The project WhiteMech (White-Box Self-Programming Mechanisms) addresses the study and development of artificial intelligence systems that are capable of independently reprogramming themselves to achieve new objectives, in reaction to unexpected changes, and conform to the evolution of human rules and agreements in specific contexts. In particular, the objective is to develop systems that are “white-box by design”, meaning that they can be interrogated, analysed and managed, at any moment, in terms comprehensible to human beings, to decrease the risk implicit in a self-programming system. The parallel research activities address the application of these systems in smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0), smart spaces (Internet of Things) and robotic automation processes (Business Process Management). In order to reach this objective, the study will also address subjects that are transversal to artificial intelligence including the representation of understanding, automatic reasoning and planning , and reinforcement learning, as well as formal methods, such as the assessment and automatic development of programmes, and data management, including the analysis and synthesis of data-aware processes.


We are witnessing an increasing availability of mechanisms that offer form of programmability. These mechanisms are currently being revolutionized by advancements in sensing (vision, language understanding) and actuation components (autonomous mobile manipulators, automated storage and retrieval systems). However, such mechanisms are held back by the fact that their logic is still based on hard-wired rules encoded in hand-crafted programs.


Recent discoveries in Knowledge Representation, Reasoning about Actions and Planning, and Reinforcement Learning in Artificial Intelligence, and their connections to Verification and Synthesis in Formal Methods, and Data-Aware Processes in Databases, chart an novel path to produce a breakthrough.

Driving Applications

WhiteMech will ground its scientific results upon three driving applications: smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0), smart spaces (IoT) and business process management systems (BPM).


At WhiteMech we develop state-of-the-art tools. You can find them on our GitHub organization.