Create a public poll service with eID authentication for Belgians

First appeared in

The eID is not only a small piece of plastic that replaces your old cardboard national ID card, but a means to electronically sign legally binding documents.

The law that enforces the equality betwen the handwrittend and electronic signature passed in 2001. Put aside legal considerations,a poll that collects 20.000+ votes where each voter is legally authentified as a citizen and can be traced by his eID card number has much more impact than a poll of 20.000+ anonymous internet users.

Write a useable FP7 proposal collaboration tool

Appeared originally in

There are already some FP7-related services, two clicks from the google home page, but they are mostly about consulting or badly written tools that none uses anyway.

Companies behind these tools do not provide trial versions nor demo versions, only one has a (really bad) screencast. Technical features are missing from the descriptions. Moreover, they do not respond to inquiries to provide more information on their tools.

A proposal, especially an FP7 proposal has a fairly evolved internal structure. Its TOC does not almost change at the first two levels, and there are a few rules everyone follows, e.g.


  • Consortium members are numbered
  • Each consortium member has a company profile section
  • Work is split into work packages
  • One member is assigned as a work package lead
  • Work packages are split into tasks
  • One or more members are assigned to each task
  • Tasks shall lead to deliverables
  • There are milestones in the project
  • There is a Gantt chart
  • and so on…

Use version control software for lawmaking processes

Originally published in

As usual, the US is ahead of the rest of the world with the initiative that formalizes and makes available in a useful way all existing information pertaining to the country's legal system. It is important to change the lawmaking processes so that they create data in ways that are immediately useful by services like

The pilot project may combine ⅓ of software development and configuration activities with ⅔ of training, support and follow up.

The money is made in long-term projects maintenance and support projects that will be a joy to run once the shift is made.

Target customers: Ministry of Justice, DG Justice, standards bodies, big companies with evolved internal standards and ever failing formal verification and validation procedures run over tens if not hunderds of Microsoft Word documents stores on SharePoint servers.

A case for XTM 3.0

This was written for TMRA'08 together with Rani Pinchuk and Xuân Baldauf.

Improvements to XTM 2.0 are suggested in this paper. First, a set of criteria is defined for evaluating those improvements. It is followed by the suggestions themselves: align element names with the names used in TMDM, reduce the number of elements by introducing mixed content and using attributes whenever it is possible. Finally, some relevant irregularities are discussed.

See the paper in the attachment.


Learning foci for Question Answering over Topic Maps

The paper on Question Answering I have cowritten with Rani Pinchuk and Tiphaine Dalmas for ACL-IJCNLP'09.


This paper introduces the concepts of asking point and expected answer type as variations of the question focus. They are of particular importance for QA over semi-structured data, as represented by Topic Maps, OWL or custom XML formats. We describe an approach to the identification of the question focus from questions asked to a Question Answering system over Topic Maps by extracting the asking point and falling back to the expected answer type when necessary. We use known machine learning techniques for expected answer type extraction and we implement a novel approach to the asking point extraction. We also provide a mathematical model to predict the performance of the system.

See the paper in the attachment.


Occasional XSLT for Experienced Software Developers

FIrst published in 2004 in DevX

Although using XSLT to process XML is increasingly common, most developers still use it only occasionally—and often treat it as just another procedural language. But that's not the best way to use XSLT. Learn how to simplify and improve your XSLT processing using event-driven and declarative techniques.

XML appears in some form in most modern applications—and often needs to be transformed from one form into another: merged, split, massaged, or simply reformatted into HTML. In most cases, it's far more robust and efficient to use XSLT to perform such transformations than to use common programming languages such as Java, VB.NET, or C#. But because XSLT is an add-on rather than a core language, most developers use XSLT only occasionally, and have neither time nor resources to dive into the peculiarities of XSLT development or to explore the paradigms of functional and flow-driven programming that efficient use of XSLT requires.

Such occasional use carries the danger of abusing programming techniques suitable for mainstream languages such as Java, C and Python, but that can lead to disastrous results when applied to XSLT.

However, you can avoid the problems of occasional use by studying a few applications of different well-known programming problems to an XSLT programming task through this set of simple, thoroughly explained exercises.

Buying a computer mouse in Minsk

This was written in 2002 and is not true anymore. The computer market is much more civilized now, after the state legalized it for its own profit.

What can be simpler than that? Drop in a supermarket, choose a model out of half a dozen available and leave with your new mouse, probably not the cheapest one, but of an acceptable price and decent quality.

Now, this is the most probable scenario in Warsaw, Teheran or Manila, but you have to follow a different route in Minsk.

First, you look up on the Internet the prices of local computer firms. There are several sites that list prices from most of the firms but the local star is Prices are listed in one line per item, which is composed of the name of the company, a short description of the item, its shop price, gross price and dealer’s price. While very concise, the list can grow quite big and it actually had ~300 entries for mice and “ other manipulators”, as they say in the computer slang.

Few companies ship to the doors. If you are lucky, your story ends here. However, most of them sell in-place only. Once you have decided to visit them, provide yourself with a map of the town and some patience, as even the big resellers do not show up from the outside of the street. Their offices are always located deep inside the buildings of half-closed research institutes or state companies, among the multitude of small law firms, publishing and printing companies that rent their offices in the same place.

The firm of our choice was located in the building belonging to a transport company. Having wandered a few minutes in the hallways, we found our firm on the 2nd floor, near the lady’s room.


Сэмюел Бекетт. В Ожидании Годо

Translation Alexander Mikhailian
Spellcheck: Tatsiana Klimantovich
Date: 20010910

Примечание переводчика:

Во  время  моей  работы с французской труппой, которая представляла эту
пьесу, выяснилось, что единственный вариант перевода, некогда опубликованный
в журнале "Иностранная Литература", не подходил для подстрочного/синхронного
перевода, так как в нем в значительной мере был  утерян  ритм  оригинального
текста.  В новом переводе особое внимание уделено синхронизации длительности