Objectives: In recent years, the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong have extended the implementation of 3D electronic models (e-models) into problem-based learning (PBL) of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) curriculum, aiming at mutual enhancement of PBL teaching quality and the students’ skills in using e-models. This study focuses on the effectiveness of e-models serving as a tool to enhance the students’ skills and competences in PBL. Methods: The questionnaire surveys are conducted to measure 50 fourth-year BDS students’ attitude change between beginning and end of blended PBL tutorials. The response rate of this survey is 100%. Results: The results of this study show the students’ agreement on enhancement of their learning experience after e-model implementation and their expectation to have more blended PBL courses in the future. The potential of e-models in cultivating students’ self-learning skills reduces their dependence on others, while improving their communication skills to argue about pros and cons of different treatment options. The students’ independent thinking ability and problem solving skills are promoted by e-model implementation, resulting in better decision making in treatment planning. Conclusion: It is important for future dental education curriculum planning to cope with the students’ needs, and offer support in the form of software, hardware and facilitators’ assistance for better e-model implementation.
An effective emergency response to accidents with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive materials (CBRNE) that represent highly dynamic situations needs immediate actions within limited time, information and resources. The aim of the study is to provide the foundation for division of unsafe area into risk zones according to the impact of hazardous parameters (heat radiation, thermal dose, overpressure, chemical concentrations). A decision on the boundary values for three risk zones is based on the vulnerability analysis that covered a variety of accident scenarios containing the release of a toxic or flammable substance which either evaporates, ignites and/or explodes. Critical values are selected for the boundary definition of the Red, Orange and Yellow risk zones upon the examination of harmful effects that are likely to cause injuries of varying severity to people and different levels of damage to structures. The obtained results provide the basis for creating a comprehensive real-time risk map for a decision support at CBRNE operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in terms of its global reach and economic impacts. Historically, investment in infrastructure development projects has been touted to boost the economic growth of a nation. The State and Local governments responsible for delivering infrastructure assets work under tight budgets. Therefore, it is important to understand which infrastructure projects have the highest potential of boosting economic growth in the post-pandemic era. This paper presents relationships between infrastructure projects and economic growth. Statistical relationships between investment in different types of infrastructure projects (transit, water and wastewater, highways, power, manufacturing etc.) and indicators of economic growth are presented using historic data between 2002 and 2020 from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The outcome of the paper is the comparison of statistical correlations between investment in different types of infrastructure projects and indicators of economic growth. The comparison of the statistical correlations is useful in ranking the types of infrastructure projects based on their ability to influence economic prosperity. Therefore, investment in the infrastructures with the higher rank will have a better chance of boosting the economic growth. Once, the ranks are derived, they can be used by the decision-makers in infrastructure investment related decision-making process.
We present a decision-support tool to assist an operator in the detection and tracking of a suspect vehicle traveling to an unknown target destination. Multiple data sources, such as traffic cameras, traffic information, weather, etc., are integrated and processed in real-time to infer a suspect’s intended destination chosen from a list of pre-determined high-value targets. Previously, we presented our work in the detection and tracking of vehicles using traffic and airborne cameras. Here, we focus on the fusion and processing of that information to predict a suspect’s behavior. The network of cameras is represented by a directional graph, where the edges correspond to direct road connections between the nodes and the edge weights are proportional to the average time it takes to travel from one node to another. For our experiments, we construct our graph based on the greater Los Angeles subset of the Caltrans’s “Performance Measurement System” (PeMS) dataset. We propose a Bayesian approach where a posterior probability for each target is continuously updated based on detections of the suspect in the live video feeds. Additionally, we introduce the concept of ‘soft interventions’, inspired by the field of Causal Inference. Soft interventions are herein defined as interventions that do not immediately interfere with the suspect’s movements; rather, a soft intervention may induce the suspect into making a new decision, ultimately making their intent more transparent. For example, a soft intervention could be temporarily closing a road a few blocks from the suspect’s current location, which may require the suspect to change their current course. The objective of these interventions is to gain the maximum amount of information about the suspect’s intent in the shortest possible time. Our system currently operates in a human-on-the-loop mode where at each step, a set of recommendations are presented to the operator to aid in decision-making. In principle, the system could operate autonomously, only prompting the operator for critical decisions, allowing the system to significantly scale up to larger areas and multiple suspects. Once the intended target is identified with sufficient confidence, the vehicle is reported to the authorities to take further action. Other recommendations include a selection of road closures, i.e., soft interventions, or to continue monitoring. We evaluate the performance of the proposed system using simulated scenarios where the suspect, starting at random locations, takes a noisy shortest path to their intended target. In all scenarios, the suspect’s intended target is unknown to our system. The decision thresholds are selected to maximize the chances of determining the suspect’s intended target in the minimum amount of time and with the smallest number of interventions. We conclude by discussing the limitations of our current approach to motivate a machine learning approach, based on reinforcement learning in order to relax some of the current limiting assumptions.
In this paper, we propose a miniaturized and wideband patch antenna for C-band applications. The antenna miniaturization is obtained by loading shorting vias along one patch edge. At the same time, the wideband performance is achieved by combining two resonances using one feed line. The measured results reveal that the antenna covers the frequency band 4.32 GHz to 6.52 GHz (41%) with a peak gain and a peak efficiency of 5.5 dBi and 87%, respectively. The antenna occupies a relatively small size of only 26 x 22 x 5.6 mm3, making it suitable for compact wireless devices requiring a stable unidirectional gain over a wide frequency range.
Innovation is the key element of economic development and a key factor in social processes. Technical innovations can be identified as prerequisites and causes of social change and cannot be created without the renewal of society. The study of social innovation can be characterised as one of the significant research areas of our day. The study’s aim is to identify the process of social innovation, which can be defined by input, transformation, and output factors. This approach divides the social innovation process into three parts: situation analysis, implementation, follow-up. The methods associated with each stage of the process are illustrated by the chronological line of social innovation. In this study, we have sought to present methodologies that support long- and short-term decision-making that is easy to apply, have different complementary content, and are well visualised for different user groups. When applying the methods, the reference objects are different: county, district, settlement, specific organisation. The solution proposed by the study supports the development of a methodological combination adapted to different situations. Having reviewed metric and conceptualisation issues, we wanted to develop a methodological combination along with a change management logic suitable for structured support to the generation of social innovation in the case of a locality or a specific organisation. In addition to a theoretical summary, in the second part of the study, we want to give a non-exhaustive picture of the two counties located in the north-eastern part of Hungary through specific analyses and case descriptions.
The agriculture industry is especially vulnerable to forecasted water shortages. In the fresh and fresh-cut produce sector, conventional flume-based washing with recirculation exhibits high water demand. This leads to a large water footprint and possible cross-contamination of pathogens. These can be alleviated through advanced water reuse processes, such as membrane technologies including reverse osmosis (RO). Water reuse technologies effectively remove dissolved constituents but can easily foul without pre-treatment. Biological treatment is effective for the removal of organic compounds responsible for fouling, but not at the low temperatures encountered at most produce processing facilities. This study showed that the Microvi MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology effectively removes organic compounds (> 80%) at low temperatures (6-8 °C) from wash water. The MNE technology uses synthetic microorganism-material composites with negligible solids production, making it advantageously situated as an effective bio-pretreatment for RO. A preliminary technoeconomic analysis showed 60-80% savings in operation and maintenance costs (OPEX) when using the Microvi MNE technology for organics removal. This study and the accompanying economic analysis indicated that the proposed technology process will substantially reduce the cost barrier for adopting water reuse practices, thereby contributing to increased food safety and furthering sustainable water reuse processes across the agricultural industry.
Based on a convenience sample of 2,092 participants from across all 50 states of the United States, a survey was conducted to explore Americans’ mask-wearing behaviors during COVID-19 according to their political convictions, religious beliefs, and ethnic cultures from late July to early September, 2020. The purpose of the study is to provide evidential support for government policymaking so as to drive up more effective public policies by taking into consideration the variance in these social factors. It was found that the respondents’ party affiliation or preference, religious belief, and ethnicity, in addition to their health condition, gender, level of concern of contracting COVID-19, all affected their mask-wearing habits both in March, the initial coronavirus outbreak stage, and in August, when mask-wearing had been made mandatory by state governments. The study concludes that pandemic awareness campaigns must be run among all citizens, especially among African Americans, Muslims, and Republicans, who have the lowest rates of wearing masks, in order to protect themselves and others. It is recommended that complementary cognitive bias awareness programs should be implemented in non-Black and non-Muslim communities to eliminate social concerns that deter them from wearing masks.
Sophisticated numerical simulations like finite element analysis (FEA) involve a complicated process from model setup to post-processing tasks that require replication of time-consuming steps. Utilizing FEA automation program simplifies the complexity of the involved steps while minimizing human errors in analysis set up, calculations, and results processing. One of the main challenges in designing FEA automation programs is to identify user requirements and link them to possible design alternatives. This paper presents a decision-making framework to design a Python based FEA automation program for modal analysis, frequency response analysis, and random vibration fatigue (RVF) analysis procedures. Analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) are applied to evaluate design alternatives considering the feedback received from experts and program users.
The requirement for maintaining data integrity in laboratory operations is critical for regulatory compliance. Automation of procedures reduces incidence of human errors. Quality control laboratories located in low-income economies may face some barriers in attempts to automate their processes. Since data from quality control tests on pharmaceutical products are used in making regulatory decisions, it is important that laboratory reports are accurate and reliable. Zinc Sulphate (ZnSO4) tablets is used in treatment of diarrhea in pediatric population, and as an adjunct therapy for COVID-19 regimen. Unfortunately, zinc content in these formulations is determined titrimetrically; a manual analytical procedure. The assay for ZnSO4 tablets involves time-consuming steps that contain mathematical formulae prone to calculation errors. To achieve consistency, save costs, and improve data integrity, validated spreadsheets were developed to simplify the two critical steps in the analysis of ZnSO4 tablets: standardization of 0.1M Sodium Edetate (EDTA) solution, and the complexometric titration assay procedure. The assay method in the United States Pharmacopoeia was used to create a process flow for ZnSO4 tablets. For each step in the process, different formulae were input into two spreadsheets to automate calculations. Further checks were created within the automated system to ensure validity of replicate analysis in titrimetric procedures. Validations were conducted using five data sets of manually computed assay results. The acceptance criteria set for the protocol were met. Significant p-values (p < 0.05, α = 0.05, at 95% Confidence Interval) were obtained from students’ t-test evaluation of the mean values for manual-calculated and spreadsheet results at all levels of the analysis flow. Right-first-time analysis and principles of data integrity were enhanced by use of the validated spreadsheet calculators in titrimetric evaluations of ZnSO4 tablets. Human errors were minimized in calculations when procedures were automated in quality control laboratories. The assay procedure for the formulation was achieved in a time-efficient manner with greater level of accuracy. This project is expected to promote cost savings for laboratory business models.
Detecting subjectively biased statements is a vital task. This is because this kind of bias, when present in the text or other forms of information dissemination media such as news, social media, scientific texts, and encyclopedias, can weaken trust in the information and stir conflicts amongst consumers. Subjective bias detection is also critical for many Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks like sentiment analysis, opinion identification, and bias neutralization. Having a system that can adequately detect subjectivity in text will boost research in the above-mentioned areas significantly. It can also come in handy for platforms like Wikipedia, where the use of neutral language is of importance. The goal of this work is to identify the subjectively biased language in text on a sentence level. With machine learning, we can solve complex AI problems, making it a good fit for the problem of subjective bias detection. A key step in this approach is to train a classifier based on BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) as upstream model. BERT by itself can be used as a classifier; however, in this study, we use BERT as data preprocessor as well as an embedding generator for a Bi-LSTM (Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory) network incorporated with attention mechanism. This approach produces a deeper and better classifier. We evaluate the effectiveness of our model using the Wiki Neutrality Corpus (WNC), which was compiled from Wikipedia edits that removed various biased instances from sentences as a benchmark dataset, with which we also compare our model to existing approaches. Experimental analysis indicates an improved performance, as our model achieved state-of-the-art accuracy in detecting subjective bias. This study focuses on the English language, but the model can be fine-tuned to accommodate other languages.
Shared governance is an important element in higher education decision making. Through the joint decision making process, faculty members are provided an opportunity to help shape the future of an institution while increasing support for decisions that are made. Presidents, those leaders who are legally bound to guide their institutions, must find ways to collaborate effectively with faculty members in making decisions, and the first step in this process is understanding when and how presidents and faculty leaders interact. In the current study, a national sample of college presidents reported their preparation for the presidency, their perceptions of the functions of a faculty senate, and ultimately, the locations for important interactions between presidents and faculty senates. Results indicated that presidents, regardless of their preparation, found official functions to be the most important for communicating, although, those presidents with academic backgrounds were more likely to perceive faculty senates as having a role in all aspects of an institutions management.
More and more youth are doubtful of making a satisfactory labour market transition because of the present global economic instability and this is more so in Africa of the Sahara and metropolis like Douala. We use the explanatory sequential mixed method: in the first phase we randomly administered 610 questionnaires in the Douala metropolis respecting the population size of each division and its gender composition. We constructed the questionnaire using the desired values for living a comfortable life in Douala. In the second phase, we purposefully selected and interviewed 50 poor youth in order to explain in detail the initial quantitative results. We obtain the following result: The modal income class is 24,000-74,000 frs Central Africa Franc (CFA) and about 67% of the youth of the Douala metropolis earn below 75,000 frs CFA. They earn only 31.02% of the total income. About 85.7% earn below 126,000 frs CFA and about 92.14% earn below 177,000 frs CFA. The poverty-line is estimated at 177,000 frs CFA per month based on the desired predominant values in Douala and only about 9% of youth earn this sum, therefore, 91% of the youth are poor. We discovered that the salary a youth earns influences his level of poverty. Low income earners eat once or twice per day, rent low-standard houses of below 20,000 frs, are dependent and possess very limited durable goods, consult traditional doctors when they are sick, sleep and gamble during their leisure time. Intermediate income earners feed themselves either twice or thrice per day, eat healthy meals weekly, possess more durable goods, are independent, gamble and drink during their leisure time. High income earners feed themselves at least thrice per day, eat healthy food daily, inhabit high quality and expensive houses, are more stable by living longer in their neighbourhoods, like travelling and drinking during their leisure time. Unsalaried youth, are students, housewives or unemployed youth, they eat four times per day, take healthy meals daily, weekly, fortnightly or occasionally, are dependent or homeless depending on whether they are students or unemployed youth. The situation of the youth can be ameliorated through investing in the productive sector and promoting entrepreneurship as well as formalizing the informal sector.
This paper examines the relationship between on-board environmental factors and customer overall satisfaction in the context of the cruise on-board experience. The on-board environmental factors considered are ambient, layout/design, social, product/service and on-board enjoyment factors. The study presents a data-driven framework and model for the on-board cruise experience. The data are collected from 893 respondents in an application of a self-administered online questionnaire of their cruise experience. This study reveals the cruise passengers’ on-board experience through the customer decision journey based on the publicly available data. Pearson correlation and regression analysis have been applied, and the results show a positive and a significant relationship between the environmental factors and on-board experience. These data help understand the cruise passengers’ on-board experience, which will be used for the ultimate decision-making process in cruise ship design.
Due to the advantage of using the Internet, cybercriminals can reach target(s) without border controls. Prior research on criminology and crime science has largely been void of empirical studies on journey-to-cybercrime and crime opportunity. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand more about cyber offender spatial decision making associated with crime opportunity factors (i.e., co-offending, offender-stranger). Data utilized in this study were derived from 306 U.S. Federal court cases of cybercrime. The findings of this study indicated that there was a positive relationship between co-offending and journey-to-cybercrime, whereas there was no link between offender-stranger and journey-to-cybercrime. Also, the results showed that there was no relationship between cybercriminal sex, age, and journey-to-cybercrime. The policy implications and limitations of this study are discussed.
Road safety performance index is a composite index which combines various indicators of road safety into single number. Development of a road safety performance index using appropriate safety performance indicators is essential to enhance road safety. However, a road safety performance index in developing countries has not been given as much priority as needed. The primary objective of this research is to develop a general Road Safety Performance Index (RSPI) for developing countries based on the facility as well as behavior of road user. The secondary objectives include finding the critical inputs in the RSPI and finding the better method of making the index. In this study, the RSPI is developed by selecting four main safety performance indicators i.e., protective system (seat belt, helmet etc.), road (road width, signalized intersections, number of lanes, speed limit), number of pedestrians, and number of vehicles. Data on these four safety performance indicators were collected using observation survey on a 20 km road section of the National Highway N-125 road Taxila, Pakistan. For the development of this composite index, two methods are used: a) Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and b) Equal Weighting (EW) method. PCA is used for extraction, weighting, and linear aggregation of indicators to obtain a single value. An individual index score was calculated for each road section by multiplication of weights and standardized values of each safety performance indicator. However, Simple Average technique was used for weighting and linear aggregation of indicators to develop a RSPI. The road sections are ranked according to RSPI scores using both methods. The two weighting methods are compared, and the PCA method is found to be much more reliable than the Simple Average Technique.
There has been a recent rise in ‘audience-centric’ and immersive storytelling. This indicates audiences are gaining interest in experiencing real adventure with everything that encompasses the struggle, the new friendships, skill development, and growth. This paper examines two themed alternate reality games created by a group of students at the University of Southern California as an experiment in how to design an adventure and to evaluate its impact on participants. The experiences combined immersive improvisational theatre and live-action roleplaying to create socially aware experiences within the timespan of four hours, using Harry Potter and mythology as themes. In each experiment, over 500 players simultaneously embarked on quests -a series of challenges including puzzle-solving, scavenger-hunting, and character interactions- to join a narrative faction. While playing, the participants were asked to choose faction alignments based on the characters they interacted with, as well as their own backgrounds and moral values. During the narrative finale, the impact of their individual choices on the larger story and game were revealed. After the conclusion of each experience, participants filled out questionnaires and were interviewed. Through this, it was discovered that participants developed transferable problem-solving, team-work, and persuasion skills. They also learned about the theme of the experience and reflected on their own moral values and judgment-making abilities after they realized the consequences of their actions in the game-world, inspiring some participants to make changes outside of it. This reveals that alternative reality games can lead to socialization, educational development, and real-world change in a variety of contexts when implemented correctly. This experiment has begun to discover the value of alternate reality games in a real-world context and to develop a reproducible format to continue to create such an impact.
Additive manufacturing processes have changed significantly in a wide range of industries and their application progressed from rapid prototyping to production of end-use products. However, their environmental impact is still a rather open question. In order to support the growth of this technology in the industrial sector, environmental aspects should be considered and predictive models may help monitor and reduce the environmental footprint of the processes. This work presents predictive models based on a previously developed methodology for the environmental impact evaluation combined with a technical and economical assessment. Here we applied the methodology to the Fused Deposition Modeling process. First, we present the predictive models relative to different types of machines. Then, we present a decision-making tool designed to identify the optimum manufacturing strategy regarding technical, economic, and environmental criteria.
The article presents an ongoing work in research projects such as SCAN4RECO or ARCH, both funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020 program. The former one concerns multimodal and multispectral scanning of Cultural Heritage assets for their digitization and conservation via spatiotemporal reconstruction and 3D printing, while the latter one aims to better preserve areas of cultural heritage from hazards and risks. It co-creates tools that would help pilot cities to save cultural heritage from the effects of climate change. It develops a disaster risk management framework for assessing and improving the resilience of historic areas to climate change and natural hazards. Tools and methodologies are designed for local authorities and practitioners, urban population, as well as national and international expert communities, aiding authorities in knowledge-aware decision making. In this article we focus on 3D modelling of object geometry using primarily photogrammetric methods to achieve very high model accuracy using consumer types of devices, attractive both to professions and hobbyists alike.