Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Computer Programming Related Abstracts

3 Metal Ship and Robotic Car: A Hands-On Activity to Develop Scientific and Engineering Skills for High School Students

Authors: Jutharat Sunprasert, Ekapong Hirunsirisawat, Narongrit Waraporn, Somporn Peansukmanee


Metal Ship and Robotic Car is one of the hands-on activities in the course, the Fundamental of Engineering that can be divided into three parts. The first part, the metal ships, was made by using engineering drawings, physics and mathematics knowledge. The second part is where the students learned how to construct a robotic car and control it using computer programming. In the last part, the students had to combine the workings of these two objects in the final testing. This aim of study was to investigate the effectiveness of hands-on activity by integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts to develop scientific and engineering skills. The results showed that the majority of students felt this hands-on activity lead to an increased confidence level in the integration of STEM. Moreover, 48% of all students engaged well with the STEM concepts. Students could obtain the knowledge of STEM through hands-on activities with the topics science and mathematics, engineering drawing, engineering workshop and computer programming; most students agree and strongly agree with this learning process. This indicated that the hands-on activity: “Metal Ship and Robotic Car” is a useful tool to integrate each aspect of STEM. Furthermore, hands-on activities positively influence a student’s interest which leads to increased learning achievement and also in developing scientific and engineering skills.

Keywords: STEM Education, Computer Programming, hands-on activity, metal work

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2 Implementation of Deep Neural Networks for Pavement Condition Index Prediction

Authors: M. Sirhan, S. Bekhor, A. Sidess


In-service pavements deteriorate with time due to traffic wheel loads, environment, and climate conditions. Pavement deterioration leads to a reduction in their serviceability and structural behavior. Consequently, proper maintenance and rehabilitation (M&R) are necessary actions to keep the in-service pavement network at the desired level of serviceability. Due to resource and financial constraints, the pavement management system (PMS) prioritizes roads most in need of maintenance and rehabilitation action. It recommends a suitable action for each pavement based on the performance and surface condition of each road in the network. The pavement performance and condition are usually quantified and evaluated by different types of roughness-based and stress-based indices. Examples of such indices are Pavement Serviceability Index (PSI), Pavement Serviceability Ratio (PSR), Mean Panel Rating (MPR), Pavement Condition Rating (PCR), Ride Number (RN), Profile Index (PI), International Roughness Index (IRI), and Pavement Condition Index (PCI). PCI is commonly used in PMS as an indicator of the extent of the distresses on the pavement surface. PCI values range between 0 and 100; where 0 and 100 represent a highly deteriorated pavement and a newly constructed pavement, respectively. The PCI value is a function of distress type, severity, and density (measured as a percentage of the total pavement area). PCI is usually calculated iteratively using the 'Paver' program developed by the US Army Corps. The use of soft computing techniques, especially Artificial Neural Network (ANN), has become increasingly popular in the modeling of engineering problems. ANN techniques have successfully modeled the performance of the in-service pavements, due to its efficiency in predicting and solving non-linear relationships and dealing with an uncertain large amount of data. Typical regression models, which require a pre-defined relationship, can be replaced by ANN, which was found to be an appropriate tool for predicting the different pavement performance indices versus different factors as well. Subsequently, the objective of the presented study is to develop and train an ANN model that predicts the PCI values. The model’s input consists of percentage areas of 11 different damage types; alligator cracking, swelling, rutting, block cracking, longitudinal/transverse cracking, edge cracking, shoving, raveling, potholes, patching, and lane drop off, at three severity levels (low, medium, high) for each. The developed model was trained using 536,000 samples and tested on 134,000 samples. The samples were collected and prepared by The National Transport Infrastructure Company. The predicted results yielded satisfactory compliance with field measurements. The proposed model predicted PCI values with relatively low standard deviations, suggesting that it could be incorporated into the PMS for PCI determination. It is worth mentioning that the most influencing variables for PCI prediction are damages related to alligator cracking, swelling, rutting, and potholes.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Networks, Computer Programming, performance prediction, pavement management, pavement condition index

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1 Investigation of the Physical Computing in Computational Thinking Practices, Computer Programming Concepts and Self-Efficacy for Crosscutting Ideas in STEM Content Environments

Authors: Sarantos Psycharis


Physical Computing, as an instructional model, is applied in the framework of the Engineering Pedagogy to teach “transversal/cross-cutting ideas” in a STEM content approach. Labview and Arduino were used in order to connect the physical world with real data in the framework of the so called Computational Experiment. Tertiary prospective engineering educators were engaged during their course and Computational Thinking (CT) concepts were registered before and after the intervention across didactic activities using validated questionnaires for the relationship between self-efficacy, computer programming, and CT concepts when STEM content epistemology is implemented in alignment with the Computational Pedagogy model. Results show a significant change in students’ responses for self-efficacy for CT before and after the instruction. Results also indicate a significant relation between the responses in the different CT concepts/practices. According to the findings, STEM content epistemology combined with Physical Computing should be a good candidate as a learning and teaching approach in university settings that enhances students’ engagement in CT concepts/practices.

Keywords: computational thinking, Self-efficacy, Computer Programming, labview, Arduino, STEM

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