Fuzzy: a many-valued logic


The paths of life to guide us towards the knowledge are many and a straight; well-defined line does not always represent them. Among these, the theory of Fuzzy Logic can help us to better understand some of the methods that maybe for too long we have lost the habit to use, if not even forgotten, because of the residuals of the positivist scientism.

Brief mathematical introduction

blur2All the elements making up the majority of the categories of everyday life (feelings, emotions, opinions, values, quality, etc.) cannot be defined in a unique or exact way. Let’s try to define an event that causes severe pain: a hammer blow on the finger? The loss of a loved one? Tooth extraction? It is evident that the answer can vary in a very consistent way, based on the subjectivity of the individual, the environment, boundary conditions and the general context. This is because the “Strong Pain” is a fuzzy set (which we will call SP), characterized by a function of “degree of membership” which maps the elements of a universe in a real continuous interval between 0 and 1. In practical terms…

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We need creativity: which one?


A constant demand for creativity is raising from every corner of the Western world, from any business sector or professional activity, by individual or communities. This term is used everywhere, even in advertising to attract the attention of consumers: as a thirsty wanderer lost in the desert sand, the need for creativity seems to be the source of an oasis of salvation.

albaJulien Ries’ anthropological research showed us that, already more than two million years ago, Homo Habilis looks like Symbolicus, with aesthetic sensibility, sense of symmetry and consciousness of creativity. Gilbert Durand confirms that the specific activity of man, the identity card of Homo Sapiens, is the symbolic activity, an essential part of his creativity. Then, man is creative at the moment when his first activates his imaginative feature.

So we can ask ourselves, how did we miss the creativity of man, of which so much we feel the need, or – at least – where is it hiding now? But – above all – which kind of creativity are we talking about?

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Analog thinking: the boldness to be creative


The binary code, although necessary for major social and technological developments, is annihilating the Homo Technologicus, stifling his innate freedom for analog connections.

Rodin1The first widespread use of the binary code was the Morse code alphabet. For decades, this communication system allowed to transmit information over long distances, between ships in the ocean and the mainland, between one continent and another, and today its use is still active in emergency situations. In its disarming simplicity (connect or interrupt two electrical wires), this system proved to be the shortest way to transcribe an alphabet.

Then, the Boolean algebra (binary) represented the language of communication between humans and computers, enabling the translation of instructions and commands towards the processing unit (microprocessor / CPU). This determined the Big Bang of the computers and the technological era…

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The poetic code


As well as the simple reading of a musical score is sufficient to an experienced musician to recognize the most velvety harmonic variations of an orchestral piece, so the apparent coldness of a fragment of program code can stimulate emotions of ecstatic contemplation in the developer.

Don’t be misled by the simplicity of the laconic definition of the code as a sequence of instructions to be given to a computer to solve a specific problem. Generally, a problem has multiple solutions, the most simple and fast to implement, the most economical from the point of view of machine cycles or memory, the elegant solution and the makeshift one.

However, there is always a “poetic” solution, the one that has a particular and unusual beauty and that is always generated by the inexhaustible forge of the human intuition….

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Quantum reflections of a winter evening


A problem of interpretation?

December 14th, 1900 is known as the date of birth of quantum physics. In fact, that day Max Planck presented his report to the German Physical Society in Berlin, in which he argued that the exchange of energy in the phenomena of emission and absorption of electromagnetic radiation occurs in discrete form, not in continuous form as claimed by electromagnetic classic theory.

It was like opening a door to a new universe, that of subatomic particles. In a few decades it was learned that the basis of the strength of the real world around us (people, objects, plants, animals, etc.) is a joyful swarm of tiny particles distributed in clouds of probability, essentially surrounded by empty space. A shocking and apparently incomprehensible reality for the man of the ‘900: how could that still solid rock actually contain billions of microscopic “objects” in motion?

With the passing of the years, the road was covered deeper and deeper, revealing ever smaller particles for which new unknown names were coined: Leptons, Gluons, Quarks, Neutrinos, Fermions, Bosons, and so on until…

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Filling old bottles with new wine


They are filling old bottles with new wine!” This is what the physicist Werner Heisenberg heard exclaiming by his friend and colleague Wolfgang Pauli who, criticizing the approach of the scientists of the time, believed that they had been forcibly glued the notion of “quantum” on the old theory of the planetary-model of Bohr’s atom. Faced with the huge questions introduced by quantum physics, Pauli instead began to observe the new findings from a different point of view, from a new level of reality without the constraints imposed by previous theories.

Newton himself, once he theorized the law of the gravitational field, failing to place it in any of the physical realities of the time, he merely…

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A WordPress Plugin to list posts in complex nested websites


List all posts by Authors, nested Categories and Titles is a WordPress Plugin I wrote to fix a menu issue I had during a complex website development. It has been included in the official WordPress Plugin repository. The Plugin is particularly suitable to all multi-nested categories and multi-authors websites handling a large number of posts and complex nested category layout (i.e.: academic papers, newpapers articles, etc). This plugin allows the user to place a shortcode into any page and get rid of a long and nested menu/submenu to show all site’s posts. A selector in the page will allow the reader to select grouping by Category/Author/Title. You can also manage to install a “tab” plugin (i.e.: Tabby Responsive Tabs) and arrange each group on its specific tab.

Output grouped by Category will look like:

    post1                       AUTHOR
        post2                   AUTHOR
        post3                   AUTHOR
            post4               AUTHOR

while in the “Author” grouping mode, it is:

  post1               [CATEGORY]
  post2               [CATEGORY]

  post1               [CATEGORY]
  post2               [CATEGORY]

The plugin installs a new menu “ACT List Shortcodes” in Admin->Tools. The tool is a helper to automatically generate the required shortcode. It will parse the options and display the string to be copied and pasted into any page.

The Plugin is holding a GPL2 license and it can be downloaded from its page on WP Plugins.



OpenStack: a .deb guy on (the) board


The elections for the new OpenStack board are coming closer
and this time the Open Source community has a great
opportunity of representation: Giuseppe Paternò is standing as a candidate for the board.

Although Giuseppe is considered by HP and Forrester Research
among the top talented consultants in the world,
Gippa (as he’s largely known in the industry) is still “one of us”,
a “nerd” that grew up with a keyboard on his hands.
As he’s one of the candidates of the OpenStack board,
Fabio Marzocca – wishing to know more – has interviewed him.

[FM] The hard question. You’re a techie. Why the hell are you running for the board?

[GP] This is indeed a good question ☺ It all started as a challenge from some clients and friends that are working in the OpenStack project. The truth is that the board and most of the management of the foundation are from vendors. I’m not questioning here if they do a good job or not, it is very likely that they tend to protect their own interests. In my opinion it lacks some “community spirit” that have fostered Linux development such as Debian and Ubuntu. That’s why I’m running for it, to bring the community where it should be.

[FM] Back to Debian and Ubuntu, could you tell us your story with Linux?

[GP] I discovered Linux in 1994, but only in 1996 things were serious. By the time I just finished high school and I applied for a job in a local Internet Service Provider. At 15 years I was well known in the local community as I was installing and maintaining several BBSes, so it wasn’t hard to get the job. I can say it was love at first sight. I started with Slackware (was the first distro), but I moved into redhat first and then debian. When I was working for the IBM Linux Technology Center, I was in charge of helping porting Linux to PowerPC and backporting LVM to make it similar to AIX. Sun was also a good playground as they acquired Cobalt, a hardware appliance based on debian. Then I shifted more towards Enterprise Linux adoption with 6 years in RedHat and then I went to Canonical. I was happy to go back to Debian and Ubuntu community, because I still believe that Ubuntu Developer Summits (UDS) were the real spirit of a Linux community.

[FM] Another hard question. We know you’re somehow involved in the “rebellion” of Devuan.org. What is your opinion about systemd?

[GP] Let me tell you that it’s not totally black/white and let’s see the two sides here. Something like systemd was indeed needed. Each distro has its own way of init’ing the system and for a package maintainer or commercial software maker, maintaining different init behaviour is insane. And as an init replacement it totally makes sense. However, IMHO systemd went too far away, incorporating into its code something that should not happen. A DHCP client into an init system, seriously? I doubt it was in the spirit of the Unix and Linux system…
However, in the real world of “pets vs cattle”, where application matters more than systems, having a systemd as it is, doesn’t change that much.

[FM] OpenStack was incubated in Ubuntu and the roots are quite clear. Is there something else that you would like to see from Debian and Ubuntu in OpenStack?

[GP] Stability, if I can name just one. Currently OpenStack is released every 6 months, which was probably the best choice to speed up the development. However, this is now becoming a weakness, as enterprise customers can’t upgrade their critical infrastructures every 6 months. Traditionally Debian is “maniacally” focused on given a bullet-proof distribution, this is something that in my opinion is missing from OpenStack.

[FM] Gippa, tell us just 2 or 3 topics you will bring to action in case of election

[GP] I’d like to introduce an OpenStack “LTS” process, following the Ubuntu approach: while releasing every 6 months is fair enough for development and testing environments, having a stable release every 2-3 years can give enterprise customers the peace of mind they need while running production environments.
I’d also love to see a consolidation of the core (Nova/Neutron/Cinder/Swift): vendors and developers are introducing new features and projects while I’d love to see –for example- a more stable and scalable Neutron and a more stable connection to Oslo (in particular rabbitmq).
In general, I would encourage more attention to who is actually deploying, integrating and using OpenStack every day. I would also try to foster the ecosystem of ISVs in order to release and certify their software for OpenStack. And – last but not least- to see interoperation between “regional” datacenters: I dream of a world where companies in a given territory can “work together”, and this is only possible through standards. I hope that OpenStack can represent this standard.

[FM] When are the elections and how can we vote?

[GP] Individual Member Director elections for the 2016 Board will be held online from Monday January 11, 2016 to Friday January 15, 2016. More informations on the website.

Enterprise Innovation in a Transformative Society


Recent article by professors Karim Lakhani and Marco Iansiti on the Harvard Business Review, “Digital Ubiquity: How Connection, Sensors and Data are Revolutionizing Business”, gave me the opportunity for interesting insights and considerations.

Digital technology evolution and the development of modern “Internet of Things” devices are introducing huge transformative effects within social inter-relationships and its business models. These effects can not be ignored if we want to perceive – with the right clarity and meaning – the innovation process that inevitably comes with it.

The three fundamental properties of digital technology…

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Pallinux: Olly Olly Oxen Free!


Pallinux: Artwork by Fabio "Pixel" Colinelli

Pallinux: Artwork by Fabio “Pixel” Colinelli

In a world far away, in the dark Land of Digitos only populated by machines and computers, the evil Mister Woo was ruling over all. Over time, this terrible dictator was becoming a horrendous fire-eyed giant, walking the whole day by vibrating the heavy steps into his Kingdom, leaving behind him a trail of smoke and terror. Mr. Woo always wore a long, shabby and dirty top hat that had once been white, so old and ragged that he could not even keep it up straight on his head.

Throughout the Land of Digitos, the inhabitants – computers – were scattered, each…

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