University of Lugano
|Università della Svizzera italiana|
Faculty of informatics
|Endowment||CHF 60 million|
|Location||Lugano (main), Mendrisio (Accademia di Architettura), Ticino
|Campus||Urban 15 acres (0.1 km2)|
Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, literally University of Italian Switzerland) is a public university located in Lugano, Switzerland, founded in 1996. USI has four faculties (schools), and follows the European standard of three-year undergraduate studies and two-year master's (in Italian or English).
The Lugano campus developed around an existing neo-classical structure that was originally the city hospital circa 1996. Several state-of-the-art buildings have been added, most notably Informatics (2007), Aula Magna, Aule, Library, and LAB.
The main building consists of four floors containing: Communications and Economics offices (1-3), the Executive Centre, four computer labs (1), classrooms (1-3), the ALaRI institute (4), dining-center (2)(Q1-2007), and third-floor auditorium (3)(Q3-2007). The library is four floors tall: study tables line the interior, and a moderate collection of books and periodicals extend to the periphery; books can be requested from other libraries (e.g. ETH Zurich). The LAB has six floors: three floors dedicated as partitioned study & research space for Economics students; its name originates from its purpose as ETH Zurich's Chemical & Applied Biosciences Department.
The Aule, informally known as "Palazzo Rosso" (Red Building), hosts six classrooms on its three floors, and is commonly used by Economics and Communications faculties. The modern-looking concrete & metal Informatics building finished in 2007 contains classrooms (1), offices and study areas reserved for CS students and mentors (2-3). The university parking lot is hosted underneath Informatics and Aule.
Aula Magna is a university's convention hall and capable of seating over 1,000 people; it is used to host university conferences, speeches, and classical music concerts; and solely the entrance to the hall is visible above ground. South of the main building, the Central Services offices houses the presidency and core services of the university, and the Institutes provide offices for PhD students, assistants, and other research students.
There is an apartment building owned by the school in town (Casa dell' Accademia). Other apartments are obtained through local agencies.
Departments & Faculty 
USI has four faculties, three of which are located on the main campus, namely, Economics, Communication Science, and Informatics. The faculty of Architecture is located in the nearby town of Mendrisio. The campus is also shared with a theology department which is not affiliated with the university.
Led by Director Mario Botta. With forty lecturers and twenty-five design studios (including the famous Mario Botta, Massimo Carmassi, Valerio Olgiati), the Accademia in Mendrisio trains 712 students for 3-year bachelor, and 2-year masters degree (2011).
Communication Science 
Led by dean Lorenzo Cantoni. 865 students (2011). Topics: Media, new media and journalism, Marketing, Corporate Communication, Public communication, Healthcare communication, Information and communication technologies, Education and Tourism, mainly in Italian and English.
Led by Dean Mauro Pezzé (since 2010). Founded in 2004, it offers the only undergraduate program at USI, with English as the language of instruction. The founding dean was Mehdi Jazayeri, a senior member and fellow of the IEEE and author of several books.
The Faculty of Informatics at Università della Svizzera italiana stands out as a center of excellence in advanced, world-class research in many areas of informatics, including computational science, computer systems, geometric and visual computing, information systems, intelligent systems, programming languages, software engineering, theory and algorithms. With its award-winning, innovative curriculum, the Faculty aims to train informatics experts that are interdisciplinary in approach, with abstract thinking and generalization skills, a sound knowledge in the application fields of information technologies, as well as project-management and teamwork abilities.
First year students cover mathematical topics, computer architecture, networking, and fundamental concepts of programming. A further course persists throughout the 3 year undergraduate curriculum. Called the Atelier, it has the purpose of bringing the courses together and to provide exposure to real world tools that are useful to computer scientists, including Unix, LaTeX, HTML/CSS, CVS.
Students are expected to learn about a wide variety of topics, from big O notation and calculus, through networking protocols and layers, to computer architecture. A variety of programming languages are used. Programming is introduced through Scheme and functional programming throughout the first semester, in parallel with the computer architecture course (which uses MIPS assembly). Later on, C and mostly Java are used. The curriculum puts a strong emphasis on teamwork, with a major group project happening at the end of every semester.
Student life and culture 
Università della Svizzera italiana had 2852 students in 2010-2011; of these 1039 (37%) are Swiss, and 1813 (63%) are foreign - from Italy (38%) or from over one hundred other nationalities (25%). Exchange students (see Erasmus) for 2009-2010 were 104.
In leisure time, students participate in city-sponsored tourism events, school-sponsored sporting activities, and student associations, despite the town's small population. Twenty student associations have been established, with student clubs oriented around economics (AIESEC, Finance Floor USI), informatics (EESTEC, IEEE student branch), and communications (L'universo newspaper). Student clubs help orient students beyond the scope and purpose of the university orientation program, providing both professional guidance and information in career choices, and shorter-term personal experience sharing on services and entertainment within student financial means otherwise not advertised in Lugano.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Università della Svizzera Italiana|
- USI Facts & Figures (Dec 2008 - IT)
- University of Lugano
- University of Lugano (Italian)
- USI's Professional Photographs
- Information's about the Università della Svizzera italiana
- European Journalism Observatory