Massimo Mastrangeli

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

In Barcelona, May 2008

Portrait of me as a young man [2.0]


I am a 3rd year Italian PhD student at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Leuven, Belgium. I also belong to Leuven's Interuniversity MicroElectronic Center (IMEC). My field of research is mesoscopic self-assembly. Specifically, I am developing new techniques to improve the packaging and assembly of microchip. This (rather dull) task starts to appear exciting once you introduce stochastic techniques and self-assembling processes to work it out. It seems weird, and even weirder when it works!

Anyway, this was only the n-th trail that lead me to the galaxy of complex systems. This might well be something one wants to report to a psycotherapist.

I started getting interested in complexity by the end of my high-school years. At that time, to show my embarassing modesty, I wanted to write an interdisciplinary thesis on complexity. Unluckily, the boundaries of my books where to narrow to contain my notes (I guess someone said this already a few centuries ago), so I decided to change topic - I switched to "space and time", not sure I simplified my task.

Anyhow, since then I started pursuing a (mostly self-taught) educational path through self-organization, dynamical systems, pattern formation, critical phenomena, evolutionary computation, artificial intelligence. For my BS thesis, I looked into phase-looked loops, whose functionality is built on non-linear dynamics. For my MS thesis, I investigated (microelectromechanical) resonators, acquiring a taste for these fundamental and ubiquitous objects. Meanwhile, I was feeding on books by Kosko, Kauffman, Gell-Mann, Deutsch, Penrose, Barabasi, Strogatz, Axelrod and more. I can candidly confess I am still addicted. Abusing of crack might be much cheaper.

Finally, I lately realized I probably want (a subset of) this stuff to be the leading theme of my future career. So I thought CSSS might be the right place to start this private phase transition.

My other interests include playing and composing music, singing in polyphonic choirs, reading, running and write satire and short essays (Italian only, so far).

Keep in touch by writing me. Or you can find me on Linked In.


What are your main interests?

I want to investigate the principles of passive self-organization and pattern formation in a simulative environment. Agent-based modeling might be the right tool to approach the matter. My interest is to explore the parameter space in order to build a robust environment able to induce self-assembly on an ensemble of particles. Rules of aggregation should reflect the physical interactions between particles, while mixing and actual exploration of the assembly space should be enhanced by external means.

What sorts of expertise can you bring to the group?

My background in electr(on)ical engineering gives me experience with circuits (at logical and electrical level). My current expertise is mesoscopic self-assembly (electrophoretic, magnetic, capillary, chemical, gravitational).

What do you hope to get out of the CSSS?

I want to learn about agent-based modeling and evolutionary game theory. I want to deepen my knowledge of dynamical systems and networks. I am looking forward to meeting interesting people to share experiences and establish fruitful collaborations.

Do you have any possible projects in mind for the CSSS?

  • Develop agent-based models of passive mesoscopic self-assembly
  • Run multi-player variations of Prisoner's Dilemma games to get insights into social herding and influences