Frank Stajano
(filologo disneyano) ITA


I have several more homes on the web, including one at the University of Cambridge and one on the local intranet.

"The truly cool don't have backgrounds"

Serious stuff first...

I am the author of the book Security for Ubiquitous Computing, to be published very soon by Wiley.

I have been a research scientist at AT&T Laboratories Cambridge (UK) since 1992. At the time, this place was called Olivetti Research Limited; later, Olivetti-Oracle Research Laboratory. I hold the ARM Lectureship in Ubiquitous Computing Systems at the Laboratory for Communications Engineering at the Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge, and I am a member of the Computer Security Group at the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge. I am also a Toshiba Fellow and in this capacity I am currently in Japan at the company's Corporate Research and Development Center in Kawasaki (but I don't have a web page there). I obtained my Ph. D. degree in computer science from the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation on ubicomp security, and my Dr. Ing. degree cum laude (1st class honours) in electronic engineering from the University "La Sapienza" of Rome, Italy, with a dissertation on multimedia authoring.

At AT&T I have worked on several projects from distributed multiple-stream multimedia (Medusa) to databases (Spirit) and various internet stuff, including automated websucking. In 1997 I also wrote a precursor of WAP and iMode: a server that lets you access interesting data nuggets from anywhere through SMS messages from your cellphone. I have a strong interest in scripting languages (Tcl, [Incr Tcl] and Python) and object orientation ([Incr Tcl], Python, C++, Java and Eiffel). As an aside, I've always been involved in photography first (including darkroom), and then digital imaging.

Currently my principal research interests are computer security and ubiquitous computing. One of my contributions to the field, apart from the above-mentioned book, is "The Resurrecting Duckling" security policy model.

I used to keep one of my first applets next to my photograph but I got rid of it because I got tired of the "Starting Java..." delay every time I visited my own home page. A couple of marginally more useful applets I wrote are the (surprisingly still popular) JavaTalk system and the Chess Replay viewer featured on the Chess & Computer pages of my friend Alessandro Morales. For my least useful applet, but fun nonetheless, see my DOOM Zoo.

Selected publications

Personal interests

Some of these are things I couldn't live without. Some others are just temporary interests. They are all at the same level typographically, but they aren't at all on the same level in real life.

Japanese Martial Arts

I've been practicing judo since I was a kid, and I spent over ten years wishing I could start kendo. I didn't because I didn't know where to find a good sensei in Europe. Once I moved to Japan, though, I immediately joined a dojo and trained assiduously every day under the watchful eye of many excellent masters. To their credit, I am now shodan.

Walt Disney comics

This is my main hobby. I really like Walt Disney comics, even more than computers. In July 1994 I had one of the greatest joys in my life when I finally met Carl Barks, the legendary creator of Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose and many other characters. I also like many other comics authors (Jacovitti, Gotlib, Goscinny, Uderzo, Morris, Schultz to name a few) but, to me, nothing compares to the Disney ones.

I have written a book on Don Rosa (with Leonardo Gori and Alberto Becattini), one on Floyd Gottfredson (with Leonardo Gori) and a chapter of one on Giorgio Cavazzano (edited by Luca Boschi). Plus a few articles.


I used to be a keen player of DOOM, which I consider to be the best computer game ever written. I found out about it on the week it came out, in December 1993, and played it almost daily since then for a very long while. In May 1994 I created the DHT rating system, the Internet's longest-standing DOOM competition, which is still ongoing. According to that rating system I am a DOOM Master (DM, D1M, D2M). I never claimed to be the best player around, but I used to be able to give your average deathmatch champion a run for his money. I stopped deathmatching when all my sparring partners left for other companies. At that point I captured instead a few monsters for the DOOM Zoo.

Bulletin board systems

In 1992 I wrote a book about modems and what you can do with them. It spread rapidly (mainly because it was freely available in electronic form) until it became the standard introductory text to Fidonet BBSes in Italy; I'm happy to say that I still receive fan mail about it. Manuale Modem is still available (now in a much sexier reformatted reprint), although it won't do you much good unless you also know Italian. If however you do know Italian, be sure to check the link that follows for the complete collection of the good old monthly newsletter Telematicus.

Il 1995-07-30 sono venuti a trovarmi quattro gentiluomini che ho conosciuto con Fido.


For many years I was a member of Mensa, the High IQ Society, and the coordinator of the Special Interest Group in Computers of the Italian branch, where I met many interesting people, some of whom became good friends. When I moved to the UK I transferred my membership to the UK branch. But after a few more years I decided that the membership money was better spent by sending it to Amnesty International instead, which I did.


Can't tell you here, it's a secret and they might be spying on us. Look there instead.


Just starting? Or maybe the dog reformatted your hard disc? Then get a few essential utilities from here.

Amazing facts

Amazing multimedia fact: did you know that, if you turn the volume of your hifi speakers high enough, as I regularly do during these late-night programming sessions, the picture on your 19" Trinitron monitor will start to wobble? Yes, the pounding music can induce vibrations in the fine mesh of wires.

Amazing programming fact: did you know that no useful program will ever work properly unless some part of it has been written between midnight and five in the morning?

"What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster?" If you want to know, read The History Of Electricity.

Ever wanted to discover your true vocation? Then you need the famous How to hunt an elephant test.

Contact information

Dr. Ing. Francesco Stajano
Research Scientist

AT&T Laboratories Cambridge
24A Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1QA
United Kingdom

Fax: (+44 1223) 31.35.42
Tel (reception): (+44 1223) 34.30.00
Tel (direct dial): (+44 1223) 34.34.00
E-mail: [email protected]

PGP mail is welcome: my keys are here.

If you intend to phone me from outside the UK, be aware of the time zone difference. UK time is normally UTC+0; it becomes UTC+1 during Summer Time. Most of the EU is instead on UTC+1 and UTC+2 respectively. (Thanks to Markus Kuhn for pointing out to me that the time spans of the summer time periods adopted in the UK and in the rest of Europe have at last been harmonised!)

This page has been online since 1994 10 15
Yes, I had a home page way before Microsoft had a web site ;-) and for that matter we at ORL had a web site even before Netscape (browser or company) existed!
Last updated 2001 11 06.

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