Marco Villani

Associate professor, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia

Research Themes

One of the main Marco Villani’s research interests is the study of the possible presence of universal patterns of organization in complex systems, loosely defined as systems composed by many non-linearly interacting parts. Following this definition they could be classified as a (particularly difficult-to-study) subset of dynamical systems; in fact this research field currently includes a stimulating interdisciplinarity, from prebiotic replicators, differentiation processes, multicellularity, viruses, protocells or design to evolved artificial objects. Key questions are how robust structures develop, how information is incorporated into these structures and how computation emerges. That’s why Marco Villani’s research themes include a number of different “disciplines”.  Marco actually thinks that these classifications should not be taken too seriously, and that the most interesting things in present-day science are taking place at the borders between different disciplines.
Marco Villani’s major research directions can be roughly grouped as follows:
    1. Information processing in complex dynamical systems
        a) Information processing in socio-technological systems
        b) Models of innovation processes
        c) Individuation of relevant dynamic subsets
    2. Complex Systems Biology
        a) Genetic networks
        b) Cell differentiation
    3. Protocell dynamics
        a) Protocells
        b) Membrane effects
    4. Education and training activity in the complex systems field

Short Bio

Born in Bologna, 11th December 1967, Marco Villani obtained the Italian Laurea (M.Sc.) in Physics at the University of Bologna in 1992 (with honours); his M.Sc. thesis has been honored by the SIF (Italian Physics Society) as the best thesis of the year with applications from Informatics to Physics.
After 8 years of activities as executive and supervisor of the Modelling laboratory at the Environmental Research Centre  (CRA, Montedison group), since 2005 he has been Researcher at the Department of Communication and Economics of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where he has been founder and supervisor of the Simulation and Modelling laboratory. From October 2011 he becomes a member of the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Mathematics of the same university, where is now serving as Associate Professor.
Marco Villani is author or co-author of more than 130 publications in international journals and refereed conference proceedings, co-author of the book “Modelling protocells - The Emergent Synchronization of Reproduction and Molecular Replication”, and editor of 3 books. Among the publications on conference proceedings, 5 have been decorated with international honors (4 best paper award and one poster honor mention).  He has been organizer, general chairman and session chair in several international conferences and workshops.
Marco Villani is member of AI*IA (Associazione Italiana per l’ Intelligenza Artificiale – Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence), where has been serving as member of the National Board from 2009. He is member of SIREN (the Italian Society for Neural Networks) and of the international Complex Systems Society.


Last update: 25/05/2020