The scientific project in Computer Science at GSSI focuses on modelling, programming and managing systems where discrete and continuous phenomena are present and persistent interaction between artificial systems and between humans is foreseen. The starting points of our investigations are the problems posed by:
- the need to deal with heterogeneous networks
- the possibility to access potentially unlimited hardware and software resources
- the need to elaborate in real time massive amounts of data
- the inherent levels of uncertainty in complex distributed systems
All of these issues call for a multidisciplinary education founded on firm modelling and reasoning capabilities. Research and graduate studies in Computer Science at GSSI will be concerned with models, algorithms, languages and software methodologies to successfully face the present and future challenges of the digital world. The ubiquitous and pervasive nature of computing devices and sensors leads to a future in which our surrounding environment will appear as a seamless composition of physical and virtual entities. The visions of “Internet of things”, “cyber-physical systems”, and “systems of systems” are all declinations of the same physical-virtual paradigm in different application domains. Research at GSSI tackles a number of grand challenges for the design, implementation, management and use of systems that will need to act on physical entities and interact with virtual ones in order to efficiently and trustworthily perform the task for which they have been devised.
The unifying factor of our research is the interest in interacting heterogeneous distributed systems. The heterogeneity of this kind of systems is due to a number of factors: they are made of physical and virtual components; they use different communication protocols; they are dynamic in the sense that components may become available or disappear at run-time; their components have different functional and non-functional behaviours whose properties may vary at run-time.
In GSSI – Computer Science we approach the research on interacting heterogeneous distributed systems from different complementary perspectives that consider:
- efficient algorithms for network programming
- languages and formal methods for guaranteeing correctness, safety and security of systems
- software engineering techniques for building usable and easily maintainable distributed applications
The multidisciplinary nature is intrinsic to interacting heterogeneous distributed systems. Our vision is to holistically exploit the methods and techniques pertaining to the above research perspectives in order to foster innovative research on interacting heterogeneous distributed systems. The aim is to consider those systems as a whole and not just as the sum of their parts, despite their heterogeneity, in order to guarantee the needed quality level. This vision is put into place both in the organization of the doctoral program and in the research agenda.