Information science of complex networks and systems: applications to control, computation, communication, and sensing.
Professor Franceschetti's work spans a continuum from algorithms, models of wave propagation, network analysis and design, information theoretic limits, and control technologies. One of his key contributions has been the application of tools from statistical physics, namely percolation theory, to analyze and explain observable phenomena such as scaling laws. He also has applied random walk theory to describe wireless signal propagation and its interaction with the environment.
Professor Franceschetti's recent research has focused on the study of dynamical systems of agents interacting over networks. His research group gave rigorous solutions for the two-dimensional version of a model of social segregation popular in the social sciences. They 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. 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 is also interested in the intersection of electromagnetic and information theories. His physical approach to communication and sensing is illustrated in his book entitled "Wave Theory of Information," published by Cambridge University press in 2018.
Born in Naples, Italy, Professor Franceschetti 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 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.
He authored the book "Wave Theory of Information," published by Cambridge University press in 2018 and was nominated Guggenheim fellow in the category natural sciences, engineering, in 2019.