Containers

The latest software concept to allow modularity and scalability is containers a la Docker. If you couple these with blockchain access, you have a pretty secure environment for doing what you need to do: transactions, exchanging messages, etc. One ecosystem trying to get into this market is Monax.io. I have an interesting upgrade on this concept and will work on a prototype together with a couple of old friends based in Pisa. MVP by this Summer.

Materials Science

All tech troubles for innovative nuclear come from current materials not being good enough to sustain requirements aka bear expectations. Is there a way to accelerate material science research then? Recent computation advancements really can’t help? While browsing the Angel.co database, this Exabyte.io emerged as a materials discovery cloud. Will their approach do the trick? My opinion is that you need to know where you wish to find novelty from local domain applications first, it would be a shot in the dark otherwise: applied research vs blue-sky research.

Angel.co

I am trying to get involved with some startup for r&d in Angel.co and browsed the site in the weekend. It is still good value but a lot of recent dross makes it almost unrecognisable and substantially flooded. It is not a signal of quality or global reach any more being there, just another web place to spam from anywhere. That said, surfing was fun because I got some trends, so thank you and see you again in a few months.

Nuclear turmoil

Eventful March 2017 in the US nuclear industry: -1- PWR NuScale SMR is now officially under review for license by the NRC; -2- X-Energy Xe-100 HTGR moves to conceptual design phase; -3- mPower Consortium halted its project for an integral SMR PWR because lacking traction. These add to -4- the much-hyped startup Transatomic backtracking on its key promises last month and -5- Westinghouse being in trouble because of its parent Toshiba financial issues. Wow! Who says nuclear is boring over there?

SolidWorks

Will go to MECSPE Parma on Saturday and I am having a look at the nearly 2000 exhibitors websites for introductory e-mails about r&d external collaboration, where opportune. Apart of industrial buildings, very often paraded with pride, one useful piece of info is that many shops in the mechanical field use Dassault SolidWorks as a 3D software package for their duties. It is quite expensive to sustain a single-seat license without a stream of work, but the freeware FreeCAD is not ready at commercial level yet.

Blockchain for IoT

The most comprehensive resource I found about blockchain for industrial IoT is a late 2016 paper by Bahga and Madisetti, which implements an Ethereum application for the supply chain in the manufacturing field on top of a cloud-based model. The problem here is adoption, with big corps like IBM working on their own version. This solution may well stay on paper and die, but they are funded by unis so ok. On the other hand, for indie devs the point is in getting paid some gas / cryptocurrency fraction for providing the apps and then get real money for it. While b2b is going towards private networks of ledgers, b2c may be more open, a la bitcoin, and I want to do something here.

Keras 2

Can you treat deep learning as a blackbox? It is not advisable but perfectly doable if you use Keras 2, released three days ago and now better integrated with Google TensorFlow (other than the much simpler Theano). How to have it then? Install Anaconda using this tutorial and you are off to go, Anaconda is the reference package to many Windows users and me. What to do with deep learning in the industrial or IoT field? Told you that already and more to come, ehehe.

Startup laws

Going to a seminar at Polo Tecnologico about startup laws in Italy for 2017 this afternoon, for DronesBench. Basically, it is a set of concessions the fiscal regulator makes to startups in order to favour their growth for three to five years after incorporation: less taxes, credits for services, easier path to regulate affairs. Italy is full of these for new business entities, the package for tech and r&d startups is a more tailored dress that may really help proper r&d ideas flourish.

Not from Italy

It is a long shot for small nuclear services firms from Italy to work in the nuclear field abroad. The market is illiquid, very few and big projects for which consortia is the only way. Building relationships is much tougher than business though, it is geopolitics and also corporate or academic interests at play. Venture capital is not financing these and banks do not lend to such firms. The only way to grow is own r&d and conventional business in the mechanical industry.

Ethereum

Many thanks to the IT insider I have in Pisa! He introduced the blockchain tech to me and the Ethereum API for development  https://www.ethereum.org , being Ethereum the tool of choice for big b2b firms worldwide. I am going to have a look at two or three possible cases in the industrial fields I follow and start development on Monday. Target: an MVP to sell as soon as possible, with 10% of  the proceedings going to the insider above.