Dr. Giovanni Iacca

My research interests lie at the intersection between evolutionary computation, swarm intelligence and distributed computing, with a particular focus on embedded systems such as mobile robots and sensor networks. I strongly believe that bridging the gap between engineering and biology can be beneficial in many ways. On the one hand, understanding biological mechanisms and taking inspiration from them can help us build intelligent artificial systems which are able to perform complex tasks in an efficient way. Examples of such systems are self-organising robotic swarms, distributed algorithms, and intelligent sensors. On the other hand, using tools from computer science and engineering, for instance computational intelligence and machine learning, may help us improve our knowledge about natural phenomena such as social evolution and complex population dynamics.


I received a master degree in Computer Engineering from the Technical University of Bari, Italy, in 2006. From 2006 to 2009, I was a software engineer at the Italian National Research Council, working on real-time systems and industrial robotics. In 2011, I earned a PhD in Mathematical Information Technology from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, with a thesis on memory-saving evolutionary algorithms for embedded systems. After my PhD, I've been a scientific researcher at INCAS³, a nonprofit research institute located in Assen, The Netherlands, where I focused my research on distributed intelligence in sensor networks. Currently, I hold a joint postdoctoral position between Group Keller and the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the EPFL. The goal of my project is to investigate, through evolutionary robotics experiments, the conditions for the coevolution of dispersal and altruism in meta-populations of agents evolving in a structured environment.

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