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

Search results for: Bart Dewancker

25 Forecasting Stock Indexes Using Bayesian Additive Regression Tree

Authors: Darren Zou


Forecasting the stock market is a very challenging task. Various economic indicators such as GDP, exchange rates, interest rates, and unemployment have a substantial impact on the stock market. Time series models are the traditional methods used to predict stock market changes. In this paper, a machine learning method, Bayesian Additive Regression Tree (BART) is used in predicting stock market indexes based on multiple economic indicators. BART can be used to model heterogeneous treatment effects, and thereby works well when models are misspecified. It also has the capability to handle non-linear main effects and multi-way interactions without much input from financial analysts. In this research, BART is proposed to provide a reliable prediction on day-to-day stock market activities. By comparing the analysis results from BART and with time series method, BART can perform well and has better prediction capability than the traditional methods.

Keywords: BART, Bayesian, predict, stock

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24 BART Matching Method: Using Bayesian Additive Regression Tree for Data Matching

Authors: Gianna Zou


Propensity score matching (PSM), introduced by Paul R. Rosenbaum and Donald Rubin in 1983, is a popular statistical matching technique which tries to estimate the treatment effects by taking into account covariates that could impact the efficacy of study medication in clinical trials. PSM can be used to reduce the bias due to confounding variables. However, PSM assumes that the response values are normally distributed. In some cases, this assumption may not be held. In this paper, a machine learning method - Bayesian Additive Regression Tree (BART), is used as a more robust method of matching. BART can work well when models are misspecified since it can be used to model heterogeneous treatment effects. Moreover, it has the capability to handle non-linear main effects and multiway interactions. In this research, a BART Matching Method (BMM) is proposed to provide a more reliable matching method over PSM. By comparing the analysis results from PSM and BMM, BMM can perform well and has better prediction capability when the response values are not normally distributed.

Keywords: BART, Bayesian, matching, regression

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23 Evaluating Accessibility to Bangkok Mass Transit System: Case Study of Saphan Taksin Bangkok Mass Transit System Station

Authors: Rungpansa Noichan, Bart Julian Dewancker


Thailand facing the transportation issue because of the rapid economic development. The big issue is the traffic jam, especially in Bangkok. However, recently years Bangkok has operated urban mass transit system for solved transportation problem. The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) skytrain is being operated by the BTS Company Limited under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. The passenger satisfaction is a major cause for concern due to the commercial nature. The focus of this paper is to evaluate the passenger satisfaction at the mass transit node by questionnaires survey. The survey was to find out the passenger attitudes. The result shows several important factors that influence the passenger choice of using the BTS as a public transportation mode and the passenger’s opinion.

Keywords: urban transportation, user satisfaction, accessibility, Bangkok mass transit

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22 Optimization of Energy Consumption with Various Design Parameters on Office Buildings in Chinese Severe Cold Zone

Authors: Yuang Guo, Dewancker Bart


The primary energy consumption of buildings throughout China was approximately 814 million tons of coal equivalents in 2014, which accounts for 19.12% of China's total primary energy consumption. Also, the energy consumption of public buildings takes a bigger share than urban residential buildings and rural residential buildings among the total energy consumption. To improve the level of energy demand, various design parameters were chosen. Meanwhile, a series of simulations by Energy Plus (EP-Launch) is performed using a base case model established in Open Studio. Through the results, 16%-23% of total energy demand reductions can be found in the severe cold zone of China, and it can also provide a reference for the architectural design of other similar climate zones.

Keywords: energy consumption, design parameters, indoor thermal comfort, simulation study, severe cold climate zone

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21 The Impact of Road Development on the Emergence of the Commercial Area

Authors: Ida Bagus Ilham Malik, Bart Julian Dewancker


The road construction will affect the development of the region along the new road. With this principle, the government developed Antasari Street in order to become one of the main economic corridors for the city of Bandar Lampung. Since its construction in 1997, Antasari Street developed into one of the main economic corridors that greatly affect the economic condition of the city, in addition to other economic corridors such as Pagar Alam Street and Teuku Umar Street. The data shows that the construction of roads affects economic development in the corridor that with the advent of commercial buildings in large quantities. Among them are shops, office, restaurants, and a car showroom. This study proves that the road construction could accelerate the economic progress of the road corridor, especially in the construction and development of urban roads.

Keywords: road development, commercial area, Antasari street, Bandar Lampung

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20 Quantifying Mobility of Urban Inhabitant Based on Social Media Data

Authors: Yuyun, Fritz Akhmad Nuzir, Bart Julien Dewancker


Check-in locations on social media provide information about an individual’s location. The millions of units of data generated from these sites provide knowledge for human activity. In this research, we used a geolocation service and users’ texts posted on Twitter social media to analyze human mobility. Our research will answer the questions; what are the movement patterns of a citizen? And, how far do people travel in the city? We explore the people trajectory of 201,118 check-ins and 22,318 users over a period of one month in Makassar city, Indonesia. To accommodate individual mobility, the authors only analyze the users with check-in activity greater than 30 times. We used sampling method with a systematic sampling approach to assign the research sample. The study found that the individual movement shows a high degree of regularity and intensity in certain places. The other finding found that the average distance an urban inhabitant can travel per day is as far as 9.6 km.

Keywords: mobility, check-in, distance, Twitter

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19 Study on Conservation and Regeneration of the Industrial Buildings

Authors: Rungpansa Noichan, Bart Julian Dewancker


The conservation and regeneration of historical industrial building is one of the most important issues to be solved in today’s urban development in the world. There are growing numbers of industrial building in which promoting heritage conservation maybe a helpful tool for a sustainable city in social, urban restructuring, environmental and economic component. This paper identifies the key attributes of conservation and regeneration industrial building from the literature, were discussed by reviewing its development at home and abroad. The authors have investigated 93 industrial buildings, which were used as industrial building before and reused into buildings with another function afterward. The data to be discussed below were mainly collected from various publications but also from available internet sources. This study focuses on green transformation, historical culture heritage, transformation techniques, and urban regeneration based on the empirical researches on the historical industrial building and site. Moreover, we focus on social, urban environment and sustainable development. The implications of the study provide suggestions for future improvements in the conservation and regeneration of historical industrial building, and inspire new ways of use, so the building becomes flexible and can consequently be adaptable to changes in order to survive time. Therefore, the building does not take into account only its future impact in the environment and society. Instead, it focuses on its entire life cycle.

Keywords: industrial building, heritage conservation, green transformation, regeneration, sustainable development

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18 Evaluating Accessibility to Bangkok Mass Transit System: Case Study of Saphan Taksin BTS Station

Authors: Rungpansa Noichan, Bart Julien Dewancker


Access to the mass transit system, including rapid elevated and underground transport has become an outstanding issue for many cities. The mass transit access development should focus on behavioral responses of the different passenger groups. Moreover, it should consider about the appearance of intent-oriented action related accessibility that was explored from user’s satisfaction and attitudes related to services quality. This study aims to evaluate mass transit accessibility from passenger’s satisfaction, therefore, understanding the passenger’s attitudes about mass transit accessibility. The study area of this research is Bangkok Mass Transit system (BTS Skytrain) at Saphan Taksin station. 200 passengers at Saphan Taksin station were asked to rate the questionnaires survey that considers accessibility aspects of convenience, safety, feeder connectivity, and other dimensions. The survey was to find out the passenger attitudes and satisfaction for access to the BTS station, and the result shows several factors that influence the passenger choice of using the BTS as a public transportation mode and passenger’s opinion that needs to concern for the development mass transit system and accessibility performance.

Keywords: urban transportation, user satisfaction, accessibility, Bangkok mass transit

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17 Comparison the Energy Consumption with Sustainability in Campus: Case Study of Four American Universities

Authors: Bifeng Zhu, Zhekai Wang, Chaoyang Sun, Bart Dewancker


Under the tide of promoting sustainable development in the world, American universities that have been committed to sustainable practice and innovation, not only have its sustainable campus construction been in the forefront of the world, but also have developed STARS (The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System), which is widely used in the world and highly recognized. At the same time, in the process of global sustainable campus construction, energy problem is often regarded as one of the most important sustainable aspects, even equivalent to the sustainability of campus. Therefore, the relationship between campus energy and sustainability is worth discussing. In this study, four American universities with the highest level evaluated by STARS are selected as examples to compare and analyze the campus energy consumption and the use of new energy, GHG emissions and the overall sustainability of the campus, in order to explore the relationship between campus energy and sustainable construction. It is found that the advantages of sustainable campus construction in the United States are mainly focused on the "software" of management, education, activities, etc. Although different energy-saving measures have been taken in campus energy, the construction results are quite different. Moreover, as an important aspect of sustainable campus, energy can not fully represent the sustainability of campus, but because of the various measures it takes, it can greatly promote the sustainable construction of the whole campus. These measures and construction experiences are worthy of summary and promotion, and have positive reference significance for other universities even communities around the world.

Keywords: sustainable campus, energy consumption, STARS assessment, GHG emissions

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16 Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) Performance Indicators Help Predict Outcomes of Matched Savings Program

Authors: Carlos M. Parra, Matthew Sutherland, Ranjita Poudel


Reduced mental-bandwidth related to low socioeconomic status (low-SES) might lead to impulsivity and risk-taking behavior, which poses as a major hurdle towards asset building (savings) behavior. Understanding the relationship between risk-related personality metrics as well as laboratory risk behavior and real-life savings behavior can help facilitate the development of effective asset building programs, which are vital for mitigating financial vulnerability and income inequality. As such, this study explored the relationship between personality metrics, laboratory behavior in a risky decision-making task and real-life asset building (savings) behaviors among individuals with low-SES from Miami, Florida (FL). Study participants (12 male, 15 female) included racially and ethnically diverse adults (mean age 41.22 ± 12.65 years), with incomplete higher education (18% had High School Diploma, 30% Associates, and 52% Some College), and low annual income (mean $13,872 ± $8020.43). Participants completed eight self-report surveys and played a widely used risky decision-making paradigm called the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). Specifically, participants played three runs of BART (20 trials in each run; total 60 trials). In addition, asset building behavior data was collected for 24 participants who opened and used savings accounts and completed a 6-month savings program that involved monthly matches, and a final reward for completing the savings program without any interim withdrawals. Each participant’s total savings at the end of this program was the main asset building indicator considered. In addition, a new effective use of average pump bet (EUAPB) indicator was developed to characterize each participant’s ability to place winning bets. This indicator takes the ratio of each participant’s total BART earnings to average pump bet (APB) in all 60 trials. Our findings indicated that EUAPB explained more than a third of the variation in total savings among participants. Moreover, participants who managed to obtain BART earnings of at least 30 cents out of their APB, also tended to exhibit better asset building (savings) behavior. In particular, using this criterion to separate participants into high and low EUAPB groups, the nine participants with high EUAPB (mean BART earnings of 35.64 cents per APB) ended up with higher mean total savings ($255.11), while the 15 participants with low EUAPB (mean BART earnings of 22.50 cents per APB) obtained lower mean total savings ($40.01). All mean differences are statistically significant (2-tailed p  .0001) indicating that the relation between higher EUAPB and higher total savings is robust. Overall, these findings can help refine asset building interventions implemented by policy makers and practitioners interested in reducing financial vulnerability among low-SES population. Specifically, by helping identify individuals who are likely to readily take advantage of savings opportunities (such as matched savings programs) and avoiding the stipulation of unnecessary and expensive financial coaching programs to these individuals. This study was funded by J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMC) and carried out by scientists from Florida International University (FIU) in partnership with Catalyst Miami.

Keywords: balloon analogue risk task (BART), matched savings programs, asset building capability, low-SES participants

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15 A Sociological Investigation on the Population and Public Spaces of Nguyen Cong Tru, a Soviet-Style Collective Housing Complex in Hanoi in Regards to Its New Community-Focused Architectural Design

Authors: Duy Nguyen Do, Bart Julien Dewancker


Many Soviet-style collective housing complexes (also known as KTT) were built since the 1960s in Hanoi to support the post-war population growth. Those low-rise buildings have created well-knitted, robust communities, so much to the point that in most complexes, all families in one housing block would know each other, occasionally interact and provide supports in need. To understand how the community of collective housing complexes have developed and maintained in order to adapt their advantages into modern housing designs, the study is executed on the site of Nguyen Cong Tru KTT. This is one of the oldest KTT in Hanoi, completed in 1954. The complex also has an unique characteristic that is closely related to its community: the symbiotic relationship with Hom – a flea market that has been co-developing with Nguyen Cong Tru KTT since its beginning. The research consists of three phases: the first phase is a sociological investigation with Nguyen Cong Tru KTT’s current residents and a site survey on the complex’s economic and architectural characteristics. In the second phase, the collected data is analyzed to find out people’s opinions with the KTT’s concerning their satisfaction with the current housing status, floor plan organization, community, the relationship between the KTT’s dedicated public spaces with the flea market and their usage. Simultaneously, the master plan and gathered information regarding current architectural characteristics of the complex are also inspected. On the third phase, the analyses’ results will provide information regarding the issues, positive trends and significant historical features of the complex’s architecture in order to generate suitable proposals for the redesigning project of Nguyen Cong Tru KTT, a design focused on vitalizing modern apartments’ communities.

Keywords: collective house community, collective house public space, community-focused, redesigning Nguyen Cong Tru KTT, sociological investigation

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14 Analysis of Urban Population Using Twitter Distribution Data: Case Study of Makassar City, Indonesia

Authors: Yuyun Wabula, B. J. Dewancker


In the past decade, the social networking app has been growing very rapidly. Geolocation data is one of the important features of social media that can attach the user's location coordinate in the real world. This paper proposes the use of geolocation data from the Twitter social media application to gain knowledge about urban dynamics, especially on human mobility behavior. This paper aims to explore the relation between geolocation Twitter with the existence of people in the urban area. Firstly, the study will analyze the spread of people in the particular area, within the city using Twitter social media data. Secondly, we then match and categorize the existing place based on the same individuals visiting. Then, we combine the Twitter data from the tracking result and the questionnaire data to catch the Twitter user profile. To do that, we used the distribution frequency analysis to learn the visitors’ percentage. To validate the hypothesis, we compare it with the local population statistic data and land use mapping released by the city planning department of Makassar local government. The results show that there is the correlation between Twitter geolocation and questionnaire data. Thus, integration the Twitter data and survey data can reveal the profile of the social media users.

Keywords: geolocation, Twitter, distribution analysis, human mobility

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13 Reliability and Economic Assessment of Rain Water Harvesting Systems for Diary Production

Authors: Sandra Cecilia Muhirirwe, Violet Kisakye, Bart Van der Bruggen


The need for rainwater harvesting is continuously growing as a supplement to other water sources and also, the operation and maintenance costs remain low after the initial investment. To determine the optimal rainwater harvesting tank size, the daily water balance method. Princeton Global Forcing (PGF) data gridded at (0.25° × 0.25°) is used after comparison with observed data. Correlations between PGF and observed stations varied by under or over-estimating the precipitation. PGF series could ably reproduce observed rainfall hence they were used. According to the results, reliability is higher for larger rainwater tank sizes and also higher for larger collections areas. Areas that receive more rainfall have higher reliabilities and require smaller tank sizes. Meeting 100% reliabilities requires collection areas greater than 500 m² for demand of 750 L/day. Reliability was investigated for different tank volumes and an insignificant increase in reliability was observed for tank sizes greater than 50 m³. A roof collection area of at least 250 m² and tank size of 120 m³ and above is recommended.

Keywords: cost-benefit, reliability, rainwater harvesting, optimization

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12 Crop Water Productivity for Sunflower under Different Irrigation Regimes and Plant Spacing, at Gezira Clay Soil, Sudan

Authors: R. A. Eman Elsheikh, Bart Schultz, Abraham Mehari Haile, Hussein S. Adam


A field experiment was conducted at Gezira research station farm during the winter season in the third week of November 2012, in WadMedani, Sudan (Lat 14.23 W, Long 33.39 E and altitude 405 m above sea level, in deep cracking alkaline heavy clay Vertisols). The objective of this study was to determine the effect of three different irrigation for 10 days (W1), 15 days (W2) and 20 days (W3) and for two rows of 30 cm (S1) and 40 cm (S2), respectively. The experimental design was split plot with three replicates. The sunflower test variety was Hysun 33 cultivar. The seasonal water applied during the study was 6898, 6647, 5256, 5435, 5214, 5416 m3/ha for W1S1, W1S2, W2S1, W2S2, W3S1 and W3S2 respectively. The seed yield obtained for the above treatment in that sequence was 4208, 5542, 5167, 4579, 2931, 2936 kg/ha. The corresponding computed water productivity was 0.61, 0.82, 0.87, 0.95, 0.54, 0.56 kg/m3. The study clearly indicated that the highest seed yield was obtained when the crop was sown at 40 cm row spacing and was irrigated every 10 days (W1S2), followed by W2S1.

Keywords: water productivity, water deficit, sunflower, plant spacing

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11 From Script to Film: The Fading Voice of the Screenwriter

Authors: Ana Sofia Torres Pereira


On January 15th 2015, Peter Bart, editor in chief of Variety Magazine, published an article in the aforementioned magazine posing the following question “Are screenwriters becoming obsolete in Hollywood?” Is Hollywood loosing its interest in well plotted, well written scripts crafted by professionals? That screenwriters have been undervalued, forgotten and left behind since the begging of film, is a well-known fact, but ate they now at the brink of extinction? If fiction films are about people, stories, so, simply put, all about the script, what does it mean to say that the screenwriter is becoming obsolete? What will be the consequences of the possible death of the screenwriter for the cinema world? All of these questions lead us to an ultimate one: What is the true importance of a screenwriter? What can a screenwriter do that a director, for instance, can’t? How should a script be written and read in order not to become obsolete? And what about those countries, like Portugal, for example, in which the figure of the screenwriter is yet to be heard and known? How can screenwriters find their voice in a world driven by the tyrannical voice of the Director? In a demanding cinema world where the Director is considered the author of a film, it’s important to know where we can find the voice of the screenwriter, the true language of the screenplay and the importance this voice and specific language might have for the future of story telling and of film. In a paper that admittedly poses more questions than answers, I will try to unveil the importance a screenplay might have in Hollywood, in Portugal and in the cinema and communication world in general.

Keywords: cinema, communication, director, language, screenplay, screenwriting, story

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10 Entrepreneurial Support Ecosystem: Role of Research Institutes

Authors: Ayna Yusubova, Bart Clarysse


This paper explores role of research institutes in creation of support ecosystem for new technology-based ventures. Previous literature introduced research institutes as part of business and knowledge ecosystem, very few studies are available that consider a research institute as an ecosystem that support high-tech startups at every stage of development. Based on a resource-based view and a stage-based model of high-tech startups growth, this study aims to analyze how a research institute builds a startup support ecosystem by attracting different stakeholders in order to help startups to overcome resource. This paper is based on an in-depth case study of public research institute that focus on development of entrepreneurial ecosystem in a developed region. Analysis shows that the idea generation stage of high-tech startups that related to the invention and development of product or technology for commercialization is associated with a lack of critical knowledge resources. Second, at growth phase that related to market entrance, high-tech startups face challenges associated with the development of their business network. Accordingly, the study shows the support ecosystem that research institute creates helps high-tech startups overcome resource gaps in order to achieve a successful transition from one phase of growth to the next.

Keywords: new technology-based firms, ecosystems, resources, business incubators, research instutes

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9 MAGE-A3 and PRAME Gene Expression and EGFR Mutation Status in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Authors: Renata Checiches, Thierry Coche, Nicolas F. Delahaye, Albert Linder, Fernando Ulloa Montoya, Olivier Gruselle, Karen Langfeld, An de Creus, Bart Spiessens, Vincent G. Brichard, Jamila Louahed, Frédéric F. Lehmann


Background: The RNA-expression levels of cancer-testis antigens MAGE A3 and PRAME were determined in resected tissue from patients with primary non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and related to clinical outcome. EGFR, KRAS and BRAF mutation status was determined in a subset to investigate associations with MAGE A3 and PRAME expression. Methods: We conducted a single-centre, uncontrolled, retrospective study of 1260 tissue-bank samples from stage IA-III resected NSCLC. The prognostic value of antigen expression (qRT-PCR) was determined by hazard-ratio and Kaplan-Meier curves. Results: Thirty-seven percent (314/844) of tumours expressed MAGE-A3, 66% (723/1092) expressed PRAME and 31% (239/839) expressed both. Respective frequencies in squamous-cell tumours and adenocarcinomas were 43%/30% for MAGE A3 and 80%/44% for PRAME. No correlation with stage, tumour size or patient age was found. Overall, no prognostic value was identified for either antigen. A trend to poorer overall survival was associated with MAGE-A3 in stage IIIB and with PRAME in stage IB. EGFR and KRAS mutations were found in 10.1% (28/311) and 33.8% (97/311) of tumours, respectively. EGFR (but not KRAS) mutation status was negatively associated with PRAME expression. Conclusion: No clear prognostic value for either PRAME or MAGE A3 was observed in the overall population, although some observed trends may warrant further investigation.

Keywords: MAGE A3, PRAME, cancer-testis gene, NSCLC, survival, EGFR

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8 The Hydrotrope-Mediated, Low-Temperature, Aqueous Dissolution of Maize Starch

Authors: Jeroen Vinkx, Jan A. Delcour, Bart Goderis


Complete aqueous dissolution of starch is notoriously difficult. A high-temperature autoclaving process is necessary, followed by cooling the solution below its boiling point. The cooled solution is inherently unstable over time. Gelation and retrogradation processes, along with aggregation-induced by undissolved starch remnants, result in starch precipitation. We recently observed the spontaneous gelatinization of native maize starch (MS) in aqueous sodium salicylate (NaSal) solutions at room temperature. A hydrotropic mode of solubilization is hypothesized. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized optical microscopy (POM) of starch dispersions in NaSal solution were used to demonstrate the room temperature gelatinization of MS at different concentrations of MS and NaSal. The DSC gelatinization peak shifts to lower temperatures, and the gelatinization enthalpy decreases with increasing NaSal concentration. POM images confirm the same trend through the disappearance of the ‘Maltese cross’ interference pattern of starch granules. The minimal NaSal concentration to induce complete room temperature dissolution of MS was found to be around 15-20 wt%. The MS content of the dispersion has little influence on the amount of NaSal needed to dissolve it. The effect of the NaSal solution on the MS molecular weight was checked with HPSEC. It is speculated that, because of its amphiphilic character, NaSal enhances the solubility of MS in water by association with the more hydrophobic MS moieties, much like urea, which has also been used to enhance starch dissolution in alkaline aqueous media. As such small molecules do not tend to form micelles in water, they are called hydrotropes rather than surfactants. A minimal hydrotrope concentration (MHC) is necessary for the hydrotropes to structure themselves in water, resulting in a higher solubility of MS. This is the case for the system MS/NaSal/H₂O. Further investigations into the putative hydrotropic dissolution mechanism are necessary.

Keywords: hydrotrope, dissolution, maize starch, sodium salicylate, gelatinization

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7 The Three-Dimensional Kinematics of the Sprint Start in Young Elite Sprinters

Authors: Saeed Ilbeigi, Bart Van Gheluwe


The purpose of this study was to identify the three-dimensional kinematics of the sprint start during the start phase of the sprint. The purpose of this study was to identify the three-dimensional kinematics of the sprint start during the start phase of the sprint. Moreover, the effect of anthropometrical factors such as skeletal muscle mass, thigh girth, and calf girth also were considered on the kinematics of the sprint start. Among all young sprinters involved in the national Belgium league, sixty sprinters (boys: 14.7 ± 1.8 years and girls: 14.8±1.5 years) were randomly selected. The kinematics data of the sprint start were collected with a Vicon® 620 motion analysis system equipped with 12 infrared cameras running at 250 Hz and running the Vicon Data Station software. For statistical analysis, T-tests and ANOVA׳s with Scheffé post hoc test were used and the significant level was set as p≤0.05. The results showed that the angular positions of the lower joints of the young sprinters in the set position were comparable with adult figures from literature, however, with a greater range of joint extension. The most significant difference between boys and girls was found in the set position, where the boys presented a more dorsiflexed ankle. No further gender effect was observed during the leaving the blocks and contact phase. The sprinters with a higher age, skeletal muscle mass, thigh girth, and calf girth displayed a better angular position of the lower joints (e.g. ankle, knee, hip) in the set position, a more optimal angular position for the foot and knee for absorbing impact forces at foot contact and finally a higher range of flexion/extension motion to produce force and power when leaving the blocks.

Keywords: anthropometry, kinematics, sprint start, young elite sprinters

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6 AquaCrop Model Simulation for Water Productivity of Teff (Eragrostic tef): A Case Study in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Authors: Yenesew Mengiste Yihun, Abraham Mehari Haile, Teklu Erkossa, Bart Schultz


Teff (Eragrostic tef) is a staple food in Ethiopia. The local and international demand for the crop is ever increasing pushing the current price five times compared with that in 2006. To meet this escalating demand increasing production including using irrigation is imperative. Optimum application of irrigation water, especially in semi-arid areas is profoundly important. AquaCrop model application in irrigation water scheduling and simulation of water productivity helps both irrigation planners and agricultural water managers. This paper presents simulation and evaluation of AquaCrop model in optimizing the yield and biomass response to variation in timing and rate of irrigation water application. Canopy expansion, canopy senescence and harvest index are the key physiological processes sensitive to water stress. For full irrigation water application treatment there was a strong relationship between the measured and simulated canopy and biomass with r2 and d values of 0.87 and 0.96 for canopy and 0.97 and 0.74 for biomass, respectively. However, the model under estimated the simulated yield and biomass for higher water stress level. For treatment receiving full irrigation the harvest index value obtained were 29%. The harvest index value shows generally a decreasing trend under water stress condition. AquaCrop model calibration and validation using the dry season field experiments of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 shows that AquaCrop adequately simulated the yield response to different irrigation water scenarios. We conclude that the AquaCrop model can be used in irrigation water scheduling and optimizing water productivity of Teff grown under water scarce semi-arid conditions.

Keywords: AquaCrop, climate smart agriculture, simulation, teff, water security, water stress regions

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5 Economic Analysis of Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Dairy Cattle

Authors: Sandra Cecilia Muhirirwe, Bart Van Der Bruggen, Violet Kisakye


Economic analysis of Rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems is vital in search of a cost-effective solution to water unreliability, especially in low-income countries. There is little literature focusing on the financial aspects of RWH for dairy farmers. The main purpose was to assess the economic viability of rainwater harvesting for diary framers in the Rwenzori region. The study focused on the use of rainwater harvesting systems from the rooftop and collection in above surface tanks. Daily rainfall time series for 12 years was obtained across nine gauging stations. The daily water balance equation was used for optimal sizing of the tank. Economic analysis of the investment was carried out based on the life cycle costs and the accruing benefits for the period of 15 years. Roof areas were varied from 75m2 as the minimum required area to 500m2 while maintaining the same number of cattle and keeping the daily water demand constant. The results show that the required rainwater tank sizes are very large and may be impractical to install due to the strongly varying terrain and the initial cost of investment. In all districts, there is a significant reduction of the volume of the required tank with an increasing collection area. The results further show that increasing the collection area has a minor effect on reducing the required tank size. Generally, for all rainfall areas, the reliability increases with an increase in the roof area. The results indicate that 100% reliability can only be realized with very large collection areas that are impractical to install. The estimated benefits outweigh the cost of investment. The Present Net Value shows that the investment is economically viable and investment with a short payback of a maximum of 3 years for all the time series in the study area.

Keywords: dairy cattle, optimisation, rainwater harvesting, economic analysis

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4 Off-Body Sub-GHz Wireless Channel Characterization for Dairy Cows in Barns

Authors: Said Benaissa, David Plets, Emmeric Tanghe, Jens Trogh, Luc Martens, Leen Vandaele, Annelies Van Nuffel, Frank A. M. Tuyttens, Bart Sonck, Wout Joseph


The herd monitoring and managing - in particular the detection of ‘attention animals’ that require care, treatment or assistance is crucial for effective reproduction status, health, and overall well-being of dairy cows. In large sized farms, traditional methods based on direct observation or analysis of video recordings become labour-intensive and time-consuming. Thus, automatic monitoring systems using sensors have become increasingly important to continuously and accurately track the health status of dairy cows. Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) and internet-of-things (IoT) can be effectively used in health tracking of dairy cows to facilitate herd management and enhance the cow welfare. Since on-cow measuring devices are energy-constrained, a proper characterization of the off-body wireless channel between the on-cow sensor nodes and the back-end base station is required for a power-optimized deployment of these networks in barns. The aim of this study was to characterize the off-body wireless channel in indoor (barns) environment at 868 MHz using LoRa nodes. LoRa is an emerging wireless technology mainly targeted at WSNs and IoT networks. Both large scale fading (i.e., path loss) and temporal fading were investigated. The obtained path loss values as a function of the transmitter-receiver separation were well fitted by a lognormal path loss model. The path loss showed an additional increase of 4 dB when the wireless node was actually worn by the cow. The temporal fading due to movement of other cows was well described by Rician distributions with a K-factor of 8.5 dB. Based on this characterization, network planning and energy consumption optimization of the on-body wireless nodes could be performed, which enables the deployment of reliable dairy cow monitoring systems.

Keywords: channel, channel modelling, cow monitoring, dairy cows, health monitoring, IoT, LoRa, off-body propagation, PLF, propagation

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3 The Competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Digital Transformation of Business Models

Authors: Chante Van Tonder, Bart Bossink, Chris Schachtebeck, Cecile Nieuwenhuizen


Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play a key role in national economies around the world, being contributors to economic and social well-being. Due to this, the success, growth and competitiveness of SMEs are critical. However, there are many factors that undermine this, such as resource constraints, poor information communication infrastructure (ICT), skills shortages and poor management. The Fourth Industrial Revolution offers new tools and opportunities such as digital transformation and business model innovation (BMI) to the SME sector to enhance its competitiveness. Adopting and leveraging digital technologies such as cloud, mobile technologies, big data and analytics can significantly improve business efficiencies, value proposition and customer experiences. Digital transformation can contribute to the growth and competitiveness of SMEs. However, SMEs are lagging behind in the participation of digital transformation. Extant research lacks conceptual and empirical research on how digital transformation drives BMI and the impact it has on the growth and competitiveness of SMEs. The purpose of the study is, therefore, to close this gap by developing and empirically validating a conceptual model to determine if SMEs are achieving BMI through digital transformation and how this is impacting the growth, competitiveness and overall business performance. An empirical study is being conducted on 300 SMEs, consisting of 150 South-African and 150 Dutch SMEs, to achieve this purpose. Structural equation modeling is used, since it is a multivariate statistical analysis technique that is used to analyse structural relationships and is a suitable research method to test the hypotheses in the model. Empirical research is needed to gather more insight into how and if SMEs are digitally transformed and how BMI can be driven through digital transformation. The findings of this study can be used by SME business owners, managers and employees at all levels. The findings will indicate if digital transformation can indeed impact the growth, competitiveness and overall performance of an SME, reiterating the importance and potential benefits of adopting digital technologies. In addition, the findings will also exhibit how BMI can be achieved in light of digital transformation. This study contributes to the body of knowledge in a highly relevant and important topic in management studies by analysing the impact of digital transformation on BMI on a large number of SMEs that are distinctly different in economic and cultural factors

Keywords: business models, business model innovation, digital transformation, SMEs

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2 The Impact of Improved Grain Storage Technology on Marketing Behaviour and Livelihoods of Maize Farmers: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Ethiopia

Authors: Betelhem M. Negede, Maarten Voors, Hugo De Groote, Bart Minten


Farmers in Ethiopia produce most of their own food during one agricultural season per year. Therefore, they need to use on-farm storage technologies to bridge the lean season and benefit from price arbitrage. Maize stored using traditional storage bags offer no protection from insects and molds, leading to high storage losses. In Ethiopia access to and use of modern storage technologies are still limited, restraining farmers to benefit from local maize price fluctuations. We used a randomized controlled trial among 871 maize farmers to evaluate the impacts of Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags, also known as hermetic bags, on storage losses, and especially on behavioral changes with respect to consumption, marketing, and income among maize farmers in Ethiopia. This study builds upon the limited previous experimental research that has tried to understand farmers’ grain storage and post-harvest losses and identify mechanisms behind the persistence of these challenges. Our main hypothesis is that access to PICS bags allows farmers to increase production, storage and maize income. Also delay the length of maize storage, reduce maize post-harvest losses and improve their food security. Our results show that even though farmers received only three PICS bags that represent 10percent of their total maize stored, they delay their length of maize storage for sales by two weeks. However, we find no treatment effect on maize income, suggesting that the arbitrage of two weeks is too small. Also, we do not find any reduction in storage losses due to farmers’ reaction by selling early and by using cheap and readily available but potentially harmful storage chemicals. Looking at the heterogeneity treatment effects between the treatment variable and highland and lowland villages, we find a decrease in the percentage of maize stored by 4 percent in the highland villages. This confirms that location specific factors, such as agro-ecology and proximity to markets are important factors that influence whether and how much of the harvest a farmer stores. These findings highlight the benefits of hermetic storage bags, by allowing farmers to make inter-temporal arbitrage and by reducing potential health risks from storage chemicals. The main policy recommendation that emanates from our study is that postharvest losses reduction throughout the whole value chain is an important pathway to food and income security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, future storage loss interventions with hermetic storage technologies should take into account the agro-ecology of the study area and quantify storage losses beyond farmers self-reported losses, such as the count and weigh method. Finally, studies on hermetic storage technologies indicate positive impacts on post-harvest losses and in improving food security, but the adoption and use of these technologies is currently still low in SSA. Therefore, future works on the scaling up of hermetic bags, should consider reasons why farmers only use PICS bags to store grains for consumption, which is usually related to a safety-first approach or due to lack of incentives (higher price from maize not treated with chemicals), and no grain quality check.

Keywords: arbitrage, PICS hermetic bags, post-harvest storage loss, RCT

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1 Generative Syntaxes: Macro-Heterophony and the Form of ‘Synchrony’

Authors: Luminiţa Duţică, Gheorghe Duţică


One of the most powerful language innovation in the twentieth century music was the heterophony–hypostasis of the vertical syntax entered into the sphere of interest of many composers, such as George Enescu, Pierre Boulez, Mauricio Kagel, György Ligeti and others. The heterophonic syntax has a history of its growth, which means a succession of different concepts and writing techniques. The trajectory of settling this phenomenon does not necessarily take into account the chronology: there are highly complex primary stages and advanced stages of returning to the simple forms of writing. In folklore, the plurimelodic simultaneities are free or random and originate from the (unintentional) differences/‘deviations’ from the state of unison, through a variety of ornaments, melismas, imitations, elongations and abbreviations, all in a flexible rhythmic and non-periodic/immeasurable framework, proper to the parlando-rubato rhythmics. Within the general framework of the multivocal organization, the heterophonic syntax in elaborate (academic) version has imposed itself relatively late compared with polyphony and homophony. Of course, the explanation is simple, if we consider the causal relationship between the sound vocabulary elements – in this case, the modalism – and the typologies of vertical organization appropriate for it. Therefore, adding up the ‘classic’ pathway of the writing typologies (monody – polyphony – homophony), heterophony - applied equally to the structures of modal, serial or synthesis vocabulary – reclaims necessarily an own macrotemporal form, in the sense of the analogies enshrined by the evolution of the musical styles and languages: polyphony→fugue, homophony→sonata. Concerned about the prospect of edifying a new musical ontology, the composer Ştefan Niculescu experienced – along with the mathematical organization of heterophony according to his own original methods – the possibility of extrapolation of this phenomenon in macrostructural plan, reaching this way to the unique form of ‘synchrony’. Founded on coincidentia oppositorum principle (involving the ‘one-multiple’ binom), the sound architecture imagined by Ştefan Niculescu consists in one (temporal) model / algorithm of articulation of two sound states: 1. monovocality state (principle of identity) and 2. multivocality state (principle of difference). In this context, the heterophony becomes an (auto)generative mechanism, with macrotemporal amplitude, strategy that will be grown by the composer, practically throughout his creation (see the works: Ison I, Ison II, Unisonos I, Unisonos II, Duplum, Triplum, Psalmus, Héterophonies pour Montreux (Homages to Enescu and Bartók etc.). For the present demonstration, we selected one of the most edifying works of Ştefan Niculescu – Simphony II, Opus dacicum – where the form of (heterophony-)synchrony acquires monumental-symphonic features, representing an emblematic case for the complexity level achieved by this type of vertical syntax in the twentieth century music.

Keywords: heterophony, modalism, serialism, synchrony, syntax

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