My research work covers over three decades (1976-2015) and has been generally concerned with extending database technologies in order to incorporate new features: distribution, object-orientation, rules, streaming data; with the advent of the Web, my research has been targeted towards the engineering of Web-based applications and search systems, including crowdsearching. More recently I turned to genomic computing., focusing first on human genomics and next on viral genomics; I also looked at clinical implications of human and viral genomics. At the same time, I also worked on social analytics and misinformation management.
My work has always been part of projects, sponsored by Italian and European funding agencies. My thesis on Distributed Database Architectures (1978) was part of the Datanet Project of CNR and led to the offering of the first course on this subject (at Stanford University, 1983-1990) and to the book “Distributed Databases: Principles and Systems”, McGraw-Hill 1984, with Giuseppe Pelagatti (the first book on the subject). Part of the research on this topic was performed at Stanford University.
My work on Dataid Project of CNR led to the book “Conceptual Database Design”, Benjamin-Cummings 1992, with Carlo Batini and Sham Navathe. My work on deductive databases led to the book “Logic Programming and Databases“, Springer-Verlag 1990, with Georg Gottlob and Letizia Tanca. My work on active databases led to the book “Active Database Systems“, Morgan-Kaufmann 1995, with Jennifer Widom. Part of the research on this topic was performed at IBM Almaden.
My work on the IDEA project (funded by the EU), combining object-orientation and active rules, led to the book “Designing Database Applications with Objects and Rules: the IDEA Project” (1997), with Piero Fraternali and Stefano Paraboschi.
My work on the W3I3 and WebSI projects (funded by the EU) led to the design of the WebML Model (US Patent 6,951,271, July 2003), to the founding of Web Models, a PoliMi spinoff selling the product Webratio (now hiring about 50 employees), and led to the book “Designing Data Intensive Web Applications” with Piero Fraternali, Marco Brambilla, Aldo Bongio, Sara Comai, Maristella Matera (Morgan-Kauffman, 2002).
In 2008 I have been awarded an advanced ERC Grant on Search Computing (2.5 MEuro funding, November 2008 – October 2013). The project is described in three books published by Springer-Verlag: “Search Computing – Challenges and Directions” (Springer LNCS 5950) provides a unified view of the results of the first year of the project and of the first SeCo Workshop held in May 2009 [more…]; “Search Computing – Trends and Developments” (Springer LNCS 6585) collects the outcomes of the second year of the project and of the second SeCo Workshop held in May 2010. [more…]; “Search Computing – Structured Integration of Web Data Sources” (Springer LNCS 7538) collects the outcomes of the third year of the project and of the several Workshops held in 2011: ExploreWeb at ICWE 2011, Very Large Data Search at VLDB 2011, DBRank also at VLDB 2011, DATAVIEW at ECOWS 2011, and OrdRing at ISWC 2011. Search computing research is also described in the Spinger book: Web Information Retrieval.
I also worked on Crowdsearcher – a platform for generating reactive and interoperable crowdsearch applications over social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and crowdsourcing systems (Amazon Turk).
My current stronger interest is on life science, specifically on genomic data management. I started to work on genomics in 2012, thanks to a cooperation with IEO-IIT. I was the coordinator of GenData 2020 – focused on building query and data analysis systems for genomic data as produced by fast DNA sequencing technology; I cooperated with IEO-IIT (Prof. P. Pelicci, Dr. H. Muller).
In 2016, I was awarded my second advanced ERC Grant on Data-Driven Genomic Computing (2.5 MEuro funding, September 2016 – August 2021). The project is described in the GeCo Web Site.
With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic outbreak I moved most of my research on viral genomics.
More recently I also developed an interest on Social Analytics, i.e. how to analyze data from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and misinformation managment, i.e. how to identify and contrast misinformation.
Many terrific people contributed to my research career. I would like to mention, among others: Giuseppe Pelagatti, Gio Wiederhold, Sham Navathe, Carlo Batini, Georg Gottlob, Letizia Tanca, Jennifer Widom, Limsoon Wong, Joachim Schmidt. I was inspired by my masters, Sergio Rinaldi and Jim Gray.
With Piero Fraternali and Stefano Paraboschi, we have been a very “prolific publishing trio” throughout more than a decade. With Piero Fraternali I co-founded WebRatio. My work on search computing, crowdsearching and social analytics was done with Marco Brambilla, my work on human genomics was done with Marco Masseroli. Throughout my projects, I have been assisted by Alessandro Campi and Daniele Braga, who have given strong contributions.
Recently, and in particular througout my work on human and viral genomic and fake news detection, I was quite lucky in attracting, and mentoring three brilliant PhD students, graduated cum laude and recipients of many prices for their doctoral theses, who recently obtained their researcher positions at DEIB: Pietro Pinoli (RTD-B), Anna Bernasconi (RTD-A), Francesco Pierri (RTD-A). Most of my articles of the last 4 years has been co-authored with them.