Università degli Studi di Trento
Recent publications
Device-Free localization is a promising technique for indoor positioning in infrastructures, as it eliminates the reliance on custom and costly hardware. In this study, we present the development of a compact and cost-effective bistatic radar sensor that utilizes DW3000 UWB transceivers. The effectiveness of the sensor was evaluated through comprehensive assessments of various channels, with particular emphasis on channel 9, employing Channel Impulse Response analysis. To enhance the accuracy of time delay estimation for multipath components scattered by moving targets, we developed a weighting function. The experimental results demonstrate the potential of device-free localization sensors as a viable solution for indoor positioning systems, offering enhanced accessibility and cost reduction compared to traditional approaches.
A striking feature of rivers is their ability to sort the sediments composing them. One of the chief causes for grain sorting consists in the selective transport of different sizes moving downstream. This process can be substantially influenced by the presence of lateral topographic variations, as those produced by channel bifurcations, in which water and sediment are diverted between two smaller anabranches. In particular, field and laboratory observations have shown that the asymmetric flux distribution commonly observed in actual bifurcations is associated with a coarsening of the most-carrying branch. Here, equilibrium sorting in river bifurcations is addressed through a quasi-2D model. Differently from previous works, a fully physically-based description of the processes tied to a heterogeneous sediment mixture is introduced. The main mechanisms consist in the lateral pull of sediment due to a sloping bed upstream the bifurcation, and the variation of transport capacity in downstream branches. The model indicates that grain sorting tends to reduce the degree of flux asymmetry between branches for increasing heterogeneity of the mixture. Moreover, the uneven discharge distribution is associated with a different bed surface composition, with bed coarsening of the dominating channel and fining of the other branch. The reduced sediment transport asymmetry and bed surface fining enhance the transport of fine material in the less-carrying branch, thus contributing to keep it morphologically active. Finally, the model predicts an overall fining of bed surface material with respect to the feeder channel.
Recent works have proven the feasibility of fast and accurate time series classification methods based on randomized convolutional kernels [5, 32]. Concerning graph-structured data, the majority of randomized graph neural networks are based on the Echo State Network paradigm in which single layers or the whole network present some form of recurrence [7, 8]. This paper aims to explore a simple form of a randomized graph neural network inspired by the success of randomized convolutions in the 1-dimensional domain. Our idea is pretty simple: implement a no-frills convolutional graph neural network and leave its weights untrained. Then, we aggregate the node representations with global pooling operators, obtaining an untrained graph-level representation. Since there is no training involved, computing such representation is extremely fast. We then apply a fast linear classifier to the obtained representations. We opted for LS-SVM since it is among the fastest classifiers available. We show that such a simple approach can obtain competitive predictive performance while being extremely efficient both at training and inference time.
Mexican cartels lose many members as a result of conflict with other cartels and incarcerations. Yet, despite their losses, cartels manage to increase violence for years. We address this puzzle by leveraging data on homicides, missing persons, and incarcerations in Mexico for the past decade along with information on cartel interactions. We model recruitment, state incapacitation, conflict, and saturation as sources of cartel size variation. Results show that by 2022, cartels counted 160,000 to 185,000 units, becoming one of the country’s top employers. Recruiting between 350 and 370 people per week is essential to avoid their collapse because of aggregate losses. Furthermore, we show that increasing incapacitation would increase both homicides and cartel members. Conversely, reducing recruitment could substantially curtail violence and lower cartel size.
Crucial information on the pandemic’s spread has been gathered by monitoring the trend of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. This surveillance has highlighted that the initial concentration is a critical step of the analytical procedure due to the low viral titer that may be present in this matrix. This paper presents the results of the evaluation of two different wastewater concentration protocols to determine the most efficient and cost-effective. The two methods tested were the following: (a) a biphasic separation system with PEG-dextran and (b) a PEG/NaCl precipitation protocol. Other aspects of the detection method were also investigated including the influence of storage temperature on virus recovery and the heat treatment of pasteurization, which aims to make samples safer for operators and the environment. The PEG/NaCl precipitation method was found to perform better than the biphasic separation system, allowing for more sensitive identification of the presence of the virus and the detection of a higher viral titer than that identified with the biphasic separation in all results. Storage of the samples at 4.3±0.2°C for up to 3 weeks did not adversely affect the virus titer and the pasteurization pre-treatment increases operator safety and maintains the identification of the viral concentration. Graphical abstract
This article discusses some social and psychological aspects involved in two of Odysseus’ lying tales ( Od . 14.192–359 and 19.165–248). If one understands remembering as reconstructing the past, this reconstructive element leaves room for forgery and deception. Telling credible lies involves many of the same cognitive structures used in the sharing of authentic personal memories. Odysseus’ fake autobiographical stories in the guise of a Cretan beggar offer an interesting case study of this overlap between reconstructed memories and credible lies. Drawing on recent studies on autobiographical memory and on parallel examples in our contemporary world, the aim of this paper is to analyse some narrative and psychological features of Odysseus’ fake memories, as well as the social functions that they fulfil in the fiction of the poem. It will be shown that, speaking with Eumaios, Odysseus builds his story using a conventional structure common to ‘truthful’ autobiographies in the fictional world of the epics, while with Penelope his autobiographical memories are co-narrated during the dialogue, guided by the emotions mutually aroused between narrator and narratee.
Language and social cognition are traditionally studied as separate cognitive domains, yet accumulative studies reveal overlapping neural correlates at the left ventral temporoparietal junction (vTPJ) and the left lateral anterior temporal lobe (lATL), which have been attributed to sentence processing and social concept activation. We propose a common cognitive component underlying both effects: social-semantic working memory. We confirmed two key predictions of our hypothesis using functional MRI. First, the left vTPJ and lATL showed sensitivity to sentences only when the sentences conveyed social meaning; second, these regions showed persistent social-semantic-selective activity after the linguistic stimuli disappeared. We additionally found that both regions were sensitive to the socialness of non-linguistic stimuli and were more tightly connected with the social-semantic-processing areas than with the sentence-processing areas. The converging evidence indicates the social-semantic working-memory function of the left vTPJ and lATL and challenges the general-semantic and/or syntactic accounts for the neural activity of these regions.
Patterning of two or more liquids, either homogeneous in each phase or mixed with particles (including biological matter, such as cells and proteins), by controlling their flow dynamics, is relevant to several applications. Examples include dynamic spatial confinement of liquids in microfluidic systems (such as lab-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip devices) or structuring of polymers to modulate various properties (such as strength, conductivity, transparency and surface finishing). State-of-the-art strategies use various technologies, including positioners, shakers and acoustic actuators, which often combine limited versatility of mixing with significant inefficiency, energy consumption, and noise, as well as tendency to increase the temperature of the liquids. Here, we describe a new kind of robotic mixers of liquids, based on electro-responsive smart materials (dielectric elastomer actuators). We show for the first time how an efficient soft robotic device can be used to produce, via combinations of rotations and translations, various spatial patterns in liquids and maintain them stable for a few minutes. Moreover, we show that, as compared to a conventional orbital shaker, the new type of robotic device can mix liquids with a higher efficacy (~ 94% relative to ~ 80%, after 8 min of mixing) and with a significantly lower increase of the liquids’ temperature (+ 1 °C relative to + 5 °C, after 6 h of mixing). This is especially beneficial when mixing should occur according to controllable spatial features and should involve temperature-sensitive matter (such as biological cells, proteins, pre-polymers and other thermolabile molecules).
Purpose High-altitude (HA) affects sensory organ response, but its effects on the inner ear are not fully understood. The present scoping review aimed to collect the available evidence about HA effects on the inner ear with focus on auditory function. Methods The scoping review was conducted following the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis extension for scoping reviews. PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science electronic databases were systematically searched to identify studies conducted in the last 20 years, which quantified in healthy subjects the effects of HA on auditory function. Results The systematic search identified 17 studies on a total population of 888 subjects (88.7% male, age: 27.8 ± 4.1 years; median sample size of 15 subjects). Nine studies were conducted in a simulated environment and eight during real expeditions at HA. To quantify auditory function, six studies performed pure tone audiometry, four studies measured otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and eight studies measured auditory evoked responses (AER). Study protocols presented heterogeneity in the spatio-temporal patterns of HA exposure, with highly varying maximal altitudes and exposure durations. Conclusion Most studies reported a reduction of auditory function with HA in terms of either elevation of auditory thresholds, lengthening of AER latencies, reduction of distortion-product and transient-evoked OAEs. Future studies in larger populations, using standardized protocols and multi-technique auditory function evaluation, are needed to further characterize the spatio-temporal pattern of HA effects along the auditory pathways and clarify the pathophysiological implications and reversibility of the observed changes.
Imprinting, the process of forming lasting social bonds with early encountered stimuli, has been the subject of extensive research. However, there is still a need to systematically study the optimal methods for displaying imprinting stimuli in laboratory settings. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of different virtual presentation methods for imprinting stimuli and their impact on the memory of chicks. In the first experiment, we examined the attractiveness of various flickering frequencies, comparing them to static and translatory motion stimuli. The results revealed that flickering frequencies between 0.5 and 5 Hz were particularly appealing to newly hatched chicks, while higher frequencies (10–40 Hz) were less effective. We observed no significant differences in attractiveness between low flickering frequencies, moving stimuli, and static stimuli. In the second experiment, the focus shifted to the development of imprinting preference and memory. We found no significant difference in terms of preference for the imprinting stimulus between chicks imprinted with translatory motion or static stimuli. However, imprinting with flickering stimuli produced varied preferences. Chicks imprinted with a 2 Hz flickering stimulus exhibited a preference for the imprinting stimulus, albeit weaker than those imprinted with moving stimuli, while chicks imprinted with a 1 Hz flickering stimulus did not show a preference. These findings suggest that imprinting with flickering frequencies is not as effective as imprinting with moving stimuli and, to a lesser extent, static stimuli. Future studies should aim to determine the most optimal low frequencies within the 0.5–5 Hz range and explore different motion types. Overall, this research enhances our understanding of imprinting and provides valuable insights into virtual stimulation methods, thus informing the design of experiments in virtual environments.
We study repulsive two-component Bose mixtures with equal populations and confined in a finite-size box through path-integral Monte Carlo simulations. For different values of the s-wave scattering length of the interspecies potential, we calculate the local population imbalance in a region of fixed volume inside the box at different temperatures. We find two different behaviors: For phase-separated states at T=0, thermal effects induce a diffusion process which reduces the local imbalance, whereas for miscible states at T=0, a maximum in the local population imbalance appears at a certain temperature, below the critical one. We show that this intriguing behavior is strongly related to the bunching effect associated with the Bose-Einstein statistics of the particles in the mixture and to an unexpected behavior of the cross pair distribution function.
The 1‐in‐X numerical format (e.g., 1 in 200) has been found to increase subjective probability evaluations and behavioral intentions in hypothetical scenarios compared with the N‐in‐NX format (e.g., 5 in 1000). However, it remains unclear whether this format can also bias choices between truly incentivized options. In four online studies ( N = 1039), participants were presented with a small endowment (i.e., 1£) and an actual choice between two options: a sure loss of a part of such endowment and a lottery with the chance to lose the entire endowment, presented using either the 1‐in‐X or the N‐in‐NX format. In Studies 1–3, where the two options were equivalent in expected monetary value (EV) and the lottery was described with varying degrees of concreteness, participants preferred the lottery option to a lesser extent when the chance of losing the endowment was presented using the 1‐in‐X format compared with the N‐in‐NX format. The same effect was replicated in Study 4a when the lottery option had a higher EV than the sure loss, showing that the 1‐in‐X effect can also lead individuals to deviate from maximizing EV. However, the effect vanished in Study 4b when the difference in EV between the two options increased. Implications for risk communication and a possible interpretation of the results are discussed accordingly.
Water exploitation is at the centre of current social and environmental sustainability discourses, one form of which is hydropower. Intense damming of rivers and natural basins occurred in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe (and elsewhere). Following Miller and Power's concept of territorialisation and Foucault's notion of visibility, this study sheds light on the water management arena, read through changes in stakeholder objectives and accountabilities. Its focus is on the ‘accounts’ of environmental concerns, from post WWII to the new millennium. The analysis focuses on the case of the Santa Giustina dam in Northern Italy, using archival and oral-history approaches. It is shown how an increasing visibility of environmental concerns translated into a higher degree of ‘territorialisation’ through their itemisation in water quality and quantity parameters. This historical evolution informs policy makers, managers and society in general, about how to address profits and environmental issues regarding current water exploitation.
Nowadays, devices and systems are always connected for providing everyday services. Hence, there is a growing interest concerning the adoption of secure software implementations of communication protocols that allow heterogeneous systems to exchange information and data. In the last decade, several approaches and techniques for applying fuzz security testing to such implementations have been proposed. Fuzz security testing is a promising approach to discover software vulnerabilities. It aims at exercising the implementation under test by means of unexpected and potentially invalid inputs and data, aiming at triggering misbehaviors, exceptions, and system crashes. This paper presents a Rapid Review (RR) conducted to study fuzz security testing for software implementations of communication protocols. The following evidences emerged from our RR: (i) Industrial Control System and Internet of Thing protocols are among the most studied ones; (ii) black-box fuzz security testing is frequently investigated and, often, the proposed approaches require protocol or data specifications as input; (iii) most of the detected vulnerabilities are related to memory management and, less frequently, to input and data management and validation, and (iv) only few tools are publicly available.
In this paper, we consider the problem of model checking fair transition systems expressed symbolically in the framework of Satisfiability Modulo Theories. This problem, referred to as Verification Modulo Theories, is tackled by combining two key elements from the legacy of Ed Clarke: SAT-based verification and abstraction refinement. We show how fundamental SAT-based algorithms have been lifted to deal with the extended expressiveness with a tight integration of abstraction within a CEGAR loop. In turn, the case of nonlinear theories is based on a CEGAR loop over the linear case. These two elements have also deeply impacted the development of the NuSMV model checker, born from a joint project between FBK and CMU, and its successor nuXmv, whose core integrates SMT-based techniques for VMT.
We introduce the notion of rooftop flip, namely a small modification among normal projective varieties which is modeled by a smooth projective variety of Picard number 2 admitting two projective bundle structures. Examples include the Atiyah flop and the Mukai flop, modeled respectively by $$\mathbb {P}^1\times \mathbb {P}^1$$ P 1 × P 1 and by $$\mathbb {P}\left( T_{\mathbb {P}^2}\right) $$ P T P 2 . Using the Morelli-Włodarczyk cobordism, we prove that any smooth projective variety of Picard number 1, endowed with a $${\mathbb C}^*$$ C ∗ -action with only two fixed point components, induces a rooftop flip.
Saharan soil samples collected in El‐Oued province have been investigated for actinobacteria as a valuable source for the production of bioactive metabolites. A total of 273 isolates were obtained and subjected to antagonistic activity tests against human pathogenic germs. A strain with a broad‐spectrum antimicro�bial activity was selected and identified as Nocardiopsis dassonvillei GSBS4, with high sequence similarities to N. dassonvillei subsp. dassonvilleiT X97886.1 (99%) based on polyphasic taxonomy approach and 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene sequence analysis. The GSBS4 ethyl acetate crude extract showed strong antibacterial activity towards pathogenic bacteria and Candida albicans. It inhibited biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin‐resistant S. aureus with minimum inhibitory concentrations estimated at 0.144 and 1.15 mg·mL−1 , respectively. A 44% biofilm reduction was obtained for S. aureus and 61% for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Furthermore, phenols composition of the crude extract showed a significant dose‐dependent antioxidant activity by α‐diphenyl‐β‐picrylhydrazyl (57.21%) and 2,2′‐azinobis (3‐ethylbenzothiazoline‐6‐sulfonic acid) (64.29%) radicals scavenging assays. Although no inhibition was obtained on human coronavirus human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E and on model enterovirus (poliovirus 1) infection, a dose‐dependent increase in cell viability of HCoV 229E‐infected cells was noticed as the viability increased from 21% to 37%. Bioassay‐guided fractionation of the crude extract gave a fraction showing antibacterial activity, which was analyzed by liquid chromatography‐electrospray mass spectrometric technique, providing structural features on a major purple metabolite. KEYWORDS antibiofilm, antimicrobials, antioxidants, antivirals, LC‐ESIMS analysis, Nocardiopsis dassonvillei
Lithium‐sulfur batteries are among the promising high‐capacity candidates owing to the superior theoretical capacity of sulfur, when compared with conventional cathodes such as LiCoO 2 . However, several issues must be addressed before these batteries can be considered fully operational. Major issues regard the insulating nature of sulfur and the so‐called shuttle effect of soluble polysulfides, which dramatically reduces the cathode capacity upon cycling. In this work, we characterize three carbon‐containing polymer‐derived ceramic aerogels belonging to the Si‐C‐O and Si‐C‐N systems, infiltrated with sulfur to work as cathodes for Li‐S batteries. The electrochemical performances are evaluated in relation to the microstructural and chemical features of such materials. In particular, the effect of the pore size of the ceramic matrices on the shuttling behavior of polysulfides is investigated. Despite the high initial specific capacities exceeding hundreds of mAh·g ‐1 , all types of cathodes show stable capacities in the 60‐120 mAh·g ‐1 range after 100 cycles. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Annalisa Tirella
  • Department of Industrial Engineering
Thomas Hartmann
  • CIMEC - Center for Mind/Brain Sciences
Luigi Palopoli
  • Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science
Via Mesiano 77, 38123, Trento, Italy