9 December 2019
From 15.00 to 18:00, Sala Gerace
Department of Computer Science, Pisa
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We are glad to announce the first PhD Giveback event, hosted by the Department of Computer Science of the University of Pisa. It will be a great half-day event, during which former PhD students of the Computer Science Department who now work for prestigious companies, will present themselves to the current Ph.D. and MA students, talking about their post-doc experience as well as their current research activities within the respective companies.

Below there is the agenda, with the names and abstracts of the speakers who will participate.

The event is totally free and open to everyone. Undergraduate students, professors, researchers as well as innovators and companies are warmly invited to attend.


15:00 - Welcome Address

Gianluigi Ferrari
Director of the Computer Science Department (University of Pisa)

15:15 - Invited Talks

Session Chair: Alessio Miaschi

Francesco Piccinno
Google, Zürich

In this talk I will share my experience as a Research Software Engineer at Google. I will discuss context modeling, a core component of conversational agents, and how different types of contexts are important for natural language understanding in dialogue systems. I will then describe a modelling approach that achieves competitive results on academic benchmarks compared to state-of-the-art models.


Gianluca Mezzetti
Uber, Aarhus

The stateful deployment platform is the infrastructure that allows to deploy and operate all database engines and stateful systems at Uber. The platform supports more than 20 different technologies, including MySQL, Schemaless, Redis, ZooKeeper, Kafka and HDFS. The end goal of the platform to allow operating storage solutions at scale, with high-availability and low cost. The system is designed to be self-healing, providing high level of automation and safety.


Fabrizio Silvestri
Facebook, London

I graduated on October 20th, 2000 and I participated to the Ph.D. selection at the old CS Dept in Corso Italia exactly seven days later. After almost 20 years, I've not regretted (yet ...) my choice. I've worked for the initial part of my career in a public institution, the Italian National Research Council (CNR), and in the last 6 years I've worked as a research scientist/engineer in two very big public companies: Yahoo!, and Facebook. In this talk, I will give an overview of the reasons why I believe my Ph.D. has helped me greatly in my career, and why I would still strongly suggest students to pursue it. Finally, I will show my current project on how to generalize the problem of search (as in Web Search) to different domains and different tasks. In particular, I will show how this new framework can be adapted to fight misinformation on social networks.


16:30 - Coffee break

16:50 - Invited Talks

Session Chair: Irene Sucameli

Diego Ceccarelli
Bloomberg, London

Diego is a Software Engineer at Bloomberg working mainly on news search. In this talk, he will give an overview of his path in academia (from a Ph.D. to a postdoc) to a role in industry (becoming an engineer at Bloomberg). During the talk, he will describe some of the projects he's worked on while moving 'from theory to production.' No dragons will be harmed during this talk.


Carlo Bertolli
IBM, New York

In this talk I will describe my post-PhD research career from Imperial College London to IBM Research. At Imperial College, I worked on GPU and SIMD acceleration of an industrial strength application used by Rolls Royce to design next gen jet engines. Research showed the surprising result that CPUs (with SIMD) and GPUs achieve best performance when applying opposite compiler optimization techniques, respectively loop fission and loop fusion, because of architecture-specific traits. Later, I joined IBM Research where my first assignment was on the compiler for a 3D memory stacking accelerator, targeting high performance and low power consumption. My major contribution was on the software instruction cache. Next, I joined the CORAL project to build and deliver two supercomputers to the U.S. Department of Energy, named Summit and Sierra, which are currently the first and second fastest supercomputers in the world. My contribution was in the OpenMP compiler that targets NVIDIA GPUs in OpenPower, reaching near native CUDA performance. This implementation was subsequently open sourced and is now part of the public Clang/LLVM repos. I will finally talk about my current research in unikernels, microVMs, thin hypervisors, and secure linux as manager of the security for cloud infrastructure team.


17:45 - Networking Buffet


Francesco Piccinno


Francesco is a Research Software Engineer at Google. His current research interests center around semantic parsing, dialogue modeling and semi structured question answering. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pisa in 2017, advised by Paolo Ferragina and Rossano Venturini. During his PhD, he mainly focused on entity linking and compressed data structures.

Gianluca Mezzetti


Gianluca Mezzetti received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, under the supervision of Pierpaolo Degano and Gianluigi Ferrari, in 2014. After the completion of his degree he worked as postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Advanced Software Analysis, at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. Since 2018 he works for Uber on the stateful deployment platform.

Fabrizio Silvestri


Fabrizio Silvestri is a Research Scientist at Facebook AI London, UK, in the Integrity team. His interests are in Web Search, and in particular his specialization is building systems to better interpret queries from users' search traces. Prior to Facebook, Fabrizio was a Principal Scientist at Yahoo Research, where he has worked on sponsored search and native advertising within the Yahoo Gemini project. Fabrizio holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, Italy, where he studied problems related to Web Information Retrieval with particular focus on efficiency issues like caching, collection partitioning, and distributed IR in general. He authored around 140 research papers, which are published in topmost international peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

Diego Ceccarelli


Diego is a Software Engineer at Bloomberg in London, where he works in the AI Group. His work focuses on improving search relevance for financial news. Before joining Bloomberg, Diego was a researcher in Information Retrieval at the National Council of Research in Italy, whilst completing his Ph.D. in the same field at the University of Pisa.

Carlo Bertolli


Dr. Carlo Bertolli is Research Staff Member and Research Manager at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. He received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pisa with a dissertation on Fault Tolerance for High Performance Computing applications. He was a FIRB “Young Research” in the In.Sy.Eme. project on autonomous and adaptive computing platforms for Emergency Applications. He subsequently joined Imperial College as a Research Associate in a collaboration with Rolls Royce on accelerating turbomachinery simulations using GPUs and SIMD through compiler technology. He joined IBM in 2013 and has been working on a compiler for a 3D memory stacking accelerator and later on the OpenMP implementation for GPU acceleration in Clang/LLVM. He was Technical Assistant to the Vice President for Cloud at Research from 2017 to 2019. He is now the manager of the software security team for cloud infrastructure, working on unikernels, microVMs, thin hypervisors and Linux kernel security. He is author or co-author of more than 30 research papers and 5 patents.


  • Venue

    Sala Gerace
    Department of Computer Science
    Largo Bruno Pontecorvo 3
    Pisa, Italy

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  • Agenda

    Check out the agenda

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  • Organizers

    Alessio Miaschi
    Irene Sucameli