Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 25

Search results for: Ashkan Zakaryazad

25 Profit-Based Artificial Neural Network (ANN) Trained by Migrating Birds Optimization: A Case Study in Credit Card Fraud Detection

Authors: Ashkan Zakaryazad, Ekrem Duman


A typical classification technique ranks the instances in a data set according to the likelihood of belonging to one (positive) class. A credit card (CC) fraud detection model ranks the transactions in terms of probability of being fraud. In fact, this approach is often criticized, because firms do not care about fraud probability but about the profitability or costliness of detecting a fraudulent transaction. The key contribution in this study is to focus on the profit maximization in the model building step. The artificial neural network proposed in this study works based on profit maximization instead of minimizing the error of prediction. Moreover, some studies have shown that the back propagation algorithm, similar to other gradient–based algorithms, usually gets trapped in local optima and swarm-based algorithms are more successful in this respect. In this study, we train our profit maximization ANN using the Migrating Birds optimization (MBO) which is introduced to literature recently.

Keywords: neural network, profit-based neural network, sum of squared errors (SSE), MBO, gradient descent

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24 Application of Imperialist Competitive Algorithm for Optimal Location and Sizing of Static Compensator Considering Voltage Profile

Authors: Vahid Rashtchi, Ashkan Pirooz


This paper applies the Imperialist Competitive Algorithm (ICA) to find the optimal place and size of Static Compensator (STATCOM) in power systems. The output of the algorithm is a two dimensional array which indicates the best bus number and STATCOM's optimal size that minimizes all bus voltage deviations from their nominal value. Simulations are performed on IEEE 5, 14, and 30 bus test systems. Also some comparisons have been done between ICA and the famous Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm. Results show that how this method can be considered as one of the most precise evolutionary methods for the use of optimum compensator placement in electrical grids.

Keywords: evolutionary computation, imperialist competitive algorithm, power systems compensation, static compensators, voltage profile

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23 Effects of Magnetic Field Strength on Fluid Flow Behavior in a Constricted Channel

Authors: Ashkan Javadzadegan, Aitak Javadzadegan, Babak Fakhim


One of possible ways to retard movement of fluid is through applying an external magnetic field. In this regard, this study is focused on the effect of a uniform transverse magnetic field on fluid flow behavior inside a channel with a local symmetric constriction. Also, Ellis Non-Newtonian model is implemented to address the effects of shear-dependent viscosity. According to the results, the flow separation downstream of the constriction can be controlled by applying an external magnetic field and/or manipulating the shear-thinning degree of fluid. It is also demonstrated that pressure drop increases by an increase in the strength of the magnetic field.

Keywords: magnetic field, non-Newtonian, separation, shear thinning

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22 Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Impeller Trimming on Fluid Flow inside a Centrifugal Pump

Authors: Rouhollah Torabi, Ashkan Chavoshi, Sheyda Almasi, Shima Almasi


In this paper the effect of impeller trim on centrifugal pump performance is studied and the most important effect which is decreasing the flow rate, differential head and efficiency is analyzed. For this case a low specific speed centrifugal pump is simulated with CFD. Total flow inside the pump including the secondary flow in sidewall gap which form internal leakage is modeled simultaneously in CFX software. The flow field in different area of pumps such as inside impeller, volute, balance holes and leakage through wear rings are studied. To validate the results experimental tests are done for various impeller diameters. Results also compared with analytic equations which predict pump performance with trimmed impeller.

Keywords: centrifugal pump, CFD, impeller, trim

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21 Gender Differences in Research Output, Funding and Collaboration

Authors: Ashkan Ebadi, Andrea Schiffauerova


In spite of the global efforts toward gender equality, female researchers are still underrepresented in professional scientific activities. The gender gap is more seen in engineering and math-intensive technological scientific fields thus calling for a specific attention. This paper focuses on the Canadian funded researchers who are active in natural sciences and engineering, and analyses the gender aspects of researchers’ performance, their scientific collaboration patterns as well as their share of the federal funding within the period of 2000 to 2010. Our results confirm the existence of gender disparity among the examined Canadian researchers. Although it was observed that male researchers have been performing better in terms of number of publications, the impact of the research was almost the same for both genders. In addition, it was observed that research funding is more biased towards male researchers and they have more control over their scientific community as well.

Keywords: bibliometrics, collaboration, funding, gender differences, research output

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20 Numerical Investigation on the Effects of Deep Excavation on Adjacent Pile Groups Subjected to Inclined Loading

Authors: Ashkan Shafee, Ahmad Fahimifar


There is a growing demand for construction of high-rise buildings and infrastructures in large cities, which sometimes require deep excavations in the vicinity of pile foundations. In this study, a two-dimensional finite element analysis is used to gain insight into the response of pile groups adjacent to deep excavations in sand. The numerical code was verified by available experimental works, and a parametric study was performed on different working load combinations, excavation depth and supporting system. The results show that the simple two-dimensional plane strain model can accurately simulate the excavation induced changes on adjacent pile groups. It was found that further excavation than pile toe level and also inclined loading on adjacent pile group can severely affect the serviceability of the foundation.

Keywords: deep excavation, inclined loading, lateral deformation, pile group

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19 Investigation on Morphologies, Forming Mechanism, Photocatalytic and Electronic Properties of Co-Zn Ferrite Nanostructure Grown on the Reduced Graphene Oxide Support

Authors: Qinglei Liu, Ali Charkhesht, Tiva Sharifi, Ashkan Bahadoran


Graphene sheets are promising nanoscale building blocks as a support material for the dispersion of nanoparticles. In this work, a solvothermal method employed to directly grow Co1-xZnxFe2O4 ferrite nanospheres on graphene oxide support that is subsequently reduced to graphene. The samples morphology, structure and crystallography were investigated using field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). The influences of the Zn2+ content on photocatalytic activity, electrical conductivity and magnetic property of the samples are also investigated. The results showed that Co1-x Znx Fe2 O4 nanoparticles are dispersed on graphene sheets and obtained nanocomposites are soft magnetic materials. In addition the samples showed excellent photocatalytic activity under visible light irradiation.

Keywords: reduced graphene oxide, ferrite, magnetic nanocomposite, photocatalytic activity, solvothermal method

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18 Bibliometric Analysis of the Impact of Funding on Scientific Development of Researchers

Authors: Ashkan Ebadi, Andrea Schiffauerova


Every year, a considerable amount of money is being invested on research, mainly in the form of funding allocated to universities and research institutes. To better distribute the available funds and to set the most proper R&D investment strategies for the future, evaluation of the productivity of the funded researchers and the impact of such funding is crucial. In this paper, using the data on 15 years of journal publications of the NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering research Council of Canada) funded researchers and by means of bibliometric analysis, the scientific development of the funded researchers and their scientific collaboration patterns will be investigated in the period of 1996-2010. According to the results it seems that there is a positive relation between the average level of funding and quantity and quality of the scientific output. In addition, whenever funding allocated to the researchers has increased, the number of co-authors per paper has also augmented. Hence, the increase in the level of funding may enable researchers to get involved in larger projects and/or scientific teams and increase their scientific output respectively.

Keywords: bibliometrics, collaboration, funding, productivity

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17 Experimental and Numerical Study of the Thermomagnetic Convection of Ferrofluid Driven by Non-Uniform Magnetic Field around a Current-Carrying Wire

Authors: Ashkan Vatani, Petere Woodfiel, Nam-Trung Nguyen, Dzung Dao


Thermomagnetic convection of a ferrofluid flow induced by the non-uniform magnetic field around a current-carrying wire was theoretically analyzed, numerically studied and experimentally validated. The dependency of the thermomagnetic convection on the current and fluid temperature has been studied. The Nusselt number for a heated 50um diameter wire in the ferrofluid exponentially scales with applied current to the micro-wire. This result is in good agreement with the correlated Nusselt number by curve-fitting the experimental data at different fluid temperatures. It was shown that at low currents, no significance is observed for thermomagnetic convection rather than the buoyancy-driven convection, while the thermomagnetic convection becomes dominant at high currents. Also, numerical simulations showed a promising cooling ability for large scale applications.

Keywords: ferrofluid, non-uniform magnetic field, Nusselt number, thermomagnetic convection

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16 Numerical Investigation on Load Bearing Capacity of Pervious Concrete Piles as an Alternative to Granular Columns

Authors: Ashkan Shafee, Masoud Ghodrati, Ahmad Fahimifar


Pervious concrete combines considerable permeability with adequate strength, which makes it very beneficial in pavement construction and also in ground improvement projects. In this paper, a single pervious concrete pile subjected to vertical and lateral loading is analysed using a verified three dimensional finite element code. A parametric study was carried out in order to investigate load bearing capacity of a single unreinforced pervious concrete pile in saturated soft soil and also gain insight into the failure mechanism of this rather new soil improvement technique. The results show that concrete damaged plasticity constitutive model can perfectly simulate the highly brittle nature of the pervious concrete material and considering the computed vertical and horizontal load bearing capacities, some suggestions have been made for ground improvement projects.

Keywords: concrete damaged plasticity, ground improvement, load-bearing capacity, pervious concrete pile

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15 An Exploratory Study Regarding the Effects of Auditor Switch, Auditee’s Industry, and Auditee’s Location on Audit Fees in Australia

Authors: Ashkan Mirzay Fashami


This study examines the effects of auditor switch, auditee’s industry, and auditee’s location on audit fees in Australia. It uses fee data of Australian Securities Exchange 500 companies, considering all industry classifications throughout the country from 2006 until 2016. Main findings show that auditor switch does not affect audit fees. However, auditee’s industry affects audit fees. This effect occurs in information technology, financials, energy, and materials sectors among the top 500 companies. Financials, energy, and materials sectors face a fee rise, whereas information technology has a fee cut. The extent of fee changes is different among various industries, wherein the financial sector has the highest increase. Further, auditee’s location affects audit fees. Top 500 companies in Hobart, Perth, and Brisbane face a fee reduction, wherein the highest cut is in Hobart. Further analysis suggests that the Australian audit market is being increasingly concentrated in the hands of the Big Four audit firms.

Keywords: audit, auditor switch, Australia, fee, low-balling

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14 Finite Eigenstrains in Nonlinear Elastic Solid Wedges

Authors: Ashkan Golgoon, Souhayl Sadik, Arash Yavari


Eigenstrains in nonlinear solids are created due to anelastic effects such as non-uniform temperature distributions, growth, remodeling, and defects. Eigenstrains understanding is indispensable, as they can generate residual stresses and strongly affect the overall response of solids. Here, we study the residual stress and deformation fields of an incompressible isotropic infinite wedge with a circumferentially-symmetric distribution of finite eigenstrains. We construct a material manifold, whose Riemannian metric explicitly depends on the eigenstrain distribution, thereby we turn the problem into a classical nonlinear elasticity problem, where we find an embedding of the Riemannian material manifold into the ambient Euclidean space. In particular, we find exact solutions for the residual stress and deformation fields of a neo-Hookean wedge having a symmetric inclusion with finite radial and circumferential eigenstrains. Moreover, we numerically solve a similar problem when a symmetric Mooney-Rivlin inhomogeneity with finite eigenstrains is placed in a neo-Hookean wedge. Generalization of the eigenstrain problem to other geometries are also discussed.

Keywords: finite eigenstrains, geometric mechanics, inclusion, inhomogeneity, nonlinear elasticity

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13 Examination of the Reasons for the Formation of Red Oil in Spent Caustic from Olefin Plant

Authors: Mehdi Seifollahi, Ashkan Forootan, Sajjad Bahrami Reyhan


Due to the complexity of olefinic plants, various environmental pollutants exist such as NOx, CO2, Tar Water, and most importantly Spent Caustic. In this paper, instead of investigating ways of treating this pollutant, we evaluated the production in relation to plant’s variable items. We primarily discussed the factors affecting the quality of the output spent caustic such as impurities in the feed of olefin plant, the amount of injected dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) in furnaces, variation in feed composition, differences among gas temperatures and the concentration of caustic solution at the bottom of the tower. The results of the laboratory proved that in the formation of Red Oil, 1,3butadiene and acetaldehyde followed free radical and aldol condensation mechanism respectively. By increasing the injection rate of DMDS, Mercaptide amount increases in the effluent. In addition, pyrolysis gasoline accumulation is directly related to caustic concentration in the tower. Increasing naphtenes in the liquid feed augments the amount of 1,3butadiene, as one of the sources of Red Oil formation. By increasing the oxygenated compound in the feed, the rate of acetaldehyde formation, as the main source of Red Oil formation, increases.

Keywords: olefin, spent caustic, red oil, caustic wash tower

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12 Experimental and Numerical Investigations on Flexural Behavior of Macro-Synthetic FRC

Authors: Ashkan Shafee, Ahamd Fahimifar, Sajjad V. Maghvan


Promotion of the Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC) as a construction material for civil engineering projects has invoked numerous researchers to investigate their mechanical behavior. Even though there is satisfactory information about the effects of fiber type and length, concrete mixture, casting type and other variables on the strength and deformability parameters of FRC, the numerical modeling of such materials still needs research attention. The focus of this study is to investigate the feasibility of Concrete Damaged Plasticity (CDP) model in prediction of Macro-synthetic FRC structures behavior. CDP model requires the tensile behavior of concrete to be well characterized. For this purpose, a series of uniaxial direct tension and four point bending tests were conducted on the notched specimens to define bilinear tension softening (post-peak tension stress-strain) behavior. With these parameters obtained, the flexural behavior of macro-synthetic FRC beams were modeled and the results showed a good agreement with the experimental measurements.

Keywords: concrete damaged plasticity, fiber reinforced concrete, finite element modeling, macro-synthetic fibers, uniaxial tensile test

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11 Nonlinear Defects and Discombinations in Anisotropic Solids

Authors: Ashkan Golgoon, Arash Yavari


In this paper, we present some analytical solutions for the stress fields of nonlinear anisotropic solids with line and point defects distributions. In particular, we determine the induced stress fields of a parallel cylindrically-symmetric distribution of screw dislocations in infinite orthotropic and monoclinic media as well as a cylindrically-symmetric distribution of parallel wedge disclinations in an infinite orthotropic medium. For a given distribution of edge dislocations, the material manifold is constructed using Cartan's moving frames and the stress field is obtained assuming that the medium is orthotropic. Also, we consider a spherically-symmetric distribution of point defects in a transversely isotropic spherical ball. We show that for an arbitrary incompressible transversely isotropic ball with the radial material preferred direction, a uniform point defect distribution results in a uniform hydrostatic stress field inside the spherical region the distribution is supported in. Finally, we find the stresses induced by a discombination in an orthotropic medium.

Keywords: defects, disclinations, dislocations, monoclinic solids, nonlinear elasticity, orthotropic solids, transversely isotropic solids

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10 Numerical Multi-Scale Modeling of Rubber Friction on Rough Pavements Using Finite Element Method

Authors: Ashkan Nazari, Saied Taheri


Knowledge of tire-pavement interaction plays a crucial role in designing safer and more reliable tires. Characterizing the tire-pavement frictional interaction leads to a better understanding of vehicle performance in braking and acceleration. In this work, we devise a multi-scale simulation approach to incorporate the effect of pavement surface asperities in different length-scales. We construct two- and three-dimensional Finite Element (FE) models to simulate the interaction between a rubber block and a rough pavement surface with asperities in different scales. To achieve this, the road profile is scanned via a laser profilometer and the obtained asperities are implemented in an FE software (ABAQUS) in micro and macro length-scales. The hysteresis friction, which is due to the dissipative nature of rubber, is the main component of the friction force and therefore is the subject of study in this work. Using different scales not only will assist in characterizing the pavement asperities with sufficient details but also, it is highly effective in preventing extreme local deformations and stress gradients which results in divergence in FE simulations. The simulation results will be validated with experimental results as well as the results reported in the literature.

Keywords: friction, finite element, multi-scale modeling, rubber

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9 Forecast of Polyethylene Properties in the Gas Phase Polymerization Aided by Neural Network

Authors: Nasrin Bakhshizadeh, Ashkan Forootan


A major problem that affects the quality control of polymer in the industrial polymerization is the lack of suitable on-line measurement tools to evaluate the properties of the polymer such as melt and density indices. Controlling the polymerization in ordinary method is performed manually by taking samples, measuring the quality of polymer in the lab and registry of results. This method is highly time consuming and leads to producing large number of incompatible products. An online application for estimating melt index and density proposed in this study is a neural network based on the input-output data of the polyethylene production plant. Temperature, the level of reactors' bed, the intensity of ethylene mass flow, hydrogen and butene-1, the molar concentration of ethylene, hydrogen and butene-1 are used for the process to establish the neural model. The neural network is taught based on the actual operational data and back-propagation and Levenberg-Marquart techniques. The simulated results indicate that the neural network process model established with three layers (one hidden layer) for forecasting the density and the four layers for the melt index is able to successfully predict those quality properties.

Keywords: polyethylene, polymerization, density, melt index, neural network

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8 Thermomagnetic Convection of a Ferrofluid in a Non-Uniform Magnetic Field Induced a Current Carrying Wire

Authors: Ashkan Vatani, Peter Woodfield, Nam-Trung Nguyen, Dzung Dao


Thermomagnetic convection of a ferrofluid flow induced by the non-uniform magnetic field around a current-carrying wire was theoretically analyzed and experimentally tested. To show this phenomenon, the temperature rise of a hot wire, immersed in DIW and Ferrofluid, as a result of joule heating has been measured using a transient hot-wire technique. When current is applied to the wire, a temperature gradient is imposed on the magnetic fluid resulting in non-uniform magnetic susceptibility of the ferrofluid that results in a non-uniform magnetic body force which makes the ferrofluid flow as a bulk suspension. For the case of the wire immersed in DIW, free convection is the only means of cooling, while for the case of ferrofluid a combination of both free convection and thermomagnetic convection is expected to enhance the heat transfer from the wire beyond that of DIW. Experimental results at different temperatures and for a range of constant currents applied to the wire show that thermomagnetic convection becomes effective for the currents higher than 1.5A at all temperatures. It is observed that the onset of thermomagnetic convection is directly proportional to the current applied to the wire and that the thermomagnetic convection happens much faster than the free convection. Calculations show that a 35% enhancement in heat transfer can be expected for the ferrofluid compared to DIW, for a 3A current applied to the wire.

Keywords: cooling, ferrofluid, thermomagnetic convection, magnetic field

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7 The Effect of Molecular Weight on the Cross-Linking of Two Different Molecular Weight LLDPE Samples

Authors: Ashkan Forootan, Reza Rashedi


Polyethylene has wide usage areas such as blow molding, pipe, film, cable insulation. However, regardless to its growing applications, it has some constraints such as the limited 70C operating temperature. Polyethylene thermo setting procedure whose molecules are knotted and 3D-molecular-network formed , is developed to conquer the above problem and to raise the applicable temperature of the polymer. This paper reports the cross-linking for two different molecular weight grades of LLDPE by adding 0.5, 1, and 2% of DCP (Dicumyl Peroxide). DCP was chosen for its prevalence among various cross-linking agents. Structural parameters such as molecular weight, melt flow index, comonomer, number of branches,etc. were obtained through the use of relative tests as Gel Permeation Chromatography and Fourier Transform Infra Red spectrometer. After calculating the percentage of gel content, properties of the pure and cross-linked samples were compared by thermal and mechanical analysis with DMTA and FTIR and the effects of cross-linking like viscous and elastic modulus were discussed by using various structural paprameters such as MFI, molecular weight, short chain branches, etc. Studies showed that cross-linked polymer, unlike the pure one, had a solid state with thermal mechanical properties in the range of 110 to 120C and this helped overcome the problem of using polyethylene in temperatures near the melting point.

Keywords: LLDPE, cross-link, structural parameters, DCP, DMTA, GPC

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6 Effects of Hierarchy on Poisson’s Ratio and Phononic Bandgaps of Two-Dimensional Honeycomb Structures

Authors: Davood Mousanezhad, Ashkan Vaziri


As a traditional cellular structure, hexagonal honeycombs are known for their high strength-to-weight ratio. Here, we introduce a class of fractal-appearing hierarchical metamaterials by replacing the vertices of the original non-hierarchical hexagonal grid with smaller hexagons and iterating this process to achieve higher levels of hierarchy. It has been recently shown that the isotropic in-plane Young's modulus of this hierarchical structure at small deformations becomes 25 times greater than its regular counterpart with the same mass. At large deformations, we find that hierarchy-dependent elastic buckling introduced at relatively early stages of deformation decreases the value of Poisson's ratio as the structure is compressed uniaxially leading to auxeticity (i.e., negative Poisson's ratio) in subsequent stages of deformation. We also show that the topological hierarchical architecture and instability-induced pattern transformations of the structure under compression can be effectively used to tune the propagation of elastic waves within the structure. We find that the hierarchy tends to shift the existing phononic bandgaps (defined as frequency ranges of strong wave attenuation) to lower frequencies while opening up new bandgaps. Deformation is also demonstrated as another mechanism for opening more bandgaps in hierarchical structures. The results provide new insights into the role of structural organization and hierarchy in regulating mechanical properties of materials at both the static and dynamic regimes.

Keywords: cellular structures, honeycombs, hierarchical structures, metamaterials, multifunctional structures, phononic crystals, auxetic structures

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5 Prevalence of Cytomegalovirus-DNA in the Patients’ Serum with HIV using Real time PCR

Authors: Mohammadreza Aghasadeghi, Mojtaba Hamidi-fard, Seyed Amir Sadeghi, Ashkan Noorbakhsh


Introduction: HIV is known as one of the most important pathogens and mortality in all human societies, but unfortunately no definitive cure has been found for it. Due to its weakened immune system, this virus causes a variety of primary and secondary opportunistic infections. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the most relevant opportunistic virus seen in HIV-positive people that cause various infections in HIV-positive people. This virus causes various infections in HIV-positive people, such as retinal infection (CMVR), gastro-intestinal infections, diarrhea, severe weight loss, and cerebrospinal fluid problems. These various infections make it important to evaluate the prevalence of CMV in HIV-positive people to diagnose it quickly and in a timely manner. This infection in HIV-positive people reduces life expectancy and causes serious harm to patients. However, a simple test in HIV-positive people can prevent the virus from progressing. Material and Methods: In this study, we collected 200 blood samples (including 147 men and 53 women) from HIV-positive individuals and examined the frequency of CMV-DNA in these cases by real-time PCR method. In the next step, the data was analyzed by SPSS software and then we obtained the relationship between age, sex and the frequency of CMV in HIV-positive individuals. Results: The total frequency of CMV DNA was about 59%, which is a relatively high prevalence due to the age range of the subjects. The frequency in men was 61.2% and 52.8% in women. This frequency was also higher in males than females. We also observed more frequency in two age groups of 16 to 30 years and 31 to 45 years. Discussion: Due to the high prevalence of CMV in HIV-positive individuals and causing serious problems in this group of people, this study was shown that both the patients and the community should pay more attention to this issue. Ministry of Health as a stakeholder organization can make CMV DNA testing mandatory as soon as a person was HIV positive.

Keywords: CMV, HIV, AIDS, real-time PCR, SPSS

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4 6 DOF Cable-Driven Haptic Robot for Rendering High Axial Force with Low Off-Axis Impedance

Authors: Naghmeh Zamani, Ashkan Pourkand, David Grow


This paper presents the design and mechanical model of a hybrid impedance/admittance haptic device optimized for applications, like bone drilling, spinal awl probe use, and other surgical techniques were high force is required in the tool-axial direction, and low impedance is needed in all other directions. The performance levels required cannot be satisfied by existing, off-the-shelf haptic devices. This design may allow critical improvements in simulator fidelity for surgery training. The device consists primarily of two low-mass (carbon fiber) plates with a rod passing through them. Collectively, the device provides 6 DOF. The rod slides through a bushing in the top plate and it is connected to the bottom plate with a universal joint, constrained to move in only 2 DOF, allowing axial torque display the user’s hand. The two parallel plates are actuated and located by means of four cables pulled by motors. The forward kinematic equations are derived to ensure that the plates orientation remains constant. The corresponding equations are solved using the Newton-Raphson method. The static force/torque equations are also presented. Finally, we present the predicted distribution of location error, cables velocity, cable tension, force and torque for the device. These results and preliminary hardware fabrication indicate that this design may provide a revolutionary approach for haptic display of many surgical procedures by means of an architecture that allows arbitrary workspace scaling. Scaling of the height and width can be scaled arbitrarily.

Keywords: cable direct driven robot, haptics, parallel plates, bone drilling

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3 A Hybrid Multi-Criteria Hotel Recommender System Using Explicit and Implicit Feedbacks

Authors: Ashkan Ebadi, Adam Krzyzak


Recommender systems, also known as recommender engines, have become an important research area and are now being applied in various fields. In addition, the techniques behind the recommender systems have been improved over the time. In general, such systems help users to find their required products or services (e.g. books, music) through analyzing and aggregating other users’ activities and behavior, mainly in form of reviews, and making the best recommendations. The recommendations can facilitate user’s decision making process. Despite the wide literature on the topic, using multiple data sources of different types as the input has not been widely studied. Recommender systems can benefit from the high availability of digital data to collect the input data of different types which implicitly or explicitly help the system to improve its accuracy. Moreover, most of the existing research in this area is based on single rating measures in which a single rating is used to link users to items. This paper proposes a highly accurate hotel recommender system, implemented in various layers. Using multi-aspect rating system and benefitting from large-scale data of different types, the recommender system suggests hotels that are personalized and tailored for the given user. The system employs natural language processing and topic modelling techniques to assess the sentiment of the users’ reviews and extract implicit features. The entire recommender engine contains multiple sub-systems, namely users clustering, matrix factorization module, and hybrid recommender system. Each sub-system contributes to the final composite set of recommendations through covering a specific aspect of the problem. The accuracy of the proposed recommender system has been tested intensively where the results confirm the high performance of the system.

Keywords: tourism, hotel recommender system, hybrid, implicit features

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2 Land Lots and Shannon-Winner Index in Sarpolzahab Agro Ecosystems-Western Iran

Authors: Ashkan Asgari, Korous Khoshbakht, Saeid Soufizadeh


Various factors including land lots can affect biodiversity indices in Agricultural systems. Field study conducted to evaluate factors affecting crop diversity in Sarpolzahab in 2012. Required data were collected through direct observation of farms and filling questionnaires. Total numbers of 140 questionnaires were filled, SAS Software was used to analyse data and Ecological Methodology Program was applied to calculate Shannon-Winner index, subsequently. Results of study indicated that average number of land lots for each farmer was 2.78 and various from 2.2 in Rikhak Olia Village to 4.31 in Golam Kaboud Olia Village which shows small size of land lots due to separating larger lots by children of deceased farmers. The correlation between number of land lots and species biodiversity (0.308**) was significant and Shannon-Winner index was (0.262**). Therefore, according to the mentioned results one can assume that increase in number of land lots results in improving of the target index. Multiple land lots allow farmers to cultivate various crops which results in increasing biodiversity of crops in agro ecosystem. Subsequently, this increase will facilitate economic sustainability of the farmers and distribution of work force in the region throughout the year. The correlation of seasonal workers with biodiversity of crop species (0.256**) and Shannon-Winner (0.286**) was statistically significant and increasing number of seasonal work forces had resulted in improving crop biodiversity and decreasing dominant species or single crop farming systems. Vegetable farms which have a significant diversity, require a significant number of work forces which describes correlation between number of workers and diversity of species.

Keywords: agricultural systems, biodiversity indices, Shannon-Winner index, sustainability, rural

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1 Use of Socially Assistive Robots in Early Rehabilitation to Promote Mobility for Infants with Motor Delays

Authors: Elena Kokkoni, Prasanna Kannappan, Ashkan Zehfroosh, Effrosyni Mavroudi, Kristina Strother-Garcia, James C. Galloway, Jeffrey Heinz, Rene Vidal, Herbert G. Tanner


Early immobility affects the motor, cognitive, and social development. Current pediatric rehabilitation lacks the technology that will provide the dosage needed to promote mobility for young children at risk. The addition of socially assistive robots in early interventions may help increase the mobility dosage. The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of an early intervention paradigm where non-walking infants experience independent mobility while socially interacting with robots. A dynamic environment is developed where both the child and the robot interact and learn from each other. The environment involves: 1) a range of physical activities that are goal-oriented, age-appropriate, and ability-matched for the child to perform, 2) the automatic functions that perceive the child’s actions through novel activity recognition algorithms, and decide appropriate actions for the robot, and 3) a networked visual data acquisition system that enables real-time assessment and provides the means to connect child behavior with robot decision-making in real-time. The environment was tested by bringing a two-year old boy with Down syndrome for eight sessions. The child presented delays throughout his motor development with the current being on the acquisition of walking. During the sessions, the child performed physical activities that required complex motor actions (e.g. climbing an inclined platform and/or staircase). During these activities, a (wheeled or humanoid) robot was either performing the action or was at its end point 'signaling' for interaction. From these sessions, information was gathered to develop algorithms to automate the perception of activities which the robot bases its actions on. A Markov Decision Process (MDP) is used to model the intentions of the child. A 'smoothing' technique is used to help identify the model’s parameters which are a critical step when dealing with small data sets such in this paradigm. The child engaged in all activities and socially interacted with the robot across sessions. With time, the child’s mobility was increased, and the frequency and duration of complex and independent motor actions were also increased (e.g. taking independent steps). Simulation results on the combination of the MDP and smoothing support the use of this model in human-robot interaction. Smoothing facilitates learning MDP parameters from small data sets. This paradigm is feasible and provides an insight on how social interaction may elicit mobility actions suggesting a new early intervention paradigm for very young children with motor disabilities. Acknowledgment: This work has been supported by NIH under grant #5R01HD87133.

Keywords: activity recognition, human-robot interaction, machine learning, pediatric rehabilitation

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