Silvio Capobianco

Picture of me

Senior Research Scientist at Department of Software Science, Tallinn University of Technology.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. (Thomas Alva Edison)

Contact information

Short bio

I was born in Rome, Italy, where I earned my Laurea (BSc, 2000) and Dottorato di ricerca (PhD, 2005) in Mathematics from La Sapienza.

I have been a visiting scholar at Boston University, an Adjunct at my alma mater, and for two years a Postdoc at Reykjavik University before arriving at Tallinn University of Technology.
I worked from 8 January 2009 to 31 December 2016 at the Institute of Cybernetics, which does not exist anymore as such since 1st January 2017. My unit, the Department of Software Science, consequently joined TUT's School of Information Technologies.

I speak fluent English and French, and can do small talk in Estonian and Spanish.


My main research topic is cellular automata, a model of synchronous parallel computation, where similar finite-state machines placed on the nodes of a grid update their state according to that of a finite neighborhood. I am especially interested in the properties of global dynamics.
I have written several papers about the properties of cellular automata that follow from those of the underlying grid. I am also co-author, with Tommaso Toffoli and Patrizia Mentrasti, of five papers (four research, one popularization) on the rewriting of cellular automata as different types of parallel systems.

From March 2013 to August 2015 I was in a research project about coinduction. To figure out what coinduction is, think of how Michelangelo sculpted his David.

Other interests include theory of computation, topological dynamics, algebra, and some game theory.

My Erdős number is 4, possible paths being:

Here is a list of my publications.


During Autumn 2023 I will give the course ITB8832 Mathematics for Computer Science, based on the textbook for the course of the same name by Eric Lehman, F. Thomson Leighton and Albert R. Meyer.
This will be the sixth edition of the course, which I have given every Autumn semester starting from year 2018.
An introduction to the course is available HERE.

During Spring 2023 I gave the course ITT9132 Concrete Mathematics, based on the textbook of the same name by Ronald Graham, Donald Knuth and Oren Patashnik.
This was the seventh edition of the course, and the fourth for which I have been the instructor; the teacher for the first three editions was Prof. Jaan Penjam, and I was his teaching assistant.
An introduction to the course is available HERE.

During Spring 2013 I have given the course ITT8040 Cellular Automata

Here is a cycle of seminars on symbolic dynamics I have given on April and May 2010.


My favorite programming language is Python.
I am also exploring Haskell and Agda, to use them in my personal research as well as joint projects.
During my undergraduate years I enjoyed using the C programming language. I hold Kernighan and Ritchie's manual as a great piece of literature.

I have been a long time user of the SIMP/STEP cellular automata software by Ted Bach. I will keep a page on the subject.

I have organized a mini-workshop on cellular automata software, held on August 31, 2010. I will keep a page on the subject.

I typeset my articles with LaTeX.

I have used the Maxima computer algebra system to prepare and check exercises for my students.
Later on, I have gotten acquainted with R and GNU Octave.
In the future, I plan to switch to Sage.


My personal blog: Another Blog on Cellular Automata

I was a contributor to the Theory Lunch meetings, organized by Wolfgang Jeltsch.
We regularly wrote in the Theory Lunch blog

In February 2013, Professor Robin Cockett (University of Calgary) gave at IoC a course on restriction categories.
Here are some notes I am taking and editing
(last update: 4 April 2017 --- fixed source code, made some small corrections, added new affiliation)
If you find any errors or have any suggestions, you are welcome to contact me.

Here is a list of books from my bookshelf. Colleagues wanting to consult some, are welcome to ask.

And here is a selection of quotes.

Last update: 21 August 2023

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