Flux of MEME wins a research grant at Working Capital Bologna

It was the last of a sequence: the project was briefed, submitted for an elevator pitch, then checked in a couple of meetings, refined, presented again, and at the end it won. The project will be funded by Telecom Italia @workingcapital and was presented during the last Working Capital event in Bologna, June 9th 2010.


Goal of this project is to create a semantic web application capable of predicting the future through the analysis and clustering of concepts.

Memes flow through the social networks and can be paired with their geo-reference information to understand how they move in physical space. Terms used in a single meme describe its semantic domain and images, when present, can enrich their interpretation.


Now the research begins. Part of the semantic engine for term extraction and expansion is already working. From my personal point of view I think that two outcomes will be really important:

  • applying results on mobile devices - contexts still have to be defined, but mobile networks and entertainment is an immediate transfer for this project;
  • data visualization - huge amounts of data are useless if not digested and visualized in a simple and attractive way; at the moment I am exploring Processing, as it appears a good desktop environment, and this is the reason why I cited blprnt.com in my presentation.

Any suggestion and comment greatly appreciated.

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Particle Animations with Flint

In the last few week I have been working on a project that involved the development of a particle animation system. The project is still under development and we are working under NDA: for this reason unfortunately I still cannot post any details about it, even though I will post details as soon as it goes live.

What I can definitely do is show the tests I had to develop using Flint particle animation system, developed by @Richard_Lord and give a brief explanation of the code, since I saw that a lot of people are having troubles with, to say the less, a little bit sparse documentation.

Let's show the results first, it is a tweaking of the logo tweener example found on the website.

[swf src="http://tom.londondroids.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/ParticleTest.swf" width=400 height=400 version=10]

It was not rocket science at all, since it was only matter of tweaking an already made example, still I noticed from the forum that loads of people got stuck while introducing some changes, and I had to go more in depth of some aspects related to EmitterEvents, ParticleEvents and Easing.

I wanted to use extensively the TweenToZone effect for a series of bitmaps which had to be displayed in the .swf, for this reason I decided it was better to create a class and reuse it when needed. The emitter can also reuse existing particles instead of blasting a complete new set of them, the code is the following.

public class Tweener extends Emitter2D
    public function Tweener( init:Boolean, bitmapFrom:Bitmap, bitmapTo:Bitmap, particles:uint, lifetime:uint, color1:uint, color2:uint )
        if( init ) {
            counter = new Blast( particles );
            addInitializer( new ColorInit( color1, color2 ) );
            addInitializer( new Position( new BitmapDataZone( bitmapFrom.bitmapData, 0, 0 ) ) );

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ERC Advanced Grant 2010 presented

I was recently involved in the presentation of an ERC Advanced Grant. The list of currently open calls are published by the European Research Council official website, here.

The project aims at realizing a wide and exhaustive study on the Mycenaean culture diffusion within the Eastern Mediterranean basin in the Late II Millennium B.C. with the support of a proper cross-medial research, in order to build up a user friendly macro DataBase of the whole archaeological evidences coming from the wide area of interest.

Principal investigator of the proposed grant is Anna Margherita Jasink. Her research activity addressed a variety of topics in continuous evolution with time, with a distinct interdisciplinary approach. In fact her field research has been concerned with both philological and historical themes connected to the Ancient Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean/Near Eastern civilisations.

The following investigators are the other members of the team:

  • Prof. Stefania Mazzoni, professor of Archaeology ad Arts History of Near-Eastern civilisations in the University of Florence. With her expertise in Levantine world she will be in charge of coordinating the aspects concerning the presence of Mycenaeans in Syro-Palestinian area and in Anatolia;
  • Prof. Gloria Rosati, Prof. of Egyptology in the University of Florence. ¬†With her expertise in Egyptian world she will be in charge of coordinating the aspects concerning the presence of Mycenaeans in Egypt;
  • Prof. Giampaolo Graziadio, Prof. of Aegean civilisations in the University of Pisa. With his expertise in Mycenaean and Cypriote civilisations he will be in charge of coordinating the aspects concerning from one side the presence of Mycenaeans in Cyprus and from the other the role of Cyprus as an intermediary between Mycenaeans and the near-eastern countries;
  • Dr. Luca Bombardieri, postdoc researcher in the University of Florence. With his expertise in field archaeology in Cyprus and Syria he will be in charge of coordinating the problematic question of the indirect contacts between the Mycenaean world and far away countries like Mesopotamia and Jordan.
  • Eng. Thomas Alisi, postdoc consultant for the University of Florence. With his expertise in the field of interactive media environments and semantic web he will be in charge of the design of the overall software architecture, the definition of interaction models, coordination of the development team and delivery of project demonstrators.

The time frame has a schedule for delivering the first results in August, fingers crossed.

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