Visit to Georgia, talking on eGovernment reform and interoperability

At the end of November 2013 I visited Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, invited by the Ministry of Justice to talk on Government Interoperability issues at the National ICT conference.  

GITI 2013  (Georgian ICT Development and Cyber Security Event) was held in Sheraton Hotel in Tbilisi, gathering a nice mix of local officials, ICT companies and international eGov experts. My presention was about interoperability issues in Governments, especially prescribing the strategy and contents for a National Interoperability Framework in Georgia. You can see my presentation here.

Georgia is a country with a rich history and tradition, located between Caucasus moutain and the black sea.

Two parts of the country (see map), namely South Ossetia and Abkhazia,  are under Russian control, since the latest military disputes in 1991 and 2008.

One can still see reminiscents of the 2008 bombings of military bases, in the mountains outside Tbilisi.

File:Tbilisi sunset-6.jpg
Tbilisi at sunset

Outside Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Mtskheta

During my stay I also had the chance to meet and collaborate with the Greek Embassy (very energetic) commercial attache, who had the courtesy to introduce me to some representatives of the local business community. 

Then, with my local taxi driver (who had previously spent a couple of years in Greece and could speek Greek quite well) we managed to visit some places in Tbilisi and the old capital outside Tbilisi. 

The Georgian National Museum is certainly a place to get the key facts about the country's history.  Among other exhibitions, the museum also hosts the Museum of Soviet Occupation, providing facts for the sometimes extremely harsh period between 1921 and 1991.

Mtskheta, the old capital, viewed from the monastery of the Cross

Mtskheta, te capital of the country until 17th century,  is a well preserved and partially restored old city dating several centuries ago, located a few miles to the north of Tbilisi.  the most important place to see is the UNESCO-accredited complex of the old city and the prestigious cathedral, dating back to 13th century.

Changing the way policies are designed, decided and enforced…

an interview with NOMAD Coordinator Prof. Yannis Charalabidis

Yannis Charalabidis is Ass. Professor in the University of the Aegean, in the area
of eGovernance Information Systems, coordinating policy making, research and pilot
application projects for governments and enterprises worldwide. A computer
engineer with a PhD in complex information systems, he has been employed for
several years as an executive director in Singular IT Group, leading software
development and company expansion in Europe, India and the US. He writes and
teaches on Government Service Systems, Enterprise Interoperability, Government
Transformation and Citizen Participation.

Could you please tell
us a few words about the FP 7 subject area of the Nomad Project?

NOMAD is a research project under
the area of “ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling”, which addresses the
challenges of empowerment of citizens and increase transparency through the
utilization of ICT tools to support decision-making. The key research question
of this theme, paving the wave to Digital Science, is how ICT can transform
governance and policy making combining crowdsourcing techniques with data
mining functionalities and advanced methods of modeling and simulation, with
the objective of achieving open and collaborative governance.

What is the 2013 Samos

The project has recently co-organized the fourth “Samos 2013 Summit onDigital Innovation for Government, Business and Society”, which was held in the
island of Samos in Greece, on July 1 – 5, 2013. 
During the Summit, in which more than 100 high caliber research,
administrations and enterprises experts from 20 countries have participated,
new actions and guidelines for ICT in the context of the Digital Agenda and the
new Framework Programme HORIZON 2020 were presented. In addition, more than 15
international research projects, among them NOMAD, showcased their proposals
and shared ideas for new online services and tools for policy-making and

NOMAD had also the chance to exchange ideas with younger members of the
research community, the students of the 1st International Summer School on Open
and Collaborative Governance held in conjunction with the Samos 2013 Summit, to
whom project tutorials were provided.

Can you please
describe Nomad in a few and simple words?

The project aims to
introduce into the policy-making process an array of new techniques and
opportunities emerging through the massive use of the social web. Therefore, it
will deliver to decision-makers a comprehensive environment for content search,
acquisition, classification and visualization that will enable them understand
citizens’ opinion, arguments and needs as expressed in Web 2.0 and affect their
policy-making agenda. NOMAD’s vision can be summarized in “changing
the way policies are designed, decided and enforced”.
To achieve this, NOMAD
develops an innovative toolset employing techniques on data and opinion mining and the AI/ philosophy concerning the
conceptual representation of policies
and the argumentation theories.

Why is such a project
interesting for the Aegean University?

AEGEAN University is a
research organization with high expertise in Policy Modeling, Data Mining,
Evaluation Models and in general in the ICT-enabled governance area. Therefore,

in accumulating and expanding the knowledge that will stem from the project
through academic work and as well, disseminating NOMAD results in the
scientific community


Are there many RTD
projects around use of social media in policy-making, what is the specificity
of Nomad?

There are some other projects that exploit the power of Social Media in
the policy-making arena, for example PADGETS, WeGov, +Spaces, FUPOL etc.
However, what differentiates NOMAD from is what is called “non-moderated
crowdsourcing”, meaning that it searches on the Web places where users have
been expressed without any stimulation and collects massive amounts of data. In
addition content retrieved is correlated with specific components of policy
proposal as depicted in the policy model that the NOMAD user authors.

What do you consider
as a break-through innovation in the development of the project so far?

NOMAD, has so far released the
first prototypes of the innovative tools that are going to be integrated in the
final platform, among them the Model Authoring tool, for creating policy models
in an easy and intuitive way, a technique for processing and annotation of
arguments expressed in Social Web.

Who do you think the
end users will be?

Two policy institutions and
one NGO are already involved as end users in the pilot applications of NOMAD,
i.e. the Greek Parliament, the Austrian Parliament and the European Academy of
Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EACCI). Apart from policy makers and policy
advisors, which consist the core target group of NOMAD, a plenty of groups have
been identified as potential users that can benefit from the usage of the NOMAD
tools, such as journalists, researchers, business analysts, representatives of
NGOs, federations and associations. However, NOMAD will be an easy to use
system, available for every citizen who is interested in searching and analyzing
the Social Web against a specific topic.

The link between new
technologies and freedom of expression are important avenues for promoting
democracy. Are there risks on the right to freely express one-self emanating
from such a project?

NOMAD and other relevant
projects, processing content expressed freely on Web do it in and aggregated
way and preserve users’ anonymity, so that they comply on privacy
specifications laid down by the competent authorities. As soon as the identity
of sources of content is hidden, there is no risk on biasing freedom of

Read the full NOMAD Newsletter here:

Napoleon Tic Tac Toe: A new mobile and web based board game

Tic-tac-toe (or Noughts and crosses, Xs and Os) is a paper-and-pencil game for two players, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The player who succeeds in placing three respective marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game.  An early variant of Tic-tac-toe was played in the Roman Empire, around the first century BC. It was called Terni Lapilli and instead of having any number of pieces, each player only had three, thus they had to move them around to empty spaces to keep playing. The game's grid markings have been found chalked all over Rome. Other sources state that tic-tac-toe could originate back to ancient Egypt. During the years, the original 3X3 tic-tac-toe evolved into more complex and challenging variations, such as Gomoku and Renju.

A renju board

Gomoku is a more complicated version of tic-tac-toe: also called Gobang or Five in a Row, it is traditionally played with Go pieces (black and white stones) on a go board with 19x19 intersections; however, because once placed, pieces are not moved or removed from the board, gomoku may also be played as a paper and pencil game. This game is known in several countries under different names. Black plays first, and players alternate in placing a stone of their color on an empty intersection. The winner is the first player to get an unbroken row of five stones horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  

Renju is the professional variant of Gomoku, a strategy board game originating in Japan from the Heian period. It was named Renju by Japanese journalist Ruikou Kuroiwa on December 6, 1899 in a Japanese newspaper Yorozu chouhou. The game is played with black and white stones on a 15×15 gridded Go board. Renju eliminates the "Perfect Win" situation in Gomoku by adding special conditions for the first player - it is actually a Gomoku with extra regulations and winning conditions / apart from just making five-in-a-row.

The Napoleon Tic-Tac-Toe game

This year, a team and company of friends in Greece, designed and launced the Napoleon Tic-Tac-Toe game.  Napoleon can be seen as a Gomoku enhancement with a simple rule: the game does not end when a player makes 5-in-a-row but continues until the board is covered, scoring several points for 3-in-a-row, 4-in-a-row, 5-in-a-row and so on.  This way, the winner is the one with the most points.  Then, the game can be played in 9x9, 19X19 or other dimensions of boards, resulting in infinite complexity variations.

I first played this "n-tic-tac-toe" variation with paper and pencil, several years ago and realised the intellectual challenge that it poses, turning an "instant kill" game like Gomoku into a game of "deeper strategy", especially in larger boards.  So, I enjoyed playing the electronic, well-designed, version for web browsers and mobile phones.  If one tries the professional 19X19 version against the computer, she will realise that Napoleon can be very demanding and fun.

You can play the Napoleon game for free at:  

Visit to STFC and Oxford University in UK

It was a nice week, at the beginning of October 2013, invested in visiting Oxford area and London UK.  It started by a two day working meeting of the ENGAGE open data project, in beautiful and very quiet Abington in Oxfordshire.  The ENGAGE project aims at developing a scond-generation open data portal, focusing at multilinguality, metadata interoperability, social network and reputation management, as well as new processes for supporting open data and linked data needs declaration. 

STFC facilities at RAL

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (in short STFC) is one of Europe’s largest multidisciplinary research organisations, with more than 1500 staff, 900 PhD researchers and thousands of scientists and engineers. STFC was formed in April 2007, following a merger between the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Centre (PPARC) and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC).  Highights at STFC in Oxfordshire certainly are the particle physics and laser laboratories, at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory RAL, a place that is worth to try visiting when in the area.

A view of the campus at Oxford

Then, I spent a couple of days in Oxford University, visiting several colleges, the library and the Department of Computer Science. Oxford University is a very nice place to be, as it is more of "a city around a university than a a university within a city".  Houses, restaurants and other public places look like filling in the gaps among university buildings and estates.  Some facts that helped me understand the importance of persistence in education excellence, as perceived by students, faculty and supporters, are:

  • There are 38 colleges in Oxford, the first of them founded as early as the 13th century. There are over 22,000 students at Oxford, including 11,832 undergraduates and 9,857 postgraduates studying in more than 70 departments and faculties.   More than that, every year there are more than 15,000 enrolments on courses offered by the Department for Continuing Education, making Oxford University one of the largest providers of continuing education in the UK. 

  • Oxford is very competitive: over 17,200 people applied for around 3,500 undergraduate places for entry in 2012.  That means that only one out of five applicants gets a position at Oxford (the highest rate in UK), which of course can became more difficult in some of the colleges.

  • The Bodleian Library, the University’s main research library, dates from 1602 and is globally acknowledged to be one of the greatest libraries in the world. Its priceless collections include the papers of seven British Prime Ministers; a Gutenberg Bible; the earliest surviving book written wholly in English; a quarter of the world’s original copies of the Magna Carta; and almost 10,000 western medieval and renaissance manuscripts.  In my visit, I had the chance to see original manuscripts of alchemists, such as the famous George Ripley scrolls.

I also had the chance to visit the Computer Science Department, where friend Professor Jim Davies kindly hosted me - discussing current teaching and research activities, comparing practices between projects and loboratories, and laying out some new, visionary ideas for the future. 

With Prof. Jim Davies, at Oxford Computer Science department

The Fender line in a Denmark Street store

After Oxfordshire, London during the weekend seemed a very busy place to be.  Thanks to some friends though, staying there for a couple of days was fun. Among things to remember was a visit to Denmark street, London's music market - where you get the chance to see and, carefully, put your hands on some very special vintage guitars.  Although I did not manage to find a quite rare set of strings for my electroacoustic (3 nylon and 3 wound strings - but not classical), walking, seeing, testing guitars and amps was real fun. Finally I got myself a book for song-writting, and some rare books on indian scales and guitar styles.

The only other area that was really new for me in London was Canary Wharf, the area in East London by Thames River that used to be the Docklands, and now is the heart of financial and other similar services provision in UK. Unfortunately, no green land and quiet places there (as opposed to Oxfordshire): just asphalt, paved roads, cement only - extremely clean though. 

View of the Canary Wharf skyline (360 degrees)

PADGETS project newsletter - June 2013



The objective of PADGETS is to implement a prototype service for
policy makers that utilizes social media technologies and techniques to
boost public engagement, enable cross-platform publishing, content
tracking and provide decision support. Through the PADGETS platform,
policy makers are capable of disseminating their policy messages through
multiple social media simultaneously, using a single integrated
interface. They are able to reach large user groups in these platforms
and collect their feedback, by keeping track of and analysing users’
reactions to the policy message.

A video
presenting PADGETS platform is now available online.


Pilot experimentations
of the PADGETS concepts and operations have been carried out in Italy,
Slovenia and Greece. Each piloting action has been constructed around a
specific topic of primary interest for end users and decision makers. The
scope of the pilots is to evaluate the concept of Policy Gadget (Padget)
as innovative tool for leveraging the group knowledge produced over
Social Media platforms inside policy making processes. An overview of the
pilots per country is presented as follows:

PADGETS Pilot in
Italy, with the support of the Piedmont Region

The pilot is focused
on allowing local administration policy makers to gather and analyse
citizens’ responses to the planned regional implementation of
telemedicine in Piedmont Region.

PADGETS Pilot in
Slovenia, with the support of the Centre for eGovernance Development

Pilot campaigns run in
Slovenia and are focused on: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Media
Freedom, Corruption, Cooperative Society, Tax Fraud, European year of
Citizens and Tender Puch Europe Publishment. PADGETS is used by the
Slovenian Members of the European Parliament to publish information
related to the above campaigns and track citizens’ opinions.

PADGETS Pilot in

Three Pilot campaigns
run in Greece:

A PADGETS campaign concerning policies to
exploit Wind Power as an alternative and renewable energy source;

A PADGETS campaign concerning the
Financial Crisis in the Southern European Countries. The “South In Talk”
campaign is organized in cooperation with policy makers and institutions
from other Southern European Countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal);

A PADGETS campaign concerning Women
Entrepreneurship. The scope is to come up with a proposition on how the
EU directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive
directors of companies should be implemented in Greece.


PADGETS Platform
and Tools available

PADGETS policy making
and modelling platform is available and is accessible here! The platform
empowers policy makers to initiate a policy campaign and disseminate
their policy messages through multiple social media simultaneously by
only using a single integrated interface.

are now available in PADGETS website.

For evaluating PADGETS Application take the survey! It only
takes a few minutes.


PADGETS in the
top-10 Policy Making 2.0 applications worldwide

The PADGETS project
was nominated among the 10 best Policy - Making 2.0 applications, in the
international competition organised by the CROSSOVER project and
presented at the International Conference on
Policy Making 2.0
in Dublin, June 17 and 18, 2013.

The competition targeted policy-making 2.0 applications making the best
use of technology to improve the design, delivery and evaluation of
Government policy, with a focus on implementation that can show a real
impact on policy making, either in terms of better policy or wider

The policy-making 2.0 technologies showcased by the competing
applications included:

Open and big data

Visual analytics

Modelling and simulation

Collaborative governance and crowdsourcing

Serious gaming

Opinion mining

PADGETS combines
social networking interoperability, social media analytics, opinion
minining and simulation techniques, to enable policy makers in managing
on-line campaigns towards reaching justified decisions. Cizens
participate in various modes and forms with the assistance of web based
and mobile applications, that support several types of behaviour.


PADGETS at a new
book on electronic participation and urban crowdsourcing.

A new book on
goverance innovation has been announced by IGI Global, edited by Carlos
Nunes Silva, from University of Lisbon. The book will be made available
in June 2013.
E-Participation in Urban Governance Crowdsourcing and Collaborative
Creativity "
 explores the nature of the new
challenges confronting citizens and local governments in the field of
urban governance.

This comprehensive reference source explores the role that Web 2.0
technologies play in promoting citizen participation and empowerment in
the city government and is intended for scholars, researchers, students,
and practitioners in the field of urban studies, urban planning,
political science, public administration. Topics covered by the various
sections include crowdsourcing, e-democracy, e-participation, geographic
information management, open source in urban governance and more.

In this book Enrico Ferro and Michele Osella (Istituto Superiore Mario
Boella), Euripidis Loukis and Yannis Charalabidis (University of the
Aegean), have contributed the chapter on social media policy making,
consolidating and reflecting upon the project experiences in Italy:
“Policy Gadgets for
Urban Governance in the Era of Social Computing: An Italian Pilot on

The book is to be made available by IGI and global electronic retailers
in June 2013.

For more information click here!


 Enrico Ferro, Euripidis Loukis, Yannis
Charalabidis, Michele Osella, “Policy Making 2.0: From Theory to
Practice”, Government Information Quarterly

 Enrico Ferro, Euripidis Loukis, Yannis
Charalabidis, Michele Osella, “Evaluating Complex Forms of Social Media
Use in Government”, 19th Americas Conference on Information Systems –
Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 2013



Samos 2013
Summit on Digital Innovation for Government, Business and Society, Samos,
Greece, July 1-5, 2013

The 4th Samos Summit
on Digital Innovation for Government, Business and Society will be held
in Samos, Greece on July 1 – 5, 2013 and is co-organised by the University of Aegean,
the Greek Interoperability Centre
of the National Technical University of Athens, the ENGAGE
eInfrastructures project on Open Data, the NOMAD and PADGETS projects
on Social Media policy making (co-funded by the European Commission).It
offers an unprecedented opportunity to see, interact with and influence
cutting-edge European ICT research projects and initiatives. Attended by
high caliber experts from research, administrations and enterprises, the
Samos 2013 Summit focuses on the newest developments of Information and
Communication Technologies and innovative applications in the context of
the public and private sector.

Main topics of the Samos 2013 Summit include:

 Policy modeling

 Collaborative Governance

 Collective awareness platforms

 Big, Open and Linked Data

 Complex societal problem solving

 Digital enterprise and Factory of the

 Digital youth entrepreneurship

 Horizon 2020 programme

This year, Samos
Summit will also include the 1st International Summer
School on Open and Collaborative Governance
which offers the
possibility to younger members of the research community to enjoy
tutorials, project workshops and experts panels on how ICT transforms
governance and policy making.

For more information click here!


PADGETS has participated
in many events, workshops and conferences and made presentations
(including conferences presentations, demonstrations etc.) during the
last months of the project lifetime. An indicative list of these can be
found below:

 Conference, Centre for
eGovernance Development
, Bled, Slovenia, March 29-30, 2012

Workshop “Decision Support Systems for
Policy Makers”, Torino, Italy, April 12, 2012

 SMAU BUSINESS ROMA : Smau Roma 2012
Mobile App Camp, Rome, Italy, April 21, 2012

 Social Media Week Panel,
, Torino, Italy, September 28, 2012

 Conference PA 140
organized by the Piedmont Regional Council (centered on new forms of
Government 2.0 enabled by the systematic exploitation of Social Media),
Torino, Italy March 7, 2013

 Conference: FP7 Egovernance and policy
Modeling projects, Sheffield, UK, January 27, 2012

 Samos 2012 Summit
on “Open Data and Interoperability for Governance, Industry and Society”,
Samos, Greece, July 2-6, 2012

 Workshop: policy making 2.0, Sheffield,
UK, April 1, 2012

 Workshop: Digital Literacy, skills and
inclusion, Seville, Spain, May 3, 2012

 Workshop: Digital Literacy, skills and
inclusion, Seville, Spain, September 6, 2012

 Workshop: Digital Literacy, skills and
inclusion, Granada, Spain, May 29, 2013

 Transforming Government Workshop 2013
(tGov2013), London, UK, April 22-23, 2013

 Project presentation during Net-Eucen
workshop on sustainable urban mobility, Rome, Italy, April 24, 2012

 Project presentation within Enel (
internal tutorial on Social Media Marketing, Cagliari, Florence and Rome
(Italy), April 17, 19 and 20, 2012

 Project presentation at IT-SA exhibition,
Nuremberg, Germany, December 16-18, 2012

 Project presentation at Faculty of Social
Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, March 29, 2013


2012 Participants, outside Karlovassi Town Hall.


Netter (UREG) at IT-SA Exhibition


Netter, M. , Riesner, M. , Weber, M.
Pernul, G. (2013),
Settings in Online Social Networks-Preferences, Perception, and
, Proc of the 46th
Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS), Maui, Hawaii,

Riesner, M. , Netter, M. Pernul, G.
Settings for Social Identity Management on Social Networking Sites:
Classification, Current State, and Proposed Developments"
, Information Security Technical Report ,
17, 4, Elsevier

Netter, M. , Hassan, S. Pernul, G., "An Autonomous Social Web Privacy
Infrastructure with Context-Aware Access Control"
, 9th International Conference on Trust,
Privacy & Security in Digital Business (TrustBus 2012), Vienna,
Austria, 4-6 Sept. 2012

Riesner, M. , Netter, M. Pernul, G., "An Analysis of Implemented and
Desirable Settings for Identity Management on Social Networking
, 7th
International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security (ARES
2012), University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic, August 20th -
24th, 2012

Netter, M. (2012), "Conceptualizing Transparency on
Online Social Networks"
, Tiny Transactions on Computer Science (TinyToCS) , 1

Netter, M. , Herbst, S. Pernul, G. (2013),
Impact Analysis of Privacy in Social Networks"
, Altshuler, Y., Elovici, Y., Cremers, A.,
Aharony, N. Pentland, A. (eds.) Security and Privacy in Social Networks,

Loukis, E., Charalabidis, Y.,
Diamantopoulou, V. (2012),
“Different Digital Moderated and non-Moderated Mechanisms
for Public Participation”
, European Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems
(EMCIS) 2012, 7-8 June 2012, Munich, Germany

Charalabidis, Y., Loukis, E.,
Androutsopoulou, A. (2012),
“A System Dynamics Approach for Complex Government Policy
Design - Application in ICT Diffusion”
, 9th International Conference on Modeling, Simulation and
Visualization Methods (MSV'12), July 16-19, 2012, USA

Charalabidis, Y., Loukis, E. (2012), “Participative Public Policy Making
Through Multiple Social Media Platforms Utilization”
, International Journal of Electronic Government
Research (SCOPUS), Vol. 8, No 3, pp. 78-97

Charalabidis, Y., Loukis, E. (2012), “Towards New Web 2.0 Based Multi-Channel
Approaches to e-Participation”
, Yogesh Dwivedi (Ed) ‘Transformational Government through
eGov: Socio-economic, Cultural, and Technological issues’, Emerald

Charalabidis, Y., Kleinfeld, R., Loukis,
E. (2012),
“Towards a
Rationalisation of Social Media Exploitation in Government Policy-Making
, European Journal
of ePractice (sponsored by the European Commission), Nº 16, June/July
2012, pp. 77-93

To download the
publications click here!


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Newsletter | Project co-funded by the European Commission under the FP7