Curriculum Vitae


See my Google Scholar list of papers.
Go to a chronological list of papers.

Education and Professional Experience

Computer Science degree (Laurea in Scienze dell'Informazione, 110/110), University of Udine, 1984.

At the University of Udine, Computer Science School I am formally enrolled as assistant professor since 1986, teaching:

Lecturer or invited speaker:

I spent two years with the Qualitative Reasoning Group at the Dept. of Computer Sciences of the University of Texas at Austin, led by prof. Benjamin Kuipers, March-Sept. 1992, and again July 1995-Sept. 1996.

I am member of the program committee and/or reviewer or collaborator with the following conferences/journals/groups:

In June 2012 I co-founded Interaction Design Solutions, a university spin-off company that develops software for rapid prototyping and multiplatform deployment of user interfaces based on innovative model-based development practices. We also provide consultancy services regarding usability and usage-centered design. Currently I hold the President position.

I'm currently co-operating with a number of companies in projects dealing with usability and accessibility assessments.

From January 2000 to April 2004 I was scientific advisor for UsableNet Inc., one of the leading companies producing web testing tools. I supervised the development of key products including: LIFT for Dreamweaver, LIFT for Dreamweaver - Nielsen Norman Group edition, LIFT Machine, LIFT Online, LIFT Text Transcoder, OEM technology included in Dreamweaver. I collaborated with Macromedia and with the Nielsen Norman Group.

Research Projects

See the list of papers and current research projects.

Usability, accessibility and quality of websites

Since 1999 I'm focussing on usability and accessibility principles for information design, expecially on websites. I'm working on automatic tools for supporting accessibility and usability testing, and on web quality assurance processes and methodologies.

Current interests include alternative methods for assessing web accessibility; semi-automatic methods for measuring it; web credibility, emotions evoked by web pages, their mutual influences and on usability; interaction design and model-driven approaches to user interface design, testing and analysis.

Related papers: a comparison method for effectiveness of testing tools [40]; a paper describing quality assurance processes [42]; two papers on quality models [39, 38]; a paper on how to validate a quality model [35]. A description of why accessibility policies are necessary [46], and a proposal for an effective method for testing accessibility [45]. A survey on web usability testing tools [34]. An evaluation of pros and con's of text-only pages produced on the fly [41] and descriptions of usability studies of text-only pages with respect to disabled users [43, 44] and to PDAs users [47].

Intelligent human-computer interfaces for information access

With other colleagues, I defined principles and mechanisms underlying the design of an intelligent interface to online databases (IR-NLI, Information Retrieval - Natural Language Interface) [1, 2, 3, 4, 6]. On the basis of this experience a new system was eventually developed (FIRE, Flexible Information Retrieval Environment ) [13, 21] which included also a user modeling component [5, 7, 8, 11]. FIRE was formally evaluated [25] and revised, leading to the development of a strategic help component [37].
During the analysis of IR-NLI and FIRE, an original and effective organization of the user-modeling component is proposed and implemented as a user-modeling tool (UMT) which is applied in an advisory system [11, 14, 16, 17].

Since 1999 I applied information retrieval techniques to the problems of handling a software catalogue to support activities like package understanding, reuse-driven design, design-driven reuse and maintenance. A prototype has been built [31] and experimentally evaluated [33, 36].

I developed a general framework for usability evaluation of systems providing access to information resources, encompassing browsing and retrieval search models [32].

Representing and reasoning on dynamical systems

I contributed in conceptualizing and implementing a framework for representing and reasoning about physical systems using different kinds of knowledge (including teleological, functional, behavioral and structural knowledge) called multi-modeling. The underlying representational framework supporting an effective integration of these kinds of knowledge is based on a formalism derived from bond-graphs [9, 10, 12, 15].

Later, I concentrated on the automatic construction of qualitative models and particularly on the integration of the compositional modeling paradigm with semi-quantitative simulation (SQPC, Semi-Quantitative Physics Compiler) [18, 19] and applied it to modeling lake/dam systems and to socio-economic phenomena [22].
Subsequently SQPC has been extended with a sound method to handle discontinuities in exogenous variables [20], which has been later generalized into a mechanism, based on temporal logic, for specifying trajectory constraints (implemented in TeQSIM, Temporally constrained QSIM) [23, 24, 26, 29, 27]. Methods for analysing hybrid continuous-discrete dynamical systems have been proposed in [30]; and the use of Monte Carlo simulation to get a statistical assessment of the validity of a qualitative prediction have been tested and reported in [28].