Silvia Tolu

Silvia Tolu

Assistant Professor


Building: 326, 110

2800 Kgs. Lyngby


Phone: 45253928

Field of interest: Neurorobotics - Connecting artificial brains to robots

Our goal is: to combine neuroscience, computer science, and biology towards the design of bio-mimetic control architectures for real-time motor control and learning of compliant robotic systems.

Longer perspective: to validate these models in realistic, dynamic and rich sensory tasks and environments. The robots will be able to adapt and learn from past experiences.

Short Bio: I am from Sardinia, an Italian island in the middle of the Mediterrean Sea. I graduated as electronic engineer from the University of Cagliari, Italy, and I got a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Granada, Spain.

My research at DTU is in the field of Neuro-robotics Engineering, in particular it is focused on an understanding of a modular approach for developing brain structures and to connect them for controlling different robotic platforms, e.g. modular robots, musculoskeletal robots, humanoids robots, and soft-robots. Most of my research has been performed in the context of European Projects (Sensopac, HBP, BioModular). Current research interests are on the following areas: Neuro-robotics, Neuromorphic Engineering, Bio-inspired control systems, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Computational Neuroscience.

Supervision: If you are interested in making a bachelor or master project in the areas above, you can get inspired from current and/or former student projects with me as supervisor. In addition, you can also find a general project suggestion here, more specific one here, or very specific here, or you can search them on the DTU projektbank.

Ongoing Research Projects and Roles:

  • 2018-2020 Principal investigator in the Co-Design Project 2 (CDP2 HBP SGA2) about cerebellar implementations in robotic systems.
  • 2017 - 2020 DTU team leader and coordinator in the HBP - SGA2.

Completed Research Project:

  • Principal investigator in Marie Curie Project BioModularBiomimetic Learning Control Scheme for control of Modular Robots. This project has been funded by the European Commission (H2020 MarieSlowdowska Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship 02/2017-01/2019). 
  • 2016 - 2017 Researcher in Human Brain Project (HBP), SGA1, Neurorobotics SP10. HBP is a 10-years European project, which aims to map the human brain and create an ICT-based research infrastructure that can be used by researchers world-wide.

Main Ongoing Collaborations With:

  • The BioRobotics Institute at University of Pisa (Italy).
  • Dept. of Computer Architecture and Technology, University of Granada (Spain)
  • Dept. of Brain and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Pavia (Italy).
  • The  Neuroengineering lab at the Politecnico of Milan (Italy).
  • The Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL (Switzerland)


In the news:

1. Robots contribute to mapping the brain

2. Researchers Develop an Artificial Cerebellum than Enables Robotic Human-like Object Handling

3.  ‘Results in Brief’ section of the European Commission’s CORDIS

Links to my profiles:



Google Scholar


HBP Neuro-robotics

DTU Neuro-robotics



2008 - 2012 PhD in Computer Science - University of Granada, Department of Computer Architecture and Technology (ATC), Spain
2007 - 2008 Research Assistant - University of Granada, Department of Computer Architecture and Technology (ATC), Spain
1999 - 2004 Bachelor in Electronic Engineering degree - University of Cagliari
2004 - 2006 Master in Electronic Engineering degree - University of Cagliari
2007 - 2008 Master in Computing Networks Engineering degree - University of Granada, Spain
2010 - 2012 Master in Linguistics applied to the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language degree - University of Antonio de Nebrija, Madrid, Spain

Academic grades

Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D) in Computer Science.Thesis title: Bio-Inspired Motor Learning Models for Robot Control. Honours and Awards: Cum Laude Granted by the European project “Sensopac” and the Sardinian program “Master & Back”. Department of Computer Architecture and Technology (ATC), University of Granada, Spain. Sept. 2008 to March 2012

Professional experience

2015 - 2019 Postdoctoral researcher (PostDoc) - DTU, Electrical Engineering
2019 - Assistant Professor - DTU, Electrical Department
2013 - 2014 DELE examiner - Italy, Cervantes Institute
2014 - 2014 Robotics consultant - CNR Institute and Telecommunications (IEIIT) / Telecom Italia SpA, Genova, Italy, Information Engineering and Telecommunications (IEIIT)
2008 - 2012 PhD Student - University of Granada, Spain, Department of Computer Architecture and Technology (ATC)
2004 - 2006 Site Manager in the Facility Management Area for Nazca Ltd, Milan, Italy - Nazca Ltd, Milan, Italy.


English, Spanish, Italian (Mother tongue), French a2, Danish (a2)


Adaptive control; Motor control and motor learning; Cerebellar learning; Machine learning;  Neuro-robotics;  Bio-inspired control system models; Modular robotics; Cloud or Service Robotics (ROS).

International experience

11/2008 to 03/2009 - Visiting research student at Institute of Perception, Action and Behavior (IPAB) at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK. Work on a comparison of different learning architectures and study how sætte the LWPR algorithm two themself (Advisors: Professor Dr. Sethu Vijayakumar, Dr. Stefan Klanke).

Participation in International Projects

2007 - 2010 European Project: Sensopac, University of Granada, Spain, Department of Computer Architecture and Technology (ATC).

2016 - 2017 Researcher in European Project: Human Brain Project, HBP SP 10 - SGA1, University of Denmark, Center for Playware, DTU ELEKTRO.

2017 - 2019 Principal investigator in BioModular - Biomimetic Learning Control Scheme for control of Modular Robots. This project has been funded by the European Commission (H2020 MarieSlowdowska Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship 2016 for two years). 

2017 -  Team leader and coordinator - European Project: Human Brain Project, HBP SP 10 - SGA2, University of Denmark, Center for Playware, DTU ELEKTRO.

2018 - 2020 Principal investigator in CoDesign Project (CDP2), EU FET Human Brain Project, HBP.

Other information

Journal Publications

  1. Massi E., Vannucci L., Albanese U., Capolei M. C., Vandesompele A., Urbain G., Sabatini A. M., Dambre J., Laschi C., Tolu* S., Falotico* E. (2019). Combining Evolutionary and Adaptive Control Strategies for Quadruped Robotic Locomotion. Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 13, p. 71. (* equal contribution)

  2. Capolei M.C., Angelidis E., Falotico E., Lund H.H., Tolu S. (2019). A Biomimetic Control Method Increases the Adaptability of a Humanoid Robot Acting in a Dynamic Environment.  Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 13, p.70.  

  3. Capolei M. C., Llopart A., Tolu S., Wu H., Ravn O. (2019). A Rule-Based Approach for Constrained Motion Control of a Teleoperated Robot Arm in a Dynamic Environment.  International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research. IJMERR.

  4. Vannucci L., Falotico E., Tolu S., Cacucciolo V., Dario P., Lund H. H. and Laschi C. (2017). A comprehensive gaze stabilization controller based on cerebellar internal models. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.

  5. Baira I., Tolu S., Pacheco M., Christensen D. J., Lund H. H. (2017) A Combination of Machine Learning and Cerebellar-like Neural Networks for the Motor Control and Motor Learning of the Fable Modular Robot. Journal of Robotics, Networking and Artificial Life, 4 (1), pp. 62 - 66.

  6. Garrido J.A., Luque N.R., Tolu S., D'Angelo E. (2016), Oscillation-driven Spike-timing Dependent Plasticity Allows Multiple Overlapping Pattern Recognition in Inhibitory Interneuron Networks. International Journal of Neural Systems, 26 (4), pp. 1-27.

  7. Tolu S., Vanegas M., Garrido J. A., Luque N. R., Ros. E. (2013), Adaptive and Predictive Control of a Simulated Robot Arm.  International  Journal of Neural Systems, 23 (3).

  8. Tolu S., Vanegas M., Luque N. R., Garrido J. A., and Ros. E. (2012) Bio-inspired adaptive feedback error learning architecture for motor control.  Biological Cybernetics, vol. 106, pp. 507-522.

  9. S. Tolu, M. Vanegas, R. Agis, R.R. Carrillo, A. Cañas. (2012), Dynamics Model Abstraction Scheme Using Radial Basis Functions.  Journal  of Control Science and Engineering, vol. 2012.

  10. Luque N. R., Garrido J. A., Carrillo R. R.,  Tolu S., Ros E. (2011), Adaptive cerebellar spiking model embedded in the control loop: Context switching and robustness against noise.  International Journal of Neural  Systems, 21 (5), pp. 385-401.

  11. Carrillo R. R., Ros E.,  Tolu S., Nieus T., D'Angelo E. (2008) Event-driven simulation of cerebellar granule cells.  Biosystems 94 (1-2), pp.10-17.

Abstract collection

International conferences

  1. M. C. Capolei, N. Axel Andersen, E. Falotico, H. Hautop Lund, S. Tolu. (2019). A Cerebellar Internal Models Control Architecture for Online Sensorimotor Adaptation of a Humanoid Robot Acting in a Dynamic Environment. Accepted in Humanoids Conference, Toronto, Canada.

  2. C. Corchado Miralles, A. Antonietti, M. C. Capolei, C. Casellato, S. Tolu (2019). Integration of paired spiking cerebellar models for voluntary movement adaptation in a closed-loop neuro-robotic experiment. A simulation study. Accepted in IEEE International Conference on Cyborg and Bionic Systems (CBS).  

  3. S. Tolu, E. Falotico, M. C. Capolei, C. Laschi, L. Vannucci, C. Corchado, H.H. Lund, Cerebellar Models for Robotic Applications. Poster presentation at The Human Brain Project Summit, Glasgow, October 2017.

  4. I. Baira* Ojeda, S. Tolu*, H. H. Lund (2017) A Scalable Neuro-inspired Robot Controller Integrating a Machine Learning Algorithm and a Spiking Cerebellar-Like Network. In: Mangan M., Cutkosky M., Mura A., Verschure P., Prescott T., Lepora N. (eds) Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems. Stanford University, California, Living Machines 2017, July 26-28. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 10384, pp. 375-386. Springer. (* = equal contributions).

  5. I. Baira, S. Tolu,  M. Pacheco, J. D. Christensen, H. H. Lund, A Combination of Machine Learning and Cerebellar Models for the Motor Control and Learning of a Modular Robot, ICAROB Proceedings of the International Conference on Artificial Life and Robotics, Miyazaki, Japan, 2017.

  6. I. Baira, S. Tolu,  M. Pacheco, J. D. Christensen, H. H. Lund, Neural Control of a Modular Robot, Poster presentation at The Human Brain Project Summit, Florence, Italy, 2016.

  7. L. Vannucci, E. Falotico,  S. Tolu, P. Dario, H. H. Lund, and C. Laschi, "Eye-Head Stabilization mechanism of a humanoid robot tested on human inertial data", 5th International Conference, 2016 Living Machines, Edinburgh, UK, July 19-22. Biomimetic BioHybrid and Systems Proceedings, Springer 2016.

  8. L. Vannucci*,  S. Tolu *, E. Falotico*, P. Dario, H. H. Lund, C. Laschi, "Adaptive gaze stabilization through cerebellar internal models in a humanoid robot", 6th IEEE RAS / EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, 2016 IEEE (* = equal contributions).

  9. S. Tolu, E. Ros, and R. Agis. Bio-inspired control model for object manipulation by humanoid robots, in: International Work Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (Iwann 2007), San Sebastian, Spain, LNCS, vol. 4507, 813-820, 2007.

  10. R. R. Carrillo, E. Ros  S. Tolu, and T. Nieus. Event-driven simulation of cerebellar granule cells, in: Seventh International Workshop on Information Processing in Cells and Tissues (IPCAT 2007), Oxford, 2007.
  11. R.R. Carrillo, J. A. Garrido, E. Ros,  S. Tolu, C. Boucheny, and O. Coenen. A realtime spiking cerebellar model for learning robot control, in: International Conference On Cognitive Systems (COGSYS 2008), Karlsruhe, Germany, 2008.

Lectures at workshops and schools

  1. School of Brain Cells & Circuits "Camillo Golgi” Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture. Lecture title: Integration of cerebellar models into robotic control loops. Erice (Italy), December 11th-15th December 2018.
  2. 4th EU-Japan Workshop on Neurorobotics, Embodiment of Informatics with Neurorobotics. Talk title: Using robots for understanding the cerebellar role in sensorimotor control, AIST Tokyo Waterfront, Tokyo, April 18-20, 2018.
  3. 3rd HBP Education Workshop - Future Computing. Poster presentation: A modular cerebellar based control architecture for a modular robot, S. Tolu, D.J. Christensen, H.H. Lund. 11th two 15th December 2016 Shrigley Hall Hotel, Manchester, UK.
  4. Embodied Workshop on Artificial Intelligence Presentation: Human Brain Project (HBP) and embodied AI. IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2015.

Invited talks

  1. ROBOINSIGHTS ’18 The First Global annual NEW Technology Conference & Expo, Elsinore, Denmark, 26-27 Sept. 2018. Talk:"Neuro-Robotics, connecting body, environment and brain".
  2. Euro Asia Pacific Joint Conference on Cognitive Science (Eapcogsci - Sept. 2015). Talk: " Cerebellar internal model for a modular robot". Symposium on Brain-supported learning algorithms for robots. Torino, Italy.
  3. 4th Neuro Robotics Performance Show, Human Brain Project (SP10).  Talk: A bio-inspired motor learning and control approach for a modular robot. The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pontedera, Pisa, Italy, July 2015.
  4. Embodied Artificial Intelligence Workshop. Talc: " Human Brain Project and embodied AI". IT University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 11 May 2015.
  5. Genil Project ( Talk: " Bio-inspired learning Mechanisms for motor control", University of Granada (UGR), Spain, 12 March 2015.
  6. Lan Party. Talk: " Humanoids Robots: sina programming and use in the research", Ceuta, Spain, 6-7 July 2007.

Memberships of scientific committees, reviews

  • Member of NCM Society since 2018.
  • Member of the Phd Committee for evaluation of PhD thesis: 'Simulation of nervous centres in closed-loop of perception-action' by Francisco Naveros Arrabal. University of Granada, 06 June 2017, Granada, Spain.
  • Reviewer for Humanoids 2017, Biological Cybernetics 2018-2019.
  • Reviewer for SAC 2016, Neuro-Computing. The 31st ACM Symposium On Applied Com.


Publications in Spanish Teaching or Education

  1. Garrote P. Robles, O. Rodriguez Garcia, e  S. Tolu, (2013). "De cine. Para una secuencia didáctica niveles B1-B2". In  Azulejo para el aula de Español, Journal of the  Education Counseling in Portugal, nº 6, pp. 26-34, ISSN: 1647-0834. Available in:
  2. S. Tolu (2012). La combinación lexica en las lenguas afines. Analisis de guiones para la presentacion oral de estudiantes universitarios italianos de español como lengua extranjera. In REDELE, Biblioteca Virtuale, n. 13.


  • Marie Curie grant (n.705100) Title: Biomodular - A Biomimetic Learning Control Scheme for control of Modular Robots, Research Executive Agency (Brussels, Bélgica), 02/2017 - 02/2019.
  • "Alta Formazione" Program, Sardinian Agency (Cagliari, Italia), 2009-2011.
  • Sardinian Program "Master & Back",  Agenzia Regionale Sardinia (Cagliari, Italia), 2007-2008. 


Maternity leaves from 1st of August 2012 two 1st of Octuber 2013 and from 1st of May 2016 two 31st of January 2017.

My links

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  • International Journal of Neural Systems

    ISSNs: 0129-0657

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1793-6462

    World Scientific, Singapore

    BFI (2020): BFI-level 1, Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 5.95 SJR 1.32 SNIP 1.837, Web of Science (2019): Indexed yes, ISI indexed (2013): ISI indexed yes

    Central database


  • Frontiers in Neurorobotics

    ISSNs: 1662-5218

    Frontiers Research Foundation, Switzerland

    BFI (2020): BFI-level 1

    Central database


  • Biological Cybernetics

    ISSNs: 0340-1200

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1432-0770

    Springer, Germany

    BFI (2020): BFI-level 1, Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.48 SJR 0.396 SNIP 0.809, Web of Science (2019): Indexed yes, ISI indexed (2013): ISI indexed yes

    Central database


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  • IEEE

    BFI (2020): BFI-level 1

    Central database


  • Springer

    BFI (2020): BFI-level 1

    Central database


  • Frontiers Media SA

    Local database


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