International Digital Commerce Summer School

8 - 13 Sept 2013, Taormina - Italy

We decided to launch the International Digital Commerce Summer School because we feel that, especially in Europe, there is still quite a distance between technology specialists such as our own Ph.D students and the business needs of the market. We confronted with several business people and them too told us that many executives sometimes have a scared approach to technology. Hence we leveraged both our long experience in managing schools in technical disciplines and our international network of business leaders to create what is, as far as we know, the first technology school for business understanding. And we chose Taormina in September: a wonderful mediterranean spot."
Professor Giuseppe Nicosia - University of Catania

This is the era of Digital Commerce: the science and technology of buying and selling goods and services via electronic means, such as the Internet or Graphical User Interfaces, is conquering most retail activities. Technologists in this field are concerned with the design and implementation of algorithms, tools, frameworks and methodologies that can automatically process, deploy or analyze commerce in a viable business-savvy way.

This first edition of the International Digital Commerce Summer School aims to provide a connection between technology and business practices and present an objective overview of the state-of-the-art of practical Digital Commerce.

The courses will be delivered by world-renowned industry-leaders and will cover both methodological and practical aspects of real Digital Commerce problems with examples of successful and unsuccessful commercialisation.

The School aims to provide a stimulating opportunity for young researchers, Ph.D. students and some high-end industry professionals. The participants will benefit from direct interaction and discussions with world-leaders in Digital Commerce. Participants will also have the possibility to present the results of their research, and to interact with their peers, in a friendly and constructive environment.


List of Speakers

  • Andrea Rota - MBA. Senior Director, Global Account Mngt at eBay
  • Javier Carrillo - MSc. Engineering. Account Manager at Amazon
  • Paolo Levoni - MBA. CFO Marketplaces UK & ROE at eBay
  • Vincenzo Sciacca - Software Architect at IBM, Italy
  • Luca Forlin - MBA. Strategic Partnerships EMEA at Google
  • William Gerard - MBA. Brand Manager at The Clorox Company
  • Jetaly Xiao - Senior engineer at Zerogrey
More speakers will be announced


  • Architecture of SaaS e-Commerce Platforms
    Speaker: Javier Carrillo

    SaaS is famous for reducing maintenance costs and allowing quicker iterations and deployments. Start-ups and well-established companies offer components or full solutions based on the SaaS model.
    The course will focus on the underlying architecture of said platforms (SOA, Expose-Compose-Consume approach, CAP theorem, scalability), how they are implemented (REST/SOAP, Servlets/WCF, front-end dashboards), which standard components are used and how these are designed (i.e. search results, product presentation, shopping cart) and will review some real-world examples (i.e. How Amazon moved from a two-tier, client-server monolith to a distributed service platform).

  • Technological challenges and solutions for intercontinental e-commerce. The China case
    Speaker: Jetaly Xiao

    E-commerce companies, when approaching long-distance and cross-cultural e-commerce, must both optimize their sites' contents and integrate new business instruments. Starting from the practical business case of the entrance on the Chinese market, this course will describe what are the technical challenges and the solutions available today, touching Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), distributed databases, remote data synchronization, and more. The course will also describe and analyze the many technology integrations needed on the business side: different payment instruments, new marketing partners, operations systems and more. Of all such technological and business aspects, students will have a chance to understand costs and hidden difficulties and what are the desired solutions of tomorrow.

  • "Big Data": From Buzzword to Business Driver
    Speaker: William Gerard

    "Big Data" – structured and unstructured customer demographic and behavioral data – has rapidly become a buzzword amongst e-commerce merchants. Much more than just a pithy term, big data refers to valuable customer insights that comprise a key part of any e-commerce merchant's toolkit. This course teaches a strategy-led approach to the identification, analysis and use of big data metrics to drive business growth and cost efficiencies for current and future initiatives.

  • The mobile transformation
    Speaker: Paolo Levoni

    How the penetration of smartphones/tablet is changing user behaviour. Traffic generation, purchasing flow, and delivery options are reshaping the way in which customer shop and companies have to embrace thise changes quickly.

  • Product Management: Who really decides what your site looks like?
    Speaker: Andrea Rota

    Who really decides what your product or site looks like? As companies evolve, they usually go through different stages in product design process, evolving from a simple and centralized design process where design and technology development coincides, to a more sophisticated organizational structure where UI, Interaction Design, Business Process Design follow a prescriptive waterfall sequence with precise definition documents being handed from one team to the next. Technology platforms and Country or Industry specific needs usually make the decision process all the more complex. More often than not, this results in sub-optimal decisions, and ultimately the customer and her needs get lost in the process.
    Many companies are now trying to adopt different approaches to product and business design to overcome these issues, borrowing from Design Thinking philosophy as well as from Lean Manufacturing, let's look at cases of both.


Administrative & Onsite Staff

IDCSS is jointly organized by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Catania, TaoSciences, Associazione Angelo Marcello Anile.

School Directors

  • Guido Meak, Co-founder
  • Giuseppe Nicosia, University of Catania, Italy

Organising Commitee

  • Marisa Lappano Anile, Associazione Angelo Marcello Anile, Italy
  • Mario Pavone, University of Catania, Italy
  • Giovanni Murabito, University of Catania, Italy
  • Claudio Angione, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Giovanni Carapezza, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Piero Consoli, University of Catania, Italy
  • Jole Costanza, University of Catania, Italy


  • Student Application: May 15 2013
  • Notification Acceptance: May 23 2013
  • Notification of Decision for Oral Presentation: 15 July 2013
  • Early Registration: June 15 2013
  • Late Registration: After June 15 2013
  • Poster Submission: 15 June 2013

School Application Info

The school will be open up to 100 qualified, motivated and pre-selected candidates.

Master Students, Ph. D. students, Post-Docs, young researchers (both academic and industrial), senior researchers (both academic and industrial) or academic/industrial professionals are encouraged to apply.

School fees will be 550.00 Euro for Master and Phd students, 750.00 Euro for other academic positions and 950.00 Euro for all other participants. Fees will include all lectures, all course materials, coffee breaks, and Wi-Fi Internet Connection.

Applications should be received before May 15 2013. Applicants will receive notification of acceptance by May 23 2013.

Application Form

Privacy Policy

Poster Submission

Accepted students may submit a poster to present their research activity. The poster should be submitted before June 15 2013. Suitable space will be reserved to students for showing their posters. The electronic version of the posters will also be available from the summer school web site.

Location & Accommodation


IDCSS will be hosted in Taormina at the venue "Hotel Villa Diodoro" that offers 2 main conference rooms, 5 meeting rooms and an open terrace for coffee breaks. The plenary room can to accommodate more than 250 people. All the rooms are equipped with wi-fi connection.
The Secretarial and conference facilities: Direct-dial telephone, Fax-PC, WI-FI/ADSL lines, Production room, Photocopier, Conference speaker system, Portable microphones, Light dimming, Overhead projector, Flip chart, Slide projector, Movie projector, Laser pointer, Podium, Stage-Catwalk, Post congress, Transfer to/from airport*.
Plenary talks and introductions to the poster sessions will be held in one of the main conference rooms while the actual poster sessions will be held in the other main room. Tutorials and Workshops will be held in the 4 meeting rooms.

Hotel Villa Diodoro
Via Bagnoli Croci 75
98039 Taormina, Messina, Italy
T: +39 0942 2 33 12
F: +39 0942 2 33 91

Travel to Taormina

Catania Fontanarossa International is the nearest and most convenient airport at some km. 55 from Taormina. It features several flights from the major Italian cities such as Milan Malpensa, Rome, Naples, Venice, etc and many international direct flights from important european cities such as Bruxelles, Munich, Barcelona, Athens, Malta and many more. Lots of charter flights from all over the world land to Catania too.
From Catania airport you can reach Taormina in one hour drive by very convenient direct highway A18 (direction Messina, exit TAORMINA ). Direct bus to Taormina centre are available at 08.30 - 11.30 - 13.30 - 16.30 - 18.30 - 20.30 every day. By Taxi about 1 hour.

Taormina's railway station is considered one of Italy's most beautiful for its elegant charming Sicilian Liberty style decor; every train arriving from Northern Italy to Sicily stops here.
One has a large choice of trains, from de-luxe Eurostar down to simple but very efficient "Espresso train" normally departing from Milan, Turin and Rome through Naples and the Amalfi & Capri area.

How to reach Taormina


Send a mail

Other Contacts

Vico Teofane Cerameo, 3
98039, Taormina