My current research is about large-scale distributed systems, cloud computing, large-scale graph analysis, data mining and P2P systems. Students of the Laurea Triennale interested in doing their thesis with me should have already completed the courses on Operating Systems, Computer Networks, Algorithms and Data Structures, Programming 1. Students of Laurea Magistrale should have completed courses on Distributed Systems and/or Big Data, depending on the content of thesis.
How to ask for a thesis
The process of pairing a student to her/his supervisor is really a random one, in Trento as well as in Italian universities. Students ask for a thesis, professors propose some ideas or refuse claiming that they are overcommitted / they have too many students / they have no projects at the moment / etc.
In my case, sometimes I am really obliged to say no; there are periods in which I receive four-five requests per week, and clearly I cannot be a good supervisor for all of them. In order to understand if a student is the right person for a thesis, I ask you to send me a mail specifying the following information:
- When you want to start
- When you want to finish (ideally)
- How many exams you need to pass in order to complete your degree
- The list of exams as output by Esse3, with the marks that you have obtained
- The grade point average (voto medio pesato)
- If you have additional experiences beside the courses at the university, add a CV
- Your personal interests in the field of computer science
I prefer to supervise theses that are either completely external (stage + thesis completed in a company) or completely internal (UniTN internship + thesis completed at DISI). This corresponds to 15 ECTS credits at the Bachelor level (approximately 2.5–3 months) and to 30 ECTS credits at the master level (approximately 5–6 months).
Current ideas (May 2016)
- Title: Discovering Network Communities from Cascades
Community detection is an important problem in complex network analysis. Most existing methods rely on the explicit network structure (link between nodes) in order to discover communities. Community detection is a challenging task, and most formulations are NP-Hard. In addition to that, oftentimes the explicit structure of the network might be latent (hidden) and that makes the problem even more challenging. However, we have other sources of information besides the network structure that allow us to tackle this problem, and one invaluable instance of such case is the diffusion of a contagion in a network; for example the diffusion of a virus in a society, the diffusion of a piece of news or meme in online social networks and so on. An interesting property of such events is that most of the time the spread of a contagion occurs within a closely related or clustered subjects. Even though this property has been confirmed in several studies, it has not been well exploited to discover the underlying community structure. Thus, the goal of this research is to infer the community structure from diffusion events only, i.e. without having the knowledge of the network structure; and effectively addressing this problem will have tremendous applications in real world problems such as, epidemiology and viral marketing. We seek to address this problem from representation learning perspective, more particularly using deep neural networks. Therefore, the problem requires a good background in Machine Learning more importantly neural networks, and also in Social Network Analysis.
Some of my past students here in Trento…
- Roberto Zandonati worked on his thesis about the slicing problem in peer-to-peer systems. We later cooperated in writing a paper based on his work. The paper has been accepted here:
Alberto Montresor and Roberto Zandonati. Absolute slicing in peer-to-peer
systems. In Proc. of the 5th International Workshop on Hot Topics in Peer-to-Peer Systems (HotP2P’08), Miami, FL, USA, April 2008.
- Alessio Guerrieri worked on his thesis on DTNs in cooperation with the Create-Net research center (here in Povo). A paper based on his work has been accepted here:
Alessio Guerrieri, Alberto Montresor, Iacopo Carreras, Francesco De Pellegrini, and Daniele Miorandi. Distributed estimation of global parameters in delay-tolerant networks. In Proceedings of the 3rd IEEE WoWMoM Workshop on Autonomic and Opportunistic Communications (AOC’09), Kos, Greece, June 2009.
Later, an extended version of this paper was published in a journal: Alessio Guerrieri, Iacopo Carreras, Francesco De Pellegrini, Daniele Miorandi, and Alberto Montresor. Distributed estimation of global parameters in delay-tolerant networks. Computer Communications, 2010.
BTW, Alessio also secured a scholarship of 12.000 euros to participate in a double degree with GeorgiaTech. He spent the academic year 2009/2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He later published other papers during his Ph.D. studies under my supervision.
- Andrea Dalla Valle worked on a thesis on partition detection in peer-to-peer systems. We have not worked on a paper yet (my fault!); but again, in the mean time Andrea was the second student to get the Georgiatech scholarship for 2009/2010.
- Vinay Sachidananda, one of our students of the “Invest your talent in Italy” program, worked on an external thesis with ArsLogica; I served as internal tutor. Later, part of his work was published here: Andrey Somov, Vinay Sachidananda, and Roberto Passerone. A Self-Powered Module with Localization and Tracking System for Paintball. In Proceedings of IWSOS 2008, Vienna, Austria, December 12th 2008. Springer Verlang: LNCS 5343, 182 — 193. As you can guess from the author list, my rile was marginal
- Gabriele Seppi worked on a thesis about “Popularity-based Caching in Underlying Networks With Client Mobility” working together with DoCoMo (Germany). Gabriele took part in Double Degree with Georgiatech. The work has been done completely by Gabriele and the DoCoMo guys.
- Stella Margonar developed the Java software that is available on my Algoritmi e Strutture Dati course web page, for the visualization of algorithms and exercises. Her work was later bought by the publisher that printed my book on the topic.
- Simone Miorelli developed a flock simulator. The idea is that flocks are examples of self-organized distributed systems; each flock member follows very simple rules, while a complex, global behavior emerges. His work has been sponsored by MUSE — the (then) upcoming museum of natural science and has inspired some of the exhibits.
- Paolo Pandini is an example that everybody should consider eventually: he is an high-school professor who decided to enroll in our computer science degree after his retirement. He is becoming younger every year he spend with us! He helped us in designing teaching modules in computer science for some elementary schools in Valsugana, based on the “Computer Science Unplugged” book.
- Federico Scrinzi secured a Google Summer of Code scholarship, working on Euscan (Ebuild Upstream Scanner), a powerful application for detecting outdated ebuilds in the Gentoo package manager by looking for new upstream versions of the packages. My role was really minimal — he completed all the work by himself. He is now a googler in Dublin.