The born of an idea - Paolo Ferragina

Paolo Ferragina

Full Professor

Department of Computer Science
University of Pisa
Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3, I-56127 Pisa, Italy.

email: ferragina(AT)
phone: +39 050 22127.64
fax: +39 050 22127.26
skype: paolo.ferragina

  • My h-index is 20 on Scopus (without self-citations, and 1925 citations) and 35 on Google Scholar (with 5370 citations). [updated Nov 2015]
  • Vice-rector on "Applied Research and Innovation" at the University of Pisa.
  • I'm leading the Advanced Algorithms and Application Lab (Acube), located at the Department of Computer Science, University of Pisa. We design and implement algorithms for compressing, indexing, searching and mining Big Data.
  • I've got two Google research awards, in 2010 and 2013, on designing and applying a novel Semantic Annotation technology, known as TAGME, to several IR problems: Classification (ECIR 12), Clustering (WSDM 12), Social Network Analysis (ICWSM 15) and Query Disambiguation (ERD Challenge @ SIGIR '14). This algorithmic technology is nowadays the state-of-the-art in many entity-annotation tasks (WWW 13, WWW 15); it has been also awarded of the Working Capital Award by Telecom Italia (2010).
  • Yahoo! Research sponsored my promotion to full professor from 2007 to 2011, awarding my research on compressed data structures.
  • I'm proud to have introduced the Phd Plus: a series of lectures on entrepreneurship for Phd and Master students, and currently also for faculties, of the University of Pisa. The PhD Plus originated many start-ups founded by students and (young) researchers that won several (inter-)national competitions.
  • Area Editor of the Encyclopedia of Algorithms, Springer Publisher, Ming-Yang Kao (Ed.), 2008.
  • I collaborate(d) or consult(ed) on the theme "Algorithms for Big Data" with Google (Zurich), ST Microelectronics, Tiscali (Istella's search engine), Bassilichi, ENEL Foundation, ENEL Ricerche (Pisa), CERVED Group, Spazio Dati, Yahoo! Research (Barcelona).
Conferences and Projects
Bio Sketch

I am Professor of Algorithmics and Vice-Rector on "Applied Research and Innovation" for the University of Pisa. From 2010 to 2015 I was the President of the IT Center of the University of Pisa, which is a competence center about Cloud and HPC for Dell and Intel, Xeonphi Centre for Intel, and recently Transform Data Center immersion for Microsoft. I'm currently leading the Acube Lab, where we design algorithms for Big Data, with collaborations with top companies worldwide: Google, Tiscali, Yahoo!, ST Microelectronics, ENEL, Bassilichi, CERVED, Spazio Dati, etc..

My promotion to full professor was sponsored by Yahoo! Research, from 2007 to 2011.

I was Vice-Chairman of the Department of Computer Science, member of the Patent Committee of the University of Pisa, member of the CdA of Consorzio QUINN, member of the Scientific Committee of the Fondazione Tooscana Life Sciences, and teacher at the Scuola Normale Superiore and one of the scientific coordinators of its research center Signum.

I got my Laurea degree (summa cum laude, 1992) and my PhD (1996) in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, and my Post-doc from the Max-Planck Institut fur Informatik (Saarbrucken, 1997-98). From 1998 to 2000, I've been Assistant Professor at the University of Pisa; and from 2000 to 2007, I've been Associate Professor at the same University. I also spent various periods of research at IBM Research (Rome), AT&T Shannon Lab (NJ), Yahoo! Research (Barcelona), Google (NY), University of North Texas, Max Planck Institut fuer Informatik (DE), and Courant Institute at New York University (USA).

My research is mainly devoted to the design, analysis and experimentation of algorithms and data structures for storing, compressing, mining and retrieving information from Big Data. My research results received three US Patents (owned by Lucent, University of Pisa and Rutgers, Yahoo!) and some international awards: "Best Land Transportation Paper Award" from IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (1995); "EATCS Doctoral Dissertation Thesis Award" (1997); "Philip Morris Award on Science and Technology" (1997); "Research Capital award" from the University of Pisa (2002); Yahoo! faculty award (2007-2010); Working Capital Award (2010); Google research award (2010 and 2013). Currently, I have three more patents pending in the USA, three owned by Yahoo! and one by NYU. Our software system SMAPH won the ERD Challange @SIGIR2014 in the Short Track (query disambiguation).

I've been invited speaker of many international conferences and workshops on Algorithmics; in particular, I was a keynote speaker of CPM '04, SPIRE '05, ESA/ALGO 2010, SISAP '11, and Industral Track of ECIR 2012, DFG Priority Program 1307 "Algorithm Engineering" (Germany) and the DIITET 2015 National Conference of CNR (Pisa).

I'm serving in the Editor Board of the Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications (JGAA), and I was in the Steering Committee of the European Sympoium on Algorithms (ESA, 2012-2014) and I was one of the Area Editors of the Encyclopedia of Algorithms (Springer, Editor Ming-Yang Kao) for the topics "Data compression, String Algorithms and Data Structures". I served as (co)editor of special issues on the international journals: Theory of Computing Systems (June 2006), Theoretical Computer Science (November 2007), Information Retrieval (August 2008) and Theoretical Computer Science (November 2009).

I have served as PC member of many International Conferences on Theoretical Computer Science, specifically in the field of Algorithmics. I've been co-chair of International Conference on FUN with Algorithms (2004), DIMACS Workshop on the Burrows-Wheeler Transform (2004), Symposium on String Processing and Information Retrieval (2006), Symposium on Combinatorial Pattern Matching (2008), European Symposium on Algorithms-- Algorithm Engineering Track (2012), ACM Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (2013)

I (co-)authored more than 120 publications in international refereed conferences and journals on Theoretical Computer Science and Algorithmics. I have also authored one Italian book on Cryptography (Bollati Boringhieri, 2001 and 2007; now UniPI Press, 2015), and several chapters in books: just to mention a few, one chapter on "String search in external memory: Algorithms and data structures" in the Handbook of Computational Molecular Biology (CRC Press, Editor Srinivas Aluru, 2005), and one chapter on "Web Search" in the book On the power of algorithms (Springer, Editors Ausiello-Petreschi, 2013). For an updated list of my publications look at the CS Bibliographic Database, or via Google Scholar.