language. It is located in L'Aquila, Italy, in the beautiful Abruzzo region. It focuses on astroparticle physics, computer science, mathematics and urban studies.
  2. What areas of CS are covered at the GSSI? Information on research at CS@GSSI may be found here. In short, CS@GSSI is based on three main areas, namely the algorithmic study of computer and social networks (as covered, for instance, by ICALP Track A and Track C), specification and analysis of reactive systems, and software engineering techniques for building usable and easily maintainable distributed applications. 
  3. Who works at CS@GSSI? CS@GSSI is still in its infancy and has ambitious growth plans in the short to medium term. In the area of algorithms, Michele Flammini, Gianlorenzo D’Angelo (recipient of the “Best Italian Young Researcher in Theoretical Computer Science” award for 2016 of the Italian Chapter of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science) and Mattia D’Emidio have been the first researchers working at GSSI. Rocco De Nicola (whose main affiliation is at IMT Lucca) has been the director of the CS programme and has spearheaded the work in formal methods, together with Omar Inverso. I joined the GSSI as a professor today. Work in software engineering has been carried out by Ludovico Iovino, Catia Trubiani and people in the high-profile research group in SE at the University of L'Aquila led by Paola Inverardi. Former GSSI postdoc Ivano Malavolta is now an assistant professor in Data-Driven SE at VU Amsterdam, and is jointly supervising some students at GSSI.
  4. Apart from the faculty at GSSI, with whom can PhD students interact at CS@GSSI? CS@GSSI has a vibrant guest lecturer programme, with frequent visits by top-class researchers from all over the world, as well as affiliated faculty. See here for the details. (Look for "Scientific collaborators" and "Lecturers from other institutions".)
  5. How is the scientific environment at CS@GSSI? The group runs a seminar series and has already hosted conferences and workshops. See here for some information. It will soon organize SAGT 2017 at GSSI. Other events are in the works.
  6. How many PhD students in CS are there? What do the graduates do after their PhD? CS@GSSI hosts about 30 PhD students at all times. You can see the list of current students here. The institute is only about three years old, so only some of the first batch of students have graduated or are about to do so. Of those, all of them have found postdoctoral positions at institutions in Italy. Two GSSI students who just submitted their theses will join Jukka Suomela's group at Aalto University from January 2018.
If you have any further questions, please post a comment to this post, so that I can keep the FAQ up to date and as informative as possible.