by the guest editors Alberto Gotta (ISTI-CNR) and John Mardikis (EPLO - Circular Clima Institute)

Ocean-based industrial development and growth are important to the economic and social development of many countries, and both the EU and the US agree on the urgency of implementing an integrated maritime strategy with the aim of coordinating policies for the different sectors of the sea. The growth of the maritime economy (blue growth) is an opportunity that Europe cannot wait to seize [1] to create new job opportunities, support systemic competitiveness, and strengthen social cohesion. This approach is also fully aligned with the objectives of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in particular, Objective 14 (SDG 14): “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. International strategic documents [1] define the areas of blue growth as: coastal and maritime tourism, blue energy (renewable energy from offshore wind farms, onshore/offshore wave energy, salinity gradient, marine current, ocean thermal energy, biomass), marine environment and coastal strip preservation, abiotic and biotic marine resources, fisheries and blue biotechnologies, shipbuilding and marine robotics, smart ports, sustainable maritime transportation, maritime surveillance and safety, sustainability and economic uses of the sea.

by Emilio Fortunato Campana (DIITET-CNR) and Erina Ferro (ISTI-CNR)

One of the largest shipbuilders in the world, Fincantieri (FC), together with Italy’s largest research institution, the National Research Council (CNR), successfully applied an open innovation model (OIM) to six projects in the maritime sector. The external knowledge of the CNR provided fuel to Fincantieri‘s business model, enabling research and development to be converted into commercial value.

by Leonardo Candela and Pasquale Pagano (ISTI-CNR)  

The Blue-Cloud flagship project of the Directorate-General (DG) for Research and Innovation Unit of the European Commission is establishing a thematic marine cloud serving the blue economy, marine environment and marine knowledge agendas and the European Open Science Cloud. The project links the horizontal e-infrastructures supported by DG CONNECT and DG GROW, long-term marine data initiatives supported by DG MARE, research infrastructures supported by DG for Research and Innovation and other recently funded thematic clouds.

by Yannis Tzitzikas and Yannis Marketakis (FORTH-ICS)

The European project BlueCloud is developing pilot demonstrator applications with the goal of establishing a marine-themed European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) for the blue economy and marine environment. “Fish, a matter of scales” is one of these demonstrators that aims to improve data management and analytical capabilities of fisheries.

by Linwood Pendleton (Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution - Ocean)

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Ocean, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum, is partnering with the Ocean Data Platform to pilot Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions to ocean problems. The Ocean Data Platform (ODP) is a new data infrastructure to pilot and scale data-oriented solutions to help chart a sustainable blue economy.

by Víctor Planas-Bielsa (Centre Scientifique de Monaco and Université Côte d’Azur), Rachid Benchaouir (Coraliotech, Monaco), Denis Allemand (Centre Scientifique de Monaco and Université Côte d’Azur) and Didier Zoccola (Centre Scientifique de Monaco and Université Côte d’Azur)

Climate change affects coral reefs worldwide. To counter the anticipated disappearance of coral reefs by 2100, the World Coral Conservatory was created as a “Noah's Ark” for corals. In addition to providing a living coral repository to protect and restore degraded reefs, the project will offer a global big data structure to supply resources for fundamental research into corals and to assist biotechnology companies in developing promising molecules for human health applications.

by Michele Martelli (Università degli Studi di Genova), Pietro Cassarà (ISTI-CNR), Antonio Virdis and Nicola Tonellotto (UNIPI)

 A distributed computing platform can provide automatic control for maritime services, with likely economic and social benefits. In this context, the nodes involved in the computing tasks are autonomous complex cyber-physical systems, i.e., ships. The platform allows node computing cooperation through a high-level abstraction of the underlying sensor system. The computing tasks are related to the predictive analysis, employing artificial intelligence (AI) techniques based on the federated-learning paradigm.

by Andreas Komninos (Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantos”), Charalampos Kostopoulos (OptionsNet IT Services & Consulting) and John Garofalakis (Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantos”)

Yachting tourism has the potential to drive strong blue growth in hosting countries due to its multiplicative effects in other related service and goods economy sectors. The project “Intelligent ICT Applications for the Management of Marinas and Yachts” is using intelligent approaches to address the unique challenge of providing journey-planning tools to yachters.

by Paschalis Mpeis (University of Cyprus), Jaime Bleye Vicario (Centro Jovellanos, Spain), and Demetrios Zeinalipour-Yazti (University of Cyprus)

A4IoT is an innovative localisation architecture that supports a smart alert system to provide monitoring, navigation and guidance to first responders during fire outbreaks on roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) vessels.

by Sandra König (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology)
Attacks on maritime ports have become more sophisticated since modern ports turned into cyber-physical systems. Simulation models can help with the vital task of detecting such attacks and understanding their impacts.

by Gabriele Pieri (ISTI-CNR)

The NAUTILOS project aims to fill some of the existing gaps in marine observation and modelling by improving the measurement of chemical, biological and deep ocean physics variables. A new generation of cost-effective sensors and samplers is being developed, integrated into observation platforms and deployed in large-scale demonstrations off the coastline of Europe. These will complement and expand existing observation tools and services, allowing researchers to obtain data at a much higher spatial resolution, temporal regularity and length than is currently available at a European scale. It will also facilitate and democratise the monitoring of the marine environment for both traditional and non-traditional data users.

by Riccardo Broglia, Matteo Diez (CNR-INM) and Lorenzo Tamellini (CNR-IMATI)

The design of efficient seagoing vessels is key to a sustainable blue growth. Computer simulations are routinely used to explore different designs, but a reliable analysis must take into account the unavoidable uncertainties that are intrinsic to the maritime environment. We investigated two ways of performing this analysis in an effective, CPU-time parsimonious way.

by Serena Berretta (University of Genova), Daniela Cabiddu (CNR-Imati), Michela Mortara (CNR-Imati) and Michela Spagnuolo (CNR-Imati)

Remote sensing provides almost global spatial coverage, but with limits in resolution and accuracy. Ground stations, conversely, provide very accurate coverage with high temporal resolution, but sparse and pointwise. What’s missing from this picture is accurate local knowledge with a high spatial resolution, making it possible to understand and analyse local phenomena to their full spatial extent. To fill the gap, we propose a paradigm shift in field sampling; environmental surveys that are dramatically cheaper, quicker and easier to perform, and the ability to perform visualisation and analysis tasks as the survey progresses. This is made possible by a real-time adaptive sampling method, embedded within a mobile observation platform. The method continuously guides and refines samples acquisition while in the field, elaborating the variable distribution and its related uncertainty along with the sampling process.

by Fivos Andritsos

The demand for hydrocarbons and other mineral resources worldwide is increasingly met by tapping the vast seabed resources in ever more difficult and risky environments, like the abyssal oceanic depths or the arctic regions. The development of suitable means for safe underwater operations is a fundamental requisite for their sustainable exploitation, in particular on the delicate polar environments or the environmentally and socially stressed east Mediterranean region.

Next issue: April 2021
Special theme:
"Brain-Inspired Computing"
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