Tag Archives: Trento

Iphone and dynamic carpooling

Got an Iphone recently so sometime I wonder through the tons of applications made for the iPhone and often they are very unexpected and crazy.

By the way, today my mind got the “Wow, the iphone is the perfect tool for dynamic carpooling, being GPS-enabled!” (dynamic carpooling being an old interest of mine)

Of course there are already some applications for iPhone for carpooling: Avego and Carticipate seem the most advanced. What is amazing of iphone for carpooling is that you don’t have to enter your common routes by hand but have your iphone do all the work for you.

The app works by tracking a user’s driving habits and then matching them up with people looking for rides. It’s kinda like Match.com for potential serial killers and would be victims. Using the GPS-enabled iPhone, the app will track common routes the user takes. The app then notifies the user of potential victims..er, riders. From there the app will suggest a place they can meet. It will also show a picture of the person so you use a little hot-or-not in your decision making. (from cleantechnica.com)

By the way, we are eventually starting with Jungo in Trento. Jungo is a way to encourage hitchhiking by giving members a card which gives additional security. At the moment it is not empowered by ICT devices such as Iphones but this might change in future. First membership cards are arriving and Friday we were interviewed by the RAI television, and we did some holloywoodesque let’s-mimic-how-jungo-works camera shots. Lots of fun being an actor!

Interestingly for 2 months, 6 volunteers (called Kerouac) have been testing dynamic ridesharing readiness here in Trentino, along the Trento center – Mesiano – Povo route. For the first 4 weeks they have been doing normal hitchhiking twice a day while for the second 4 weeks, after some advertisement about Jungo, they have been doing hitchhiking using the Jungo cards. Overall they collected 750 rides!
Interestingly their average waiting time (AWT) decreased. And interestingly as well, females have smaller AWT. Males moved from a AWT of 22 minutes during the first 4 weeks to 11.4 minutes while females moved from 6 minutes to 2.7 minutes! Well, 2.7 minutes is definitely much less time than waiting for the bus!!!

This difference of performances based on gender reminded me of some research about this I read time ago.
In Sharing Nicely: On shareable goods and the emergence of sharing as a modality of economic production (best paper I ever read by the way, and released under Creative Commons!), Yochai Benkler reports some research from the paper “Mating Habits of Slugs: Dynamic Carpool Formation in the I-95/I-395 Corridor of Northern Virginia” by Frank Spielberg & Phillip Shapiro (a paper I was not able to download because it’s behind a gated journal, can you help me?):

In a deviation from gender-neutral pickup practices, solo women will not usually enter a car with two men already in it. “Unrelated” slugs on a line, however, will match up, whether male or female, irrespective of the gender of the driver.
This underscores the fact that personal security fears may be a serious obstacle to carpooling with strangers.
The matching practices suggest that security is improved by combining more than one rider with each solo driver, where the riders themselves are not preorganized in groups. Each pair—driver plus each rider, and both riders vis-à-vis the driver—provides each individual with some security against an aggressive stranger. The importance of strength in numbers and lack of personal relationship is indicated by the fact that solo women will join two men in a car if the woman and man were both in line and no relationship between the two men is indicated.
Carpoolers on this model seem to assume a prevalence and distribution of aggressive proclivities in the population that places a low probability on two randomly associated individuals cooperating aggressively. Given such a model of the prevalence and distribution of aggressive tendencies, fully impersonal cooperation can then be seen as safer than partially impersonal cooperation, where some subset of participants have a preexisting relationship.

And on a similar line, I read this table from “Car pooling clubs: solution for the affiliation problem in traditional/dynamic ridesharing systems” by Gonçalo Correia, José Manuel Viegas which reports evidence from “Levin, et al. Measurement of ‘Psychological’ Factors and their role in Transportation behaviour” (another paper behind gated journal I need help with):

Research by Levin, et al [5] at the University of Iowa reached the conclusion that gender of the potential poolers was of little consequence when the other part was an acquaintance, but became of great consequence when the other part was a stranger, see Table 1.
As can be seen in the table, the desirability of ride sharing decreases with the increase of strangers in the pool, especially for females. These results suggest that gender and prior knowledge of the potential pooler combine to determine the desirability of the other person for ridesharing. Moreover, different combination of these factors can lead to very different results: when the driver is a Female there’s a great difference between transporting two acquaintances-one nonaquaintance (10.84 points) and three nonaquaintances (3.49 points).

Number of Riders

Male Respondent

Female Respondent

Single Rider

Male acquaintance



Female acquaintance



Male nonaquaintances



Female nonaquaintances



Three Riders

Three acquaintances



Two nonacquaintances – one nonacquaintance



One nonacquaintance – two nonacquaintances



Three nonacquaintances



Table 1. Carpool Desirability (15 point scale) as a function of gender and Acquaintance-ship of Potential Ridesharers (Source: Levin, et al., 1976)

Finally, while browsing for these links I found a two-days workshop titled Real-Time Rides: A Smart Roadmap to Energy and Infrastructure Efficiency held very recently at MIT which contains most of the pointers to researchers and companies currently working on dynamic carpooling and the opportunities opened about it by new GPS-ready devices.

Two talks by David Orban in Trento on April 8th: The Open Internet Of Things, and

The SoNet FBK research group is happy to invite you to two talks by David Orban on April 8th in Trento.
The first talk, “The Open Internet Of Things”, will be about OpenSpime. It will be interesting if you are interested in sensors, positioning devices and memory, social, Web 2.0-style services in the real world, green technology, tech applied to the environment, open hardware and software, communications protocols, and future in general.
The second talk, “Preparing Humanity For The Impact Of Accelerating Technological Change”, will talk about the Singularity University, a recent new initiative funded by Nasa, Google and more.
I’ll wait you on April 8th!

First talk: The Open Internet Of Things
8 April 2009 – at 10.00 – Conference Room – Fondazione Bruno Kessler – Povo (TN) (up in the hills, see the map)
If we want the the forthcoming Internet of Things to flourish, the distributed smart sensor networks which take the current infrastructures for granted and base their necessarily autonomous activities on massive data collection, then we have to adopt an open architecture. Only an interoperable approach to the design of the next generation of hardware and software systems is going to be able and leverage the dramatic effects, and express the value to human civilization that the network of tens, or thousands of billions of new objects, the spime network is going to shape. For more info see http://www.openspime.com

Second talk: Preparing Humanity For The Impact Of Accelerating Technological Change
8 April 2009 – at 15.00 – Conference Room – Fondazione Bruno Kessler – Trento (downtown, see the map)
The impact of advanced technologies on our societies is becoming more and more extreme, exposing new tensions in our models of human relationships, learning, and values in policies, politics, and business. While relinquishment has been recommended by some, it appears that the way ahead will be the use of more, not less technology, as billions of people aim to achieve a high quality of life for themselves, and their children. The Singularity University, recently formed on an open, international and interdisciplinary approach employs an advanced curriculum to analyze how the future leaders of enterprise, culture, and science can best prepare to face the serious challenges ahead.

About the speaker:
David Orban is an entrepreneur and visionary. In recognition of his lifetime contribution to exponentially advancing technologies, he has been honored with the position of Advisor and European Lead to the prestigious Singularity University.
He is a Founder and Chief Evangelist of WideTag, Inc., a high technology start-up company providing the infrastructure for an open Internet of Things. David cuts across the limits of deep specialization to contribute to the new renaissance. He explains, “My vision is at the crossroads of technology and society as defined by their co-evolution.” David Orban’s personal motto is, “What is the question I should be asking?” This concept is his vehicle to accelerating cycles of invention and innovation in order to build the new world ahead.

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Jane Goodall in Trento on February 27th

Darwin Trento
Primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist Jane Goodall will be in Trento on February 27th for a public speaking titled “Reasons for hope”. The event is part of Darwin Year 2009 (check the entire program, with events from January up to June).

If you don’t know who Jane Goodall is, you can check her Wikipedia page or watch the video of her talk at TED embedded below (suggestion: watch at least the first 30 seconds!)

Her description from TED says:
Jane Goodall, dubbed by her biographer “the woman who redefined man,” has changed our perceptions of primates, people, and the connection between the two. Over the past 45 years, Goodall herself has also evolved — from steadfast scientist to passionate conservationist and humanitarian.

FBK retreat 2009: the future of scientific and technological research

Very interesting retreat at my research institute FBK (Fondazione Bruno Kessler)! Here there is the program of the retreat. There are many uber-interesting invited speaker. Personally I’m really looking forward to listen Prabhakar Raghavan (Head of Yahoo! Research) – USA, Hendrik Berndt (VP & CTO of DoCoMo Eurolabs) – Germany/Japan, Ray Perrault (Director Artificial Intelligence Center – SRI) – USA and Wolfgang Wahlster (CEO and Scientific Director of DFKI) – Germany.
Let me know if you would like to join us!

FBK retreat

New directions for scientific and technological research: a comparison of diverse views
Start: 29/01/2009 – 00:30
End: 30/01/2009 – 19:00
Trento, Italy, January 29-30 2009
(for the schedule of January 28th, see moreover)
Sala Conferenze Ovest, FBK
Via Sommarive 18, Povo (TN), Italy

January 29th (in streaming da giovedi’ 29/01)
Welcome & Opening Welcome by Andrea Zanotti (president of FBK)
The FBK Research Programs
Andrea Simoni (Director Center for Materials and Microsystems – FBK)
Paolo Traverso (Director Center for Information Technology – FBK)

9.30-11.00 – Nano & Micro Technologies (1)
Chairs: Pierluigi Bellutti – Head of MTLab, FBK; Lorenzo Gonzo – Head of Smart Optical Sensors and Interfaces, FBK
Bruno Murari (Scientific Advisor ST Microelectronics) – Italy
Peter Seitz (Vice-President Nano-medicine, CSEM SA) – Switzerland

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-13.00 Future Internet (1)
Chairs: Massimo Zancanaro –Head of Intelligent Interfaces & Interaction, FBK; Luciano Serafini – Head of Data & Knowledge Management, FBK
Mark Maybury (Executive Director – MITRE) – USA
Klaus Tochtermann (Director Know-Center Graz) – Austria

13.00-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.00 Nano & Micro Technologies (2)
Chairs: Alberto Lui – New Materials and Analytical Methods for Biosensors and Bioelectronics Group, FBK; Leandro Lorenzelli – BioMEMS Group, FBK
Pietro Siciliano (Resp. IMM CNR – Sezione di Lecce) – Italy
David Holden (CEA- Minatec) – France

16.30-18.00 Future Internet (2)
Chair: Marco Pistore – Head of Service Oriented Applications, FBK
Hendrik Berndt (VP & CTO of DoCoMo Eurolabs) – Germany/Japan
Roger Kilian-Kehr (Research Architekt, SAP Research Center CEC Karlsruhe)

January 30th (in streaming da venerdì 30/01)
9.00-10.30 2009 – The Year of Innovation – The Challenges for ICT (1)
Chair: Alessandro Cimatti – Head of Embedded Systems, FBK
João da Silva (Director of the Network & Communication DG-INFSO)
Malik Ghallab (CEO for Science and Technology – INRIA) – France

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-12.30 Future Internet (3)
Chairs: Marcello Federico & Bernardo Magnini — Heads of Human Language Technologies, FBK
Yuichi Matsushima (Vice President of NICT) – Japan
Prabhakar Raghavan (Head of Yahoo! Research) – USA

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Embedded Intelligence: Ambient Computing & Intelligent Interaction
Chair: Oliviero Stock – Senior Fellow, FBK

Ray Perrault (Director Artificial Intelligence Center – SRI) – USA
Wolfgang Wahlster (CEO and Scientific Director of DFKI) – Germany

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.30 2009 – The Year of Innovation – The Challenges for ICT (2)
Chair: Paolo Traverso, Director Center for Information Technology, FBK
Lutz Heuser (Vice President of SAP Research) – Germany
Dario Avallone (Director R&D Engineering) – Italy

17.30-19.00 Concluding Remarks – Moderatore: Michele Lanzinger (Direttore Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali)
Lorenzo Dellai – President of the Trentino Autonomous Province
Andrea Zanotti – President of FBK
Andrea Simoni – Director Center for Materials and Microsystems
Paolo Traverso – Director Center for Information Technology
Discussion & Remarks by the Invited Speakers

19.00-20.00 Aperitif

Sala Conferenze Ovest, FBK
Via Sommarive 18, Povo, Trento, Italy

PLEASE NOTE: the talks are in English and attendance is upon invitation

As far as the Center for Information Technology is concerned, two additional days are being added to the programme, as follows:

– The first part on Wednesday, Jan. 28, starting from 9 a.m. and dealing with the Trentino Research System
– The second part on Monday, Feb. 2, starting from 9.30 a. m. for FBK researchers only

January 28th (no streaming!)
9.00 – 9.30 Welcome & Introduction — Paolo Traverso Director of the Center for Information Technology, FBK

9.30 – 10.00 Francesco De Natale
Director of the Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Scienza dell’Informazione (DISI), University of Trento

10.00 – 10.30 Imrich Chlamtac
President of the CREATE-NET Research Consortium

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break

11.00 – 11.30 Raffaele De Amicis
Director of the Center for Advanced Computer Graphics
Technologies (GraphiTech)

11.30 – 12.00 Corrado Priami
President & CEO of The Microsoft Research – University of Trento Centre for Computational and Systems Biology (CoSBi)

12.00 – 12.30 Remo Job
Dean of Facoltà di Scienze Cognitive, Università di Trento

12.30 – 13.00 Discussion & Concluding Remarks

Coworking in Trento

CoworkingI’ve been somehow coworking (I just created the page in the Italian Wikipedia which was missing) the past weeks, i.e. I’ve been visiting friends in their offices for meetings and then remaining there for working: when I have an Internet connection I can do my work in any place and visiting other talented people is always a source of new inspirations and fruitful discussions and a more creative way of working and seeing your daily job from different angles and perspectives.
So this post is just to put out there a sort of placeholder: anybody interested in formalizing some coworking spaces in Trento? Anybody maybe already doing it?
(Credits: photo by “hillary h” released on Flickr under Creative Commons AttributionShare Alike license)

Dellai2.0: Italian politics in time of Web

Dellai 2.0Sunday it was election day here in Trentino. Since Trentino is an autonomous region in Italy, local elections have a much larger impact on the region than national politics. Luckily enough, Lorenzo Dellai won with a large percentage and he will be once more the president of the province. Before the election day, there was the fear of having even here in Trentino a success of Lega Nord, a racist and obscurantist right-wing party.
I’m very happy Lega Nord didn’t win and I believe Dellai and its coalition (left-centre) will keep making Trentino an happy island in the context of Italy, but what interests me the most is the use Dellai made of Internet and Web2.0 phenomena for his campaign.

The tools used by Dellai:

  1. WordPress Blog on WordPress.com http://lorenzodellai.wordpress.com/
  2. Twitter Heavy twittering http://twitter.com/lorenzodellai (it was extremely interesting to read a twitter around every 30 minutes during the campaign: these short messages can give you an idea of what Dellai was doing such as “appena arrivato in ufficio 10:35 PM Nov 6th“, “ritorno in città per l’incontro con il circolo anziani 5:35 AM Nov 5th“, “vado all’incontro sul tema della scuola nella sede di Teatrincorso Spazio 14 in via Vannetti 8:10 AM Nov 3rd”, “Lunga e amichevole telefonata con il collega Luis Durnwalder.”, … Once I read that he was going to meet some people in Piazza Duomo and I had the temptation to go in Piazza Duomo to check if this was true, a strange feeling I must admit
  3. Facebook Facebook www.facebook.com/people/Lorenzo_Dellai/: at the moment Dellai facebook profile has 997 friends. Many of them requested the friendship after the success (in Italy we say “saltare sul carro dei vincitori” (jump on the winners’ bandwagon)) which is interesting as well. While most of the Web2.0 tools were used more as a direct but online communication channel, with Facebook, Dellai tried also to move the online networking to offline discussions. In fact, he organized an real-world aperitif in a bar of Trento. See the Dellai Facebook Aperitif page. This event had 95 confirmed guests and around 80 people (very young on average) shown up in the bar.
  4. Youtube Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/lorenzodellai
  5. Flickr Flickr profile http://www.flickr.com/photos/28475218@N02/ and he even asked to Flickers the permission to report their photos of course respecting their copyright. In the message he even wrote the word “watermarking” which sparked some discussions about the fact Dellai would really know what watermarking is, which is in my opinion very unlikely.
  6. Netvibes and more Even a netvibes page http://www.netvibes.com/lorenzodellai!!! Very Mashuppy!!! A Mashup of all the other tools basically. With for example a public todolist (with done things checked as he was doing them ) and even dopplr (http://www.dopplr.com/traveller/lorenzodellai)!!! And Skype, and google talk, and gmail, and liveblogging events with scribblelive, …
    1. Well, besides this impressive list of Web2.0 tools in use, there are at least 2 interesting points I would like to briefly examine.
      First, is this an example of politics becoming more transparent? I guess the real question should be: “will Dellai keep twittering/facebooking/blogging/… that heavily now that he is elected and, in this way, give to (tech-savvy) citizens a way to follow what he does daily and maybe even contribute with comments and suggestions? If yes, to which level will he dare to push this? Only messages about what he did or posts about strategic decisions even before they are already made?
      Of course maintaining such a structure requires lots of resources, both in term of time (his time and his collaborators time) and money (people working on this aspect mainly since most of the tools used are free to use for now).
      That’s something I’m terribly curious to see how it develops. In the message in his blog after his election, there is a Youtube video in which he states he will keep experimenting with the network (“Adesso la campagna elettorale si e’ chiusa pero’ (…) per me non si chiude l’esperienza della mia presenza nella rete.” and even “abbiamo bisogno della vostra amicizia (little esitation) su facebook”). But I think a twitter every 30 minutes is something he is not going to keep and this is a pity.

      And the second key point is: is it possible to scientifically measure the impact of this approach, of this use of Web2.0 tools on the outcomes of the electoral competition? The more general question would be: can we identify numeric indicators of success? Are there around experiences in this sense? Research labs on Politics2.0 and its quantification? I guess that the are a lot of people working on the campaign of Obama so there might be some work already published (in papers or blogs). Are you aware of any of these?
      The effects should be both on the number of votes collected by online tools, their general impact on the aura of the candidate, the changing relationship of the candidate with traditional media (newspapers, tv), …
      Anybody trying to foreseen how big will be the impact of such strategies in the next elections (let’s say in 5 years)?

      (logo created with http://creatr.cc/creatr/)

Learning Processing

I’m learning Processing, a programming language for artists. Extremely cool!
The goal is to build things cooler than the following ones:

Metamorphosis from Glenn Marshall on Vimeo.

Solar, with lyrics. from flight404 on Vimeo.

Mæve table demo from Maeve installation on Vimeo.

Processing has a great infrastructure with hardware too (http://hardware.processing.org/) but I haven’t started digging into it yet.

Learning a language in a hacking group is a lot more fun so if you are around Trento and you want to join us, please let me know! This is going to be awesome!

Kickoff meeting and public presentation for LiveMemories project with Ricardo Baeza-Yates from Yahoo! Research

livememories Wednesday October 22th 2008, in Trento there will be the kickoff meeting for the LiveMemories project, Active Digital Memories of Collective Life (in which I’m involved). The public workshop is open to everybody (it will be at least translated in Italian).
UPDATE: Now with blog in Italian http://lamemoriaaltempodiinternet.wordpress.com.
Check the program of the workshop or read it here below copy and pasted. There will be Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Director of the Yahoo! Research labs at Barcelona speaking about the Impact of Social Networks, Alessandro Cavalli – Professore di Sociologia, Università di Pavia, speaking about “La Costruzione Sociale della Memoria Collettiva”, Simon Delafond – Web producer – BBC, UK speaking about “BBC Memoryshare initiative” and presentations from the project partners and a collective discussion about “Quale modello per la libera circolazione della Memoria?”

I’m really looking forward for the event! If you are interested or you are coming, please let me know! See you!

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Pirate Bay in Trentino for Manifesta7

Pirate bay manifesta
The next days Manifesta7, the European Biennials of Contemporary Art, will start in Bolzano, Fortezza, Rovereto and Trento.
The pirates of piratebay will be here as well, and there will be another pirate event at palazzopippi as well. Wow, lots of pirates!
I’m hosting two artists from Amsterdam via Couchsurfing so today I’ll join them for the Manifesta7 aperitif, see you there!

Looking for a PhD student for a project on collective memory building.

There is the opportunity for a 3-years PhD scholarship at the University of Trento working with my group on Web2.0 and social networking at FBK. The specific project that is funding the scholarship is about collective building of memory, roughly speaking, about how a community can share and build their collective memory (based on old stories, photos, videos, …) and how Web2.0 tools can support the process. The idea is to offer a contract for around 8 months with the research institute I work on and, if we like each other, to start the PhD.
If you are interested please send me an email: massa AT fbk DOT eu (if I don’t reply, it is because your email ended up in spam, please try to find other ways to contact me).