Another year just started, and this is as good a time as any to line up a few wishes. Not a bucket list, nor a "will do" set of destined-to-fail propositions. It is painful to have to reckon with the failure of our strength of will, so I'd say it is better to avoid that. Rather, it is a good exercise to put together a list of things that we would like to happen, and over which we have little or no control: it is much safer as we won't feel guilty if these wishes do not come true. 
Last year I tried this exercise and out of five desirable events, only one materialized; three more went south, and the last one is still undefined (but technically, it did not happen in 2022, so it adds to the former three). One out of five is a rather lame result, but I do not complain too much. If you are curious about what those objectives were, here they are, in random order: winning a EU grant; making the final step in my career level; becoming the president of an international organization; winning an Italian grant; and getting a project accepted by a computer science organization.

I must say that the one wish that did materialize is probably the one I feel the most proud about. Indeed, I wrote elsewhere about USERN, the Universal Scientific Education and Research Network, which I have been leading since last November. That means a much busier agenda for me in the next few years, but also a lot of chances to have an impact for the free dissemination of science and for the inclusion of researchers from all over the world in collaborative scientific work. To know more about USERN, please visit its web site here. And register if you share its values - it's free!

So, what about 2023? I have a few things in mind. Here they are - as usual, I spill my guts in this blog, shamelessly and unconcerned of potential backfiring of my innate lack of circumspection.

1) Win an EU grant to fund the many activities of MODE. The MODE collaboration, which I founded and direct since 2020, has the ambitious and long-term goal of demonstrating the feasibility, and making the infrastructure available, for the end-to-end optimization of the design of scientific experiments that involve the interaction of radiation with matter as their data-generating mechanism. This loose definition includes most of fundamental physics, and indeed MODE activities are of interest to astrophysicists, neutrino physicists, nuclear physicists, and industrial endeavours alike (e.g. those using cosmic rays for tomography applications). Last year we submitted a very high-profile proposal, but it was not successful. We will certainly try again in 2023, hopefully with more luck!

2) Start a collaboration with Lulea Technical University, on neuromorphic AI optimization. This is a project that aims at developing structures that perform information processing much like our brain does, achieving an energy-efficient way of doing deep learning. There is a lot to learn there and I am a novice, but I do have some good ideas and indeed I am planning to spend a few months in Lulea already this coming Spring. 

3) Increase the visibility and the action of USERN, in the capacity of president. Of course I am committed to this task, as I was happy and honoured to accept the results of the election we held last November. But this is also listed here as a wish, as success depends on the collaborative work of the many members and advisors of which USERN is rich, more than the actions of its president alone.

4) Hire two joint Ph.D. students who will do research between Padova and Lulea (the first, on the topic mentioned at point 2 above) and between Padova and Kaiserslautern (the second). In both cases, these will be two research plans at the crossroads of physics and computer science - in the first case with Prof. Fredrik Sandin and Prof. Marcus Liwicki, and in the second case with Prof. Nicolas Gauger. I do hope we will be able to hire two bright and enthusiastic students, as the topics deserve dedication and wits! By the way, if you are reading this and you are close to finishing your Master in Physics, Computer Science, or related fields, please watch this spot - we will announce the positions in March.

So that's it - of course there is a lot more that is happening in 2023, but the ones above are things I have only limited control over. I do hope I will manage to strike at least three of them!