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The mission of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) is to create a diverse European network that promotes research excellence and advances breakthroughs in AI, as well as a pan-European PhD program to educate the next generation of AI researchers. ELLIS comprises 30 laboratories (ELLIS Units) in 14 European countries devoted to research on machine learning and intelligent systems.

Research infrastructures

The Modena@ELLIS Unit, directed by prof. Rita Cucchiara, is composed of three research infrastructures: the first at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE), with AImageLab and AIRI, the AI Academy and the new NVIDIA NVAITC center established in Modena; the second at the University of Firenze (UNIFI) at MICC and the third in CINECA, located in Bologna.

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia


AImageLab is the Research Laboratory in Computer Vision, Machine Learning on Multimedia Data and AI of the Dipartimento di Ingegneria “Enzo Ferrari” (DIEF). It is coordinated by Prof. Rita Cucchiara since 1998, with more than 35 researchers working on foundational and applied research with more than 450 publications and different research and industrial projects. 

AIRI is the “Artificial Intelligence Research and Innovation Center”, an Inter-departmental center in AI and ICT for industrial research, with faculties from four Departments co-funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region. It is directed by Prof. Roberto Vezzani and co-located with AImageLab, in the Modena Technopole.

AI Academy is the activity that brings together the academic and industrial world through a new opportunity for matching interests that can be used in a streamlined, flexible and personalised way.

NVAITC, the NVIDIA AI Technology Center in Modena, has been created in December 2019 at Unimore, coordinated by Rita Cucchiara with the technical direction of Lorenzo Baraldi (UNIMORE) and Giuseppe Fiameni (NVIDIA), under the “AI Nation” program with a MoU signed between CINI and NVIDIA in December 2019. It will be devoted to developing deep learning research, mainly for computer vision on HPC infrastructures.

Rita Cucchiara
Costantino Grana
Roberto Vezzani
Simone Calderara
Lorenzo Baraldi
Silvia Cascianelli
Giuseppe Fiameni

University of Florence

Media Integration and Communication Center (MICC) of the University of Florence (UNIFI) is directed by Prof. Alberto del Bimbo and is working on AI, ML, Multimedia and related applications. MICC collaborates on several projects together with UNIMORE and it is part of the NVIDIA “AI Nation” program too.

Alberto del Bimbo
Pietro Pala
Andrew D. Bagdanov
Marco Bertini
Stefano Berretti
Lorenzo Seidenari


CINECA is the italian consortium for HPC, based in Bologna and distributed in Italy sites, is the largest Italian computing center and one of the most important worldwide. It is one of the recipients of the pre-exascale class computers funded by EU EuroHPC in 2019. It will provide thousands of GPU hours, services and technical support, and hosting internships for ELLIS.

Sanzio Bassini
Roberta Turra

The Modena@ELLIS Unit will be a founding unit of the Emilia-Romagna Initiative on Artificial Intelligence.

Research activities

The research activities of UNIMORE AImageLab and AIRI, UNIFI MICC and which will be the specialization of the UNIMORE@ELLIS Unit are foundational and applied multidisciplinary research in Machine/Deep Learning and Computer Vision, divided into 6 areas:


Supporting outstanding Research in ML and CV at European Level: our activity, although funded also by industrial projects, has always foundational research goals and the scope to be published in top venues. ELLIS collaborations in similar topics will be benefiting for all ELLIS Units, e.g. by creating large European datasets, or simulation platforms, and co-designing solutions for open problems. In Modena we are creating a new infrastructure for research in AI and Vision, with high multidisciplinary activity, capable to host guest scientists and to support curiosity-driven research. Also, Firenze is available to host researchers, and the CINECA infrastructure in Bologna too.

Improving the impact of industrial research in ML and CV, for supporting existing industries and creating start-ups. UNIMORE is connected with Italian industrial Associations, is a member of the Competence Center B-Rex for industry 4.0, is creating joint labs with international industries. Our mission as ELLIS unit will be to put in common these opportunities with other EU labs, coworking in new EU projects. We will share opportunities of the Modena AI Academy for connecting the research of tomorrow with the request of today of industries, with a very high response of local industries and startups.

Creating very high qualified AI and ML schools for new European talents: we will put in common with ELLIS units the current initiatives such as new Master degree with focus on “AI Engineering”; b) the Automotive Master MUNER of E-R Universities and Master with UNITN for Autonomous driving; c) the Ph.D. International programs, funded by E-R Region and by Italian Foreign Minister in the Italy-Israel program; d) the “Advanced Schools in AI of E-R”.
The intention is to open for short and long visits and talent exchanges, hosting them in Modena and in other E-R Facilities such as the new E-R “Foundation for Big Data and AI for Human Development”, available to co-fund research exchanges. The CINECA  Supercomputing Center, partner of the proposal, will contribute by hosting researchers in their labs too and in the highly qualified schools they organize.

Here you can find a general presentation about Ellis Unit