Franco Zambonelli

University of Modena e Reggio Emilia - Italy

Keynote presentation on Saturday, Oct. 12

Coordinating Distributed Speaking Objects


In this talk I sketch a vision of future environments densely populated by smart sensors and actuators — possibly embedded in everyday objects — that, rather than simply producing streams of data, are capable of understanding and reporting, via factual assertions and arguments, about what is happening (for sensors) and about what they can make possibly happen (for actuators). These “speaking objects” form the nodes of a dense distributed computing infrastructure that can be exploited to monitor and control activities in our everyday environment. However, the nature of speaking objects will dramatically change the approaches to implementing and coordinating the activities of distributed processes. In fact, distributed coordination is likely to become associated with the capability of argumenting about situations and about the current “state of the affairs”, with the aim of triggering and directing proper distributed “conversations” to collectively reach a future desirable state of the affairs. I discuss how such a novel vision can build upon some readily available technologies and highlight the research challenges that it poses, also with the help of case study scenarios.


Franco Zambonelli is full professor of Computer Science at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He got his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Bologna in 1997. His research interests include: pervasive computing, multi-agent systems, self-adaptive and self-organizing systems. He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviews journals, and has been invited speaker at many conferences and workshops. He is in the editorial board of the ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems, Springer-Nature Computer Science Journal, Elsevier Journal of Pervasive and Mobile Computing, IEEE Society & Technology Magazine, the BCS Computer Journal, and he is in the Steering Committee of the IEEE SASO Conference. He has been scientific manager of the EU FP6 Project CASCADAS and coordinator of the EU FP7 Project SAPERE. He is ACM Distinguished Scientist, member of the Academia Europaea, and IEEE Fellow, and recipient of the 2018 IFAAMAS Influential Paper Award.