University of Texas at Austin


Research For Everyday Life – Profile Marco Tezzele

By John Holden

Published Oct. 10, 2022

Marco Tezzele

Marco Tezzele holds an MSc in Applied Mathematics from the University of Milan, and a PhD in Mathematical Analysis, Modelling, and Applications from SISSA, International School for Advanced Studies in Italy, obtained under the supervision of Prof. Gianluigi Rozza. His Industrial PhD grant was financed by Fincantieri S.p.A., the largest shipbuilder in Europe, and it focused on model order reduction and reduction in parameter space for large scale applications in naval engineering.

In 2021, the Italian native won an ECCOMAS Award for best PhD Thesis in the field of Computational Methods in Applied Sciences and Engineering – a highly coveted European research accolade. Soon after, Tezzele and his wife moved to Austin and he joined the Oden Institute. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow working with Dr. Karen Willcox at the Oden Institute. Here, he discusses how he is expanding his research expertise, his desire to make a real impact and how he is acclimatizing to Texan life. 

In Italy his primary focus was on model order reduction and reduction in parameter space for large scale applications in naval engineering.

Tezzele worked in collaboration with cruise ship manufacturing company, Fincantieri S.p.A., in order to optimize the shape and structure of the ocean liner hull to reduce the environmental impact during the building phase. This research won him the aforementioned ECCOMAS award.

Tezzele says the Oden Institute was his first choice when looking for a postdoctoral position.

His timing couldn’t be better as the Oden Institute just announced the establishment of a major digital twin research hub funded by the Department of Energy: The Multifaceted Mathematics Integrated Capability Center (MMICC) on Multifaceted Mathematics for Predictive Digital Twins (M2dt). This new undertaking is led by Omar Ghattas, professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Karen Willcox, Director of the Oden Institute and professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin. The collaboration also includes experts from MIT, as well as three DOE National Laboratories: ArgonneBrookhaven, and Sandia National Labs. 

I was attracted by the prestige and the interdisciplinary nature of the school. The possibility of continuing my studies while enriching my expertise in working on digital twins were also key factors.

— Marco Tezzele

Digital twins are just one instrument in Tezzele’s impressive research toolkit. “Computational science is a natural fit for me because it offers the possibility of solving real-world problems while using advanced mathematical tools,” he said. “Moreover, the generality of the mathematical methods allows for a vast range of applications and leads to heterogeneous collaborations and personal enrichment.”

Currently, he is working on a NASA University Leadership Initiative project with the Willcox Research Group. This collaboration also involves high school students from Del Valle ISD interested in advancing autonomous cargo transportation. “I am developing a predictive digital twin of an autonomous drone used for cargo missions in an urban environment,” explained Tezzele. “This integrates reduced order modeling, uncertainty quantification and real-world applications with economic and societal impacts.”

Tezezle’s creation of reliable digital twins for urban mobility underpins his guiding philosophy to conduct research that ultimately improves everyday lives. “I hope the tools developed at the Oden Institute will be able to manage an entire fleet of drones,” he said.

Moving from Europe to Texas can be quite a cultural shift, and not without its challenges - not least of all, says Tezzele, having to navigate the “lengthy bureaucratic process of the U.S. immigration system.”

“Moving to a new country is never easy and the first couple of months have been challenging,” Tezzele admitted.

Nevertheless, he and his wife have embraced Austin’s natural beauty and many outdoor activities and have now settled in.

“Since I arrived in the U.S., I really enjoy playing pickleball with my wife. Austinites, and Texans in general, are very welcoming and we love the many parks around the city,” he said.

Tezzele also spends his free time reading books and comics and playing chess.