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I initially became interested in the various aspects of cybernetics (machines that could learn, reason and recognize patterns) and later on in pictures and digital images…it seemed a different world, and this was at the end of the 50’s when I had recently graduated in Telecommunication Engineering at Buenos Aires (Argentina). I managed to obtain a scholarship from Marconi Wireless, located at Chelmsford (Essex, U.K.) in 1960. I worked on different kinds of communication equipment but was neither happy about the kind of work nor of its corresponding salary! (Being a foreigner my salary was half of what the locals earned). For these reasons I tried something else, having interviews with Cambridge Instruments, Pye Electronics, Philips, etc. but the jobs were similar even if they had different economical conditions.

By pure chance, I spent Christmas in Italy, in Genoa, where I met a university group that was doing research in Pattern Recognition developing a machine called PAPA, that could even learn, after a short training period, a given class of patterns, like O’s and A’s.

I spent five years at the Institute of Physics, University of Genoa (1961/65), and, since my paper production was low (few papers in five years) I was told to emigrate, which I did, to another group doing research on Learning Machines, located in Naples at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Naples, where I spent fifteen years designing and building machines for parallel image processing. The group in Naples had formalized a set of mathematical equations which were called Neural Network Equations that were supposed to formally describe the neural synapses active in the human brain. In 1968 the Laboratory of Cybernetics was started near Naples and I became the Head of the Image Processing Group during thirteen years, together with other researchers, still active today.

The main activity was the design of parallel image algorithms (shrinking, skeletons, medial axis transform, etc.) which would outperform the standard sequential computer ones. Over 100 papers were published, and we had many visitors staying and cooperating with us. We also travelled very much since the Italian National Research Council generously provided us with funding to visit practically any country we wanted. In 1981, I won the Chair of Computer Science and moved to Bari University on the eastern coast of Italy, where I remained for two years until finally arriving to Rome at Sapienza University where I designed the new curriculum in Computer Science that started in 1989 after six hard years of discussion (whether to start at the Engineering Faculty or at the Sciences Faculty). At present , Computer Science reunited both groups and belongs to a Faculty of Information Sciences, together with Statistics and Electronics. I finaylly retired in November 2010 after having worked  49 years at different universities.

For my work on Parallel Image Processing I was awarded the IEEE Fellowship (1988), for my overall work in Image Processing I became an IAPR Fellow (1994), and next a VL/HCC Fellow (2008) for my activity in Human/Computer Interaction and Visual Languages. Finally, for my general activity I received the KSI Fellowship in 2011 (2011) at an International Conference. I have  wildly travelled….visiting over 45 countries where I have given talks and started collaborations with local researchers.

I have published over 250 papers plus a book (2011), together with other two authors, (3C Vision: cues, contexts and channels).

My teaching duties at the different universities included the following subjects: Electronics Laboratory, Computer Architectures, Image Processing, Human-Computer Interaction (I and II), all aimed at Computer Science students.

Finally, let me mention the Journal of Visual Languages and Computing (Elsevier Press) that I started in 1990 (together with Prof. S.K. Chang) and the over 50 International meetings that I have organized along the years, the last one will take place in Capri (near Naples) in May 2012, called Advanced Visual Interfaces, being the 12th edition of the series.

Getting to know…

Stefano Levialdi,

IAPR Fellow

Other articles in the

Getting to Know...Series:




Why Applications are Important by Theo Pavlidis, IAPR Fellow

             January 2012 [html]  [pdf]


How IAPR helped me to become Rector of the Belarusion National University by Sergey Ablameyko, IAPR Fellow

October 2011   [html]   [pdf]


Getting to know...Herbert Freeman, IAPR Fellow

July 2011   [html]   [pdf]


From Document Analysis to Anti-Phishing by Wenyin Liu, IAPR Fellow

April 2011   [html]   [pdf]


In Memoriam…Piero Mussio, IAPR Fellow by Paolo Bottoni and Stefano Levialdi

January 2011   [html]   [pdf]


Image Analysis with Discrete Tools by Gabriella Sanniti di Baja

             July 2010   [html]   [pdf]


Has the time for telepresence finally come? by Larry O’Gorman

             April 2010   [html]   [pdf]


Biometrics:  The key to the gates of a secure and modern paradise by Nalini K. Ratha

             January 2010   [html]   [pdf]


Recognition of Human Activities:  A Grand Challenge by J.K. Aggarwal

             October 2009   [html]   [pdf]


By Stefano Levialdi, IAPR Fellow (Italy)

Professor Stefano Levialdi, IAPR Fellow


ICPR 1994, Jerusalem, Israel

For contributions to architectures for parallel image processing and service to the IAPR

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