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CS PhD thesis defences 2008 PDF Print E-mail

The public PhD thesis defences of Bruno, Dino, and Marijke will take place on Monday April 28, from 9am to 12 noon, in Room A101 in the Sernesi building, according to the following time table:

Each student will have approximately one hour for their defense (25 minutes of presentation followed by 30 minutes of discussion):
9 am - 10 am: Bruno Rossi
10 am - 11 am: Dino Seppi
11 am - 12 am: Marijke Keet
12 am - 1 pm: meeting of the Ph.D. Examination Committee to deliberate its decisions and to finalise its report

Thesis abstracts have been added to the site so you can get an idea what the talks and discussions will be about (and decide if it's worth your time).

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 April 2008 13:12 )
 
PhD Thesis Abstracts 2008 PDF Print E-mail

A Formal Theory of Granularity

by C. Maria Keet

Computationally managing different levels of detail in biological data, information, and knowledge—biological granularity—is indispensable for both dealing advantageously with the huge amounts of data that are being generated by scientists and for structuring the knowledge to analyse and vertically integrate biological data and information across levels of granularity. Managing such databases, knowledge bases, and ontologies effectively and efficiently requires new foundational methodologies to push implementations to the next phase of in silico biology.

To address these issues, we move from a data-centric and underspecified treatment of granularity to the conceptual and logical layers, where informally defined elements of granularity have become ontologically motivated modelling constructs proper. This is achieved as follows. First, foundational semantics of granularity are disambiguated and structured in a taxonomy of types of granularity. This taxonomy makes explicit both the ways of granulation and representation, and how entities are organised within a level of granularity. Second, the static components of granularity—such as levels, indistinguishability, and granulation criteria, and how levels and entities relate—were subjected to an ontological analysis and formalised in a satisfiable logical theory, the theory of granularity (tog), so that an unambiguous meaning is ensured, interesting properties proven, and satisfiability computationally demonstrated. Third, an extensible set of domain- and implementation-independent functions are defined for both the tog elements to enable granular querying and reasoning over the theory, and for moving between entities residing in different levels through abstraction and expansion functions.

Effectively, granularity is lifted up to a higher layer of abstraction alike conceptual modelling languages do for software design and physical database schemas, thereby having made the representation of granularity domain- and implementation independent. Hence, reusability across implementations can be ensured, which in turn facilitates interoperability among information systems, such as granulation of ontologies, knowledge bases, databases, data warehouses, and biological and geographical information systems.

Read more...

 


 

Towards a Simulation Model including Network Externalities in Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) Adoption

by Bruno Rossi

Information Technology (IT) Adoption literature studies the process by which technology is accepted and used by single individuals. In particular, the focus is on types of innovators, process or product innovations and dynamics of the process of
innovation.
In recent years, there have been a large number of valuable studies on Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). Very few, however, focused on the adoption process and even less considered the impact of network externalities, that is peculiar effects that modify the intrinsic value of goods based on the number of people possessing the same good. The problem is relevant, since network externalities can push/hinder the adoption of software and FLOSS in particular.
The research gap we want to fill is the investigation of FLOSS adoption by also considering network externalities. We framed our research to secondary and parallel adoption inside organizations and the evaluation of the adoption level in the long run.
To tackle this problem, we followed a threefold approach.
First, we report a series of empirical studies, to understand the phenomena connected to the introduction of FLOSS inside organizations. The aim is to evaluate the impact of the new technology on tasks to be performed, its compatibility and complexity with previous environment, all relevant aspects in technology adoption literature.
Second, we study the process of file generation as a source of network externalities, effects that foster the usage of software depending on the number of adopters of a platform. By applying particular stochastic processes, we empirically model and evaluate such effects.
Third, we develop a simulation model of secondary adoption, by means of several parameters gathered during previous investigations. We use the model to analyze different long term behaviors of FLOSS introduction in organizations.
Findings from this thesis allow a better understanding of the process of software adoption and FLOSS. In particular, the development and application of a mathematical instrument that can be used to better investigate the process of adoption.

 

 


 

Prosody in Automatic Speech Processing

by Dino Seppi

 

Prosody plays a fundamental role in human speech because: 1) It compensates many violations of speech and language rules, such as the absence of strict grammar constrains, and it improves the understanding of fragmented utterances and words, overlapping conversations, etc. 2) Prosody conveys additional latent information such as accent, gender, mood, and other events at functional levels that are otherwise simply ignored. Therefore, prosodic information might be exploited for automatic speech processing purposes.

The first aim of this presentation is to show how time-based prosodic features can improve ASR performance. More specifically, two major weaknesses of ASR systems will be addressed: acoustically ambiguous utterances and the well-known unfavorable property of HMMs of inappropriately modelling phoneme and word duration. The former problem is presented for very limited vocabulary tasks by applying and comparing a certain number of approaches, the latter one is extended to a very large vocabulary domain.

The second aim of this presentation is to illustrate how prosodic time-based attributes can be extracted and manipulated to improve important speech analytics tasks. Additional latent information obtained from prosodic cues, in conjunction with other segmental and linguistic sources of information, can be used to cope with speech peculiarities. Prosodic-dependent applications will be considered such as punctuation, speech segmentation, confidence measures, and emotion recognition.

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 September 2008 07:25 )
 
Thesis templates PDF Print E-mail

Thesis templates

First of all: there is NO official FUB CS (PhD) thesis template at the moment of writing, so you can do it whichever way you feel like with any text processing and typesetting software you are happy with.

What you will find on this page is a customizable Latex template that this author worked on whilst writing the thesis and that you may like to use as well because it takes care of a whole range of layout issues such as:

  • Automatic resizing of the font size to keep the same text on the same page regardless the sensible page format you print it on;
  • Front & back matters (e.g., front page, FUB CS contact info, official FUB CS logos, trilingual);
  • TOC generation with bibliography, running headers and page numbers, spine;
  • Ensures you have all the right sections usually required for a PhD thesis (title page, abstract, bibliography, chapters), each added with \include statements;
  • Personalization options annotated in the template file to be (un)commented, such as (besides basic things as your name, title etc.)
    • Font type and size
    • Fancy chapter headings
    • Customizable figure and table captions
    • Look-and-feel of theorem (lemma, …) environments
    • Other useful things such as packages for page margins, text highlights, and long tables spanning pages

Honesty requires this author to admit that I have modified the ILLC template—both the guide file and the class file that, in turn, is based on the latex book class—and the backmatter logo is impressively better thanks to the inventiveness of Daniele Gobbetti.

You can download the zip file with all required files, unzip it and look at three of the many examples that are made with the same basic tex file (called guideFUB.tex / pdf, guideFUB-basic.tex / pdf, and guideFUB-modern.tex / pdf). You can either start a new file and copy the data into it, or rename the guidexxx.tex file and make sure to, at least, change something in each line th

at has a “%PERSONALIZE” comment (lest your work is attributed to the lad ‘John B. Goode’, is downgraded to something with title ‘FUB CS Dissertation Guide’, dedicated to yourself, etc.). The guidexxx.pdf file contains additional explanations and shows the look-and-feel with the (un)commented options.

To include the latest version of the FUB CS Dissertations list, download fubcsdissertations.tex, which has the alphabetical ordering for each graduation year. Given that there are no FUB CS PhD graduates yet, make sure to download the latest version after May 2008 (aside from anticipating the defense, the precise thesis numbering scheme is not settled yet).

Last, but not least: it comes without warranty and use it at your own risk. For questions, you can contact Marijke. (Maybe someone wants to take up the responsibility to maintain the template stuff and/or extend it to develop one for OpenOffice?)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 February 2008 11:07 )
 
Some Tips on Italian Bureaucracy PDF Print E-mail

Tips on Italian Bureaucracy

 

Hi everybody! Living in Italy is known to be a big headache for newcomers, who are apaticularly unaware of the kafkian intricacies that undelie its dolce vita... We hope that these lines will provide you some help on the matter.

 

- Enrolling at the University

- Getting a tax code, enrolling in INPS, getting a health insurance

- Getting a bank account

- Getting a stay permit

- Renewing the stay permit

- Signing up in the city hall (a.k.a. “anagrafe”)

- Accomodation

- Housing subsidy

- Having a car

- Travel visas


Enrollement Formalities


You enroll at the student secretariat (Sernesi building), after which you are given (i) an enrollement certificate and (ii) a student card.


Taxes


Tax code: Upon arrival, you should ask for a “codice fiscale” (tax code number) at the “Agenzia delle Entrate” (tax office), necessary for everything.

INPS: You should enroll at the public retirement fund, if receiving a grant or upon the event of signing a work contract. In some cases, you can be exempted of it (according to your nationality).


Health Insurance


EU citizens: Be careful to come to Italy with the European health Insurance Card. There is no way to enroll in the NHS without, unless you work.

Non-EU citizens: You should enroll in the Italian NHS every month of January, for 12 months. If you receive a grant, you will have to pay 150€.


In both cases, enrollement is automatic (and free of charge) whenever you have a work contract, either full-time or part-time.


Permit of Stay (Non EU citizens)


Upon arrival: You should as soon as possible request a permit of stay. This is done by (1) filling the forms to be retired from the post office, (2) submitting them, together with the documents, at the post office, (3) waiting for an appointment by the questura for fingerprints and (4) waiting for the issuing of the permesso. There is no upper (or lower) bound on the length of the procedure. After one or two months you should contact the FUB international office or research office and make them put pressure on the questura to speed up things. During this period, which can be arbitrarily long, you cannot (unless free of the requirement of a Schengen visa) travel outside Italy (you will be considered an illegal alien outside its borders).


Renewal: The procedure is the same as above. It should be done 2 to 3 months prior to the expiry date of your permit (provided you have already received it).

 

Residence (EU citizens)

 

As of 2007, EU citizens (without exception) are entitled to freely choose Italy as their country of legal residence. In fact, strictly according to a law issued in spring 2007, all EU citizens working or staying in Italy for more than 3 months HAVE TO legally change their residence to Italy. No stay permit is issued anymore for EU citizens. Instead, upon signing up at the anagrafe office at the town hall, a proof of "legal stay" will be issued. Optionally, you can pay a small amount (about 10 eur) and get a kind of italian ID that is valid only inside Italy. Of course, you can continue to work and live in Bolzano and by extension, Italy, regardless (thanks to EU law). It is more a question of personal choice. After 5 years, you will be entitled to request Italian citizenship.

 

Working


In general, a PhD student is not allowed to work, if recipeient of a grant, unless granted the permit by his supervisor and the head of the PhD programme. If granted, two cases apply:

EU citizens: No restrictions whatsoever.

Non EU citizens: up to 1,040 hours per year (i.e. the validity of your permit). It doesn't matter how they are distributed. There are no restrictions in the kind of contracts. If you want to work full-time, you have to ask for a different permit following the Italian quota system.


Renting an Appartment


There are many kinds of contracts. Usually you will be asked to sign (i) rent contract and (ii) contracts for water, electricity and gas. Furthermore, you will be asked to pay the maintenance costs. Note that in all of these cases, you will pay (i) a special tax when you sign and (ii) an extra tax every year, for each contract. Once you sign in for the "anagrafe" and have been granted your "citadinanza" (i.e. city dweller status in Bolzano), you can apply for the housing subsidy (whose quantity that depends on your income).


Anagrafe

 

The "anagrafe" is basically the registry of the citizens and residents of any given Italian city (called "residenza", not to be confused with that of the Italian state). It has its purposes. You need it for a good many administrative procedures, like, getting a driver's license, buying a car or an an apartment. It is free. You just have to go to the city hall with your passport and fill and sign a form. After that, you will be issued a card ("carta di cittadinanza", not to be confused with Italian citinzenship).

Pay heed to the fact that if you sign you will be regarded as having in Italy you tax residence and you will have to pay INPS and any tax you are avoiding due to any double-taxation bilateral agreeent holding between Italy and your country.

 

Having a Car

 

If you plan to buy /bring a car you have to remember the following. You need a valid EU driving license. Things get more complicated when you want to go beyond this. If you want to buy a car or at any event register in Italy yours, you will have to (i) sign in in the anagrafe, (ii) convert your driving license to an Italian one (iii) pay for the registration (which is quite expensive) and, for the killer, (iv) get an Italian car insurance (worth 800€ per year, just for Italy). Taking the license examination (if you do not have a EU license) will cost an extra 1,000€. The only benefit, to our knowledge, of registering your car in Bolzano is that you can park it somewhere instead of nowhere.


Banks


Italy is not Switzerland, so banking is quite of a hassle. You will need your codice fiscale and a university enrollement certificate.


Visas


EU citizens: An issue to disregard.

Non-EU citizens: During your studies you will probably travel to conferences and summer schools which will be held in countries outside of the EU and for which you will have to ask for a visa. Consulates are found mostly in Rome and in Milano, so you will have to go there. Furthermore, the procedure in Italy is, somehow, at least twice as long as in the rest of the EU, so it advisable to request them 2 to 3 months in advance. Of course, if your permit is still in the process of being renewed, you will not be able to go anywhere outside Italy.

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 February 2008 15:21 )
 
Some Tips on Italian Bureaucracy PDF Print E-mail

Hi everybody! Living in Italy is known to be a big headache for newcomers, who are apaticularly unaware of the kafkian intricacies that undelie its dolce vita... We hope that these lines will provide you some help on the matter.

- Enrolling at the University

- Getting a tax code, enrolling in INPS, getting a health insurance

- Getting a bank account

- Getting a stay permit

- Renewing the stay permit

- Signing up in the city hall (a.k.a. “anagrafe”)

- Accomodation

- Housing subsidy

- Having a car

- Travel visas


Enrollement Formalities


You enroll at the student secretariat (Sernesi building), after which you are given (i) an enrollement certificate and (ii) a student card.


Taxes


Tax code: Upon arrival, you should ask for a “codice fiscale” (tax code number) at the “Agenzia delle Entrate” (tax office), necessary for everything.

INPS: You should enroll at the public retirement fund, if receiving a grant or upon the event of signing a work contract. In some cases, you can be exempted of it (according to your nationality).


Health Insurance


EU citizens: Be careful to come to Italy with the European health Insurance Card. There is no way to enroll in the NHS without, unless you work.

Non-EU citizens: You should enroll in the Italian NHS every month of January, for 12 months. If you receive a grant, you will have to pay 150€.


In both cases, enrollement is automatic (and free of charge) whenever you have a work contract, either full-time or part-time.


Permit of Stay (Non EU citizens)


Upon arrival: You should as soon as possible request a permit of stay. This is done by (1) filling the forms to be retired from the post office, (2) submitting them, together with the documents, at the post office, (3) waiting for an appointment by the questura for fingerprints and (4) waiting for the issuing of the permesso. There is no upper (or lower) bound on the length of the procedure. After one or two months you should contact the FUB international office or research office and make them put pressure on the questura to speed up things. During this period, which can be arbitrarily long, you cannot (unless free of the requirement of a Schengen visa) travel outside Italy (you will be considered an illegal alien outside its borders).


Renewal: The procedure is the same as above. It should be done 2 to 3 months prior to the expiry date of your permit (provided you have already received it).

 

Residence (EU citizens)

 

As of 2007, EU citizens (without exception) are entitled to freely choose Italy as their country of legal residence. No stay permit is required. It is enough to sign up for the anagrafe. In fact, strictly according to a law issued in spring 2007, all EU citizens that work in Italy or stay in Italy for more than 3 months HAVE TO sign up for the anagrafe. After 5 years of having the anagrafe, you will be entitled to request Italian citizenship.

 

Working


In general, a PhD student is not allowed to work, if recipeient of a grant, unless granted the permit by his supervisor and the head of the PhD programme. If granted, two cases apply:

EU citizens: No restrictions whatsoever.

Non EU citizens: up to 1,040 hours per year (i.e. the validity of your permit). It doesn't matter how they are distributed. There are no restrictions in the kind of contracts. If you want to work full-time, you have to ask for a different permit following the Italian quota system.


Renting an Appartment


There are many kinds of contracts. Usually you will be asked to sign (i) rent contract and (ii) contracts for water, electricity and gas. Furthermore, you will be asked to pay the maintenance costs. Note that in all of these cases, you will pay (i) a special tax when you sign and (ii) an extra tax every year, for each contract. Once you sign in for the "anagrafe" and have been granted your "citadinanza" (i.e. city dweller status in Bolzano), you can apply for the housing subsidy (whose quantity that depends on your income).


Anagrafe

 

The "anagrafe" is basically the registry of the citizens and residents of any given Italian city (called "residenza", not to be confused with that of the Italian state). It has its purposes. You need it for a good many administrative procedures, like, getting a driver's license, buying a car or an an apartment. It is free. You just have to go to the city hall with your passport and fill and sign a form. After that, you will be issued a card ("carta di cittadinanza", not to be confused with Italian citinzenship).

Pay heed to the fact that if you sign you will be regarded as having in Italy you tax residence and you will have to pay INPS and any tax you are avoiding due to any double-taxation bilateral agreeent holding between Italy and your country.

 

Having a Car

 

If you plan to buy /bring a car you have to remember the following. You need a valid EU driving license. Things get more complicated when you want to go beyond this. If you want to buy a car or at any event register in Italy yours, you will have to (i) sign in in the anagrafe, (ii) convert your driving license to an Italian one (iii) pay for the registration (which is quite expensive) and, for the killer, (iv) get an Italian car insurance (worth 800€ per year, just for Italy). Taking the license examination (if you do not have a EU license) will cost an extra 1,000€. The only benefit, to our knowledge, of registering your car in Bolzano is that you can park it somewhere instead of nowhere.


Banks


Italy is not Switzerland, so banking is quite of a hassle. You will need your codice fiscale and a university enrollement certificate.


Visas


EU citizens: An issue to disregard.

Non-EU citizens: During your studies you will probably travel to conferences and summer schools which will be held in countries outside of the EU and for which you will have to ask for a visa. Consulates are found mostly in Rome and in Milano, so you will have to go there. Furthermore, the procedure in Italy is, somehow, at least twice as long as in the rest of the EU, so it advisable to request them 2 to 3 months in advance. Of course, if your permit is still in the process of being renewed, you will not be able to go anywhere outside Italy.

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 February 2008 15:16 )
 
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