University of Lugano

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Università della Svizzera italiana
Logo of the University of Lugano.svg
Established 1996
Type Public
Budget CHF 91 million[1] (US$ 95 million)
President Piero Martinoli
Academic staff
Students 3015[1]
Location Lugano (main), Mendrisio (Accademia di Architettura), Ticino
46°00′40″N 8°57′29″E / 46.011°N 8.958°E / 46.011; 8.958Coordinates: 46°00′40″N 8°57′29″E / 46.011°N 8.958°E / 46.011; 8.958
Campus Urban 15 acres (0.1 km2)
Athletics (no teams)

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI; literally University of Italian Switzerland) is a public university founded in 1996 with campuses in Lugano and Mendrisio, Switzerland. USI has four faculties (schools), and follows the European standard of three-year undergraduate studies and two-year master's (in Italian or English).[2][3]

Academic Programs[edit]

University of Lugano offers English and Italian language business education programs. Programs are classified at undergraduate and graduate level such as bachelor, doctoral degree programs. Undergraduate and Graduate programs are proposed in many disciplines, including banking and finance, international tourism, marketing, informatics, economics, architecture, communication sciences to name a few.[4][5][6] University of Lugano also runs a Doctorate program in informatics, economics and communication sciences.[7]


The Lugano campus developed around the existing city hospital circa 1996. Several state-of-the-art buildings have been added, most notably Informatics (2007), Aula Magna, Aule, Library, and LAB.[8]

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. 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.[citation needed]

Campus Map

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).[9]

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.

Departments and faculty[edit]

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.


The faculty/academy of Architecture is led by director Marc Collomb.[10] With forty lecturers and twenty-five design studios (including Mario Botta, Massimo Carmassi, Valerio Olgiati), the Accademia in Mendrisio trains 764 students for 3-year bachelor, and 2-year masters degree (2013).


USI's faculty of Economics is led by dean François Degeorge. 1076 students (2013). Topics: Banking, Finance, Management, Economics and International Policies (it); Financial Communication, Marketing; in English and Italian.

Communication Science[edit]

The faculty of Communication Science is led by dean Michael Gibbert. 871 students (2013). Topics of research and teaching include Media, new media and journalism, Marketing, Corporate Communication, Public communication, Healthcare communication, Information and communication technologies, Education and Tourism, mainly in Italian and English.


Building of the Faculty of Informatics

The faculty of Informatics was founded in 2004. It offers the only undergraduate program at USI, with English as the language of instruction. The founding dean founding was Mehdi Jazayeri. Since 2013 the faculty is led by Michele Lanza.

The Faculty of Informatics at Università della Svizzera italiana performs 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 who 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, GIT.

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, Java, and JavaScript are used. The curriculum puts a strong emphasis on teamwork, with a major group project happening at the end of every semester.

Master topics include Software Design, Software Architecture, Dependable Distributed Systems, Embedded System Design (see ALaRI), Intelligent Systems (with IDSIA), Applied Informatics.[citation needed]

Institute of Computational Science[edit]

USI's Institute of Computational Science was founded in 2008 and is led by director Rolf Krause. The institute is the result of the vision of USI to become a new scientific and educational node for Computational Science in Switzerland. The institute offers research and teaching in Mathematical Modeling, Numerical Simulation, and High Performance Computing. The ICS hosts seven research groups which focus on advanced computing in computational science, high-performance methods for numerical simulation in science, medicine and engineering, computational time series analysis, computational shape analysis, multiscale and multiphysics models in computational biology, computational modeling of cardiac electrophysiology, and the simulation of biological and physical systems.

The Computational Science Master of Science graduate program at the ICS emphasizes a mathematical and methodological framework as well as an application-oriented education in Informatics and Software Engineering.[citation needed]

Student life and culture[edit]

View from the main building

Università della Svizzera italiana had 3015 students in 2013-2014;[1] of these 987 (32,7%) are Swiss, and 2028 (67,3%) are foreign - from Italy (44%) or from over one hundred other nationalities (23,3%). Exchange students (see Erasmus) for 2013-2014 were 120.

In leisure time, students participate in city-sponsored tourism events,[11] school-sponsored sporting activities,[12] and student associations,[13] 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).[citation needed]

Associated institutions[edit]

The iCub humanoid robot at IDSIA's robotics lab in Switzerland trying to reach for a blue cup. To do so it has to plan and control the movement of all its joints in unison.
  • Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research (IDSIA, Italian: Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull'Intelligenza Artificiale) was founded in 1988 by the private Dalle Molle foundation.[14] In 2000 it became a public research institute, affiliated with the Universita della Svizzera italiana and SUPSI in Ticino, Switzerland.[15] Researchers from IDSIA teach, for example, courses in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the USI Master degree level. In 1997 it has been ranked as one of the world's top ten AI labs, and one of the world's top four labs in the field of biologically inspired AI.[16]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]