Institutions | People

Project Consortium

The project includes partners who have a proven record of excellence in developing and publishing research results in their respective scientific areas. One of the primary objectives of this project is to bring together two communities: researchers in various domains of Complex Systems and researchers in various areas of Information Technology (Computer Science, Information and Communication Technologies, Distributed Computing), in particular those facing the challenge of Semiotic Dynamics in on line social communities. The impact that we seek on the scientific community is potentially large because it goes beyond the specific scientific objectives and technologies focused on in this project. We want to foster a general movement towards the interrelation of complex systems and Information Technology by showing successful examples of cooperation and by posing and solving concrete non-trivial problems.

PIL Group, Physics Department, University of Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy

University of Roma La Sapienza The physsapienza research group is based in the Physics Department of “La Sapienza” University in Rome, one of the largest physics department in Italy. It includes more than 250 scientists, among professors and researchers, and more than 66 research groups with topics ranging from high-energy physics to condensed matter theory, statistical mechanics and astrophysics. physsapienza team is very active in the whole area of statistical physics, information theory and complex systems. In the last few years several new projects have been launched among which:

  • agent-based modeling in linguistics
  • information theory applied to time-series analysis, linguistics and genomics
  • theory of complex networks in technological, social and biological systems
  • opinion and assimilation dynamics in social systems
Phys-Sapienza team brings into the consortium its research experience on: (a) developing new theoretical tools to collect and analyse data; (b) introducing and studying suitable modeling for complex systems in order to understand the role and the importance of the different factors in a system of communicating agents; (c) constructing theoretical approaches which could provide with different levels of abstraction and a feedback for new experiments and studies.

Sony Computer Science Laboratory, France

Sony CSL Paris Sony CSL is a basic research laboratory, founded in 1996 by Luc Steels. Research at CSL focuses on four areas: personal music experience, computational neuroscience, developmental cognitive robots, and self-organising communication systems. The team participating to the project is active in two main areas:

  • Semiotic Dynamics: (self-organising communication systems): Research in self-organising communication systems investigates through computational simulations and mathematical models how a group of autonomous agents could be able to invent and negotiate a communication system similar to human natural languages.
  • Personal music experience: Research in Personal Music Experience focuses on the future of musical listening by building prototypes of interactive devices and ethnographic experiments to see what people find exciting in music and how new ways of listening integrate into their lives.
Collaborative Tagging as a form of an evolving language system is of great interest for SONY-CSL. In addition to studying such systems, SONY-CSL contribute to the design of new applications in this field with special emphasis in combining collaborative tagging with features that are automatically extracted from data. Collaborative tagging is considered as an important step towards semi-automatic or automatic music and image categorization, which is one of SONY-CSL key areas.

Institute for Computer Science, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

University of Koblenz-Landau The Research Group “ISWeb – Information Systems and Semantic Web” concentrates its work on the basic principles and applications of semantic-based technologies and their integration into complex, dynamic information systems. The basics of semantic-based systems include the modeling of ontologies, representation of ontologies, approaches and methods for the design and maintenance of ontologies, as well as the semantic annotation of documents, multimedia data or web services to enable the semantic search and usage of these resources.
Semantic technologies are used for information retrieval, for information integration and for semantic-based peer-to-peer networks or for semantic middleware (Web Services, Grid). Semantic technologies enrich the abilities of information and acknowledgement systems and allow a more efficient and more effective handling of complex, dynamic systems.
The contributions of the university of Koblenz-Landau within TAGora are mainly in three research areas, namely the development of a distributed semantic information system, the analysis of tagging data gathered from online social communities and the modeling and simulation of tagging processes. One of UNI KO-LD contributions will the development of the Semantic Exchange Architecture (SEA), a peer-to-peer infrastructure for tagging-based organization and sharing of personal information objects, i.e. multimedia data within TAGora. In contrast to common online social communities the idea is not to store the data on a dedicated central server, but locally on each user’s computer while still providing the same tag-related navigation functionalities.

Knowledge and Data Engineering unit, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Kassel, Germany

University of Kassel The research unit “Knowledge & Data Engineering” at the University of Kassel started in April 2004 with the establishment of an endowed chair of the Hertie Foundation. Research in the unit focuses on knowledge engineering, i.e. on discovering and structuring knowledge, on the derivation of new knowledge processes, and better communication of knowledge. In particular, UNIK research is aimed at the development of methods and techniques at the intersection of research areas such as Social Software, Knowledge Discovery, Ontologies/Metadata, Semantic Web, Peer to Peer and Formal Concept Analysis, with the perspective of reaching substantial synergies among them.
In the TAGora project, UNIK will develop methods to enable users to manage and share their knowledge in an individual and flexible way. This includes methods for detecting and managing communities. UNIK will monitor the development of community structures in the BibSonomy system ( over time. Since one expects a large number of BibSonomy users, extended functionality of the system, as well as improved scalability will be needed. In addition to this, UNIK will set up components for data collection and for tracking evolution.
Because of the high level of exposure of web-based activity, UNIK plans to develop and deploy a new generation knowledge sharing system which could reshape the social approach to sharing online information.

The School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK

University of Southampton The School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton is a world-leading centre of excellence for research. Within the school, the IAM (Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia) Group focuses on the design and application of computing systems for complex information and knowledge processing tasks. With around 120 researchers, we are international leaders in the three major themes that converge in the Group’s tripartite title. UNI-SOTON has a deep expertise in ontology modelling and applications, as well as in social network analysis over the Semantic Web. TAGora will bring these skills together and apply it to various folksonomic domains to help better understand information evolution, as well as influence and dependency across different communities.
UNI-SOTON team will be focusing on two main issues: (1) information gathering and integration from various folksonomies (e.g. bibliography, music, images); (2) investigating requirements and approaches for online recommendations over and across folksonomic web sites. Folksonomy web sites are rarely closed worlds. It is quite common for individuals to be active members of several online communities and thus one would expect certain tags to spread across such communities with time. For example one could be adding images to Flickr, bookmarking web sites with, creating their music preference profiles in, and tagging articles in Connotea. By continuously collecting data from such folksonomy web sites, and monitoring changes and additions, one can cross reference emerging tags between the separate communities to extend and connect their individual networks to create an Integrated Semantic Network.


University of Roma “La Sapienza”

Vittorio Loreto
Prof. Vittorio Loreto ( Project Coordinator) got his Ph.D. in Physics at “La Sapienza” University and spent a few years in France at the Ecole Superieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles. In 1999 he joined back the Physics Dept. of “La Sapienza” University as a researcher and in 2004 he got the habilitation as Associate Professor. His scientific activity is mainly focused on the Statistical Mechanics of non equilibrium systems as well as statistical physics of scale-invariance and complex systems. In the last few years he has been active in the fields of granular media, complexity and information theory, networks, language evolution. Beyond TAGora he is coordinating several Italian national projects as well as the Rome team of the IST ECAgents project. Vittorio Loreto published over 80 papers in internationally refereed journals and chaired several workshops and conferences. He is the vice-chairman of STATPHYS 23, the 23rd International Conference on Statistical Physics, to be held in Genova, Italy, from July 9 to 13, 2007.
Andrea Baldassarri
Dr. Andrea Baldassarri got his PhD at the University of Paris Sud (Orsay) with a thesis on the ” Statistics of persistent extreme events “. His interests in non-equilibrium statistical physics and complex systems drove him to study several problems related to granular matter, slow dynamics and aging in spin glass models, etching and corrosion processes in aluminum films, erosion of rocky coasts, fractal geomorphology of planets. Such a collection of diverse topics, has been addressed focusing on the emergence of collective phenomena, in the framework of universal statistics of extremes, percolation theory, self-organization. He collaborates with researchers from the Ecole Polytechinque, in Paris, and from the Centro de Astrobiologia, in Madrid. He plans to investigate and model emerging properties in the statistical description of online social communities.
Ciro Cattuto
Dr. Ciro Cattuto is a researcher at the Centro Studi e Ricerche “Enrico Fermi”. His work focuses on modeling complex phenomena in online information systems, and in general on using the concepts of statistical physics to study communication and self-organization in technological and social systems. He received his PhD in Physics from the University of Perugia (Italy), with a thesis on the non-equilibrium statistical mechanics of soliton-bearing models. After a few experiences in the software industry, he worked at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and then moved to the Frontier Research System of the RIKEN Institute (Japan) as a post-doctoral Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He joined the team of the “La Sapienza” University in 2005 and his early interest in collaborative tagging as a complex system sparkled the process that eventually led to the creation of the TAGora project.
Vito D.P. Servedio
Dr. Vito D.P. Servedio got his PhD at the Technical University of Dresden where he continued his research for other three years as Post-Doc. In this period he collaborated actively with the Max Plack Institute, and the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden mainly dealing with the calculation of the electronic structure of metal surfaces. He moved to the University “La Sapienza” of Rome in November 2002 where he started dealing with the physics of complex systems, with particular attention to complex networks. He took part to the COSIN and DELIS european projects. His aptitude is mainly oriented toward computational physics.
Antonella Giampaglia
Antonella Giampaglia received the degree in Arabic Language and Literature from the Oriental University Institute of Naples in 1996. She got the diploma in Librarianship from the Vatican School of Librarianship of Rome in October 2005. She was employed from 1998 to 2002 at the Arab and Radio Television (ART) Network in Avezzano (AQ) in the programming division. She worked as librarian in the specialized library of the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies till December 2005. She joined the team of TAGora in March 2006 for support and organizing activity.
Andrea Capocci
Andrea Capocci got his PhD at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in the econophysics group led by prof. Yi-Cheng Zhang; during this period (1999-2003), he dealt mainly with the modeling of markets and economical interactions by techniques issued from theoretical physics. He then moved to the Centro Studi e Ricerche “Enrico Fermi” (2003-2006) and to the computer science department at the University “Sapienza” of Rome, Italy within the DELIS european project (2007), to investigate the statistical properties of complex networks. Andrea Capocci is currently a post-doc at the Physics Department at University “Sapienza” of Rome, Italy, within the TAGORA european project. His work focuses on semiotic dynamics within online and offline social networks, where tools inspired by statistical physics can be applied in order to study cooperative phenomena and emerging properties.

Sony CSL

Luc Steels
Prof. Luc Steels is director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris since its founding in 1996. He is part-time professor of Computer Science at the free University of Brussels (VUB) where he started and directs the VUB Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Steels is considered a pioneer and innovator in many areas of Artificial intelligence. His current focus is on the question of language origins using computational simulations and robotic experiments. Steels edited a dozen books, including “The Artificial Life Roots of AI” (with Rodney Brooks) and “The future of learning” (with Mario Tokoro). His papers have appeared in the most important AI conferences (IJCAI, ECAI, AAAI, Alife, etc.) and journals (AI Journal, AI magazing, Trans. Ac. Scie., Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Trends in Cognitive Science, IEEE Intelligent Systems, etc.).
Peter Hanappe
Dr. Peter Hanappe studied electronic engineering at the University of Gent, Belgium. He started his research in computer music at the Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music (IPEM). In 1994, he moved to Paris where he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on real-time music and sound environments at Ircam – Centre George Pompidou. After working for three years as a freelance developer, Peter Hanappe joined the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris where he continues his research on new modes of content creation, distribution, and retrieval. He currently focusses on the semantic interoperability in P2P networks and authorship management for collaborative production methods.
Nicolas Maisonneuve is associate researcher at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris. His current research interests mixes organization sciences, sustainability and computer science. He received a master in computer science and a master in artificial intelligence. He started to work in the fields of information retrieval and robotics in France. He moved at the University of Sydney where he worked on new visualization and data mining algorithms for supporting e-collaboration. Then he joined a team as research associate at the INSEAD school, to participate in an EU project about the management of social attention in online communities (Atgentive). He recently joined the sustainability group of SONY CSL, working on a new participatory approach empowering citizens to monitor noise pollution using their mobile phones (NoiseTube). In a previous life, he worked at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou and co-founded 2 internet start-ups.
Matthias Stevens holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science from University College Ghent and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He currently works as a PhD student at the VUB on the Programming Technology lab. Matthias holds with a scholarship of the Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders. He has also worked as a research trainee at the Sony Computer Science Lab (CSL) in Paris.His principal research interests are geo-localisation, location-based services, participative sensing, participative mapping, ubiquitous computing and geographical information systems.At Sony CSL, Matthias was involved in the creation of Noisetube, an ongoing research project focused on creating a collaborative platform for monitoring urban noise pollution.
Bartek Ochab joined Sony Computer Science Lab in June 2009 and studied Neuronal computing and Machine-learning at the Technical University Berlin. Until May 2008 he wrote his diploma thesis about the development of a tag bases search engine for virtual,user generated 3D worlds at the Technical University Berlin. His interests are Tagging systems, Information Retrieval and virtual 3D environments.

University of Koblenz-Landau

Steffen Staab
Prof. Steffen Staab is professor of databases and information systems at the Institute for Informatics of the University of Koblenz-Landau. He heads the research group on information systems and the semantic web (ISWeb), which is participating in several EU IST integrated project on semantic multimedia, metadata management and ontology management. Prof. Staab has a wide range of research interests including semantic web, text mining, ontologies, peer-to-peer and service management with semantic descriptions, which led to over 100 refereed publications and 7 books. Recently, he coordinated the 5FP IST project “SWAP – Semantic Web and Peer-to-peer”, which culminated into a new book of the same name that deals with the life cycle of metadata in dynamic peer-to-peer systems.
Klaas Dellschaft
Klaas Dellschaft is a researcher in ISWeb since April 2006. He studied Computational Visualistics at the University Koblenz-Landau. During his studies he worked in the AI research group and the Knowlege Media Institute. In December 2005 he received a diploma in computer science with a thesis on measuring the similarity of ontologies. He is interested in machine learning, evaluation methodologies and argumentation support for ontology engineering.
Olaf Goerlitz
Olaf Görlitz is a researcher in ISWeb since August 2005. He studied Computer Science in Berlin and spent a year as a visiting researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He received a diploma in computer science from the technical university Berlin with a thesis on publish-subscribe routing mechanisms for unstructured peer-to-peer networks. He is broadly interested in large scale, distributed, semantic information systems and multimedia annotation.

University of Kassel

Gerd Stumme
Prof. Gerd Stumme leads the research activity within the TAGora project of the research unit “Knowledge & Data Engineering” at the University of Kassel. Gerd Stumme is Full Professor of Computer Science and full member of the Research Center L3S. He earned his PhD in 1997 at Darmstadt University of Technology, and his Habilitation at the Institute AIFB of the University of Karlsruhe in 2002. In 1999/2000 he was Visiting Professor at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France, and Substitute Professor for Machine Learning and Knowledge Discovery at the University of Magdeburg in 2003. Gerd Stumme published over 80 articles at national and international conferences and in journals, and chaired several workshops and conferences. He is member in the Editorial Boards of the Intl. Journal on Data Warehousing and Mining and of the International Conference on Conceptual Structures, and was also member of several conference and workshop Program Committees.
Andreas Hotho
Dr. Andreas Hotho earned his Master’s Degree in information systems at the University of Braunschweig (Germany) in 1998. He worked from 1999 to 2004 at the Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) at the University of Karlsruhe in the areas of text, data, and web mining, semantic web and information retrieval where he also received his PhD. Since 2004 he is a senior researcher at the University of Kassel. His focus is on the combination of machine learning/data mining and semantic web, called semantic web mining, and especially on text clustering/classification with background knowledge. He was involved in organizing several Knowledge Discovery and Ontology Learning workshops in conjunction with the ECML/PKDD and KDD conferences.
Beate Krause
Beate Krause is a PhD candidate doing research on Knowledge and Data Engineering at the University of Kassel since October 2006. She studied Information Systems at the Berufsakademie Stuttgart (BA) and the Humboldt University of Berlin (M.Sc.). Her first project in Kassel considered an analysis of search in social bookmarking systems and search engines as part of the Microsoft Accelerating Search in Academic Research Project. Her PhD focuses on information retrieval in social media systems. She is also interested in web 2.0 applications, text mining and machine learning.

University of Southampton

Nigel Shadbolt
Prof. Nigel Shadbolt is Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Southampton, and Director of the EPSRC Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Advanced Knowledge Technologies (AKT), a multi-million pound research programme involving five UK collaborators. He is Emeritus Editor in Chief of IEEE Intelligent Systems, and on the editorial board of the Knowledge Engineering Review and the Computer Journal. He is a member of various national committees including the UK e-Science Technical Advisory Committee (TAG) and the UK EPSRC Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) for ICT, and is President Elect of the British Computer Society. He became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006.
Harith Alani
Dr. Harith Alani is a senior research fellow with the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, affiliated with the Advanced Knowledge Technologies (AKT) IRC. His current research activities are in semantic representation and analysis of communities of practice, ontology change management, and ontology ranking and minimisation. He has been a co-organiser of a number of knowledge management related workshops in various international conferences.
Kieron O'Hara
Dr. Kieron O’Hara is a senior research fellow in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, working on the Advanced Knowledge Technologies project, on which he is a co-PI. He researches in the politics and epistemology of technology, and is the author of five books, the latest,, appearing in 2006. His particular focus is on the Semantic Web, and its implications for social interaction. He is a member of the EPSRC Memories for Life network, has worked on a number of the UK Department of Trade and Industry’s Foresight programmes, and is currently editing a special issue of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies on ontologies and knowledge representation.
Martin Szomsor
Martin Szomsor is a research fellow in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the Univestiy of Southampton. After recieving his PhD in 2007, with a dissertation on data integration in semantic web service architectures, Martin joined the TAGora project to investigate recommendation and knowledge representation in complex systems. His current research interests are the semantic web, web2.0, and personalised recommendation, particularly the modeling and exchange of social networks, folksonomies, and personal information.

Former TAGora members

Melanie Aurnhammer
Dr. Melanie Aurnhammer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris. She received the B.Sc. degree in business engineering from the University of Applied Science, Offenburg, Germany, in 1998, and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computational visualistics from the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg in 2000 and 2003, respectively. In 2003, she was a DAAD research fellow at the Public University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain. From 2004 to 2005, Melanie Aurnhammer was a research assistant at the Vision Group, Queen Mary, University of London, U.K. Since March 2005, she has been with the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, where she’s focussing on social dynamics for data organisation. In particular, she investigates the integration of image analysis and machine learning techniques into collaborative tagging sites in order to enhance navigation in image archives.
Miranda Grahl

Miranda Grahl received her Diploma in Computer Science in 2006. In her study of Applied Informatics in the Natural Sciences, she was focussing on Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science and Neural Networks. After, she joined the TAGora project as researcher. Currently, she holds a position as PhD candidate at the University of Bielefeld.

Christoph Schmitz
Christoph Schmitz has been a researcher in the research group on Knowledge and Data Engineering at the University of Kassel since April
2004. He received his diploma in Computer Science from the University of Trier in 2001. From 2002 until March 2004, he worked as a researcher for the Institute AIFB at the University of Karlsruhe, co-operating in the PADLR project with the Research Center L3S at the University of Hannover. He is currently finishing his PhD thesis on collaborative knowledge management in peer-to-peer and folksonomy systems.
Alexander Kubias
Alexander Kubias joined ISWeb in October 2006. He also studied Computational Visualistics at the University Koblenz-Landau. He wrote his diploma thesis about medical image registration in collaboration with Siemens Medical Solutions until September 2006. He is interested in semantic information systems, internet technologies, image processing and computer graphics.
Eugenio Tisselli
Eugenio Tisselli is an associate researcher at the Sony Computer Science Lab in Paris. He received a diploma in Computer Science In Mexico City, and a Master’s degree in Digital Art in Barcelona. Since 2003, he has designed and developed software tools for urban communities engaged in the representation and communication of shared issues. He is interested in the study of multimedia annotation as a form of sense-making, and the analysis of semiotic dynamics within the framework of online and offline communities.

TAGora project started on June 1st 2006
Sixth Framework Programme, Information Society Technologies, IST call 5, Contract N. 34721
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