Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: Maurizio Varanini

10 A Quality Index Optimization Method for Non-Invasive Fetal ECG Extraction

Authors: Lucia Billeci, Gennaro Tartarisco, Maurizio Varanini


Fetal cardiac monitoring by fetal electrocardiogram (fECG) can provide significant clinical information about the healthy condition of the fetus. Despite this potentiality till now the use of fECG in clinical practice has been quite limited due to the difficulties in its measuring. The recovery of fECG from the signals acquired non-invasively by using electrodes placed on the maternal abdomen is a challenging task because abdominal signals are a mixture of several components and the fetal one is very weak. This paper presents an approach for fECG extraction from abdominal maternal recordings, which exploits the characteristics of pseudo-periodicity of fetal ECG. It consists of devising a quality index (fQI) for fECG and of finding the linear combinations of preprocessed abdominal signals, which maximize these fQI (quality index optimization - QIO). It aims at improving the performances of the most commonly adopted methods for fECG extraction, usually based on maternal ECG (mECG) estimating and canceling. The procedure for the fECG extraction and fetal QRS (fQRS) detection is completely unsupervised and based on the following steps: signal pre-processing; maternal ECG (mECG) extraction and maternal QRS detection; mECG component approximation and canceling by weighted principal component analysis; fECG extraction by fQI maximization and fetal QRS detection. The proposed method was compared with our previously developed procedure, which obtained the highest at the Physionet/Computing in Cardiology Challenge 2013. That procedure was based on removing the mECG from abdominal signals estimated by a principal component analysis (PCA) and applying the Independent component Analysis (ICA) on the residual signals. Both methods were developed and tuned using 69, 1 min long, abdominal measurements with fetal QRS annotation of the dataset A provided by PhysioNet/Computing in Cardiology Challenge 2013. The QIO-based and the ICA-based methods were compared in analyzing two databases of abdominal maternal ECG available on the Physionet site. The first is the Abdominal and Direct Fetal Electrocardiogram Database (ADdb) which contains the fetal QRS annotations thus allowing a quantitative performance comparison, the second is the Non-Invasive Fetal Electrocardiogram Database (NIdb), which does not contain the fetal QRS annotations so that the comparison between the two methods can be only qualitative. In particular, the comparison on NIdb was performed defining an index of quality for the fetal RR series. On the annotated database ADdb the QIO method, provided the performance indexes Sens=0.9988, PPA=0.9991, F1=0.9989 overcoming the ICA-based one, which provided Sens=0.9966, PPA=0.9972, F1=0.9969. The comparison on NIdb was performed defining an index of quality for the fetal RR series. The index of quality resulted higher for the QIO-based method compared to the ICA-based one in 35 records out 55 cases of the NIdb. The QIO-based method gave very high performances with both the databases. The results of this study foresees the application of the algorithm in a fully unsupervised way for the implementation in wearable devices for self-monitoring of fetal health.

Keywords: fetal electrocardiography, fetal QRS detection, independent component analysis (ICA), optimization, wearable

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9 Energy Deposited by Secondary Electrons Generated by Swift Proton Beams through Polymethylmethacrylate

Authors: Maurizio Dapor, Isabel Abril, Pablo de Vera, Rafael Garcia-Molina


The ionization yield of ion tracks in polymers and bio-molecular systems reaches a maximum, known as the Bragg peak, close to the end of the ion trajectories. Along the path of the ions through the materials, many electrons are generated, which produce a cascade of further ionizations and, consequently, a shower of secondary electrons. Among these, very low energy secondary electrons can produce damage in the biomolecules by dissociative electron attachment. This work deals with the calculation of the energy distribution of electrons produced by protons in a sample of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), a material that is used as a phantom for living tissues in hadron therapy. PMMA is also of relevance for microelectronics in CMOS technologies and as a photoresist mask in electron beam lithography. We present a Monte Carlo code that, starting from a realistic description of the energy distribution of the electrons ejected by protons moving through PMMA, simulates the entire cascade of generated secondary electrons. By following in detail the motion of all these electrons, we find the radial distribution of the energy that they deposit in PMMA for several initial proton energies characteristic of the Bragg peak.

Keywords: Monte Carlo method, secondary electrons, energetic ions, ion-beam cancer therapy, ionization cross section, polymethylmethacrylate, proton beams, secondary electrons, radial energy distribution

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8 Design and Implementation of a Software Platform Based on Artificial Intelligence for Product Recommendation

Authors: Giuseppina Settanni, Antonio Panarese, Raffaele Vaira, Maurizio Galiano


Nowdays, artificial intelligence is used successfully in academia and industry for its ability to learn from a large amount of data. In particular, in recent years the use of machine learning algorithms in the field of e-commerce has spread worldwide. In this research study, a prototype software platform was designed and implemented in order to suggest to users the most suitable products for their needs. The platform includes a chatbot and a recommender system based on artificial intelligence algorithms that provide suggestions and decision support to the customer. The recommendation systems perform the important function of automatically filtering and personalizing information, thus allowing to manage with the IT overload to which the user is exposed on a daily basis. Recently, international research has experimented with the use of machine learning technologies with the aim to increase the potential of traditional recommendation systems. Specifically, support vector machine algorithms have been implemented combined with natural language processing techniques that allow the user to interact with the system, express their requests and receive suggestions. The interested user can access the web platform on the internet using a computer, tablet or mobile phone, register, provide the necessary information and view the products that the system deems them most appropriate. The platform also integrates a dashboard that allows the use of the various functions, which the platform is equipped with, in an intuitive and simple way. Artificial intelligence algorithms have been implemented and trained on historical data collected from user browsing. Finally, the testing phase allowed to validate the implemented model, which will be further tested by letting customers use it.

Keywords: machine learning, recommender system, software platform, support vector machine

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7 Variation of Fertility-Related Traits in Italian Tomato Landraces under Mild Heat Stress

Authors: Maurizio E. Picarella, Ludovica Fumelli, Francesca Siligato, Andrea Mazzucato


Studies on reproductive dynamics in crops subjected to heat stress are crucial to breed more tolerant cultivars. In tomato, cultivars, breeding lines, and wild species have been thoroughly evaluated for the response to heat stress in several studies. Here, we address the reaction to temperature stress in a panel of selected landraces representing genotypes cultivated before the advent of professional varieties that usually show high adaptation to local environments. We adopted an experimental design with two open field trials, where transplanting was spaced by one month. In the second field, plants were thus subjected to mild stress with natural temperature fluctuations. The genotypes showed wide variation for both vegetative (plant height) and reproductive (stigma exsertion, pollen viability, number of flowers per inflorescence, and fruit set) traits. On average, all traits were affected by heat conditions; except for the number of flowers per inflorescence, the “G*E” interaction was always significant. In agreement with studies based on different materials, estimated broad sense heritability was high for plant height, stigma exsertion, and pollen viability and low for the number of flowers per inflorescence and fruit set. Despite the interaction, traits recorded in control and in heat conditions were positively correlated. The first two principal components estimated by multivariate analysis explained more than 50% of the total variability. The study indicated that landraces present a wide variability for the response of reproductive traits to temperature stress and that such variability could be very informative to dissect the traits with higher heritability and identify new QTL useful for breeding more resilient varieties.

Keywords: fruit set, heat stress, solanum lycopersicum L., style exsertion, tomato

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6 Phenotypic Diversity of the Tomato Germplasm from the Lazio Region in Central Italy, with a Case Study on Molecular Distinctiveness

Authors: Barbara Farinon, Maurizio E. Picarella, Lorenzo Mancini, Andrea Mazzucato


Italy is notoriously a secondary center of diversification for cultivated tomatoes (Solanum Lycopersicum L.). The study of phenotypic and genetic diversity in landrace collections is important for germplasm conservation. Here, we set up to study the germplasm collected in the region of Lazio in central Italy with a focus on the distinctiveness among landraces and the attribution of membership to unnamed accessions. Our regional collection included 26 accessions belonging to five different locally recognized landraces and 25 unnamed accessions. All accessions were gathered in Lazio and belonged to the collection held at the Regional Agency for the Development and Innovation of Agriculture in Lazio (ARSIAL, in the application of the Regional Act n. 15/2000, funded by Lazio Rural Development Plan 2014 – 2020 Agro-environmental Measure, Action 10.2.1) and at the University of Tuscia. We included 12 control genotypes as reference. The collection showed wide phenotypic variability for several traits, such as fruit weight (range 14-277 g), locule number (2-12), shape index (0.54-2.65), yield (0.24-3.08 kg/plant), and soluble solids (3.4-7.5 °B). A few landraces showed uncommon phenotypes, such as potato leaf, colorless fruit epidermis, or delayed ripening. Multivariate analysis of 25 cardinal phenotypic variables grouped the named varieties and allowed to assign some of the unnamed to recognized groups. A case study for distinctiveness is presented for the flattened-ribbed types that presented overlapping distribution according to the phenotypic data. Molecular markers, either newly developed and retrieved by previous studies, indicated that the named varieties “Scatolone di Bolsena” and Spagnoletta di Gaeta e Formia” belong to the Marmande group, together with the reference landrace from Tuscany “Costoluto Fiorentino.” Differently, the landrace “Pantano Romanesco” was clearly distinct from the former at the molecular level.

Keywords: distinctiveness, flattened-ribbed fruits, regional landraces, tomato

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5 The Second Column of Origen’s Hexapla and the Transcription of BGDKPT Consonants: A Confrontation with Transliterated Hebrew Names in Greek Documents

Authors: Isabella Maurizio


This research analyses the pronunciation of Hebrew consonants 'bgdkpt' in II- III C. E. in Palestine, through the confrontation of two kinds of data: the fragments of transliteration of Old Testament in the Greek alphabet, from the second column of Origen’s synopsis, called Hexapla, and Hebrew names transliterated in Greek documents, especially epigraphs. Origen is a very important author, not only for his bgdkpt theological and exegetic works: the Hexapla, synoptic six columns for a critical edition of Septuaginta, has a relevant role in attempting to reconstruct the pronunciation of Hebrew language before Masoretic punctuation. For this reason, at the beginning, it is important to analyze the column in order to study phonetic and linguistic phenomena. Among the most problematic data, there is the evidence from bgdkpt consonants, always represented as Greek aspirated graphemes. This transcription raised the question if their pronunciation was the only spirant, and consequently, the double one, that is, the stop/spirant contrast, was introduced by Masoretes. However, the phonetic and linguistic examination of the column alone is not enough to establish a real pronunciation of language: this paper is significant because a confrontation between the second column’s transliteration and Hebrew names found in Greek documents epigraphic ones mainly, is achieved. Palestine in II - III was a bilingual country: Greek and Aramaic language lived together, the first one like the official language, the second one as the principal mean of communication between people. For this reason, Hebrew names are often found in Greek documents of the same geographical area: a deep examination of bgdkpt’s transliteration can help to understand better which the real pronunciation of these consonants was, or at least it allows to evidence a phonetic tendency. As a consequence, the research considers the contemporary documents to Origen and the previous ones: the first ones testify a specific stadium of pronunciation, the second ones reflect phonemes’ evolution. Alexandrian documents are also examined: Origen was from there, and the influence of Greek language, spoken in his native country, must be considered. The epigraphs have another implication: they are totally free from morphological criteria, probably used by Origen in his column, because of their popular origin. Thus, a confrontation between the hexaplaric transliteration and Hebrew names is absolutely required, in Hexapla’s studies: first of all, it can be the second clue of a pronunciation already noted in the column; then because, for documents’ specific nature, it has more probabilities to be real, reflecting a daily use of language. The examination of data shows a general tendency to employ the aspirated graphemes for bgdkpt consonants’ transliteration. This probably means that they were closer to Greek aspirated consonants rather than to the plosive ones. The exceptions are linked to a particular status of the name, i.e. its history and origin. In this way, this paper gives its contribution to onomastic studies, too: indeed, the research may contribute to verify the diffusion and the treatment of Jewish names in Hellenized world and in the koinè language.

Keywords: bgdkpt consonants, Greek epigraphs, Jewish names, origen's Hexapla

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4 The Rise in Popularity of Online Islamic Fashion In Indonesia: An Economic, Political, and Socio-Anthropological Perspective

Authors: Cazadira Fediva Tamzil, Agung Sulthonaulia Utama


The rise in popularity of Indonesian Islamic fashion displayed and sold through social networking sites, especially Instagram, might seem at first glance like a commonplace and localized phenomenon. However, when analyzed critically, it actually reveals the relations between the global and local Indonesian economy, as well as a deep socio-anthropological dimension relating to religion, culture, class, work, identity. Conducted using a qualitative methodology, data collection technique of literature review, and observation of various social networking sites, this research finds four things that lead to the aforementioned conclusion. First, the rise of online Islamic fashion retailers was triggered by the shift in the structure of global and national Indonesian economy as well as the free access of information made possible by democratization in Indonesia and worldwide advances in terms of technology. All of those factors combined together gave birth to a large amount of middle-class Indonesians with high consumer culture and entrepreneurial flair. Second, online Islamic fashion retailers are the new cultural trendsetters in society. All these show how Indonesians are becoming increasingly pious, no longer only adhere to Western conception of luxury and that many are increasingly exploiting Islam commercial and status-acquiring purposes. Third, the online Islamic fashion retailers actually reveal a shift in the conception of ‘work’ – social media has made work no longer only confined to the toiling activities inside factories, but instead something that can be done from any location only through posting online words or pictures that can increase a fashion product’s capital value. Without realizing it, many celebrities and online retailers who promote Islamic fashion through social media on a daily basis are now also ‘semi-free immaterial labors’ – a slight reconceptualization to Tiziana Terranova’s concept of ‘free labor’ and Maurizio Lazzarato’s ‘immaterial labor’, which basically refer to people who create economic value and thus help out capitals from producing immaterial things with only little compensation in return. Fourth, this research also shows that the diversity of Islamic fashion styles being sold on Instagram reflects the polarized identity of Islam in Indonesia. In stark contrast with the theory which states that globalization always leads to the strengthening and unification of identity, this research shows how polarized the Islamic identity in Indonesia really is – even in the face of globalization.

Keywords: global economy, Indonesian online Islamic fashion, political relations, socio-anthropology

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3 Interplay of Material and Cycle Design in a Vacuum-Temperature Swing Adsorption Process for Biogas Upgrading

Authors: Federico Capra, Emanuele Martelli, Matteo Gazzani, Marco Mazzotti, Maurizio Notaro


Natural gas is a major energy source in the current global economy, contributing to roughly 21% of the total primary energy consumption. Production of natural gas starting from renewable energy sources is key to limit the related CO2 emissions, especially for those sectors that heavily rely on natural gas use. In this context, biomethane produced via biogas upgrading represents a good candidate for partial substitution of fossil natural gas. The upgrading process of biogas to biomethane consists in (i) the removal of pollutants and impurities (e.g. H2S, siloxanes, ammonia, water), and (ii) the separation of carbon dioxide from methane. Focusing on the CO2 removal process, several technologies can be considered: chemical or physical absorption with solvents (e.g. water, amines), membranes, adsorption-based systems (PSA). However, none emerged as the leading technology, because of (i) the heterogeneity in plant size, ii) the heterogeneity in biogas composition, which is strongly related to the feedstock type (animal manure, sewage treatment, landfill products), (iii) the case-sensitive optimal tradeoff between purity and recovery of biomethane, and iv) the destination of the produced biomethane (grid injection, CHP applications, transportation sector). With this contribution, we explore the use of a technology for biogas upgrading and we compare the resulting performance with benchmark technologies. The proposed technology makes use of a chemical sorbent, which is engineered by RSE and consists of Di-Ethanol-Amine deposited on a solid support made of γ-Alumina, to chemically adsorb the CO2 contained in the gas. The material is packed into fixed beds that cyclically undergo adsorption and regeneration steps. CO2 is adsorbed at low temperature and ambient pressure (or slightly above) while the regeneration is carried out by pulling vacuum and increasing the temperature of the bed (vacuum-temperature swing adsorption - VTSA). Dynamic adsorption tests were performed by RSE and were used to tune the mathematical model of the process, including material and transport parameters (i.e. Langmuir isotherms data and heat and mass transport). Based on this set of data, an optimal VTSA cycle was designed. The results enabled a better understanding of the interplay between material and cycle tuning. As exemplary application, the upgrading of biogas for grid injection, produced by an anaerobic digester (60-70% CO2, 30-40% CH4), for an equivalent size of 1 MWel was selected. A plant configuration is proposed to maximize heat recovery and minimize the energy consumption of the process. The resulting performances are very promising compared to benchmark solutions, which make the VTSA configuration a valuable alternative for biomethane production starting from biogas.

Keywords: biogas upgrading, biogas upgrading energetic cost, CO2 adsorption, VTSA process modelling

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2 Solar Power Forecasting for the Bidding Zones of the Italian Electricity Market with an Analog Ensemble Approach

Authors: Elena Collino, Dario A. Ronzio, Goffredo Decimi, Maurizio Riva


The rapid increase of renewable energy in Italy is led by wind and solar installations. The 2017 Italian energy strategy foresees a further development of these sustainable technologies, especially solar. This fact has resulted in new opportunities, challenges, and different problems to deal with. The growth of renewables allows to meet the European requirements regarding energy and environmental policy, but these types of sources are difficult to manage because they are intermittent and non-programmable. Operationally, these characteristics can lead to instability on the voltage profile and increasing uncertainty on energy reserve scheduling. The increasing renewable production must be considered with more and more attention especially by the Transmission System Operator (TSO). The TSO, in fact, every day provides orders on energy dispatch, once the market outcome has been determined, on extended areas, defined mainly on the basis of power transmission limitations. In Italy, six market zone are defined: Northern-Italy, Central-Northern Italy, Central-Southern Italy, Southern Italy, Sardinia, and Sicily. An accurate hourly renewable power forecasting for the day-ahead on these extended areas brings an improvement both in terms of dispatching and reserve management. In this study, an operational forecasting tool of the hourly solar output for the six Italian market zones is presented, and the performance is analysed. The implementation is carried out by means of a numerical weather prediction model, coupled with a statistical post-processing in order to derive the power forecast on the basis of the meteorological projection. The weather forecast is obtained from the limited area model RAMS on the Italian territory, initialized with IFS-ECMWF boundary conditions. The post-processing calculates the solar power production with the Analog Ensemble technique (AN). This statistical approach forecasts the production using a probability distribution of the measured production registered in the past when the weather scenario looked very similar to the forecasted one. The similarity is evaluated for the components of the solar radiation: global (GHI), diffuse (DIF) and direct normal (DNI) irradiation, together with the corresponding azimuth and zenith solar angles. These are, in fact, the main factors that affect the solar production. Considering that the AN performance is strictly related to the length and quality of the historical data a training period of more than one year has been used. The training set is made by historical Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) forecasts at 12 UTC for the GHI, DIF and DNI variables over the Italian territory together with corresponding hourly measured production for each of the six zones. The AN technique makes it possible to estimate the aggregate solar production in the area, without information about the technologic characteristics of the all solar parks present in each area. Besides, this information is often only partially available. Every day, the hourly solar power forecast for the six Italian market zones is made publicly available through a website.

Keywords: analog ensemble, electricity market, PV forecast, solar energy

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1 Readout Development of a LGAD-based Hybrid Detector for Microdosimetry (HDM)

Authors: Pierobon Enrico, Missiaggia Marta, Castelluzzo Michele, Tommasino Francesco, Ricci Leonardo, Scifoni Emanuele, Vincezo Monaco, Boscardin Maurizio, La Tessa Chiara


Clinical outcomes collected over the past three decades have suggested that ion therapy has the potential to be a treatment modality superior to conventional radiation for several types of cancer, including recurrences, as well as for other diseases. Although the results have been encouraging, numerous treatment uncertainties remain a major obstacle to the full exploitation of particle radiotherapy. To overcome therapy uncertainties optimizing treatment outcome, the best possible radiation quality description is of paramount importance linking radiation physical dose to biological effects. Microdosimetry was developed as a tool to improve the description of radiation quality. By recording the energy deposition at the micrometric scale (the typical size of a cell nucleus), this approach takes into account the non-deterministic nature of atomic and nuclear processes and creates a direct link between the dose deposited by radiation and the biological effect induced. Microdosimeters measure the spectrum of lineal energy y, defined as the energy deposition in the detector divided by most probable track length travelled by radiation. The latter is provided by the so-called “Mean Chord Length” (MCL) approximation, and it is related to the detector geometry. To improve the characterization of the radiation field quality, we define a new quantity replacing the MCL with the actual particle track length inside the microdosimeter. In order to measure this new quantity, we propose a two-stage detector consisting of a commercial Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) and 4 layers of Low Gain Avalanche Detectors (LGADs) strips. The TEPC detector records the energy deposition in a region equivalent to 2 um of tissue, while the LGADs are very suitable for particle tracking because of the thickness thinnable down to tens of micrometers and fast response to ionizing radiation. The concept of HDM has been investigated and validated with Monte Carlo simulations. Currently, a dedicated readout is under development. This two stages detector will require two different systems to join complementary information for each event: energy deposition in the TEPC and respective track length recorded by LGADs tracker. This challenge is being addressed by implementing SoC (System on Chip) technology, relying on Field Programmable Gated Arrays (FPGAs) based on the Zynq architecture. TEPC readout consists of three different signal amplification legs and is carried out thanks to 3 ADCs mounted on a FPGA board. LGADs activated strip signal is processed thanks to dedicated chips, and finally, the activated strip is stored relying again on FPGA-based solutions. In this work, we will provide a detailed description of HDM geometry and the SoC solutions that we are implementing for the readout.

Keywords: particle tracking, ion therapy, low gain avalanche diode, tissue equivalent proportional counter, microdosimetry

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