Dr. Ignazio Maria Viola


Dr. Ignazio Maria VIOLA is an internationally renowned researcher in yachting technology, who leads a team of mathematicians and engineers in the UK to develop many innovations in the science of sailing.

His PHD thesis, which was undertaken at the Politecnico di Milano, was sponsored by Luna Rossa, an America’s Cup challenger, and was on how to develop high-performance sails with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel tests.

Ignazio is Lecturer at the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Ignazio was awarded a master degree in Genoa, Italy in 2001. Following his graduation, he worked in a yacht yard (MAS, Como) where, in three years, he became the Director of Mass Production. In the same period, he was the consultant for a Research and Development office (PRIMA R&D, Como), where he coordinated a team of engineers to develop patents for the yacht industry.

After completing his PhD, Ignazio was funded by the European Social Fund to investigate sail aerodynamics with CFD. He successfully performed a record-breaking simulation with a grid of more than one billion cells, which is still the largest grid ever performed with commercial software.

His specialist experience is in high-performance sailing yachts and, in particular, sail aerodynamics and hull hydrodynamics. He has collaborated with several America’s Cup Teams, Olympic Teams, yacht designers, sail designers and boat builders.



Dr. Ignazio Maria Viola
During 2009 and 2010, Ignazio was Post Doctoral Fellow at the Yacht Research Unit of the University of Auckland, which is the scientific advisor of Emirates Team New Zealand, a challenger for the America’s Cup.  In 2010 he performed the world’s first direct pressure measurements on a full-scale spinnaker.

Ignazio has written more than 40 scientific publications and has received several academic awards, such as the RINA Medal of Exceptional Merit. He is a member of the Editorial Board of prestigious scientific journals and he is an elected member of the Specialist Committee on CFD of the International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC).


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