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The world observed through algorithms and simulations
Lists of numbers and long equation systems… a rather unexciting picture, if we did not know that behind those figures there hides a world - our world, waiting to be told. Think of those legendary films, where you cannot tell reality from fiction, where cinematographic suggestion vies with quasi-philosophical insight. Increasingly we are confronted with, or steeped in, fascinating simulations produced by powerful computers: from medicine to space research, from cinema to videogames. And it is becoming more and more common for a researcher to be studying reality while sitting in front of a PC monitor: an additional, often essential, boost helping us approach phenomena which would otherwise be dauntingly complex. In the past few years, USI has actively promoted research projects in this field, ranging from the analysis of simulations to describe the behaviour of biological tissues, or of vital organs like the heart, to the study of materials. On this basis, we have secured valuable collaborative ventures with other universities and with leading research centres in Southern Switzerland. Though founded fairly recently, the Institute of Computational Science (ICS) of the University of Lugano has already set up a number of major projects. ICS is attracting international acclaim and building a rich network of local partnerships. From studying biological tissues to observing how materials behave: computational science is turning into an increasingly powerful investigative tool. Two research teams are operative at the moment, one of which is directed by Prof. Rolf Krause, Head of the Institute of Computational Science.
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