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author:("sacii, Enrico")
1.  The Human Brain Project and neuromorphic computing  
Functional Neurology  2013;28(3): 191 - 196 .
Understanding how the brain manages billions of processing units connected via kilometers of fibers and trillions of synapses, while consuming a few tens of Watts could provide the key to a completely new category of hardware (neuromorphic computing systems). In order to achieve this, a paradigm shift for computing as a whole is needed, which will see it moving away from current “bit precise” computing models and towards new techniques that exploit the stochastic behavior of simple, reliable, very fast, low-power computing devices embedded in intensely recursive architectures.
In this paper we summarize how these objectives will be pursued in the Human Brain Project.
PMCID: PMC3812737  PMID: 24139655
analog hardware ;  digital hardware ;  high-performance computing ;  neural networks ;  neural models ;  neuromorphic computing
2.  miREE: miRNA recognition elements ensemble 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:454.
Computational methods for microRNA target prediction are a fundamental step to understand the miRNA role in gene regulation, a key process in molecular biology. In this paper we present miREE, a novel microRNA target prediction tool. miREE is an ensemble of two parts entailing complementary but integrated roles in the prediction. The Ab-Initio module leverages upon a genetic algorithmic approach to generate a set of candidate sites on the basis of their microRNA-mRNA duplex stability properties. Then, a Support Vector Machine (SVM) learning module evaluates the impact of microRNA recognition elements on the target gene. As a result the prediction takes into account information regarding both miRNA-target structural stability and accessibility.
The proposed method significantly improves the state-of-the-art prediction tools in terms of accuracy with a better balance between specificity and sensitivity, as demonstrated by the experiments conducted on several large datasets across different species. miREE achieves this result by tackling two of the main challenges of current prediction tools: (1) The reduced number of false positives for the Ab-Initio part thanks to the integration of a machine learning module (2) the specificity of the machine learning part, obtained through an innovative technique for rich and representative negative records generation. The validation was conducted on experimental datasets where the miRNA:mRNA interactions had been obtained through (1) direct validation where even the binding site is provided, or through (2) indirect validation, based on gene expression variations obtained from high-throughput experiments where the specific interaction is not validated in detail and consequently the specific binding site is not provided.
The coupling of two parts: a sensitive Ab-Initio module and a selective machine learning part capable of recognizing the false positives, leads to an improved balance between sensitivity and specificity. miREE obtains a reasonable trade-off between filtering false positives and identifying targets. miREE tool is available online at
PMCID: PMC3265527  PMID: 22115078
3.  TOM: a web-based integrated approach for identification of candidate disease genes 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(Web Server issue):W285-W292.
The massive production of biological data by means of highly parallel devices like microarrays for gene expression has paved the way to new possible approaches in molecular genetics. Among them the possibility of inferring biological answers by querying large amounts of expression data. Based on this principle, we present here TOM, a web-based resource for the efficient extraction of candidate genes for hereditary diseases. The service requires the previous knowledge of at least another gene responsible for the disease and the linkage area, or else of two disease associated genetic intervals. The algorithm uses the information stored in public resources, including mapping, expression and functional databases. Given the queries, TOM will select and list one or more candidate genes. This approach allows the geneticist to bypass the costly and time consuming tracing of genetic markers through entire families and might improve the chance of identifying disease genes, particularly for rare diseases. We present here the tool and the results obtained on known benchmark and on hereditary predisposition to familial thyroid cancer. Our algorithm is available at .
PMCID: PMC1538851  PMID: 16845011

Results 1-3 (3)