Social Informatics | Doctoral Program - Information Engineering and Computer Science

Social Informatics

Educating for Innovation, Innovating Education

Lorenzo Angeli

Publications | lorenzo.angeli [at] (Email)


Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) has been a trending area of teaching in Computer Science (CS) in the last years. While this experimentation has shown the need and the relevance of teaching other, non-technical competences to CS students, it has also highlighted two further spaces of exploration. On the one hand, teaching I&E requires new methodologies and engagement strategies, and on the other, these strategies can also be applied to the more technical CS context. This line of research aims at designing, implementing and validating such possible contexts in which the interplay between education and innovation can be further explored in the field of CS.

Participatory Design for Community Energy

Renewable Energy as Common Pool Resource

Andrea Capaccioli

Publications | andrea.capaccioli [at] (Email)


The energy sector is facing a major paradigm shift from centralised production and management to distributed energy generation and management. Digital technologies play a crucial role in enabling such scenario; emphasis and attention has been given to Smart Grids and new energy management systems both for final users and companies. This research presents: (i) the participatory design process of a community energy digital platform; and (ii) the impact of a common based approach to renewable energy management on the development and empowerment of local communities.

Individual Traits, Network Dynamics and Social Influence

Simone Centellegher

Publications | s.centellegher [at] (Email)


Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in analyzing human behavioral data generated by mobile phones, social media and credit cards. These technologies leave a trail of “digital breadcrumbs” that allow us to have new quantitative insights of individual and group behaviors. Studying social interaction and social networks extracted from these data sources, allow us to understand not only individual behaviors, but also to observe the relationships between individuals, the structure, the content and their dynamics over long periods of time. Specifically we show how the personality dispositions of an individual affect the structure and the dynamics of its ego network.

A New Technology to Foster and Support Collaboration Work Among Caregivers

Francesco Ceschel

Publications | francesco.ceschel [at] (Email) | Website


I have been working within the Social Informatics Group of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science. I work on delivering proper design guidelines and requirements for the development of technologies for healthcare settings. In particular, my research work focuses on the understanding of the working conditions of professional and family caregivers of patients experiencing an end-of-life condition.

Designing a computer-generated augmented reality learning environment for older adults

Augmented learning for older adults

Sergio Cicconi

Publications | sergio.cicconi [at] (Email)


Continuous learning, especially for older adults, is the key activity for an active life, since learning improves cognitive processes and favors social integration. In my research I examine the technologies available for the creation of augmented reality environments and propose the design and development of one augmented reality learning environment to enrich the learning experience of older people.

Conversational Agents for Data Science

Gilberto Pedro Da Silva Junior

Publications | gp.dasilvajunior [at] (Email)


Conversational intelligent agents are widely used for dealing with a large variety of problems. Many of them are designed for customer service and office tasks, and there are still few agents for high-level tasks such as data analysis. The data analysis workflow, generally involving different platforms and libraries, can take an extensive amount of time, mainly in the process of identifying those tools. In this research, we propose a conversational agent to assist data scientists in their analysis. Our method combines machine learning techniques with the facilities offered by a natural language system to deliver an accessible tool which can be used even by beginners in data analysis.

Collaborative technologies for family and professional caregivers of end-of-life patients

Angela Di Fiore

Publications | angela.difiore [at] (Email)


Caring in end-of-life settings is known to be a complex issue both for families and professionals. Studies recognize the necessity to support both professionals’ work practices to ameliorate their working conditions, and family caregivers' experience to decrease the risk of emotional burnout. In this research, I investigate the practice of caregiving in end-of-life contexts in the form of case-studies. I mainly focus on the practices and the social needs of formal and informal caregivers. Outcomes of this work shed new light on the opportunities of applying ICT tools to improve care practices, information sharing and community relationships among caregivers.

CoachAI Platform

Assistive Conversational Agent for Health Coaching Systems

Ahmed Salih Fadhil Jumaah

Publications | ahmed.fadhil [at] (Email) | Website


CoachAI is a conversational agent assisted coaching platform that engages users in a conversation medium to promote aspects of their overall health and lifestyle. The platform acts as a telemedicine tool and allows users (patients) to provide information regarding their health condition, aspects of their lifestyle, and preferences. The conversational agent provides these information to a web application for the physician to initially visualise it before creating and assigning a plan. The idea of the platform is to create an interaction medium that facilitates the physician-patient interaction.

From the project-based learning method towards the competence-based approach to education

Computer Science using project-based learning method and adoption of a competence-based approach

Silvio Giaffredo

Publications | silvio.giaffredo [at] (Email)


The research investigates how education in Italian secondary schools, specifically in Computer Science (CS), could be made more competence-based. Focussing on CS teachers, who often use the student projects in their classes, the research studies if the project-based learning method helps to inductively embrace the competence-based approach. Analysing qualitative data collected during the research, we found that sometimes student projects are not planned in detail and their management is not always structured. As a consequence, we are comparing the student projects of the teachers sample with the fundamentals of the project-based learning method.

Social capital and mobile phone data: Evidence from a developing country

Didem Gundogdu

Publications | didem.gundogdu [at] (Email)


Social capital has long been associated with opportunities of access to valuable resources that actors can tap from the interactions among them resulting from their social structure. Despite the overall consensus on the structural signature of social capital, there is still controversy over the relative benefits associated with different types of social structure, and their impact upon individuals and society. We aim to shed light on how various social interaction patterns correlate with key socio-economic indicators. To this end, we draw on aggregated mobile phone usage data,and construct the communication and mobility networks in the city of Abidjan in Cˆote d’Ivoire.

The Connective Power of Reminiscence

Designing a Reminiscence-based Tool to Increase Social Interactions in Residential Care

Francisco Jose Ibarra Caceres

Publications | fj.ibarracaceres [at] (Email)


Social interactions and engaging in productive activities greatly contribute to the wellbeing of people. An active social life becomes particularly important for older adults who are relocated to care facilities, sometimes taking them away from relatives, friends and their communities. In nursing homes we find a context that requires improving social interactions, and in reminiscence we find an ideal activity to contribute, stimulate conversation, and possibly increase connectedness between older adults and their networks. In this research we design a reminiscence-based tool that uses reminiscence to improve social interactions and reduce loneliness in nursing homes.

Hybrid crowd-machine collaboration algorithms

Jorge Daniel Ramirez Medina

Publications | jorge.ramirezmedina [at] (Email)


Explore methods to combine human and machine computations and develop processes and algorithms that can help machine support humans in those domains where machines alone cannot do the job. For example, finding a set of items that test positive on a group of filters is a recurrent classification problem. A systematic literature review needs to find the set of papers (items) that are in scope based on a set of exclusion criteria (filters). By efficiently combining machine learning and human classifiers we can achieve better classification results in terms of accuracy and cost.

A Social and Physical Activities Recommendation System for Active Ageing

Marcelo Dario Rodas Britez

Publications | marcelo.rodasbritez [at] (Email)


Recommendation systems are starting to be proposed to the increasing population of older adults in order to manage the rising amount of information. The objective of these systems is often directed to deal with the well-being decline cycle related to isolation, inactivity, and fear of leaving home. This study aims at the design, implementation and evaluation of an innovative recommendation system to propose appropriate social and physical activities to groups of older adults. The user profile and the social network are the main components in our proposed integrated information system.

Method for Writing Consistent Proposals by mean of Cooperative Work

Rudi Tranquillini

Publications | rudi.tranquillini [at] (Email)


My study aims to describe the typical paths followed by researchers in looking for funding and formalises some good practices. I want clarify how to optimize the combination of technological support, organisational methods and social cooperation, in order to improve scientific production. I want identify the tools and resources necessary to succeed in science and to describe the usual methods followed by researchers to obtain adequate funding. I will build an example of application able to support researchers in producing competitive proposals efficiently and effectively, basing our analysis on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and user-centred design (UCD) methods.