F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

Last updated: 19 Sep 2022


Q: Why in English?
A: Because the MSc in Computer Engineering at the University of Pisa is in English

Q: How can I contact you?
A: Via email. I normally reply soon enough. When I don't, it is either because I am away or because your question does not make sense.

Q: I have a question. Can I send you an email message?
A: Please read the FAQ first. If your question still stands, then by all means do.

Q: Can I be excused for not knowing/understanding the content of this page?
A: No.

Course organization

Q: Who is the teacher?
A: Giovanni Stea (that's me), together with Dr. Ing. Giovanni Nardini, who lectures and supervises students regarding simulation.

Q: What is the course syllabus?
A: You can find it here.

Q: What books do I need?
A: The list is here. I will also hand out notes if and as required.

Q: Are books enough to prepare the exam?
A: This course has a practical component. You learn by doing things, and you do things during lectures. Miss them at your peril.

Q: I was not around on day X. How do I know what was taught that day?
A: By consulting the official record, which is here.

Q: When are you available for consultation?
A: See my homepage.

Q: Can I consult you remotely (i.e., using Teams, Skype, etc.)?
A: Yes you can.

Q: Are you available for consultation outside the official hours?
A: No. Unless I was absent during the official hours, in which case I will propose you alternative consultation hours.

Q: How will I know if you are not there during consultation hours?
A: I normally put a notice on my homepage. However, the best course of action is to write me an email before coming. This will also allow me to schedule your consultation so as to minimize your waiting time.

Q: Where is the lecture schedule?
A: On the website of the School of Engineering.

Q: How many credits is this exam?
A: 9.

Q: Is attending lectures mandatory?
A: No.

Q: Are there recordings of lectures?
A: Yes. Those of academic year 2021/22, which were held in hybrid mode, are available on the Teams course page. The course syllabus was the same as this year's.

Q: Will you record/stream lectures this year?
A: No.

Exam organization

Following the deliberation of the Academic Senate of 15/4/2022, exams will be held in presence only starting from June 2022. The only students who are eligible for remote exams are those with certified disabilities or international students. Instructions on how to carry out remote exams are reported at the bottom of this page.

Q: I am a student with special needs. How can I carry out exams?
A: You are invited to contact me at your earliest convenience. We will find a way to accommodate your needs.

Q: Where and when are exams held?
A: Dates and rooms are reported on the website of the School of Engineering (and probably on the bulletin boards in front of the faculty bar). I don't decide dates or times myself, so I only get to know them when you do.

Q: How do I know if an exam is postponed?
A: This is very unlikely. You will find a notice on the website of the School of Engineering, and probably on my homepage as well. If you write down your email address on the portal when subscribing to my exam, I will also contact you via email.

Q: How is the exam carried out?
A: First, you will carry out a term project (more on this later on). Then there will be a written test and an oral test.

Q: Can I sit for the written test before handing in the term project?
A: No.

Q: What is the term project about?
A: It is about modeling and analyzing a simple system via simulation. It includes code and documentation.

Q: How is the term project carried out?
A: It is carried out in groups of 3 students (this is mandatory).

Q: When will the term projects be assigned?
A: After we have completed the lectures on simulation, typically mid-November.

Q: What does the project discussion consist in?
A: All the group will discuss the project in the same occasion. Students will be asked to provide insight on their results, to modify their code on the fly, to run supplementary experiments and analyze the results.

Q: What if some student abandons the project?
A: The rest of the group will finish and discuss the project.

Q: I don't like my project/teammates/whatever. Can I ask for another project?
A: No.

Q: Is it mandatory to enroll to the written test?
A: Yes, it is.

Q: I haven't enrolled to the written test. Can I sit for it?
A: No. Please look up "mandatory" in a dictionary.

Q: What is the written test about?
A: It consists of two exercises, one on probability theory and one on queueing theory.

Q: How much time is allowed for the written test?
A: Two hours.

Q: Can I use my notes/textbooks during the written test?
A: Yes, you can.

Q: When will I know the grades of my written test?
A: When you come and sit for the oral test.

Q: Can I ask you my grades via email?
A: Yes, you can. But I will not reply.

Q: What is the oral test about?
A: It is about the entire course syllabus. It will include hands-on activities.

Q: Can anyone sit for the oral test?
A: No. Only students who have passed the written test can.

Q: Can I sit for the oral test in a different appello?
A: No. The only exception (which I am forced to accept) is if you are a late (fuori corso) student, in which case you can sit for the oral test in the "appelli straordinari", having passed the written test at the previous appello.

Q: Can I use my notes/textbooks during the oral test?
A: No.

Q: Will there be an appello straordinario in April? and in November?
A: The above matter is decided by the Board of Professors of the Computer Engineering program on a yearly basis. Ask its President or the secretary staff.

Q: Will there be a written test in the appelli straordinari of April and November?
A: No.

Online Exams

Q: When exams are held in presence, who can request an online exam, for what reasons, and by what deadline?
A: Consult the Regolamento Didattico. I will not give explanations or interpretations.

Q: How are online exams organized?
A: The same as face-to-face ones. There will be a written test and an oral test.

Q: What online platforms will be used?
A: Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. Students must be able to use both softwares, using their university credentials.

Q: What setup (working desk, hardware, software) is required to carry out a remote exam?
A: You can find detailed instructions at the end of this page.

Q: I am a student with special needs. How can I carry out remote exams?
A: You are invited to contact me at your earliest convenience. We will find a way to accommodate your needs.

Q: Will the written exam be held simultaneously for all students?
A: It depends on the number of students, and on whether or not students request online exams. If there are too many students in the same appello, or if students request their exam to be carried out online, we may not be able to carry out simultaneously all the exams. In this case, we might schedule the exam in turns.

Q: How will the written exam be carried out?
A: You will be sent the text of the written exam. You will solve the classwork in your room, with pen and paper, and then you will upload a photograph of your classwork using an online form.

Q: How will the oral exam be carried out?
A: You will be asked questions, and you will write down the answers and/or discuss them. You will either upload what you have written, or show it to us using your camera.

Q: Are the other rules concerning the exam still valid (i.e., those reported earlier in this page)?
A: Yes, they are.

Q: Are there further constraints regarding online appelli (e.g., a maximum of two attempts on three appelli)?
A: No.


The candidate must meet the following prescriptions:
  1. Have at the ready a suitable amount of A4 white sheets and pens (with dark ink). No other writing instruments are allowed.
  2. Use the following devices:
  3. Open MS Teams and enroll to the team of the current academic year (otherwise you won't be able to use some of the Teams facilities, and this may impair you when doing exams).
  4. Prepare, before the exam, a workstation that satisfies the following requirements:
  5. Have the libretto universitario at the ready, because (s)he will have to show it up if requested. If the candidate requests it, this may happen in a reserved videocall.

Candidates are strongly advised to test the setup of their devices and workstation in advance, so as to be prepared on the day of the exam.

It is strictly forbidden to record exams, according to the disposition of the University of Pisa.