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Vito Volterra
Vito Volterra

The Vito Volterra Center is born as an Interdisciplinary Center of University of Rome Tor Vergata, established by Decree of the Board of 9 February 1988 and Rector's Decree of 20 July of that year. With the Rector's Decree of 30 March 1993 it was transformed into the Interdepartmental Centre with administrative autonomy.

Since 1996, it become an Inter-University Center  and has formalized a role that, in fact, it already covered from many years. By statute the Volterra Center can recognize as external council members also the researchers that come outside from the University of RomeTor Vergata. The activities  are coordinated by the Centre Research Council.

Volterra's is a Center of research and consultancy services, open to dialogue and collaboration with individuals or institutions interested in the study, speculative or aimed at specific purposes, of complex systems in an attempt to identify general methodologies of modeling , interpretation and intervention, integrating  traditional ones that proved, by themselves, to be insufficient to the quantitative treatment of such problems. The Centre reconnect itself to the best Italian scientific tradition by refusing a clear separation between pure research and applied research: it encourages both types of activity and especially the dialogue between them, in full respect of individual choices.

The Centre's activities are divided into research projects that involve, in combinations not mutually exclusive, members of the Centre and external members too. Added to these are exploratory  seminars and initiatives relating to the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The areas of research that characterize the center are not predetermined, but opened to suggestions and proposals. In other words, the characterization of the cultural center is not determined a priori, but dynamic.

The group leading the Centre is made up of biologists, economists, philosophers, physicists, engineers, mathematicians and physicians who adhere to the international and recent trend, that has prompted a growing number of specialists of different scientific disciplines motivated by the analysis of specific problems internal to the individual disciplines -  from biological science to mathematics, from physics to engineering, from informatic to economy -  , to pose the problem of developing a quantitative approach to complex systems using, inter alia, those analogies in methods of approaching and solving problems that are very different from each other. This aspect highlights the essential role of interdisciplinarity in the study of complex systems: the need to merge skills, insights and methods developed in distant areas and environments.

The resolution of problems regarding the complex systems requires in general, a phase of a modeling and simulation. The first one aims at the construction of a mathematical model; the second one aims to the verification both of the model and of the solutions proposed.

Aware that the development of individual technologies hardware and software, including mathematical technologies , find their natural development and finalization of system applications aimed at solving real world problems, the Center Volterra supports the technology push with the application drive.
The study, analysis and modeling of complex systems is a natural way for a reconciliation of these two elements. Example of such systems, of greater interest to the Volterra Center, we mention:

  • the natural environment system (meteorology,  renewable and nonrenewable terrestrial resources, environmental monitoring, ...)
  • transport (of people and goods)
  • production systems of goods and services
  • processing systems, transmission and presentation of information
  • general economic processes
  • complex biomedical systems, such as the structure of proteins or immune system.

Pure research is encouraged with particular attention to those emerging trends of mathematics (such as the discrete mathematics, the classical and quantum probability, the simulation, the new statistics, ...).


The Volterra Center recognizes its mission in the theoretical search for the right balance between the two driving forces that made mathematics the universal language of all types of modeling: the free creativity  and the courage to confront external problems.