Subject Area Coordinator
Prof. Andrea Corradini
Dipartimento di Informatica
Largo B. Pontecorvo 3
Tel.: +39 050 2212786
Fax.: +39 050 2212726
The subject Area
In 1955, the University of Pisa with the financial support of the local public administrations of Pisa, Livorno and Lucca founded the "Centro Studi Calcolatrici Elettroniche" (Center for the Studies on Electronic Computing Machines - CSCE). The CSCE brought together a group of mathematicians, physicists and engineers with the aim of designing and constructing what would be the first Italian scientific computer. The project was successful and the computer was actually constructed and employed in scientific computations.
In 1969, a number of researchers of CSCE joined the University of Pisa and the "Istituto di Scienze dell'Informazione" was established. With the new institute within the University, the first undergraduate study programme in Computer Science in Italy (Laurea in Scienze dell'Informazione) was started. In 1982, the institute was transformed into the present "Dipartimento di Informatica".
In 1986, an undergraduate school offering a two year undergraduate study program in Computer Science and a postgraduate school in Computer Science were launched.
In 1993 the undergraduate study programme has been completely rearranged, with the introduction of two levels of undergraduate curricula.
Pisa is still among the few Universities in Italy offering three levels of study in Computer Science, i.e. the First Level Degree study programme (three years), the Second Level Degree study programmes (two years after the First Level Degree) and the Ph.D. programme.
At the University of Pisa the Computer Science Subject Area is part of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences.
Most of the Professors teaching in the Subject Area Courses of Study belong to the Department of Computer Science, some to the Department of Mathematics and a few to the Department of Physics.
The basic purpose of the Courses of Study included in the Computer Science Subject Area is to educate professionals in Information Technology, as well as specialists in the various research areas at University level. "Laureati" in Computer science are also employed in schools and in local and national government agencies.
Especially relevant to Computer Science students are the following:
- Dipartimento di Informatica, Largo B. Pontecorvo 3.
This is the location of the Computer Science Department:
tel. +39 050 2212700, fax. +39 050 2212726.
- Didactic Area "Fibonacci", Via F. Buonarroti 4.
This is the location of most classrooms and of students computing facilities:
tel +39 050 599585.
- Student's Secretary, Largo B. Pontecorvo 3.
All are in the heart of the town, at easy walking distance from the main libraries.
The Academic Year for the Computer Science Subject Area begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th. Lectures are organised in two semesters: the first semester (approximately 12 weeks) runs from September to December; the second semester (approximately 13 weeks) runs from the third week of February to the end of May (see the Academic Calendar).
Examinations take place in three sessions: a Winter Session at the end of the first semester (January-February), a Summer Session at the end of the second semester (June-July), and a continuation of the Summer Session in September(see the Academic Calendar).
There are many libraries and research facilities in Pisa. Especially relevant to Erasmus students of the Computer Science Subject Area are the following:
- The Library of the Computer Science Department, located in Via Buonarroti 2, features a large collection of books, journal and proceedings in the area of Computer Science.
- The Library of the Mathematics Department , located in Via Buonarroti 2, features a large collection of books, journal and proceedings in the area of Mathematics.
- Biblioteca universitaria, (600.000 vols.). Opening hours: winter: 8:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.; summer: 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Closed: the week preceding Easter; one week during August. Address: via Curtatone e Montanara, 15. Tel +39 050 42064/24506.
- Biblioteca della Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) (350.000 vols. spec. in Ancient and Modern Literature, Arts, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics). Open only to Professors and students of the SNS itself and to the Faculties of Letters and Philosophy, and Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences. Opening hours: winter: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m.-2 p.m; summer: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed: 22 December to 2 January and 10 August to 20 August. Address: Piazza dei Cavalieri. Tel.: +39 50 509111.
- Biblioteca della Domus Galileiana (10.000 vols. spec. in History of Science). Opening hours: 9 a.m. - 12 noon. Closed: 14 August to 16 August. Address: via S. Maria, 26. Tel.: +39 050 23726.
- Istituto di Elaborazione dell'Informazione (IEI). A research centre of the National Research Council (CNR). covering different areas of Computer Science. IEI also has a large library in Computer Science, with free access to students in Computer Science. Address: Via Moruzzi, 1. Tel.: +39 050 3152876, fax: +39 050 3152810
- Istituto CNUCE. A research centre of the National Research Council (CNR), covering different areas of Computer Science. Address: Via Moruzzi, 1. Tel.: +39 050 3152876, fax: +39 050 3152810
- Istituto di Linguistica C omputazionale.A research centre of the National Research Council (CNR), specialising in natural language processing and linguistics. Address: via della Faggiola 32, Tel.: +39 050 560481, fax: 589055.
- Advanced Robotics and Technology Systems Laboratory. Scuola Superiore S. Anna. A research centre of the specialising in robotics, vision and virtual reality. Address: Via Carducci, 40, Tel.: +39 050 883111
- Centro di Ricerche Informatiche per i Beni Culturali. A research centre of the Scuola Normale Superiore, specialising in application of Computer science to the management and preservation of the cultural patrimony. Address: Via della Faggiola 19, Tel.: +39.50.555484.
- Museo degli Strumenti per il calcolo Address: Via Nicola Pisano 25 (Area dei Vecchi Macelli).
For ERASMUS Computer Science Students, Prof. Corradini is assisted by:
Italian examinations, ECTS credits
In the official credit system of the Faculty of Sciences 1 CFU (credits of the course) corresponds to 1 ECTS credit. As far as incoming ECTS and other ERASMUS students are concerned, the completion of a work-load consisting of 40-50 CFU in an academic year seems to be a reasonable expectation. Hence, as 60 credits constitute an academic year, each examination successfully taken will be credited 6 or 12 ECTS points according to its load in CFU.
The work-load for writing a Tesi is the equivalent of 18 CFU, i.e. 18 ECTS points. In general it is assumed that the Tesi should constitute an original contribution to knowledge or a significant implementation project. Hence students normally devote to it most of their last year of study.
In practice, statistics show that in the past the average students completed 40 CFU per year and thus most students required more than the nominal duration of the Subject Area Courses of Study to pass the examinations and to complete their final dissertation. Actions have being taken recently to correct this anomaly and we are currently monitoring the effectiveness of these actions.
Description of the courses
Most courses are concentrated within one semester. A few introductory courses are distributed over one year. Most courses are worth 6 CFU, with the exception of a few introductory courses which are worth 12 CFU. The teaching language for all the courses is Italian.
Professors give lectures 2-4 hours a week for twelve weeks each semester. In addition, courses include 2-3 hours a week of exercise classes. Laboratory courses in some cases are not credited separately but are a prerequisite for a main course.
Examinations: form of assessment
Final tests are usually in the form of written and oral examinations: the assimilation and critical understanding of lectures and assigned bibliography are assessed. When relevant for the course the results of practical work are also assessed.
Examinations: grading system
The Italian grading system is based on 30 possible points. 30 is the highest grade. 30 is sometimes given with lode, with honours, when the performance is considered exceptional. 18 is the lowest passing grade.
The approximation of Italian grades to an A-B-C-D-E-F scheme for the subject area is assessed periodically by the Council of the Course of Study; the current is as follows:
A, Excellent: outstanding performance fully meeting requirements: 30, 30 e lode;
B, Very good: a very good performance with only minor shortcomings: 27-29;
C, Good: a good performance with a few notable shortcomings: 24-26;
D, Satisfactory: fair with significant shortcomings: 20-23;
E, Sufficient: performance only meeting the minimum requirements: 18-19;
F, Fail: preparation totally inadequate: 17 and below.