Massimo is a network scientist working and integrating complex language data. He earned a PhD at the DTC in Complex Systems Simulation, University of Southampton, UK (Top 1% University Worldwide). Massimo also holds an MSc and BSc in Physics (with honours) from University of Salento, Italy. Before founding Complex Science Consulting, he accumulated seven years of experience in research. Within his PhD work he conceived the framework of multiplex lexical networks, which quantifies how semantics and phonology combined influence cognitive processes like language acquisition or pathologies like aphasia. He also worked on multi-layer ecological models and entropy-based network measures. Massimo is a passionate investigator of complex data, where the knowledge of individual pieces is not enough for putting together the whole puzzle and predicting a systems' functioning. Massimo's work as a complex data scientist consists in exploring and building new links across sectors of knowledge with the help of large-scale data, quantitative models and efficient communication with experts from other fields. Massimo's interests include also educational outreach activities about STEM, writing interactive fictions in natural programming languages and travelling.

Google Scholar

Complex Science Consulting 2018-09-15 —

Complex Data Scientist and Founder

Complex Science Consulting is a scientific consulting activity focusing on natural language processing and predictive models for cognitive processes related to language. Flagship projects include multi-layer network approaches for predicting word learning, automated sentiment analysis or stance detection, and cognitive impairments such as aphasia or Alzheimer's Disease.


  • Develop the framework of multiplex lexical network for combining together semantics and phonology in language models.
  • Nurture international collaborations and publish research output in peer-reviewed international journals.
  • Use language data-driven approaches for designing novel STEM outreach programmes like Complex Forma Mentis (

Fondazione Bruno Kessler 2017-10-31 — 2018-09-01

Postdoc in Data Science and Health

Postdoc in Data Science and Health in the Complex Multilayer Networks group under the supervision of Dr. Manlio De Domenico, Fondazione Bruno Kessler.


  • Develop a framework for sentiment analysis on Twitter in multiple languages (including Catalan, Spanish, Italian and English).
  • Design and implement the platform BECMAP for mapping and visualising emotional trends through language analysis on social media
  • Achieve the publication of 11 research items and organise 2 international research events.

University of Kansas 2017-04-16 — 2017-07-16

Visiting Scholar

Fully funded research visit for jointly working with Prof. Nicole Beckage and Prof. Mike Vitevitch's group, University of Kansas.


  • Develop a multi-layer network framework for detecting bursts of cognitive development related to language in children.
  • Supervise a team of undergraduates in two projects related to modelling early language acquisition. The results were presented at NetSci 2017, Indianapolis, USA.
  • Provide guest lectures about clustering algorithms to classes of both undegraduate and graduate students.

University of Southampton 2013-10-01 — 2014-12-18

Teaching Assistant

Teaching assistant for the course COMP2208 in years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, under the supervision of course lecturer Dr. Markus Brede.


  • Design and give lectures about Calculus to 2nd year students in Computer Science. Design and mark exams.
  • Achieve 'Excellent' on the Student Feedback on Courses survey.

University of Southampton 2013-06-01 — 2013-09-01

Research Intern

Internship in the data science group 'Agents, Interactions and Complexity' of the University of Southampton.


  • Achieve a publication about a mathematical characterisation of phase transitions in entropy-based network models.
  • Design and simulate a model of growing spatial network exhibiting planarity and scale-freeness.

Centro Interdisciplinare sul Linguaggio 2011-09-01 — 2013-05-31

Technology Consultant

Technology consulting for modelling the electromagnetic fields and machine performances of AG500 and AG501.


  • Develop mathematical models for understanding the source of numerical errors in motion-tracking machines based on electromagnetic fields.
  • Achieve the publication of 3 research items in peer-reviewed international venues.

Provincia di Brindisi 2012-07-01 — 2013-05-27


Lecture Italian high school students in STEM literacy courses organised by local institutions through European grants.


  • Achieve very positive feedback for the quality of teaching.
  • Publish the course notes as a didactical e-book about high school Physics.

Winter Workshop on Complex Systems 2016-01-31 — 2019-02-08

Steering Committe member

As Steering Committee member, establish the new series of Winter Workshop on Complex Systems within the panorama of doctoral school for young researchers in complexity.


  • Coordinate with other members of the committee for selecting the organsing team of the workshop.
  • Actively help the organising team by fund-raising and advertising.

Organiser of International Scientific Events 2014-01-01 —

Organising Committe member

Organiser of international scientific conferences and workshops for researchers.


  • Main contact and organiser of the NetSciEd satellite on Network Science and Education at NetSci 2018, Paris.
  • Organiser of the Mediterranean School on Complex Networks 2017, 3-8 September 2017, Salina, Italy.
  • Organiser of the satellite on Cognitive Network Science at NetSci 2017, Indianapolis, USA.
  • Organiser of the Winter Workshop on Complex Systems 2016, 25-29 January 2016, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.
  • Contributed the organisation and abstracts sifting of the Student Conference on Complex Systems in both years 2014 and 2015.
  • Organiser of the workshop 'Games on Networks', 3-8 July 2015, University of Southampton, UK.

Complex Systems Society 2016-10-31 — 2019-10-31

Council Member

In 2016, I was voted from the community of complexity researchers as Council Member for the Complex Systems Society.


  • Take an active role in the decisions of the Complex Systems Society such as regulating registration fees and internal elections.

University of Southampton 2013-11-01 — 2014-06-01

Organiser of a Complex Networks Journal Club

Organiser of a semi-monthly journal club on cross-disciplinary applications of complex networks.


  • Managed a mailing list of University researchers and coordinated the meetings and social activities.

Academic Service 2013-01-01 —

Reviewer and Programme Committee

Academic service relative to reviewing research items for both international journals and conference.


  • Reviewer for: Journal of Complex Networks, Physical Review E, Physica A, Complexity, Chaos, Royal Society Open Science, Scientific Reports.
  • Programme Committee member for: NetSci 2018 (Paris), Complex Networks 2018 (Cambridge), Student Conference on Complex Systems 2014 (Brighton).

University of Southampton 2014-09-15 — 2017-10-01

Complex Systems Simulation


  • Thesis title: Network structure and dynamics of empirical multiplex systems
  • Supervisor: Dr. Markus Brede, University of Southampton, UK
  • External Advisor: Dr. Manlio De Domenico, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
  • Transferable Skills - Verbal Communication
  • Transferable Skills - Leadership and Teamwork
  • Transferable Skills - Training in STEM Teaching

University of Southampton 2013-09-15 — 2014-09-15

Complex Systems Simulation
DTC Masters of Science


  • COMP6006 - Intelligent Agents
  • COMP6008 - Research Methods in Computing
  • COMP6023 - Introduction to Complexity Science
  • COMP6024 - Complex Systems Simulation
  • COMP6053 - Research Design and Multivariate Data
  • COMP6055 - Complex Systems Research Project
  • COMP6056 - Complex Systems Research Review
  • COMP6061 - Mathematical Modelling of Complex Systems
  • MATH6140 - Structure and Dynamics of Networks
  • SESG6025 - Advanced Computational Methods I
  • COMP6060 - MSc Project

Santa Fe Institute 2014-06-08 — 2014-09-15

Complexity Science
Specialisation School on Complex Systems


  • 140 hours of lectures on Complexity Science provided by top-world experts from the SFI
  • 3 months of research on innovative cross-disciplinary projects together with other young researchers.
  • Took part in 4 research project, which resulted in 4 peer-reviewed publications in Q1 top journals.

Coursera and Complexity Explorer 2012-01-30 — 2013-05-31

Complexity Science
Online courses with final exam


  • Game Theory by Proffs. M. Jackson and Y. Shoav, University of Stanford
  • Model Thinking by Prof. S. E. Page, University of Michigan
  • Introduction to Complexity by Prof. M. Mitchell, University of Michigan
  • Social Network Analysis by Prof. L. Adamic, University of Michigan

University of Salento 2009-10-30 — 2011-07-22

Laurea Magistrale (MSc)


  • FIS/02 - Statistical Physics
  • FIS/02 - Dynamical Systems
  • FIS/02 - Mathematical Models for Physics
  • FIS/02 - Applications of Quantum Mechanics
  • FIS/02 - Theoretical Biophysics
  • Thesis Title: Modelli aleatori, polinomi ortogonali e sistemi complessi

University of Salento 2006-09-18 — 2009-07-21

Laurea Triennale (BSc)


  • Thesis Title: Le Reti Neural, isomorfismo tra i modelli di Hopfield e di Ising

University of Southampton APC Waiver

Awarded 2018-05-10
by Hartley Library, University of Southampton
Full APC (article processing charge) waiver of $2450 granted to me for the publication of a single-author paper about multiplex lexical networks on Complexity, a Q1 journal.

eLife APC Waiver for Outstanding Research

Awarded 2018-04-10
by eLife Journal
Full APC waiver of $2500 granted to my co-authors and I for the publication of a paper about ecomultiplex networks on eLife, a Q1 journal in the life sciences.

NetSci2017 Travel Award

Awarded 2017-06-19
by International Conference on Network Science
Competitive travel award and fee waiver for attending the NetSci 2017 conference in Indianapolis, USA.

R.C. Barber Trust Fund

Awarded 2017-05-10
by Institute of Physics
Competitive travel award for attending international conferences from the Institute of Physics, UK.

IOP Grant

Awarded 2016-09-01
by Institute of Physics
Competitive travel award for attending European conferences from the Institute of Physics, UK.

AlephSysLab Travel Grant

Awarded 2016-10-15
by Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Competitive travel award for a research visit in Prof. Alex Arenas' group at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain in October 2016.

Bridge Grant of the Complex Systems Society

Awarded 2016-05-01
by Complex Systems Society
Competitive travel award for a research visit in Prof. Anxo Sanchez's group at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain in May 2016.

AlephSysLab Travel Grant

Awarded 2016-10-15
by Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Travel award for a brief research visit in Prof. Alex Arenas' group at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain in October 2016.

Best Poster Award

Awarded 2016-01-14
by Conference on Mathematical Modeling and Control of Communicable Diseases
My co-authors and I won the best poster award for our work on ecomultiplex networks.

DTC in Complex Systems Simulation Travel Grant

Awarded 2014-03-01
by Institute for Complex Systems Simulation
Competitive travel award covering all travel expenses of the specialisation Summer School on Complex Systems 2014 organised by the Santa Fe Institute.

Assessing the Position Tracking Reliability of Carstens AG500 and AG501 2018-10-10

Published by Speech Communication, North-Holland

Assessing the numerical stability of tracking machines used in psycholinguistics.

Individual perception dynamics in drunk games 2018-07-23

Published by ArXiv Preprint

Modelling social dilemmas in populations of interactive agents where everyone perceives personal, dynamical payoffs.

The architecture of an empirical genotype-phenotype map 2018-05-25

Published by Evolution, Wiley

Understanding how the network structure of gene interactions affect regulatory evolution in different organisms.

Distance entropy cartography characterises centrality in complex networks 2018-04-11

Published by Entropy, MDPI

Innovative way of predicting early word learning in toddlers by using entropy and network measures of word-word similarities.

Influence of augmented humans in online interactions during voting events 2018-03-21

Published by ArXiv Preprint

Investigating how social bots and augmented humans influenced the Italian elections by using social media, network theory and sentiment analysis.

Bots sustain and inflate striking opposition in online social systems 2018-01-17

Published by ArXiv Preprint

Assessing the malicious role played by social bots during the Catalan Referendum by using sentiments polarities and semantic network analysis.

Multiplex model of mental lexicon reveals explosive learning in humans 2018-02-02

Published by Scientific Reports, Nature

Achieving a multi-layer network representation of word-word similarities that quantitatively detects boosts of cognitive development during childhood.

The multiplex structure of the mental lexicon influences picture naming in people with aphasia 2018-01-31

Published by PsyArxiv Preprint

Innovative way of using multi-layer lexical networks for predicting naming performance in people with aphasia.

Competitive influence maximization and enhancement of synchronization in populations of non-identical Kuramoto oscillators 2018-01-15

Published by Scientific Reports, Nature

Modelling how global consensus can be reached and boosted even in populations with individualistic agents by using influence maximisation.

Proceedings of NetSciEd 2018 2018-10-01

Published by Open Science Foundation

Editor of the Proceedings of the NetSci Satellite Symposium on Networks and Education.

Cohort and rhyme priming emerge from the multiplex network structure of the mental lexicon 2018-09-21

Published by Complexity, Hindawi

Single-author paper about detecting form-to-meaning mapping and phonological priming effects in English through multiplex lexical networks.

Ecological multiplex interactions determine the role of species for parasite spread amplification 2018-04-23

Published by eLife

Innovative approach to modelling multi-level ecological data for predicting parasite diffusion in real-world ecosystems.

Multiplex lexical networks reveal patterns in early word acquisition in children 2017-04-24

Published by Scientific Reports, Nature

Introducing the framework of multiplex lexical networks for predicting early word acquisition in English toddlers.

Parasite spreading in spatial ecological multiplex networks 2016-09-13

Published by Journal of Complex Networks, Oxford Publisher

Designing a theoretical framework accounting for both predator-prey and parasite-host interactions in parasite diffusion.

Investigating the phonetic organisation of the English language via phonological networks, percolation and Markov models 2016-05-10

Published by Proceedings of ECCS14, Springer

Identifying speech constraints in the way phonemes are assembled in English words by using Markov processes.

Mental lexicon growth modelling reveals the multiplexity of the English language 2016-05-07

Published by Complex Networks VII, English

Early word learning does not depend only on phonology, as conjectured, but also on semantic word similarities so that both aspects of language should be integrated in predictive frameworks.

Patterns in the English language: phonological networks, percolation and assembly models 2015-05-08

Published by Journal of Statistical Mechanics, IOP

Identifying speech constraints from phonological networks but keeping into account their underlying mathematical, combinatorial structure.

A k-deformed model of growing complex networks with fitness 2014-05-01

Published by Physica A, North-Holland

Studying how out-of-equilibrium entropy affects growing networks models and the rich-get-richer phenomenon.

Dynamical game theory 2014-09-21

Published by SFI Proceedings

Modelling how different perception level of the outer word can alter cooperation levels in interacting agents.

Disease spreading on ecological multiplex networks 2014-09-21

Published by SFI Proceedings

Quantifying how space constraints affect pathogen diffusion in real-world ecosystems.

Persistence of pollination systems 2014-09-21

Published by SFI Proceedings

Designing a game-theoretic dynamical model explaining the co-existence of pollinators and exploiters in pollinating systems.

Electromagnetic articulography with AG500 and AG501 2013-12-01

Published by Interspeech

Comparing the performance of two machines for tracking movements of the mouth in linguistic experiments.

Numerical instabilities and three-dimensional electromagnetic articulography 2012-01-12

Published by Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Showing that the source of instability for the tracking system AG500 resided in numerical errors and not in physical sources of noise.

In Palestra per la Fisica 2012-12-31

Published by Narcissus Editore

Book with theory and exercises about all high school physics, aimed at preparing students for University entrance tests.

Network Science

  • Network models
  • Multiplex networks
  • Network metrics
  • Network entropy

Cognitive Network Science

  • Language networks
  • Phonological networks
  • Semantic network analysis
  • Mental lexicon modelling
  • Language acquisition modelling
  • Lexical retrieval modelling

Language Data Science

  • Natural language processing
  • Sentiment analysis in multiple languages
  • Topic extraction from co-occurrence networks
  • word2vec
  • word2doc
  • Manipulating Big Data for cognitive impairments

Programming Languages

  • Mathematica (Expert)
  • Inform 7 (Expert)
  • Python and NetworkX (Intermediate)
  • R (Basic)
Native speaker
Proficient (C2 Level)
Basic (A2 Level)


  • Meeting new people
  • Discovering new places

Outreach STEM programmes

  • Science and society
  • Teaching
  • Complex Forma Mentis

Novel writing

  • Thriller
  • Interactive fictions
  • Inform 7