News

UWiCLab vs. Lego Droid

Posted by Lorenz Cuno Klopfenstein

As everybody should know, tech conferences and events like hackatons (as seen in this nice recap) are particularly useful because of the huge amounts of gadgets that participants get to bring home. A great chance to renew the collection of nerdy T-shirts and to get useful (?) USB toys.

And that’s why this morning the very tempting box of the Android mascot, entire made of Lego blocks, showed up at our laboratory’s door! A great opportunity to show off the manual skills of the lab members.

Thank you Catia!

SCORE-it: Italian Student Contest in Software Engineering

Posted by Alessandro Aldini
Tag: / /

The Italian Student Contest in Software Engineering (SCORE-it 2015) is a novel Italian initiative inspired by worldwide SCORE, and it will be part of the 37th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2015).

SCORE-it emphasizes the engineering aspects of software development, as opposed to a narrower view that tends to reduce the endeavor and process of software construction to mere programming. The competition is targeted to students in Italian Universities at both undergraduate and master’s level. Students are encouraged in forming teams, however also one-person teams are allowed.

To take part in the competition, teams must register and follow the contest rules as outlined below.

After a careful evaluation carried out by the SCORE-it Program Committee, several finalist teams will be invited to ICSE 2015 in Florence to present their projects and receive their awards at the conference.

Futher details are available on Score Contest web site: http://www.score-contest.it/

Call for projcets (EN): http://www.score-contest.it/score-it-EN.pdf

PhD program 2014-2015 – Application deadline Sept. 16

Posted by Alessandro Bogliolo
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Application for the 2014-2015 edition of the 3-year PhD program must be submitted by September 16, 2014.  There are 8 positions available. You are invited to read the competition notice and submit your application in time. You can contact me directly either by e-mail or on the phone for any additional question.

In particular, one of the scholarships, co-sponsored by Regione Marche and Wave s.r.l., will be devoted to a research activity in the field of social travel communities. The online platform The Trip Mill will be made available by Wave s.r.l. for real-world experiments.
The-TripMill

Texas Instruments European University Program Donation

Posted by InfoAppl
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We have received from Texas Instruments the kind donation of three DSP boards:

DSK6713 – has an integrated TMS320C6713 processor with floating point.
LCDK6748 – is based on the TMS320C6748 dual core processor with both fixed and floating point.
LCDK138 – is based on the OMAP-L138 processor which has both fixed and floating + ARM Processor.

Students interested in doing thesis about audio signal processing on these boards are invited to contact Prof. Alberto Carini (alberto.carini@uniurb.it).

We thank TI European University Program for this donation!

Trivago Hackathon: I Was There

Posted by Catia

Hi guys!
My name is Catia, and I’m a student in Informatics. I would like to tell you about my experience at the Trivago Hackathon.

Let’s start with the question: What is a Hackathon?
The name Hackathon is a portmanteau of hack – intended as exploratory programming – and marathon. Normally it consists of a group of computer programmers and other people involved in software development that meet/come together to code collaboratively in an extreme manner over a short period of time, normally a few days.

In my case, the Hackathon was organized by Trivago: they selected 50 applicants from all over Europe, and the topic was geodata.

I was really surprised when I arrived the first day: the Trivago building in Dusseldorf is really amazing, and we were invited to watch the football match between Germany and France. Beer, drinks and snacks were waiting for us!
After the match there was the official prehack: a little “welcome party” that gave us the opportunity to explore a bit, have a talk with the staff of Trivago and meet the other hackers; this was probably the most important moment for me, because I arrived alone from Italy and I needed a team to work with! That means, put on a big smile, and talk with as many hackers as possible.

The following morning: I still didn’t have a team.. Luckily I had already some interesting proposals, but I wasn’t sure how to choose, so I prefered to wait.
During the breakfast I found the first not German hacker, a very smart guy from Milan. He didn’t speak German, and he hadn’t a team too. We decided to search together for a team: the instructions were to form groups of five people, and finally we joined two programmers and a designer.
Little time was left before the start of the official Hackathon, and we needed to decide very fast what to do, and how to do it.. not easy to coordinate the work of five strangers.

Every team were assigned an own big conference room to work in, equipped with a fridge full of soft drinks, water and beer, a big bowl with food and snacks, a smaller bowl with Haribo sweeties and a coffee machine. Just one word: wow.

Now, I was in there with four people that I didn’t even know, the Hackathon had officially started and time was running. We had a lot of ideas, perhaps too many, and we tried to create a “concept”: improve the Hotel search for customers with trip suggestions, taking into account trend analysis, weather, events, and other useful information that we extrapolated from the geodata.
Before starting with the actual programming, we needed to clarify our different opinions, and to take time to discuss about how to proceed, how to divide the tasks and which technologies to use.

A lot of lines of code later (and something like liters of coffee, probably the only way to survive a Hackathon), it was three o’clock am, time to sleep and rest a bit. But it wasn’t really possible to relax: the next morning we had to wake up at 7 am and run to our computers.. we had left only few hours of Hackathon and we really needed to hurry up!

In the early evening our time was up: each team had only three minutes to talk about their work, and convince the jury about their concept. It was really surprising to see how many different ideas and projects came out in only two days! The best three teams won a price in money… but even who didn’t win like my team got a nice surprise: every participant received a Raspberry Pi!

In conclusion, when I think about this wonderful experience, I can only suggest to each of you to do the same as I did: event when you think that it’s impossible that they will select you, try anyway! And if you get the chance, just grab it! Buy your flight and go, don’t miss out on such an opportunity: You will learn a lot from the persons you meet, and it’s probably the most pleasant way to grow up professionally for both students and not.

Is There Anything More Wearable Than Your Smartphone?

Posted by Alessandro Bogliolo
Tag: / / / / / /

Technology scaling has fueled the myth of wearable computing since long time ago. The many challenges hidden behind the idea of wearable computing have engaged researchers and companies for many years, leading to extraordinary results that have overcome the imagination of sci-fi writers and have brought huge changes in our everyday lives. Representative recent examples include general purpose smart watches (e.g., Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, LG G Watch), smart glasses (e.g., Google Glass), and many domain-specific wearable devices mainly used in health care and sports (e.g., metabolic holter, activity monitor, vital signals tracker). Many more wearables are expected to be marketed in the next months thanks to the boost provided by Android Wear, just launched by Google.

In spite of the large number of amazing new gadgets with unprecedented ergonomic design, my smartphone is by far the most wearable device I use every day. Technically speaking, I’m not exactly wearing it, in that I need either to keep it in hand, or to put it in a pocket or in a bag. But I feel more comfortable with my all-in-one mobile than with any other wearable device, including my mechanical wrist watch.

So my first question is:

1. Do smartphones belong to the category of wearable devices?

To provide a tentative answer to this question I need to go back to the first time I encountered the myth of wearable computing in my professional life (trying not to consider the time spent watching Star Trek as part of it). At that time (the early 90’s) the Internet was in its infancy, Wi-Fi was still WaveLAN, laptops were hardly portable, and I had no cellular phones. To me, wearable computing was just an enabling technology to achieve the goal of ubiquitous/mobile computing. Wearing a computer has never been a big dream of mine, but I’ve always desired to be able to compute and communicate anywhere and at anytime.

The difference between a portable device and a wearable device is that the former is so cumbersome that I decide to bring it with me if and only if I know for sure that I’m going to need it during the day and that its utility will compensate the discomfort that it will cause to me in my daily routine (laptops belong to this category, although they have become much thinner and lighter than in the early 90’s) the latter is so handy and useful that I know for sure that I’ll need it during the day and that I won’t be limited in all other activities because of it, so that I bring it with me without even considering if it is worth or not (I have no doubt that smartphones belong to this category).

This brings to my second question:

2. Is there any device which is more wearable than a smartphone?

According to the definition provided above, I don’t think so. I wear my smartphone more than any other object, clothes included. There is no piece of clothing that I wear for more than 12 hours every day! Even a sweater looks less wearable than a mobile to me, in that I decide to carry it with me when I go out only if I really think I’m going to put it on, or otherwise it will hinder me in my activities.

Going back to wearable electronic devices, smart watches and Google glasses are very good examples of truly wearable gadgets enabling new applications in many relevant fields like augmented reality, accessibility, health care, and gaming. However, they are still not usable enough as general purpose personal devices in order to replace smartphones, while they are more hindering than a smartphone when not used. At the moment, they look more like companion gadgets than like stand-alone devices, and their marketing and usage models rely on the fact that endusers already have their smartphones with them.

Work in progress in the Von Neumann lab

Posted by Alessandro Bogliolo
Tag: /

The new lab is almost ready. New furniture, 40 seats, new hardware, new software, dual boot, cloud, and virtualization. Here is a picture of the Von Neumann lab with the new PCs still packed.

Coding is the Language of Smart Things

Posted by Alessandro Bogliolo
Tag: / / /

There are plenty of objects around us that have become “smart” thanks to an embedded microprocessor which is able to understand and execute instructions. All these things need to be programmed in order to know what to do. Coding skills make us able to speak the language of things.

Coding is the fastest and the simplest way to make our ideas come true.

It is recognized that coding stimulates creative thinking.

Creativity is the key for competitiveness.

Based on these simple premises, the Young Advisors Group at the European Commission, together with Vice President Neelie Kroes, have launched the Europe Code Week initiative, aimed at granting the opportunity of approaching coding to as many young people as possible.

The degree program in Applied Computer Science of the University of Urbino is working with the Italian Ministry of Education to organize, promote, and coordinate the events that will take place in Italy from October 11 to October 17, 2014.

 

Applied Computer Science Enrollment Opening – A.Y. 2014-2015

Posted by InfoAppl
Tag: / / /

I am glad to inform you about the official opening of the enrollment in the distance-learning degree program in Applied Computer Science of the University of Urbino.

Students can enroll till October 8, 2014.
You can enroll online (http://www.uniurb.it/it/portale/index.php?mist_id=150&lang=IT&tipo=STD&page=086) or in person at our Registrar’s Office (http://informatica.uniurb.it/home/recapiti_responsabili/) in Urbino.

Moreover, you can apply for ERSU Study Grants till September 3, 2014.
For further information regarding methods and terms of the Study Grant presentation, please consult the web page (in Italian Only) http://www.ersurb.it/servizi/borse-studio/descrizione/termine-presentazione-domanda.html

For further information please visit the web page http://informatica.uniurb.it/ call the phone number +39 0722304413 or write to cdl.informatica@uniurb.it

I look forward to hearing from you and in the meantime, should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us!