Istituto Superiore Mario Boella

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The Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB)[1] was a center for applied research in the fields of telecommunication engineering and information and communication technologies located in Turin, Italy.

It was founded in 2000 by Intesa Sanpaolo SpA[2] and the Polytechnic University of Turin[3]. Starting from January 2019, it is part of the LINKS Foundation[4].

The institute included an average of 150 researchers collaborating closely with the academia, industries and the government organizations such as the European Union.

In the moment in which it became part of LINKS Foundation, ISMB was organized in 7 research areas (on core sectors of ICT), 4 functions and 3 strategic programs.

Research Areas[edit]

Mobile Solutions[edit]

The Research Area works in the domain of mobile solutions and the emerging paradigms of data management, aiming to support the innovation of products and processes realising end-to-end solutions. In particular, it is focused on the research and the development on smart device applications connected to back-end systems based on cloud computing technology to provide added value services by means of a smart data management.

Multi-Layer Wireless Solutions[edit]

The Multi-Layer Wireless Solutions Research Area investigates solutions for the access, network architectures and applications aimed at the effective delivery of Internet services under mobility. The topic reflects two technological trends: the ever growing wireless connectivity (and availability of flexible end-devices) and the paradigm of Internet of services, with services – rather than contents – driving the evolution of Internet.

Navigation Technologies[edit]

The Navigation Technologies Research Area is focused on design and development of new technologies and systems related to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Researchers’ activity ranges from the study of algorithms and software radio solutions for GNSS receivers to the development of GNSS applications for both mass-market and professional users. The team has strong international links, in particular, at extra-European level, with South-East Asian countries.

Pervasive Technologies[edit]

The Pervasive Technologies Research Area studies and develops technologies enabling the paradigm of Internet of Things (IoT), in which every physical object – enriched with communication capabilities – acquires an electronic identity, acts as a source of information, and becomes part of a global network consisting of a large number of heterogeneous nodes, enabling the optimization and management of processes in many areas.

Applied Photonics[edit]

The Applied Photonics Research Area deals with optical communications and optoelectronics. The main research activities are focused on the study of the physical layer of optical networks, for back-bone with glass optical fibers (GOF) and access based on both glass and plastic optical fibers (POF), and to the study and prototyping of special optical fiber for non-telecom applications; for both research fronts it is possible to achieve a certain level of system integration. The laboratories of the Area host some strategic facilities for optical and photonic technologies, bought through the Photonext initiative in collaboration with Politecnico di Torino. These new instruments will allow to perform top-level experimental activities in the never-ending rush toward increasing the speed and reach of optical fiber transmission systems, strengthening the industrial collaborations with key vendor and operators of this field.

Innovation Development[edit]

The Innovation Development Research Area provides practical support to public and private decision makers in the use of information and communication technologies as a strategic tool for the promotion of sustainable development. The Area consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers characterized by complementary skills to those purely technological, such as: the policy analysis, business modeling, and interaction design. This combination of skills allows the research team to work in complete synergy with companies, public and third sector organizations to create economic and social value.

Advanced Computing & Electromagnetics[edit]

The Advanced Computing and Electromagnetics Research Area is split in two Research Unit dedicated to tree main topics:

  • applied research activities in Advance Computing with the study and design of distributed computing architecture based on public and private platforms like AWS, Openstack. Low power architetture in high performance perspective, orchestration of heterogenous architecture in computing continuum, resources and application management in distributed environment;
  • applied research and activities for the design and prototyping antennas. Electromagnetic compatibility, experience in computational electromagnetism;
  • applied research in distributed database technologies and data mining algorithms for Big data and extreme scale analysis

Main focus and assets on Advance Computing topic are:

  • Low power high performance architecture
  • Hardware/software integration for microdatacenter solution in low power computing e low power communication perspective
  • Machine learning: CNN
  • Application acceleration, deep learning (CNN, BNN) on reconfigurable architecture (FPGA)
  • Application porting on OpenCL framework through hardware accelerator FPGA (Intel/Altera) and GPU
  • Application analysis, design and development for machine learning, HPC-embedded context through many-core architecture
  • Offloading solution from edge to datacenters.

Main focus and assets on Computational Elettromagnetism topic are:

  • Design and prototypting antenna
  • Electromagnetic simulation and modellization
  • Metamaterials
  • Fast solver for CEM application
  • Low Power communication strategies
  • Tools for antenna measurements and diagnostic.

Main focus and assets on distributed database technologies are:

  • Distributed Data model design for heterogeneous data sources in Big data application context
  • Fine-grained real time analysis and prediction of buildings thermal energy consumption using data from smart meters
  • Ontological modeling of cultural heritage data from heterogeneous sources for NLP
  • Characterization of user interests from social networks data (e.g., about cultural heritage)
  • Big Data distributed processing engines: Apache Spark, MongoDB clusters with MapReduce
  • Relational and NoSQL databases, RDF Triple Stores
  • Machine Learning frameworks: Spark MLLib, scikit-learn, R, Rapid Miner
  • Supervised learning algorithms: regression and classification (ANN, SVM, Decision Tree, Random Forest, LR-SGD); unsupervised learning algorithms: clustering, association rules mining.


The goal of the functions was to support Research Areas and Strategic Programs in order to value relationship with stakeholders, both internally and externally to ISMB.

Emerging Trends and Opportunities[edit]

Born in July 2013, the Emerging Trends and Opportunities Function works in the strategic field of European and national policies for research and innovation. It aims to strengthen ISMB capability to benefit from various emerging research and innovation opportunities, proposing the most appropriate positioning strategies for ISMB, also in light of the European Research and Innovation Framework Program Horizon 2020. Within this context, the Emerging Trends and Opportunities Function is in charge of setting up and coordinating Research and Innovation projects that are considered strategic for ISMB.

The Emerging Trends and Opportunities Function is also in charge of strategic scouting and networking. The Function supports ISMB Research Areas and Strategic Programs to better seize emerging trends in innovation, with a special focus on multi-disciplinary sectors and with an eye also on non-EU funding opportunities. At the same time, the Function favours partnership with key actors, especially from the industrial sector but also from the academic/applied research domain, to pursue jointly with ISMB new research and innovation challenges.

The Emerging Trends and Opportunities Function supports ISMB in seizing emerging trends also by favouring collaborations with new scientific disciplines, searching unbeaten paths in innovation and research and assessing social and economic impacts of innovation by means of suitable strategies for exploitation of research results and innovative ideas.

Front-End, Marketing and Communications[edit]

The Front-End, Marketing and Communications Function oversees the relationships with enterprises and public administrations, creating opportunities for the dissemination of research activities carried out by the Institute to support the action of the Research Areas and Strategic Programs. The function is also responsible for internal and external communications, including the management of website and social media, the relationships with journalists and the organization of institutional events.

Higher and Professional Education[edit]

The main tasks of Higher and Professional Education are to contribute, in agreement with Research Areas, Strategic Programs and Partners & Front-End Function, to the improvement of ISMB offer for post-university and professional education, in terms of quality, effectiveness and economic sustainability; to strengthen the links with external bodies (public and private) that are potential customers or recipients of the educational actions; to participate in the preparation of project proposals; to elaborate innovative educational models, based on the technological competences of the Institute.

Research Support and Secretariat[edit]

The Research Support and Sectretariat Function cares reporting activities, corporate communication and project management of the Institute. It interfaces with the Compagnia di San Paolo Sistema Torino for the aspects of human resources management, administration and budgeting, purchasing and logistics. It supports Direction in the management of all institutional processes.

Strategic Programs[edit]

ISMB develops Strategic Programs that are interdisciplinary by nature. Experiences and results of Research Areas are framed in the perspective of the grand societal challenges. Teh Strategic Programs focus on process innovation in knowledge-intensive sectors, where environmental and social sustainability is the driving force.

Smart ENERGY[edit]

The ISMB Smart Energy Strategic Program aims to answer to the challenges and problems of a sustainable use of our energy resources leveraging on the ICT technologies. ICT may bring new ways of managing energy distribution through smart grids, new ways of managing energy consumption through smart metering, smart billing or electrical mobility. Moreover, ICT has the potential of shaping in a new way the whole energy environment and it will be a key element to develop new services, business sectors and infrastructures in the coming years (energy grids, energy monitoring and saving, full electric vehicles, user awareness and engagement, life cycle analysis, etc...). In summary, the ISMB’s Smart Energy Program is willing to promote the use of the ICT in the energy environment and experimenting new energy paradigms in this sector.

Smart City[edit]

Smart City: An Operational Definition[edit]

The term “Smart City” is not new, and not an easy one to characterize. There is no universally accepted definition, but an authentic multitude of definitions, not always consistent, which tend to highlight different aspects of a problem with many facets. Despite this proliferation of interpretations, the essence of the Smart City issue is for us relatively simple: since we are in the presence of a strong concentration of the human population in urban areas (a growing phenomenon in Europe and even more so in emerging areas of the world), cities are the place of the world where the bulk of the consumption of energy and non-renewable resources is concentrated. This implies that the innovations that must guide us towards a new model of sustainable development should be experimented first of all within cities, where they may cause more benefits. A Smart City will be therefore a city that is able to activate an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to its planning and management, with the aim of reaching the target of triple sustainability, i.e. social, economic and environmental sustainability at the same time.

What is the Smart City Strategic Program[edit]

Well before the launch of the official “Smart Cities” calls, ISMB managed to become a champion of applied ICT R&D projects on smart cities, as it is testified by our participation, as partners or coordinators, into several EU, national and regional projects, approaching the Smart City issue from different angles.

In 2011 ISMB launched its Smart City Strategic Program to realize a quality leap in its approach to the issue, designing a multi-disciplinary research program that merges the traditional technological skills of the Institute with new ones, such as urban planning and socio-economic analysis. Our aim is to promote the use of ICT as an enabling factor for an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to urban planning and management. We approach cities as complex systems of systems, with the final objective to pursue the triple sustainability target.

Our effort has been carried from the beginning with a multi-level approach, trying to study the global best practices and to adapt them to the local contexts in which we operate. We are active members of several international forums for the exchange of best practices in the Smart City domain, such as the Smart Cities and Communities Market Place, the World Smart Capital Initiative, the European Energy Research Alliance, the Renewable Heating & Cooling platform and many others, and we work with several cities to help them define their roadmap towards the triple sustainability target.

Shortly after its creation, the Program launched a research effort with the aim to develop methods and tools for “Scientific Urban Management”. In short, we are developing open source Decision Support Systems integrating different Modeling & Simulation (M&S) techniques, to better predict and measure the impact of alternative smart city initiatives on the path towards the triple sustainability target. We believe that these tools will allow urban decision makers, solution providers and investment managers to predict, on the basis of a scientific approach, what initiatives will better contribute to implement the local smart city strategies, and to satisfy the real needs of the citizens, thus reducing the risks associated with the deployment of large-scale innovations in the urban context.

Smart HEALTH[edit]

The main goal of the strategic program was remote monitoring, health-related data collection and presentation models, support to assistive processes.

The changes in our society as well as an increased life-expectation are driving toward new health processes. ICTs play an essential role in fulfilling the new requirements in terms of service quality and sustainability. In cooperation with health care institutions and experts, ISMB is testing new solutions for personalized (PHS) and preventive health care.


  1. ^ "Istituto Superiore Mario Boella" (in Italian). 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  2. ^ "Conti correnti, carte, mutui e prestiti online per i clienti famiglie e privati". Intesa Sanpaolo. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  3. ^ "Politecnico di Torino". 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  4. ^ "Links Foundation". Retrieved 2018-12-17.