Institute for informatics and telematics (IIT)

Research activities

The institute carries out activities of research, knowledge transfer and training in the fields of information and communication technologies and in the field of computational sciences. Research activities are currently divided into the following lines, corresponding to as many research groups.

Head: Raffaele Bruno (

The Ubiquitous Internet research group investigates, develops and prototypes innovative solutions for the ubiquitous Future Internet. The application domains in which we apply our solutions are many and include Smart Cities, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Smart Energy systems and ICT solutions for healthcare and well-being. Each of these application domains represents a concrete example of the so-called Cyber-Physical Convergence (CPW), in which smart objects and humans interact with the cyberspace via sensing, computing and communication features, generating huge volumes of data flowing between the two worlds. To address this vision, we focus on several and complementary research topics, ranging from the design of Future Internet mobile networks to Big Data analytics, from Social Networking to human-centric data management, from Internet of Things to Mobile Cloud technologies. In the following, we briefly describe the main research areas that researchers of the Ubiquitous Internet group are focusing on:

1) Future Internet: This activity explores highly innovative paradigms for the Future Internet. Specifically, the research focuses on highly scalable ubiquitous networks that are able to efficiently support large and diverse sets of devices, as well as to overcome the bandwidth capacity crunch due to the surge of mobile data traffic demand. We investigate self-organizing network architectures where nodes exhibit autonomous and collective behaviours to optimize resource utilization and, at the same time, provide the highest quality of experience for users.
2) Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (IoT) vision entails the integration within the Internet of billions of objects and artefacts with communication and computing capabilities. This research area studies the design of open, reliable and energy-efficient network infrastructures for the efficient integration of web-enabled devices into self-adaptive, robust, and sustainable interconnected smart network and service platforms. Furthermore, this activity investigates data management and analytics solutions for IoT data.
3) Social Networking: This research area, starting from characterising users' behaviours in Online Social Networks, investigates novel Social Networking solutions for mobile users, where the user behaviour models and the social relations are used to optimise network functions. This enables Social Networking applications that follow people's social connections in a natural way, facilitating human interaction, and enabling users to share data and services within social communities based on common interests.
4) ICT for Health, care and well-being: Pervasive ICT technologies, supported by a great diffusion of wearable and mobile devices, offer unprecedented possibilities in monitoring both the health status and general well-being conditions of people. To this aim, we integrate concepts of Personal Area Networks for health monitoring, enhanced by the active participation of the final users, with Online and Mobile Social Network technologies, to highlight the impact of the social dimension on health and well-being solutions. These solutions are designed for both healthy and ill people, trying to improve their empowerment, and giving them the chance to live uncompromised, comfortable, safe, and active in the society (especially for elderly).
5) ICT for Sustainability: There is an increasing social awareness about the need for a more sustainable society by reducing the energy consumption of our daily activities, fostering the use of renewable energy resources, and supporting the development of developing more sustainable transportation systems. In this scenario ICT technologies are fundamental as they can provide energy systems with pervasive communication and monitoring capabilities, and more distributed and autonomous control and management functionalities. This research area studies the technical challenges in building reliable and responsive communication infrastructures for smart energy systems, and new intelligent mechanisms to allow a more clever usage of energy resources. Special focus is given to the design of electric mobility infrastructure and energy-efficient buildings.
6) Mobile Cloud Networking & Computing: Ubiquitous networks expand the concepts of cloud networking and computing towards mobile, self-organising clouds. Mobile devices of the users at the edge of the Internet self-organise for exploiting computing resources made available by each other through direct communication. Mobile clouds thus realise the opportunistic computing paradigm, where users' mobile devices build complex pervasive services that utilize, and when necessary compose, the services and processing capacities in the surrounding environment. This activity investigates the technical challenges in building this mobile cloud computing vision, from the networking, computing, and data management aspects.
7) Internet Measurements & Design: The complex Internet infrastructure plays a crucial role in determining end-to-end experiences of the users. The core of the Internet is a multi-tier hierarchy of IP (Internet protocol) transit providers. The Internet ecosystem also involves major traffic sources - such as content providers and enterprise customers. The Inter-ISP connectivity has important technical, social, and economic implications for Internet users. This research activity is targeted to modelling and measurement tools for studying the properties of the Internet ecosystem.

Head: Paolo Mori (

The Trustworthy and Secure Future Internet group performs cutting-edge research in cyber security, which is an area with growing scientific, social and economical (CAGR ~11% next 3-5 years) relevance, with a employment increase of professionals close to 50% in the next 3 years. The research activity of the group is mainly addressed to the definition of models, methodologies and tools concerning information and communication security in the next generation Internet (Future Internet - FI), and, in general for the information and communication technologies (ICT).
Security of ICT systems and ICT systems for the security of critical infrastructures is nowadays a topic that receives great attention from the scientific community, both in terms of research efforts and of available funding. In this context Internet has a crucial relevance. The heterogeneity and the dynamism of the Internet require security mechanisms that are active and adaptive. Such mechanisms should protect the system and should adapt themselves both to the range of the potential attacks and to the structure they protect, the Internet, which varies continuously. The distributed and open nature of the Internet requires the definition of mechanisms to create and manage trust relations among the various entities, that could be hardware, software or users, involved in the various systems. Moreover, with the pervasive and mobile networks, the access to network services could depend also from the context where the request is issued, i.e. from the location of who issued the request. These factors make the network vulnerable: hence the protection of all its components is crucial, but the management of the protection mechanisms and procedures is also more complex. The research activity of the group has a relevant applicative component aimed at studying innovative technologies for the Internet security. Moreover, we also direct our attention to the application of these technologies in relevant environment such as the e-Health. The various activities managed by the group tend to develop solutions (necessarily partial) for the security issues described above. The activities are as follows:
1) Architectures, protocols and security mechanisms for mobile and distributed systems. This activity includes the research on new models and security mechanisms for ICT. In particular, it is intended both to develop advanced mechanisms for identification and authentication and mechanisms for the shared and coordinated management of resources and services.
2) Trust and reputation management. The increasing popularity of distributed and open systems where many users interact without having a previous direct knowledge, opens a large number of problems to be addressed. In particular, this activity aims at studying and developing computational models, methodologies and management mechanisms for trust and reputation. The fields of application of these methods are many, from the collection of information to improve the understanding of the situation, to the access control in open and distributed systems.
3) Legal Aspects of Security and Privacy. The sharing of information is essential nowadays for society and for public and private organizations. Nevertheless, such a sharing should not violate the security and privacy requirements dictated by Law, by internal regulations of organizations, and by data subjects. The activity aims to design, implement and evaluate solutions for information sharing that preserves the privacy, with particular attention to regulatory issues.
4) Security of critical infrastructure. This activity is aimed at the definition of methodologies and technical solutions to protect Critical Infrastructure systems. The goal is to identify specific vulnerabilities for critical infrastructure and the related attacks in order to guide the development of algorithms, models, architectures and tools for the protection of such infrastructure considering continuously evolving attackers. Among the areas where we obtained interesting results there are the smart grids.
5) Security in Cloud Computing. The Future Internet defines new models for computing and data storage, and cloud computing is one of them. This research activity is focuses on the study of the problems and on the design and development of solutions to ensure the security of services, resources and data that are shared in the Cloud. Moreover, this activity also studies security solutions for the adoption of the Cloud in real-world scenarios, such as, for example, the management of the Electronic Health Record in the e-Health scenario.
6) Privacy of multi-subject personal data. The digitization of many services and the spread of social networks introduces new technical and legal issues in the management of personal data, especially in the case where the same data is related to multiple subjects. This research activity is focused on the study of techniques to ensure the privacy of personal data related to multiple subjects in different scenarios, including service provider data stores, user-centric personal data stores, social networks, collaborative online editing tools, and other.
7) Security and privacy in the e-Health scenario. The exchange of patient data between different healthcare organizations is of great importance in the e-Health scenario, for example, to guarantee prompt and adequate treatment to the patient. Ensure that patient records are managed according to privacy and security requirements is a main and important issue that has to be faced.
8) Filter bubbles and fake detection. The increasing use of the Internet and social media for the management of relational networks and for research and information sharing raises significant questions about the information quality, such as Filter Bubbles, fake content and fake profiles. These phenomena could alter users' choices and influence public opinion and, eventually, the market.
9) Risk management and cyber insurance: The calculation and management of risk due to cyber attacks in complex systems such as ICT ones is a very important and continuously growing sector. There is a clear need to measure the level of security (and the consequent level of exposure) of a system to attacks arising from various threats. In this area we have studied several security metrics for ICT systems and services. Moverover, the management of the economic aspects arising from possible threats is becoming very important. Hence, the study of economic models and quantitative risk management related to insurance malware is currently under investigation.
10) Security of mobile devices. Among the innovative applications for the Future Internet, particular attention is paid to the study of the security and privacy issues of the latest generation of mobile devices which combine a significant computing power to a remarkable communication capabilities. The spread of such devices has already exceeded that of the PC, and since users of these devices are not necessarily experts, this makes data, communications, and applications (including those of "parental control" ) even more relevant.
11) Formal methods for the security of ICT systems - Security Engineering. This research line concerns the study, the design and the development of models, methodologies and software tools for analysis, validation, verification and simulation of security aspects, trust and confidentiality in complex systems, such as distributed ICT systems, with particular reference to the Future Internet scenario. The remarkable dynamism and variety of ICT systems, their interdependencies and the mutability of application scenarios require a range of tools to predict possible security and reliability problems in oder to address them already in the design phase. Where this is not possible, then it might be necessary to define some possible amendments making the system resistant to attack.
12) Wireless Network Security. This activity investigates the effects of non-cooperative or partially cooperative behavior of the nodes that constitute a multi-hop wireless network, with particular reference to the opportunistic networks (delay tolerant networks). Among the topics studied, the relationship between the degree of "homophily" (similarity of their interests) of the users of a network, and frequency / duration of their meetings, in order to characterize the fundamental properties of the network such as information propagation speed ( eg, viruses).
13) Privacy Enhancing Technologies. This activity is aimed at the study of technologies to preserve privacy in various environments, in particular that of wireless sensor networks and social networks. Among the principal methods to the study of implementations of algorithms for the secure computation of algorithms in a distributed manner.
14) Usage control (Cyber-physical). This activity concerns access and usage control of resources, services and data in ICT systems, such as the Cloud and mobile devices. The activity covers both the study of languages to describe access and usage control policies and the mechanisms for enforcing them. Recently this line of research has been extended to include cyber-physical systems, such as surveillance systems for controlling critical infrastructure.


The solution of complex problems arising in current applicative areas (such as the analysis of biological data or the management of Web information) requires great computational efforts. The development of new high performances architectures must be combined with the design of efficient algorithms. This research group investigates models and algorithms in the following applicative areas: algorithms for web technologies; computational economics; algorithms for wireless networks and smart mobility; computational biology. These applied research activities have been complemented with basic research activities in the field of numerical linear algebra, with particular interest in the solution of large linear systems (with and without structure) and in the study of regularization techniques for ill posed linear inverse problems. Recently we started a scientific dissemination activity in the fields of game theory, logic, cryptography and mathematical economics.
The good quality of the research carried out is testified by the number of publications on both international journals and proceedings of leading conferences in the respective fields of expertise. In the period 2011-2014, in fact, the group has published 41 articles in journals (including 32 ISI), 23 articles in conference proceedings, 13 Abstract conferences and 6 Chapters in books.

1) Algorithmics for web technologies and social networks: The expertise in the design and analysis of algorithms, graph theory and information retrieval developed by our group has been applied to improving aspects of the World Wide Web (WWW) Technology. Internet is a distributed system and the applications built on it (such as the WWW) have a natural interpretation as a graph whose nodes represent web pages, or web sites, and the arcs are the navigational hyper-links. This view abstracts from many low level details of single computers and allows to detect global phenomena. There are already partial studies attempting to infer properties of the Web Graph, where one of the main difficulties arises from the fact that this graph is not knowable in its entirety at a given instant, while it is possible to obtain only partial sub-graphs . The use of advanced techniques for the collection of data has been our object of study. Specifically a new crawling software was designed and implemented, which allows us to use a distributed computing infrastructure and different crawling strategies according to the characteristics of the type of web image that we seek. Structural properties, such as the distribution of the degrees of the nodes, the diameter of the graph, etc. are the subject of study and debate among researchers, especially in relation to generative models. To this structural dimension we add another dimension of study that models socio-economic characteristics. In particular, issues related to social networks have been considered. According to this model, different entities (not necessarily web pages) are connected together to form relationships. In this framework, algorithms have been proposed for the measurement of the relative importance of the nodes and for the identification of significant structures (dense subgraphs). These algorithms need to perform effectively in a "big data" context. The success of Information Retrieval applied to study the web has stimulated the development of new methods for unsupervised or semi-supervised classification of web content. The unsupervised model was investigated for the problem of spam sites identification, while the semi-supervised model has been studied in relation to the problem of semantic labeling of Web sites. In the last four years the activities related to the algorithms for web technologies have been carried out in accordance with project or training opportunities in which the group was involved. In particular the study of social networks has been conducted within the project BINET (POR Tuscany Region) and activities related to Web Information Retrieval have been carried out under a contract with the "Department for Digitalization of the Public Administration".
2) Computational Economics: In the last years the connections among algorithms, game theory and economics got stronger and many specific themes arose which are of interest for the group. One research area concerns the use of concepts and techniques imported from Game Theory and Mechanism Design for the design and analysis of routing protocols when the network nodes behave in a strategic manner (i.e., driven only by economic interests). A second topic concerns the problem of the existence and computation of market equilibria. A third research area concerns models and algorithms for the online auction. Specifically, in the context of online auctions of advertising within the search results, a framework for simulations of auctions and hypothetical strategic behaviors by advertisers had been built. Through the use of real data, extracted from the major search engines, it was possible to simulate the effects of certain behaviors at large and to bring out problems and opportunities associated with the current technology for the advertising distribution on the web.
3) Algorithmics for wireless networks and smart mobility: In the field of wireless multi-hop networks (ad hoc, sensor, mesh, opportunistic, and vehicular networks), we have studied fundamental network properties by means of both analysis and simulation. Considered properties include connectivity, radio interference, network lifetime, node spatial distribution of mobile networks, and safety-critical message propagation in vehicular networks. This line of research is complementary to the one of more engineering flavor, since it is based on models that are at the same time simple enough to allow mathematical treatment, and accurate enough to reflect real-world network behavior. Among the obtained results, we mention:
o Analysis of the dynamics of information propagation in opportunistic networks, accounting also for the presence of non-cooperative nodes;
o Analysis of safety-critical message propagation in vehicular networks;
o Design of efficient P2P protocols for community wireless mesh networks;
o Analysis and design of scheduling algorithms based on accurate radio interference models;
o Analysis, design, and implementation of a framework for optimizing transport capacity in wireless MIMO networks.
Recently, we have established a new research activity focused on smart mobility. More specifically, the activity aims at understanding and quantifying the effects of the so-called "sharing-economy" on urban transport. Emerging phenomena like UBER, Car2Go, Enjoy, etc. are examples of the increasing trend towards a sharing of mobility resources. Thanks to a strategic collaboration with MIT Senseable City Lab, the group had the possibility to analyze massive urban transport data sets in different cities, focusing specifically on taxi fleets. A first major contribution has been the definition of the notion of "shareability network', a mathematical model of ride sharing opportunities. The "shareabilty network" model is highly scalable, and allows analysis of massive data sets to quantify the benefits of ride-sharing at the urban scale. A first analysis has been applied to the city of New York.
Group activities comprise also more application-oriented research lines related to research projects funded by Regione Toscana (smart mobility and vehicular networks), by MIUR (mobile networks), and European Union (smart mobility).
For the future, we plan to further the research activities on wireless networks, which have produced very good results in recent years, thanks also to a long-standing collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology. Furthermore, we plan to extend the activities centered on smart moblity, strengthening the strategic collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Senseable City Lab. This collaboration has already produced prestigious scientific results. The synergy between Senseable City Lab - a lab with a highly inter-disciplinary vocation and access to likely the larger collection of urban data sets in the world - and the notable modeling/algorithmic expertise of our research group has the potential of further improving the quantity and quality of the scientific outcomes in this strategic research field. More specifically, we plan to extend our studies to other cities, as well as other urban transport modes.
4) Computational Biology: Research activities in the field of bioinformatics and computational biology are carried out in collaboration with the Department of Information Engineering of the University of Pisa and the Department of Engineering of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The research objective is the development of efficient and scalable algorithms for high throughput analysis of biological and genomic data, in order to help getting useful indication in a -highly competitive- timely manner. More precisely the areas of interest are:
o Simple and structured motif identification and extraction;
o Tandem repeat identification and extraction ;
o Microarray Gene Expression Data Analysis;
o SNP Haplotyping Analysis;
o Metabolic Networks Analysis;
o classification of diseases by gene expression profiling.
In addition, the section has developed tools for visualization and analysis of raw and processed biological data (AMIC @, Treads, ReHap, PTRStalkerDB and Core & Peel). Some of the listed activities are carried out under the following projects: VPH 7FP (EU Network of Excellence, in partnership with ERCIM); InterOmics Flagship Project; LISM: Laboratory for Integrative Systems Medicine, joint laboratory IFC - IIT.

Responsabile: Marina Buzzi (

Born in 2009, the Web Application for the Future Internet (WAFI) group is characterized by a strong technological component that founds in the design and implementation of innovative Web solutions. Starting from a multidisciplinary approach, the WAFI group faces big Web research challenges such as big data, multiculturality, usability, social sensing, digital divide, open linked data, etc., placing the individual at the center of the design phase, with the goal of improving the quality of life.
The WAFI group implements solutions in different areas such as: crime prevention (FP7 Caper, DG JUSTICE Cassandra), the detection of social alarm situations (Social Sensing), the promotion of the cultural and touristic heritage (Clavius on the Web, Geomemoris, FP7 OpeNER), cognitive and learning tele-rehabilitation (Città Educante, ABCD SW, Stella Maris).
The group has grown over time in both scientific production and number of projects.
Since 2012, the group collaborates in the management of the Italian W3C Office (World Wide Web Consortium).
Main research lines of the group are:

1. Exploiting social sensing potential
Study and definition of techniques and tools for the analysis of social media data useful in understanding real life events.

2. Building the Web of Data
Building, enrichment, integration and publishing of new Linked Data resources and platforms for their population and exploration

3. Digital Humanities
Promotion of cultural heritage to new users through new technologies

4. Information Visualization
Visual representation of data for Web decision support

5. eGovernment services
Consulting and technology transfer towards the Public Administrations for improving the quality, efficiency and reliability of interaction between agencies and citizens and businesses.

6. Accessibility and Usability
Design and development of accessible applications for special needs users through mobile devices in the areas: eLearning, eHealth, eCommerce.

7. Supporting active aging
ICT solutions for the promotion of social relationship and the sustainment in everyday life of older people, their relatives and caregivers.


The activity of the Taxonomies, Thesauri and Classification Systems group focuses on Knowledge and information management methodologies, as knowledge and information acquisition, modeling, formalization, indexing and retrieval; definition of specialized lexicons, thesauri and ontologies in different fields of application. These skills are mainly applied to the field of e-health and Digital Library, with a focus on terminology extraction, metadata definition, semantic mapping and integration, as well as data collection and analysis (e.g. for e-health to define risk profiles). The main Research areas are:

o Knowledge organization
Information and Knowledge organization involves research activities related to Library and Information Science (LIS). Regardless of the application domain, KO ranges from document description for indexing and classification performed in libraries, databases, archives etc.
oDigital library (DL) and digital preservation
DL is a collection of digital objects that can include text, visual, audio, and video material, stored as electronic media formats (as opposed to print, micro form, or other media), along with means for organizing, storing, and retrieving the files and media contained in the library collection.
oControlled Vocabularies
Controlled vocabularies are organized arrangements of words and phrases used to index content and/or to retrieve content through browsing or searching. Controlled vocabularies are useful to organize information and provide terminology to catalog and retrieve information. They are used in subject indexing schemes, classification schemes, subject headings, thesauri, taxonomies and other forms of knowledge organization systems. In LIS, controlled vocabularies are a carefully selected list of words and phrases, which are used to tag units of information (document or work) so that they may be more easily retrieved by a search.
oIndexing and Classification
Indexing is the process of evaluating information and designating indexing terms by using controlled vocabulary that aids in finding and accessing the cultural work record. A controlled indexing language exploits terms that are used by the indexer to describe the content of a document.
is the process of systematically arranging concepts or other content objects in groups or categories/facets of shared similarity according to established criteria and using terms to identify the classes.
oCorpus Linguistics
A Corpus can be defined as a systematic collection of naturally occurring texts (of both written and spoken language). Corpus Linguistics is the study of language as expressed in samples of "real world" text. Originally done by hand, corpora are now largely managed by automated processes.
oLOINC® work group
From the note drawn up by the Director of IIT n. 9/2013 of 31/10/2013 the LOINC® work group was established. The main activities of the LOINC work group are:
o represent CNR as the official Italian partner of Regenstrief Institute Inc.
o maintain the Italian version of LOINC® and all support materials
o support all Italian LOINC® users
o manage and maintain the online helpdesk
o improve interoperability among Italian local systems