International Science Index

Dental Students’ Attitude towards Problem-Based Learning before and after Implementing 3D Electronic Dental Models

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.

Paper Detail
Impact of Climate Change on Sea Level Rise along the Coastline of Mumbai City, India

Sea-level rise being one of the most important impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change resulting from global warming and melting of icebergs at Arctic and Antarctic, the investigations done by various researchers both on Indian Coast and elsewhere during the last decade has been reviewed in this paper. The paper aims to ascertain the propensity of consistency of different suggested methods to predict the near-accurate future sea level rise along the coast of Mumbai. Case studies at East Coast, Southern Tip and West and South West coast of India have been reviewed. Coastal Vulnerability Index of several important international places has been compared, which matched with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasts. The application of Geographic Information System mapping, use of remote sensing technology, both Multi Spectral Scanner and Thematic Mapping data from Landsat classified through Iterative Self-Organizing Data Analysis Technique for arriving at high, moderate and low Coastal Vulnerability Index at various important coastal cities have been observed. Instead of data driven, hindcast based forecast for Significant Wave Height, additional impact of sea level rise has been suggested. Efficacy and limitations of numerical methods vis-à-vis Artificial Neural Network has been assessed, importance of Root Mean Square error on numerical results is mentioned. Comparing between various computerized methods on forecast results obtained from MIKE 21 has been opined to be more reliable than Delft 3D model.

Loss Function Optimization for CNN-Based Fingerprint Anti-Spoofing

As biometric systems become widely deployed, the security of identification systems can be easily attacked by various spoof materials. This paper contributes to finding a reliable and practical anti-spoofing method using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) based on the types of loss functions and optimizers. The types of CNNs used in this paper include AlexNet, VGGNet, and ResNet. By using various loss functions including Cross-Entropy, Center Loss, Cosine Proximity, and Hinge Loss, and various loss optimizers which include Adam, SGD, RMSProp, Adadelta, Adagrad, and Nadam, we obtained significant performance changes. We realize that choosing the correct loss function for each model is crucial since different loss functions lead to different errors on the same evaluation. By using a subset of the Livdet 2017 database, we validate our approach to compare the generalization power. It is important to note that we use a subset of LiveDet and the database is the same across all training and testing for each model. This way, we can compare the performance, in terms of generalization, for the unseen data across all different models. The best CNN (AlexNet) with the appropriate loss function and optimizers result in more than 3% of performance gain over the other CNN models with the default loss function and optimizer. In addition to the highest generalization performance, this paper also contains the models with high accuracy associated with parameters and mean average error rates to find the model that consumes the least memory and computation time for training and testing. Although AlexNet has less complexity over other CNN models, it is proven to be very efficient. For practical anti-spoofing systems, the deployed version should use a small amount of memory and should run very fast with high anti-spoofing performance. For our deployed version on smartphones, additional processing steps, such as quantization and pruning algorithms, have been applied in our final model.

Generative Adversarial Network Based Fingerprint Anti-Spoofing Limitations

Fingerprint Anti-Spoofing approaches have been actively developed and applied in real-world applications. One of the main problems for Fingerprint Anti-Spoofing is not robust to unseen samples, especially in real-world scenarios. A possible solution will be to generate artificial, but realistic fingerprint samples and use them for training in order to achieve good generalization. This paper contains experimental and comparative results with currently popular GAN based methods and uses realistic synthesis of fingerprints in training in order to increase the performance. Among various GAN models, the most popular StyleGAN is used for the experiments. The CNN models were first trained with the dataset that did not contain generated fake images and the accuracy along with the mean average error rate were recorded. Then, the fake generated images (fake images of live fingerprints and fake images of spoof fingerprints) were each combined with the original images (real images of live fingerprints and real images of spoof fingerprints), and various CNN models were trained. The best performances for each CNN model, trained with the dataset of generated fake images and each time the accuracy and the mean average error rate, were recorded. We observe that current GAN based approaches need significant improvements for the Anti-Spoofing performance, although the overall quality of the synthesized fingerprints seems to be reasonable. We include the analysis of this performance degradation, especially with a small number of samples. In addition, we suggest several approaches towards improved generalization with a small number of samples, by focusing on what GAN based approaches should learn and should not learn.

Two-Dimensional Modeling of Seasonal Freeze and Thaw in an Idealized River Bank
Freeze and thaw occurs seasonally in river banks in northern countries. Little is known on how the riverbank soil temperature responds to air temperature changes and how freeze and thaw develops in a river bank seasonally. This study presents a two-dimensional heat conduction model for numerical investigations of seasonal freeze and thaw processes in an idealized river bank. The model uses the finite difference method and it is convenient for applications. The model is validated with an analytical solution and a field case with soil temperature distributions. It is then applied to the idealized river bank in terms of partially and fully saturated conditions with or without ice cover influence. Simulated results illustrate the response processes of the river bank to seasonal air temperature variations. It promotes the understanding of freeze and thaw processes in river banks and prepares for further investigation of frost and thaw impacts on riverbank stability.
Implementation of Cloud Customer Relationship Management in Banking Sector: Strategies, Benefits and Challenges
The cloud customer relationship management (CRM) has emerged as an innovative tool to augment the customer satisfaction and performance of banking systems. Cloud CRM allows to collect, analyze and utilize customer-associated information and update the systems, thereby offer superior customer service. Cloud technologies have invaluable potential to ensure innovative customer experiences, successful collaboration, enhanced speed to marketplace and IT effectiveness. As such, many leading banks have been attracted towards adoption of such innovative and customer-driver solutions to revolutionize their existing business models. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are already implemented or in the process of implementation of cloud CRM. However, many organizations are still reluctant to take such initiative due to the lack of information on the factors influencing its implementation. This paper, therefore, aims to delve into the strategies, benefits and challenges intertwined in the implementation of Cloud CRM in banking sector and provide reliable solutions.
Numerical Modelling of Dust Propagation in the Atmosphere of Tbilisi City in Case of Western Background Light Air

Tbilisi, a large city of the South Caucasus, is a junction point connecting Asia and Europe, Russia and republics of the Asia Minor. Over the last years, its atmosphere has been experienced an increasing anthropogenic load. Numerical modeling method is used for study of Tbilisi atmospheric air pollution. By means of 3D non-linear non-steady numerical model a peculiarity of city atmosphere pollution is investigated during background western light air. Dust concentration spatial and time changes are determined. There are identified the zones of high, average and less pollution, dust accumulation areas, transfer directions etc. By numerical modeling, there is shown that the process of air pollution by the dust proceeds in four stages, and they depend on the intensity of motor traffic, the micro-relief of the city, and the location of city mains. In the interval of time 06:00-09:00 the intensive growth, 09:00-15:00 a constancy or weak decrease, 18:00-21:00 an increase, and from 21:00 to 06:00 a reduction of the dust concentrations take place. The highly polluted areas are located in the vicinity of the city center and at some peripherical territories of the city, where the maximum dust concentration at 9PM is equal to 2 maximum allowable concentrations. The similar investigations conducted in case of various meteorological situations will enable us to compile the map of background urban pollution and to elaborate practical measures for ambient air protection.

Operational Challenges of Marine Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Structures Coupled with Piezoelectric Transducers

Composite structures become intriguing for the design of aerospace, automotive and marine applications due to weight reduction, corrosion resistance and radar signature reduction demands and requirements. Studies on piezoelectric ceramic transducers (PZT) for diagnostics and health monitoring have gained attention for their sensing capabilities, however PZT structures are prone to fail in case of heavy operational loads. In this paper, we develop a piezo-based Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) composite finite element (FE) model, validate with experimental setup, and identify the applicability and limitations of PZTs for a marine application. A case study is conducted to assess the piezo-based sensing capabilities in a representative marine composite structure. A FE model of the composite structure combined with PZT patches is developed, afterwards the response and functionality are investigated according to the sea conditions. Results of this study clearly indicate the blockers and critical aspects towards industrialization and wide-range use of PZTs for marine composite applications.

Real-Time Land Use and Land Information System in Homagama Divisional Secretariat Division

Lands are valuable & limited resource which constantly changes with the growth of the population. An efficient and good land management system is essential to avoid conflicts associated with lands. This paper aims to design the prototype model of a Mobile GIS Land use and Land Information System in real-time. Homagama Divisional Secretariat Division situated in the western province of Sri Lanka was selected as the study area. The prototype model was developed after reviewing related literature. The methodology was consisted of designing and modeling the prototype model into an application running on a mobile platform. The system architecture mainly consists of a Google mapping app for real-time updates with firebase support tools. Thereby, the method of implementation consists of front-end and back-end components. Software tools used in designing applications are Android Studio with JAVA based on GeoJSON File structure. Android Studio with JAVA in GeoJSON File Synchronize to Firebase was found to be the perfect mobile solution for continuously updating Land use and Land Information System (LIS) in real-time in the present scenario. The mobile-based land use and LIS developed in this study are multiple user applications catering to different hierarchy levels such as basic users, supervisory managers, and database administrators. The benefits of this mobile mapping application will help public sector field officers with non-GIS expertise to overcome the land use planning challenges with land use updated in real-time.

Solid State Drive End to End Reliability Prediction, Characterization and Control

A flaw or drift from expected operational performance in one component (NAND, PMIC, controller, DRAM, etc.) may affect the reliability of the entire Solid State Drive (SSD) system. Therefore, it is important to ensure the required quality of each individual component through qualification testing specified using standards or user requirements. Qualification testing is time-consuming and comes at a substantial cost for product manufacturers. A highly technical team, from all the eminent stakeholders is embarking on reliability prediction from beginning of new product development, identify critical to reliability parameters, perform full-blown characterization to embed margin into product reliability and establish control to ensure the product reliability is sustainable in the mass production. The paper will discuss a comprehensive development framework, comprehending SSD end to end from design to assembly, in-line inspection, in-line testing and will be able to predict and to validate the product reliability at the early stage of new product development. During the design stage, the SSD will go through intense reliability margin investigation with focus on assembly process attributes, process equipment control, in-process metrology and also comprehending forward looking product roadmap. Once these pillars are completed, the next step is to perform process characterization and build up reliability prediction modeling. Next, for the design validation process, the reliability prediction specifically solder joint simulator will be established. The SSD will be stratified into Non-Operating and Operating tests with focus on solder joint reliability and connectivity/component latent failures by prevention through design intervention and containment through Temperature Cycle Test (TCT). Some of the SSDs will be subjected to the physical solder joint analysis called Dye and Pry (DP) and Cross Section analysis. The result will be feedbacked to the simulation team for any corrective actions required to further improve the design. Once the SSD is validated and is proven working, it will be subjected to implementation of the monitor phase whereby Design for Assembly (DFA) rules will be updated. At this stage, the design change, process and equipment parameters are in control. Predictable product reliability at early product development will enable on-time sample qualification delivery to customer and will optimize product development validation, effective development resource and will avoid forced late investment to bandage the end-of-life product failures. Understanding the critical to reliability parameters earlier will allow focus on increasing the product margin that will increase customer confidence to product reliability.

Chemistry and Biological Activity of Feed Additive for Poultry Farming

Essential oils are one of the most important groups of biologically active substances present in plants. Due to the chemical diversity of components, essential oils and their preparations have a wide spectrum of pharmacological action. They have bactericidal, antiviral, fungicidal, antiprotozoal, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, sedative and other activities. They are expectorant, spasmolytic, sedative, hypotensive, secretion enhancing, antioxidant remedies. Based on preliminary pharmacological studies, we have developed a formulation called “Phytobiotic” containing essential oils, a feed additive for poultry as an alternative to antibiotics. Phytobiotic is a water-soluble powder containing a composition of essential oils of thyme, clary, monarda and auxiliary substances: dry extract of liquorice and inhalation lactose. On this stage of research, the goal was to study the chemical composition of provided phytobiotic, identify the main substances and determine their quantity, investigate the biological activity of phytobiotic through in vitro and in vivo studies. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, 38 components were identified in phytobiotic, representing acyclic-, monocyclic-, bicyclic-, and sesquiterpenes. Together with identification of main active substances, their quantitative content was determined, including acyclic terpene alcohol β-linalool, acyclic terpene ketone linalyl acetate, monocyclic terpenes: D-limonene and γ-terpinene, monocyclic aromatic terpene thymol. Provided phytobiotic has pronounced and at the same time broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. In the cell model, phytobiotic showed weak antioxidant activity, and it was stronger in the ORAC (chemical model) tests. Meanwhile anti-inflammatory activity was also observed. When fowls were supplied feed enriched with phytobiotic, it was observed that gained weight of the chickens in the experimental group exceeded the same data for the control group during the entire period of the experiment. The survival rate of broilers in the experimental group during the growth period was 98% compared to -94% in the control group. As a result of conducted researches probable four different mechanisms which are important for the action of phytobiotics were identified: sensory, metabolic, antioxidant and antibacterial action. General toxic, possible local irritant and allergenic effects of phytobiotic were also investigated. Performed assays proved that formulation is safe.

Evaluating the Feasibility of Magnetic Induction to Cross an Air-Water Boundary
A magnetic induction based underwater communication link is evaluated using an analytical model and a custom Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) simulation tool. The analytical model is based on the Sommerfeld integral, and a full-wave simulation tool evaluates Maxwell’s equations using the FDTD method in cylindrical coordinates. The analytical model and FDTD simulation tool are then compared and used to predict the system performance for various transmitter depths and optimum frequencies of operation. To this end, the system bandwidth, signal to noise ratio, and the magnitude of the induced voltage are used to estimate the expected channel capacity. The models show that in seawater, a relatively low-power and small coils may be capable of obtaining a throughput of 40 to 300 kbps, for the case where a transmitter is at depths of 1 to 3 m and a receiver is at a height of 1 m.
Experimental Study on the Variation of Young's Modulus of Hollow Clay Brick Obtained from Static and Dynamic Tests

In parallel with the appearance of new materials, brick masonry had and still has an essential part of the construction market today, with new technical challenges in designing bricks to meet additional requirements. Being used in structural applications, predicting the performance of clay brick masonry allows a significant cost reduction, in terms of practical experimentation. The behavior of masonry walls depends on the behavior of their elementary components, such as bricks, joints, and coatings. Therefore, it is necessary to consider it at different scales (from the scale of the intrinsic material to the real scale of the wall) and then to develop appropriate models, using numerical simulations. The work presented in this paper focuses on the mechanical characterization of the terracotta material at ambient temperature. As a result, the static Young’s modulus obtained from the flexural test shows different values in comparison with the compression test, as well as with the dynamic Young’s modulus obtained from the Impulse excitation of vibration test. Moreover, the Young's modulus varies according to the direction in which samples are extracted, where the values in the extrusion direction diverge from the ones in the orthogonal directions. Based on these results, hollow bricks can be considered as transversely isotropic bimodulus material.

Early Depression Detection for Young Adults with a Psychiatric and AI Interdisciplinary Multimodal Framework

During COVID-19, the depression rate has increased dramatically. Young adults are most vulnerable to the mental health effects of the pandemic. Lower-income families have a higher ratio to be diagnosed with depression than the general population, but less access to clinics. This research aims to achieve early depression detection at low cost, large scale, and high accuracy with an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating clinical practices defined by American Psychiatric Association (APA) as well as multimodal AI framework. The proposed approach detected the nine depression symptoms with Natural Language Processing sentiment analysis and a symptom-based Lexicon uniquely designed for young adults. The experiments were conducted on the multimedia survey results from adolescents and young adults and unbiased Twitter communications. The result was further aggregated with the facial emotional cues analyzed by the Convolutional Neural Network on the multimedia survey videos. Five experiments each conducted on 10k data entries reached consistent results with an average accuracy of 88.31%, higher than the existing natural language analysis models. This approach can reach 300+ million daily active Twitter users and is highly accessible by low-income populations to promote early depression detection to raise awareness in adolescents and young adults and reveal complementary cues to assist clinical depression diagnosis.

Towards End-To-End Disease Prediction from Raw Metagenomic Data
Analysis of the human microbiome using metagenomic sequencing data has demonstrated high ability in discriminating various human diseases. Raw metagenomic sequencing data require multiple complex and computationally heavy bioinformatics steps prior to data analysis. Such data contain millions of short sequences read from the fragmented DNA sequences and stored as fastq files. Conventional processing pipelines consist in multiple steps including quality control, filtering, alignment of sequences against genomic catalogs (genes, species, taxonomic levels, functional pathways, etc.). These pipelines are complex to use, time consuming and rely on a large number of parameters that often provide variability and impact the estimation of the microbiome elements. Training Deep Neural Networks directly from raw sequencing data is a promising approach to bypass some of the challenges associated with mainstream bioinformatics pipelines. Most of these methods use the concept of word and sentence embeddings that create a meaningful and numerical representation of DNA sequences, while extracting features and reducing the dimensionality of the data. In this paper we present an end-to-end approach that classifies patients into disease groups directly from raw metagenomic reads: metagenome2vec. This approach is composed of four steps (i) generating a vocabulary of k-mers and learning their numerical embeddings; (ii) learning DNA sequence (read) embeddings; (iii) identifying the genome from which the sequence is most likely to come and (iv) training a multiple instance learning classifier which predicts the phenotype based on the vector representation of the raw data. An attention mechanism is applied in the network so that the model can be interpreted, assigning a weight to the influence of the prediction for each genome. Using two public real-life data-sets as well a simulated one, we demonstrated that this original approach reaches high performance, comparable with the state-of-the-art methods applied directly on processed data though mainstream bioinformatics workflows. These results are encouraging for this proof of concept work. We believe that with further dedication, the DNN models have the potential to surpass mainstream bioinformatics workflows in disease classification tasks.
Platform-as-a-Service Sticky Policies for Privacy Classification in the Cloud
In this paper, we present a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model for controlling the privacy enforcement mechanisms applied on user data when stored and processed in Cloud data centers. The proposed architecture consists of establishing user configurable ‘sticky’ policies on the Graphical User Interface (GUI) data-bound components during the application development phase to specify the details of privacy enforcement on the contents of these components. Various privacy classification classes on the data components are formally defined to give the user full control on the degree and scope of privacy enforcement including the type of execution containers to process the data in the Cloud. This not only enhances the privacy-awareness of the developed Cloud services, but also results in major savings in performance and energy efficiency due to the fact that the privacy mechanisms are solely applied on sensitive data units and not on all the user content. The proposed design is implemented in a real PaaS cloud computing environment on the Microsoft Azure platform.
A Mixed-Methods Approach to Developing and Evaluating an SME Business Support Model for Innovation in Rural England

Cumbria is a geo-political county in Northwest England within which the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site is located. Whilst the area has a formidable reputation for natural beauty and historic assets, the innovation ecosystem is described as ‘patchy’ for a number of reasons. The county is one of the largest in England by area and is sparsely populated. This paper describes the needs, development and delivery of an SME business-support programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria. The Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP) Project has been designed to respond to the nuanced needs of SMEs in this locale, whilst promoting the adoption of research and innovation. CUSP utilizes a funnel method to support rural businesses with access to university innovation intervention. CUSP has been built on a three-tier model: Communicate, Collaborate and Create. The paper describes this project in detail and presents results in terms of output indicators achieved, a beneficiary telephone survey and wider economic forecasts. From a pragmatic point-of-view, the paper provides experiences and reflections of those people who are delivering and evaluating knowledge exchange. The authors discuss some of the benefits, challenges and implications for both policy makers and practitioners. Finally, the paper aims to serve as an invitation to others who may consider adopting a similar method of university-industry collaboration in their own region.

The Influence of Job Recognition and Job Motivation on Organizational Commitment in Public Sector: The Mediation Role of Employee Engagement
It is an established fact that organizations across the globe consider employees as their assets and try to advance their well-being. However, the local firms of developing countries are mostly profit oriented and do not have much concern about their employees’ engagement or commitment. Like other developing countries, the local organizations of Pakistan are also less concerned about the well-being of their employees. Especially public sector organizations lack concern regarding engagement, satisfaction or commitment of the employees. Therefore, this study aimed at investigating the impact of job recognition and job motivation on organizational commitment in the mediation role of employee engagement. The data were collected from land record officers of board of revenue, Punjab, Pakistan. Structured questionnaire was used to collect data through physically visiting land record officers and also through the internet. A total of 318 land record officers’ responses were finalized to perform data analysis. The data were analyzed through confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling technique. The findings revealed that job recognition and job motivation have direct as well as indirect positive and significant impact on organizational commitment. The limitations, practical implications and future research indications are also explained.
Geometric Contrast of a 3D Model Obtained by Means of Digital Photogrametry with a Quasimetric Camera on UAV Classical Methods

Nowadays, the use of drones has been extended to practically any human activity. One of the main applications is focused on the surveying field. In this regard, software programs that process the images captured by the sensor from the drone in an almost automatic way have been developed and commercialized, but they only allow contrasting the results through control points. This work proposes the contrast of a 3D model obtained from a flight developed by a drone and a non-metric camera (due to its low cost), with a second model that is obtained by means of the historically-endorsed classical methods. In addition to this, the contrast is developed over a certain territory with a significant unevenness, so as to test the model generated with photogrammetry, and considering that photogrammetry with drones finds more difficulties in terms of accuracy in this kind of situations. Distances, heights, surfaces and volumes are measured on the basis of the 3D models generated, and the results are contrasted. The differences are about 0.2% for the measurement of distances and heights, 0.3% for surfaces and 0.6% when measuring volumes. Although they are not important, they do not meet the order of magnitude that is presented by salespeople.

Role of Social Capital on Consumer Attitudes, Peer Influence and Behavioral Intentions: A Social Media Perspective
The study aims to explore the unaddressed relationship between social capital and consumers’ underlying behavioral intentions. The study postulates that this association is mediated by the role of attitudes and peer influence. The research attains evidence from a usable sample of 673 responses. The majority consists of the young and energetic social media users of Pakistan that utilize virtual communities as a way of life. A variance based structural equation modeling has been applied through SmartPLS 3. The results reveal that social capital exerts a statistically supportive association with both attitudes and peer influence. Contrastingly, this predictor variable shows an insignificant linkage with behavioral intentions but this relationship is fully mediated by consumer attitudes and peer influence. The paper enhances marketing literature with respect to an unexplored society of Pakistan. It also provides a lens for the contemporary advertisers, in terms of supporting their social media campaigns with affiliative and cohesive elements. The study also identifies a series of predictor variables that could further be tested with attitudes, subjective norms and behavioral responses.
Performance Prediction Methodology of Slow Aging Assets

Asset management of urban infrastructures faces a multitude of challenges that need to be overcome to obtain a reliable measurement of performances. Predicting the performance of slowly aging systems is one of those challenges, which helps the asset manager to investigate specific failure modes and to undertake the appropriate maintenance and rehabilitation interventions to avoid catastrophic failures as well as to optimize the maintenance costs. This article presents a methodology for modeling the deterioration of slowly degrading assets based on an operating history. It consists of extracting degradation profiles by grouping together assets that exhibit similar degradation sequences using an unsupervised classification technique derived from artificial intelligence. The obtained clusters are used to build the performance prediction models. This methodology is applied to a sample of a stormwater drainage culvert dataset.

Radioactivity Assessment of Sediments in Negombo Lagoon Sri Lanka

The distributions of naturally occurring and anthropogenic radioactive materials were determined in surface sediments taken at 27 different locations along the bank of Negombo Lagoon in Sri Lanka. Hydrographic parameters of lagoon water and the grain size analyses of the sediment samples were also carried out for this study. The conductivity of the adjacent water was varied from 13.6 mS/cm to 55.4 mS/cm near to the southern end and the northern end of the lagoon, respectively, and equally salinity levels varied from 7.2 psu to 32.1 psu. The average pH in the water was 7.6 and average water temperature was 28.7 °C. The grain size analysis emphasized the mass fractions of the samples as sand (60.9%), fine sand (30.6%) and fine silt+clay (1.3%) in the sampling locations. The surface sediment samples of wet weight, 1 kg each from upper 5-10 cm layer, were oven dried at 105 °C for 24 hours to get a constant weight, homogenized and sieved through a 2 mm sieve (IAEA technical series no. 295). The radioactivity concentrations were determined using gamma spectrometry technique. Ultra Low Background Broad Energy High Purity Ge Detector, BEGe (Model BE5030, Canberra) was used for radioactivity measurement with Canberra Industries' Laboratory Source-less Calibration Software (LabSOCS) mathematical efficiency calibration approach and Geometry composer software. The mean activity concentration was found to be 24 ± 4, 67 ± 9, 181 ± 10, 59 ± 8, 3.5 ± 0.4 and 0.47 ± 0.08 Bq/kg for 238U, 232Th, 40K, 210Pb, 235U and 137Cs respectively. The mean absorbed dose rate in air, radium equivalent activity, external hazard index, annual gonadal dose equivalent and annual effective dose equivalent were 60.8 nGy/h, 137.3 Bq/kg, 0.4, 425.3 mSv/year and 74.6 mSv/year, respectively. The results of this study will provide baseline information on the natural and artificial radioactive isotopes and environmental pollution associated with information on radiological risk.

Neural Network Models for Actual Cost and Actual Duration Estimation in Construction Projects: Findings from Greece

Predicting the actual cost and duration in construction projects concern a continuous and existing problem for the construction sector. This paper addresses this problem with modern methods and data available from past public construction projects. 39 bridge projects, constructed in Greece, with a similar type of available data were examined. Considering each project’s attributes with the actual cost and the actual duration, correlation analysis is performed and the most appropriate predictive project variables are defined. Additionally, the most efficient subgroup of variables is selected with the use of the WEKA application, through its attribute selection function. The selected variables are used as input neurons for neural network models through correlation analysis. For constructing neural network models, the application FANN Tool is used. The optimum neural network model, for predicting the actual cost, produced a mean squared error with a value of 3.84886e-05 and it was based on the budgeted cost and the quantity of deck concrete. The optimum neural network model, for predicting the actual duration, produced a mean squared error with a value of 5.89463e-05 and it also was based on the budgeted cost and the amount of deck concrete.

PointNetLK-OBB: A Point Cloud Registration Algorithm with High Accuracy

To improve the registration accuracy of a source point cloud and template point cloud when the initial relative deflection angle is too large, a PointNetLK algorithm combined with an oriented bounding box (PointNetLK-OBB) is proposed. In this algorithm, the OBB of a 3D point cloud is used to represent the macro feature of source and template point clouds. Under the guidance of the iterative closest point algorithm, the OBB of the source and template point clouds is aligned, and a mirror symmetry effect is produced between them. According to the fitting degree of the source and template point clouds, the mirror symmetry plane is detected, and the optimal rotation and translation of the source point cloud is obtained to complete the 3D point cloud registration task. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm, a comparative experiment was performed using the publicly available ModelNet40 dataset. The experimental results demonstrate that, compared with PointNetLK, PointNetLK-OBB improves the registration accuracy of the source and template point clouds when the initial relative deflection angle is too large, and the sensitivity of the initial relative position between the source point cloud and template point cloud is reduced. The primary contribution of this paper is the use of PointNetLK to avoid the non-convex problem of traditional point cloud registration and leveraging the regularity of the OBB to avoid the local optimization problem in the PointNetLK context.

Using Analytical Hierarchy Process and TOPSIS Approaches in Designing a Finite Element Analysis Automation Program

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.

Geometrical Based Unequal Droplet Splitting Using Microfluidic Y-Junction

Among different droplet manipulations, controlled droplet-splitting is of great significance due to its ability to increase throughput and operational capability. Furthermore, unequal droplet-splitting can provide greater flexibility and a wider range of dilution factors. In this study, we developed two-dimensional, time-dependent complex fluid dynamics simulations to model droplet formation in a flow focusing device, followed by splitting in a Y-shaped junction with sub-channels of unequal widths. From the results obtained from the numerical study, we correlated the diameters of the droplets in the sub-channels to the Weber number, thereby demarcating the droplet splitting and non-splitting regimes.

An Effort at Improving Reliability of Laboratory Data in Titrimetric Analysis for Zinc Sulphate Tablets Using Validated Spreadsheet Calculators

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.

Modelling of Multi-Agent Systems for the Scheduling of Multi-EV Charging from Power Limited Sources

This paper presents the research and application of model predictive scheduled charging of electric vehicles (EV) subject to limited available power resource. To focus on algorithm and operational characteristics, the EV interface to the source is modelled as a battery state equation during the charging operation. The researched methods allow for the priority scheduling of EV charging in a multi-vehicle regime and when subject to limited source power availability. Priority attribution for each connected EV is described. The validity of the developed methodology is shown through the simulation of different scenarios of charging operation of multiple connected EVs including non-scheduled and scheduled operation with various numbers of vehicles. Performance of the developed algorithms is also reported with the recommendation of the choice of suitable parameters.

The SOCI Strategy as a Method to Meet the Innovation Challenges of COVID-19
The COVID-19 causes a worldwide crisis and has an impact in every dimension of the economy. Organizations with the ability to adapt to new developments and which innovate solutions for the disrupted world during and after the Corona crises have the opportunity to not only survive the crisis but rather to use new trends to implement new business models and gain advantage. In this context, startups seem to have better opportunities to manage the Corona crisis through their innovation-based nature. The main result of this paper is the understanding that by applying a startup orientated innovation (SOCI) strategy, established companies can be motivated to meet the challenge of COVID-19 in a similar way like startups. This result can be achieved by describing the role of innovation and a SOCI strategy as helpful methods for organizations to meet the coming challenges during and after the COVID-19 epidemics. In addition to this, this paper presents a practical application of SOCI through the PANDA approach of the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Germany and discuss it in the context of COVID-19 as an exemplary successful real-world implementation of SOCI strategy.
The Profit Trend of Cosmetics Products Using Bootstrap Edgeworth Approximation
Edgeworth approximation is one of the most important statistical methods that has a considered contribution in the reduction of the sum of standard deviation of the independent variables’ coefficients in a Quantile Regression Model. This model estimates the conditional median or other quantiles. In this paper, we have applied approximating statistical methods in an economical problem. We have created and generated a quantile regression model to see how the profit gained is connected with the realized sales of the cosmetic products in a real data, taken from a local business. The Linear Regression of the generated profit and the realized sales was not free of autocorrelation and heteroscedasticity, so this is the reason that we have used this model instead of Linear Regression. Our aim is to analyze in more details the relation between the variables taken into study: the profit and the finalized sales and how to minimize the standard errors of the independent variable involved in this study, the level of realized sales. The statistical methods that we have applied in our work are Edgeworth Approximation for Independent and Identical distributed (IID) cases, Bootstrap version of the Model and the Edgeworth approximation for Bootstrap Quantile Regression Model. The graphics and the results that we have presented here identify the best approximating model of our study.