Research Associate (CyLab, School of Computer Science)

Collaborative Innovation Center (Room 2121)
4720 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Tel. +1-412-268-2033

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My research centers around theoretical and applied aspects of knowledge representation and cognitive technologies. My approach leverages on a hybrid framework where ontologies are integrated with cognitive architectures, which attempt to capture computationally the invariant mechanisms of human cognition (control, learning, memory, adaptivity, perception and action).

In particular, my research at CUPS Laboratory focuses on modeling decision making in cyber security to perform complex simulations of cyber operations (encompassing the actions of attackers, defenders and users, etc.). While a good portion of my work could be qualified as applied research, I try as much as possible to rely on strong theoretical foundations.

Prior to working in the School of Computer Science, I was affiliated to the Department of Psychology (2010-2014) of Carnegie Mellon University. I received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science (2006) from the University of Trento (Italy), in co-tutorship with the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the Italian National Research Council. I worked at the ISTC-CNR's Laboratory for Applied Ontology (Trento unit) from 2000 to 2010. I was a Visiting Research Associate at Princeton University in 2005 and 2006, under the supervision of Dr. Christiane Fellbaum and Prof. George A. Miller.

I’ve worked for a short period of time as a computational linguist at Cogito, a spin-off of Expert System, world leader in semantic intelligence.


11/20/2015: Best Paper Award at 10th International Conference on Semantic Technology for Intelligence, Defense and Security ( STIDS 2015 ) 6/22/2015: Cyber-Security Collaborative Research Alliance 2015, "Above and Beyond Award".


"Cyber research leads to STIDS best paper", By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs on ARL news (February 12, 2016).

"U.S. looks to replace human surveillance with computers", By Declan McCullagh on CNET (October 26, 2012).

"Beyond the Like Button: Deeper Consumer Insight with MySmark", By Angela Guess on (October 8, 2013).


Ontologies for Security and Privacy [Fall 2015]

Ontologies can provide a powerful support tool for security analysis: inasmuch as “data" are the essential bedrock of human decision making, situational awareness can only emerge from “knowledge", namely from a comprehension of the underlying data model. In computer science, ontologies are models that represent the underlying semantics of data: they can be used in a variety of applications, from Search Engine Optimization (e.g., the Google Knowledge Graph), Knowledge Discovery (the Gene Ontology is used in bioinformatics to characterize patterns of interactions within genomic data), NLP (e.g. word-sense disambiguation) and more traditional AI and common-sense reasoning. This course has the purpose of introducing ontology modeling and reasoning, with a specific focus on cyber security and privacy. Basics for implementing and querying ontologies with Protégé platform will be provided. Students will learn the core features of W3C standard computational languages RDF, OWL, and SPARQL as well as the role that semantic technologies play in the Big Data age.

Lecture 1: Introduction (October 6th) Lecture 2: Formal Ontologies (October 13th) Lecture 3: Computational Ontologies (part 1) (October 20th) Lecture 4: Computational Ontologies (part 2) (November 3rd) Lecture 5: Ontologies for Network Security (November 10th) Lecture 6: Ontologies for Privacy Technologies (November 17th) Lecture 7: GUEST LECTURE - Ontologies and NLP (November 24th) Lecture 8: Open-ended discussion: Upper Ontologies, Multilinguality, Ontology Learning (December 1st)


Edited Books

Huang, C.R., Calzolari, N., Gangemi, A., Lenci, A., Oltramari, A., Prévot, L. (2010). Ontology and the Lexicon. Cambridge University Press. link

Oltramari, A., Vossen, P., Qin, L., Hovy, E. (2013). New Trends of Research in Ontologies and Lexical Resources. Springer-Verlag. link

Book chapters

Gonzalez, C., Ben-Asher, N., Oltramari, A., Lebiere, C. (2014). Cognitive Models of Cyber Situation Awareness and Decision Making. Wang, C., Kott, A., Erbacher, R. (Eds.), "Cyber Defense and Situational Awareness".

Journal Articles

Oltramari, A., Bolisani, E. (2012). Knowledge as a measurable object in business contexts: a stock-and-flow approach. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 10: 275-286. link

Oltramari, A. (2011). An Introduction to Hybrid Semantics: The Role of Cognition in Semantic Resources. Studies in Computational Intelligence, 370: 97-109. link

Papers in Refereed Conferences

Ben-Asher, N., Oltramari, A., Gonzalez, C., Erbacher, R. (2015). Ontology-based Adaptive Systems of Cyber Defense Proceedings of STIDS 2015 (10th International Conference on “Semantic Technology for Intelligence, Defense,and Security”). link

ComTrustO: Composite Trust-based Ontology Framework for Information and Decision Fusion. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference on Information Fusion. link

Oltramari, A., Cranor, L., Walls, R., McDaniel, P. (2014). Building an Ontology of Cyber Security. Proceedings of STIDS 2014 (9th International Conference on “Semantic Technology for Intelligence, Defense,and Security”). link

1st runner-up ("Michael Dean" Best Paper Award).

Oltramari, A., Lebiere, C., Ben-Asher, N., Gonzalez, C. (2013). Modeling Strategic Dynamics Under Alternative Information Conditions. Proceedings of ICCM 2013 (International Conference of Cognitive Modeling). Modeling Strategic Dynamics Under Alternative Information Conditions

Oltramari, A., Lebiere, C. (2012). Using Ontologies in a Cognitive-Grounded System: Automatic Action Recognition in Video Surveillance. Proceedings of STIDS 2012 (7th International Conference on “Semantic Technology for Intelligence, Defense,and Security”). Using Ontologies in a Cognitive-Grounded System: Automatic Action Recognition in Video Surveillance

* For a complete list of publications please refer to my CV .