The modelling and management of discrete and continuous phenomena, the need to efficiently and sustainably cope with heterogeneous networks, the possibility to access potentially unlimited hardware and software resources, the inherent levels of uncertainty brought by this vision, the need to elaborate in real time a massive amount of data, all require to develop multidisciplinary knowledge that shall be founded on firm modelling and reasoning capabilities. This is the main aim of our graduate studies with courses that, on one hand, integrate the necessary formal background and, on the other, offer specialized courses to introduce students to the newest developments in the area of Reactive Systems, Software Engineering and Computer Networks.

The PhD program consists of 3 years of study and research. During the first year students will take a number of courses structured in three main pillars:

  • Foundations of (Modern) Networks
  • Specification and Analysis of Concurrent Reactive Systems
  • Software Systems and Services

Apart from internal GSSI courses, students are encouraged to take classes also at summer schools or other institutions in Italy or abroad. Each student is asked to prepare, together with the PhD coordinator, a study-plan to be approved by the Scientific Board.

Performances in the exams and quality of the thesis proposal (submitted at the end of the first year) are the main criteria for deciding admission to the second year. The second and third years are mainly dedicated to research. Students are assisted by a supervisor and their progress is assessed by an advisory board consisting of experts in the relevant area of their scientific interests. Students are strongly encouraged to spend part of their research studies in external labs in Italy or abroad.

 Rules of the PhD program  FAQ

Organization of the PhD program

We design the PhD courses according to the following three categories.

  • Immigration courses that are introductory courses providing foundational knowledge and skills on each of the three pillars
  • Core courses that are in-depth courses on selected topics of central interest to the PhD program that provide students with the necessary background to start their research work
  • Advanced courses that are short inter-pillar courses focusing on cross-cutting research topics in the area of interacting heterogeneous distributed systems
Immigration courses are woven together with a twofold aim: to give the students the tools needed to successfully attend the subsequent courses, and to start to expose the students to relevant research challenges arising in interacting heterogeneous distributed systems.
Core and advanced courses are given by top-level international scientists selected among faculties of the most acknowledged institutions worldwide. The topics of such courses have been defined to best fit with GSSI – Computer Science research vision on interacting heterogeneous distributed systems.All the courses are meant to provide the necessary background and knowledge to the students for taking up their learning paths towards the defence of the PhD thesis.


Students are encouraged to follow courses that fit with the topic of their PhD theses also at summer schools or at other institutions in Italy or abroad. Before registering for such schools, students should seek the authorization of the coordinator of the PhD programme and of their internal tutor. Typically, students can follow up to two external courses or summer schools.

After having attended a PhD school or a course at another institution, a student should

  • submit to the coordinator of the PhD programme a short written report describing the topics and the presentations as well as the areas for future research suggested by the lecturers he/she found most interesting, and
  • deliver a 20-minute talk to students and faculty at the GSSI describing the content of the report.
Category: phd-program

Send an email to the course lecturer with a cc to Luca Aceto ( and Michele Flammini (  In case you know that you are going to be absent for some period of time, please inform Luca Aceto and Michele Flammini well in advance.

Category: phd-program

The exam for each course can be attempted twice.

Category: phd-program

Every student of the PhD program in Computer Science must attend all courses. Moreover, they must pass the exams
of the following courses:

  • ALL three immigration courses (90 hours total);
  • 1 core course for each pillar (42 hours total);
  • 4 core courses of the student’s choice (56 hours total).

See page 4 of the PhD Rules available at PHD rules

 Advanced courses do not have final exams.
Category: phd-program

Immigration and core courses are evaluated using the following grades: A (excellent), B (good), C (sufficient) and D (insufficient). The grades for the courses are only used as an internal reference.

Category: phd-program

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