The University of Padova (UniPD), in Italy, is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious seats of learning; it is a multi-disciplinary university that aims to provide its students with both professional training and a solid cultural background. A qualification from the University of Padova is a symbol of having achieved an ambitious objective, one that is recognised and coveted by both students and employers alike. The ESRs based at UniPD will be inserted in our multi-cultural research lab SIGNET, within the Department of Information Engineering, which counts about 30 researchers of various professional seniority and a number of visiting professors, scholars, and master/PhD students from other countries (about 4-5 per year). All communications within the research lab are in English, in order to favour the inclusion of the visitors. The team has a strong expertise in the wireless communication field and has competences on machine learning. The contribution to WindMill will mainly focus on the application of machine- learning techniques for the development of optimization modules for ICT systems based on hierarchical deep reinforcement learning schemes. The fellows will be provided with all the necessary means for implementing the activities required by the project, included full access to the University Library System, and to the University Language Center, which organizes Italian Language courses for foreign students. UniPD also owns the business incubator “StartCube” that provides supporting services to the wannabe entrepreneurs. Computers and software programs, as well as office/lab spaces with high-speed Internet connection will be made available by the Department.


The supervisors will be Proff. Andrea Zanella and Michele Zorzi.

Andrea Zanella is currently Associate Professor, though holding the habilitation for the full professorship. His major research interests are in the field of protocol design and performance evaluation of wireless systems and, currently, he has authored 160+ papers published in international journals and conference proceedings. The research activity, however, also spans across affine disciplines, such as automation engineering, computer science, and electronics, sometimes blending up with non-engineering subjects, such as psychology and physics. In recent years, he has been involved in the study of machine learning techniques for the optimization and automation of radio communication systems, with the aim of identifying the most promising approaches in this field and contributing to the development of machine learning techniques that are specifically designed for communication systems.

He has long and solid experience in international collaborative research projects, included the FP7 projects. Furthermore, he has being involved in a number of collaboration with leading companies in the ICT field, as INTEL, Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs (now Nokia), Telenor, Toyota research, Philips, ST-microelectronics.

He is IEEE senior member and serves as Technical Area Editor for the IEEE Internet of Things Journal, and as Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking, the IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials and the Digital Communications and Networks (DCN), by Elsevier. He was Guest Editor for the S.I. on “Smart Cities: vision and reality” of the Sensor Journal (MDPI) in 2016 and for the S.I. on “Imaging in Internet of Things” for Journal of Imaging (MDPI) in 2017.

Finally, he is one of the coordinators of the SIGnals and NETworking (SIGNET) research lab, is a board member of the PhD School on Information Engineering and a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Inspired Technologies (HIT) research center.

Michele Zorzi is full Professor at University of Padova and one of the top international experts in wireless communications. He received his Laurea and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Padova in 1990 and 1994, respectively. During academic year 1992/1993 he was on leave at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). After being affiliated with the Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, the Center for Wireless Communications at UCSD, and the University of Ferrara, in November 2003 he joined the faculty of the Information Engineering Department of the University of Padova, where he is currently a professor. His present research interests include performance evaluation in mobile communications systems, random access in mobile radio networks, ad hoc and sensor networks and IoT, energy constrained communications protocols, 5G millimeter-wave cellular systems, and underwater communications and networking. He was Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Wireless Communications from 2003 to 2005, Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Communications from 2008 to 2011, and is currently the founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking. He was Guest Editor for several Special Issues in IEEE Personal Communications, IEEE Wireless Communications, IEEE Network, and IEEE JSAC. He served as a Member-at-Large in the Board of Governors of the IEEE Communications Society from 2009 to 2011, and as its Director of Education from 2014 to 2015. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.