I'm professor of computer  science at the University of  Siena. My research interests are in the field of artificial intelligence, with emphasis on machine learning and game playing. In the last few years, I've been mainly involved in learning in relational domains in the continuum setting. I’m interested in applying the conceived models to problems from pattern recognition and mining the web. I also very much like discussions on novel models of computation and their relationships with human brain.


Have a look at the website (under restructuring) of the Siena AI-Lab

Teachers in the art of life make little distinction between job and free time  - Zen thoughts


... Indeed the book is by no means an object; neither is it an act, nor even a thought. Written by a dead man about dead things, it no longer has any place on this earth; it speaks of nothing which interests us directly. Left to itself, it falls back and collapses; there remain only ink sposts on musty paper - Jean-Paul Sartre


Science is like sex: sometimes something useful come out, but that is not the reason we are doing it -  Richard Feynman


A look at the Web years ago ...

In the eyeblink that has elapsed since the turn of the millennium, the lives of those of us who work with information have been utterly transformed. Pretty much all we need to know is on the web; if not today, then tomorrow. It’s where we learn and play, shop and do business, keep up with old friends and meet new ones … if you want to know more have a look at

The  man-machine crossword challenge

Originally, it was just an assignment in my corse of artificial intelligence. The assignment was supposed to focus on the problem of allocating a set of words onto a given  crossword scheme … then it became something more … solve crosswords from clues exactly like humans do using pensil and rubber on the train or near the fireplace. With Marco Ernandes and Giovanni Angelini, we launched the man-machine crossword challenge, that resembles somehow the celebrated chess man-machine competition. Have a look at the WebCrow project and what people reported about this crazy challenge …





Web Dragons:

Inside the Myths of Search Engine Technology

Morgan Kauffman 2007

 written with Ian Witten & Teresa Numerico


Crossword software thrashes human challengers 17:45 31 August 2006,

NewScientist.com news service, Tom Simonite - A crossword-solving computer program yesterday triumphed in a competition against humans. Two versions of the program, called WebCrow, finished first and second in a competition that gave bilingual entrants 90 minutes to work on five different crosswords in Italian and English …

Program cracks crosswords. By Federica Castellani. news@ nature.com (October 4, 2004). "It's a boon for puzzle addicts and a small leap forward for artificial intelligence: a computer program that can solve crosswords in any language. The program, called Web Crow, reads crossword clues, surfs the web for the answers and fits them into the puzzle


Have a look at Quest—it, spin-off of the University of Siena in the field of Question&Answering, that was created as a follow up of our research on automatic crossword solving and generation


Support Constraint Machines

The field of machine learning is in the midst of a “relational revolution.”  After many decades of focusing on i.i.d. examples, some researchers are now studying problems in which the concept of example is replace with that of constraint.  Within this framework, we are working on a new paradigm in machine learning  that I called support constraint machines



office hours (students): Tuesday 17:30 – 19:30 

Dip.  di Ingegneria dell'Informazione
Università di SienaVia Roma, 56
53100 Siena - ITALY

MyFirstName at dii.unisi.it

+39 (577) 23.36.10

+39 (577) 23.36.02

WWW Address

Anonymous ftp