Research on service-based systems is still an important research topic and the group will continue research in this direction. In particular, the strategy of the group is to further develop  some topics, focusing on hot research themes. In addition to designing reliable service-based systems with guaranteed Quality of Service, themes that will be developed in detail are: services in green information system, people-based services, security and risk analysis, and spatial information systems. A common paradigm will be the analysis and management of monitoring data, from a variety of sources, to activate actions to achieve and maintain predefined goals.

In Green IT, a service-based approach can be the basis for measuring Green Performance Indicators are realizing energy-aware information systems. The energy efficiency of services in data centers and in cloud environments requires setting goals and selecting strategies to maintain them.

An important research challenge is raised by the generalization of the “internet of things” to the “internet of services.” The nodes of the internet can be both “things” and “people” equipped with mobile devices. This coupling between “things” and “people” draws a bridge between the internet of things and the social network of people. We can envision an emerging trend of services based on the integration between the information gathered automatically through mobile devices (sensors) and the information provided by people across different social networks (crowdsourcing). The ability to leverage the advantages of this integration, possibly by leveraging Web 3.0 technologies such as sentiment analysis, can create a variety of new service opportunities.

Securing applications and their data regards employing cryptographic functions to innovative areas, such as to Smart (micro) grids and energy distribution. Cryptographic schemes for smart grid architectures regards  authenticating systems, protecting against replay network-based attacks or load shedding and ensuring the availability of system resources, authenticating meter assets to ensure that only “trusted” devices are connected, and  encrypting meter data to protect consumers’ privacy. The research is targeted to obtain CIA (confidentiality, integrity and availability) properties via authenticity and non-repudiation security services.

Risks and safety in dangerous environments can be solved technically through smart sensors, ad-hoc devices and suitable service software for empowering the individuals’ lives. The related solutions are based on monitoring devices, among which wearable devices.  Emphasis is on the use of key decision structuring steps and analytical tools to ensure the systematic treatment of fact-based and value-based risk knowledge claims. The overall problem of risk and safety, with particular attention to the way of communicating risks to people and companies is addressed through monitoring and simulation techniques. Related research areas are sensor networks [?], wearable objects and ambient intelligence. 

Internal and external positioning

The group is well positioned both in the international scientific community, mainly in the information systems engineering and service oriented systems areas, and in working together with national institutions on Spatial Information Systems.

The group has participated in many international projects, and funding for research in all research themes has been obtained without problems In the area of spatial information systems, the main strength of the group is its leading position at national level in the design of Spatial Information Systems, which has been consolidated by the publication in 2011 of a National Technical Law based on the concepts of our GeoUML Methodology. This fact should favor the obtainment of financial support from national institutions, as in the last 5 years.

However, the group strongly depends on external funding, so it is dependent on calls for funding, mainly at the European level. The research agenda set at that level might strongly influence the research goals of the group, since research has to be adapted to the funding sources. In the spatial information systems theme, while there is a good national positioning, there is a lack in the level of presence and of publication at international level, which must be ameliorated.

Several opportunities are available both at national and international level. In particular, the research themes of Green information systems, sentiment analysis, and risk and emergency management are very promising and have an interdisciplinary outlook.

The main threats derive from the need of funding research from several different projects. Uncertainty of funding and variability of call, can be problematic to maintain a good level of research: funding which is very application-oriented can also have an impact on publications, due to the difficulty of publishing applied research in top level venues.

Research group mission: objectives and development lines

The goal of the group is to work on innovative research topics, aiming to world leadership, and of increasing the role of younger members of the group, supporting for instance applications to ERC grants.

To achieve these goals, publications at top level will be pursued, as well as international networking to achieve research funding. The participation to leading international committees as well as the organization of international events will also be goals of the group.

Strategies will include recruiting young researchers, also internationally, at PhD and postdoc level.

Synergies with other groups will include the Database, Software engineering, and Architectures groups.

Within the Horizon 2020 program, the following themes will be pursued:

  • Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials: Green IS
  • Inclusive, innovative and secure societies: Security, risk and safety  mgmt, spatial IS, sentiment analysis

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