University of Lugano

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Università della Svizzera italiana
Logo of the University of Lugano.svg
Type Public
Established 1996
Budget CHF 91 million[1] (US$ 95 million)
President Piero Martinoli
Academic staff
Students 3015[1]
Address Via Lambertenghi 10a, CH-6904 Lugano, 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)

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 (Bachelor) and two-year graduate (Master) studies, in Italian and in English.[2]

Academic Programs[edit]

Università della Svizzera italiana offers English and Italian language higher education programs, classified at undergraduate and graduate level, such as Bachelor, Master and 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.[3] USI also runs doctorate programs in informatics, economics and communication sciences.


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.

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 cafeteria (2)(Q1-2007), and third-floor auditorium (3)(Q3-2007). The library is four floors tall. The LAB has 5 floors, in great part occupied by the Institute of Computational Sciences, and the rest by other Communication Sciences and Informatics departments. .[citation needed]

Campus Map

The Aule, informally known as Palazzo Rosso (“Red Building”), hosts six classrooms on each of its three floors, and is commonly used by Economics and Communications faculties. The modern-looking concrete and metal Informatics building finished in 2007 contains classrooms (1), offices and study areas reserved for CS students and mentors (2-3).[4]

The Aula Magna is the university's convention hall and capable of seating around 400 people; it is used to host university conferences, speeches, and other public or private events; solely the entrance to the hall is visible above ground. South of the main building, the Central Services offices houses the Rectorate (as of September 1, 2016, until then 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 (formally "Academy 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 Academy of Architecture, founded by acclaimed architect Mario Botta, is currently led by director Marc Collomb.[5] 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 master's degree (2013).


The Faculty of Economics is led by dean Patrick Gagliardini. 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 Sciences is led by dean Andrea Rocci. 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 2015 the faculty is led by dean Kai Hormann.

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]

The Institute of Computational Science (ICS) 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,[6] school-sponsored sporting activities,[7] and student associations,[8] despite the town's small population. Twenty student associations have been established, with student clubs oriented around economics (AIESEC), informatics (EESTEC, IEEE student branch), and communications (L'universo student newspaper).[citation needed]

Associated and affiliated institutions[edit]

  • 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.[9] In 2000 it became a public research institute, affiliated with the Universita della Svizzera italiana and SUPSI in Ticino, Switzerland.[10] Researchers from IDSIA teach, for example, courses in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the USI Master's degree level.
  • The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) was founded in 2000 in Bellinzona with the goal of advancing the study of human immunology, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of host defense.
  • The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre is the national high-performance computing centre of Switzerland. It was founded in Manno, in 1991. In March 2012, the CSCS moved to its new location in Lugano-Cornaredo.[citation needed]
  • The IRSOL (Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno) is a research institute in Locarno devoted to solar physics. The quality of its instrumentation, result of decades of evolution, allows for unique observations in the field of high precision solar spectropolarimetry.
  • The IOR (Institute of Oncology Research), located in Bellinzona, is expected to be associated to USI by the end of 2017, following a University Council decision in 2015 and currently awaiting final approval by state authorities.
  • In 2013 USI has been accredited a UNESCO chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites. The UNESCO chair is committed to perform extensive research and teaching on how ICT, especially the internet, can be effectively exploited to develop and promote sustainable tourism at the World Heritage Sites (WHSs).[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Students in Numbers". Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Università della Svizzera italiana (University of Lugano)". moveonnet. 
  3. ^ "University of Lugano Masters Degrees". FindAMasters. 
  4. ^ "Campus map". ESASO. 
  5. ^ "Mendrisio Academy Press". USI Academy of Architecture. 
  6. ^ "Lugano Events". 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  7. ^ "USI Sport Club". Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  8. ^ "Student Associations". Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  9. ^ "Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence". SUPSI. 
  10. ^ "Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research". universitieshandbook. 

External links[edit]