Massimo Franceschetti

Massimo Franceschetti

Fellow: Awarded 2019
Field of Study: Engineering

Competition: US & Canada

Massimo Franceschetti is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California at San Diego. He received most of his undergraduate education in Italy, where he attended the Electrical and Computer Engineering program of University Federico II of Naples, Italy, with a one year stint in Scotland, at University of Edinburgh, where he took courses in the Computer Science Department as part of a European exchange program.

He graduated from University Federico II of Naples in 1997, and then moved to the United States to attend graduate school at the California Institute of Technology. There, he received a M.Sc. in 1999 and a PhD in 2003 in Electrical Engineering. While at Caltech, his distinctions included receiving the Walker von Brimer award for outstanding research initiative in 2000, and the C. H. Wiltz prize for best PhD thesis in Electrical Engineering in 2003.

Upon departure from Caltech, he spent two years at the University of California at Berkeley as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and then joined the faculty of the University of California at San Diego, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In the course of his career, he also held visiting positions at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and the University of Trento, Italy.

His work focuses on the mathematical foundations of engineering systems, with applications to networks, control, computation, communication, and sensing. His contributions to the theory of wave propagation and multiple scattering were recognized by the S.A. Schelkunoff Transactions prize paper award from the Antennas and Propagation society of the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His work on stochastic geometry and random graphs for the analysis and design of wireless networks was recognized by the IEEE Communications society best tutorial paper award; while his work at the intersection of control and communication was recognized by the Ruberti young researcher prize of the IEEE Control Theory Society, awarded for “contributions in physical and information-based foundation of networked control and communication systems.”

Professor Franceschetti co-authored a book on random networks for communication, which was published in 2007 by Cambridge University press, and was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2018 for “contributions to random wireless networks.” He also received a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2006 and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award in 2007.

Some of his recent research interests include the study of dynamical systems of agents interacting over networks, used to model social interactions between individuals as interacting particle systems. In two papers co-authored with one of his graduate students he gave rigorous solutions for the two-dimensional version of a model of social segregation originally introduced by Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling in 1969. He also studied the spreading of emotions in on-line social networks by analyzing data from millions of users in a collaborative project with Facebook inc. Results from this “big data” effort were published in two papers which received considerable attention in the media (BBC, NBC, Wall Street Journal, etc.). In contrast to previous studies where researchers secretly changed news feeds of some users in order to study their reaction, this study was based on a novel, non-invasive technique that was transparent to the users.

Professor Franceschetti latest research is focused on the intersection of electromagnetic and information theories. The main objective of this work is to uncover the fundamental limits of communication and sensing by merging the theory of information with the physical aspects of the wave propagation process. This approach is described in his recent book entitled “Wave Theory of Information,” published by Cambridge University press in 2018.

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