Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 9

Search results for: Diogo Prosdocimi

9 Identification and Optimisation of South Africa's Basic Access Road Network

Authors: Diogo Prosdocimi, Don Ross, Matthew Townshend


Road authorities are mandated within limited budgets to both deliver improved access to basic services and facilitate economic growth. This responsibility is further complicated if maintenance backlogs and funding shortfalls exist, as evident in many countries including South Africa. These conditions require authorities to make difficult prioritisation decisions, with the effect that Road Asset Management Systems with a one-dimensional focus on traffic volumes may overlook the maintenance of low-volume roads that provide isolated communities with vital access to basic services. Given these challenges, this paper overlays the full South African road network with geo-referenced information for population, primary and secondary schools, and healthcare facilities to identify the network of connective roads between communities and basic service centres. This connective network is then rationalised according to the Gross Value Added and number of jobs per mesozone, administrative and functional road classifications, speed limit, and road length, location, and name to estimate the Basic Access Road Network. A two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method, capturing a weighted assessment of drive-time to service centres and the ratio of people within a catchment area to teachers and healthcare workers, is subsequently applied to generate a Multivariate Road Index. This Index is used to assign higher maintenance priority to roads within the Basic Access Road Network that provide more people with better access to services. The relatively limited incidence of Basic Access Roads indicates that authorities could maintain the entire estimated network without exhausting the available road budget before practical economic considerations get any purchase. Despite this fact, a final case study modelling exercise is performed for the Namakwa District Municipality to demonstrate the extent to which optimal relocation of schools and healthcare facilities could minimise the Basic Access Road Network and thereby release budget for investment in roads that best promote GDP growth.

Keywords: basic access roads, multivariate road index, road prioritisation, two-step floating catchment area method

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8 Particle Swarm Optimization and Quantum Particle Swarm Optimization to Multidimensional Function Approximation

Authors: Diogo Silva, Fadul Rodor, Carlos Moraes


This work compares the results of multidimensional function approximation using two algorithms: the classical Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and the Quantum Particle Swarm Optimization (QPSO). These algorithms were both tested on three functions - The Rosenbrock, the Rastrigin, and the sphere functions - with different characteristics by increasing their number of dimensions. As a result, this study shows that the higher the function space, i.e. the larger the function dimension, the more evident the advantages of using the QPSO method compared to the PSO method in terms of performance and number of necessary iterations to reach the stop criterion.

Keywords: Optimization, PSO, function approximation, QPSO, multidimensional functions

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7 Creatures of the Clearing: Forests, People, and Ants in Imperial Brazil

Authors: Diogo de Carvalho Cabral


This article offers a non-declensionist account of tropical deforestation, arguing that, rather than social stamp upon the environment or ecological endgame, deforestation is part of social site-making and remaking, the process through which humans produce sociality by carrying out nature-mediated – and therefore nature-transforming – practices that inevitably reset the very conditions of those practices. Human landscape-shaping inadvertently alters other species’ habitats –most often decimating them, but sometimes improving them–, the outcomes of which always resonate back upon human inhabitation and land use. Despite the overall tendency of biotic homogenization resulting from modern deforestation processes, there are always winners, i.e., species that gain competitive advantages enabling them to thrive in the novel ecosystems. Here it is examined one such case of deforestation-boosted species, namely leafcutter ants, which wrought havoc in the rural landscapes of nineteenth-century Brazil by defoliating a wide range of crops. By combining Historical GIS analysis and qualitative interpretation, it is shown how agricultural deforestation might have changed the ant species' biogeographies, and how in turn these changes – construed as 'infestation' – stimulated social innovations and rearrangements such as technical ingenuity, legal-administrative practices, and even local electoral arenas.

Keywords: Deforestation, leafcutter ants, nineteenth-century Brazil, socio-ecological change

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6 Economic Analysis of Domestic Combined Heat and Power System in the UK

Authors: Yong Chen, Thamo Sutharssan, Diogo Montalvao, Wen-Chung Wang, Claudia Pisac


A combined heat and power (CHP) system is an efficient and clean way to generate power (electricity). Heat produced by the CHP system can be used for water and space heating. The CHP system which uses hydrogen as fuel produces zero carbon emission. Its’ efficiency can reach more than 80% whereas that of a traditional power station can only reach up to 50% because much of the thermal energy is wasted. The other advantages of CHP systems include that they can decentralize energy generation, improve energy security and sustainability, and significantly reduce the energy cost to the users. This paper presents the economic benefits of using a CHP system in the domestic environment. For this analysis, natural gas is considered as potential fuel as the hydrogen fuel cell based CHP systems are rarely used. UK government incentives for CHP systems are also considered as the added benefit. Results show that CHP requires a significant initial investment in return it can reduce the annual energy bill significantly. Results show that an investment may be paid back in 7 years. After the back period, CHP can run for about 3 years as most of the CHP manufacturers provide 10-year warranty.

Keywords: clean energy, Hydrogen fuel cell, Zero Emission, combined heat and power, economic analysis of CHP

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5 Extension-Torsion-Inflation Coupling in Compressible Magnetoelastomeric Tubes with Helical Magnetic Anisotropy

Authors: Ajeet Kumar, Darius Diogo Barreto, Sushma Santapuri


We present an axisymmetric variational formulation for coupled extension-torsion-inflation deformation in magnetoelastomeric thin tubes when both azimuthal and axial magnetic fields are applied. The tube's material is assumed to have a preferred magnetization direction which imparts helical magnetic anisotropy to the tube. We have also derived the expressions of the first derivative of free energy per unit tube's undeformed length with respect to various imposed strain parameters. On applying the thin tube limit, the two nonlinear ordinary differential equations to obtain the in-plane radial displacement and radial component of the Lagrangian magnetic field get converted into a set of three simple algebraic equations. This allows us to obtain simple analytical expressions in terms of the applied magnetic field, magnetization direction, and magnetoelastic constants, which tell us how these parameters can be tuned to generate positive/negative Poisson's effect in such tubes. We consider both torsionally constrained and torsionally relaxed stretching of the tube. The study can be useful in designing magnetoelastic tubular actuators.

Keywords: nonlinear magnetoelasticity, extension-torsion coupling, negative Poisson's effect, helical anisotropy, thin tube

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4 Strategies for Student Recruitment in Civil Engineering

Authors: Diogo Ribeiro, Teresa Neto, Ricardo Santos, Maria Portela, Alexandra Trincão


This article describes a set of innovating student recruitment strategies in a 1st cycle course of Civil Engineering, in particular the Civil Engineering Degree from the School of Engineering - Polytechnic of Porto (ISEP-PP). The strategies described were two-fold, targeting, for one, the increment on the number of admissions for the degree’s first year and two, promoting the re-entry of students who, for whatever reason, interrupted their studies. For the first objective, teacher-student binomials were set, whilst for the second, personalized contacts and assistance were provided. The main initiatives were promoted by the team of degree directors and were upheld with the participation and in consonance with the School’s external relations office. These initiatives were put forward as an attempt to minimize the impact of a national and international crisis on the AEC industry when the sustainability of the course was at risk. The implementation of these strategies was assessed on basis of a statistical analysis of the data collected from official sources and by surveys promoted. The results showed that the re-entry boost of former students, attending classes scattered on the three curricular years, secured registrations on some Curricular Units (UC’s) which more than doubled their numbers. Accompanied by a still incipient but regained interest on Civil Engineering it was possible in the short span of three years to reset the number of new students from less than 10 to the currently maximum allowed of 75, and so invert the tendency of an abrupt decline on the total number of students enrolled on the degree.

Keywords: Civil Engineering, monitoring, Strategies, Performance Indicators, student recruitment

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3 Symbolic Partial Differential Equations Analysis Using Mathematica

Authors: Davit Shahnazaryan, Diogo Gomes, Mher Safaryan


Many symbolic computations and manipulations required in the analysis of partial differential equations (PDE) or systems of PDEs are tedious and error-prone. These computations arise when determining conservation laws, entropies or integral identities, which are essential tools for the study of PDEs. Here, we discuss a new Mathematica package for the symbolic analysis of PDEs that automate multiple tasks, saving time and effort. Methodologies: During the research, we have used concepts of linear algebra and partial differential equations. We have been working on creating algorithms based on theoretical mathematics to find results mentioned below. Major Findings: Our package provides the following functionalities; finding symmetry group of different PDE systems, generation of polynomials invariant with respect to different symmetry groups; simplification of integral quantities by integration by parts and null Lagrangian cleaning, computing general forms of expressions by integration by parts; finding equivalent forms of an integral expression that are simpler or more symmetric form; determining necessary and sufficient conditions on the coefficients for the positivity of a given symbolic expression. Conclusion: Using this package, we can simplify integral identities, find conserved and dissipated quantities of time-dependent PDE or system of PDEs. Some examples in the theory of mean-field games and semiconductor equations are discussed.

Keywords: Partial Differential Equations, Symbolic Computation, Mathematica, conserved and dissipated quantities

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2 Expansion of Cord Blood Cells Using a Mix of Neurotrophic Factors

Authors: Francisco Dos Santos, Diogo Fonseca-Pereira, Sílvia Arroz-Madeira, Henrique Veiga-Fernandes


Haematopoiesis is a developmental process that generates all blood cell lineages in health and disease. This relies on quiescent haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that are able to differentiate, self renew and expand upon physiological demand. HSCs have great interest in regenerative medicine, including haematological malignancies, immunodeficiencies and metabolic disorders. However, the limited yield from existing HSC sources drives the global need for reliable techniques to expand harvested HSCs at high quality and sufficient quantities. With the extensive use of cord blood progenitors for clinical applications, there is a demand for a safe and efficient expansion protocol that is able to overcome the limitations of the cord blood as a source of HSC. StemCell2MAXTM developed a technology that enhances the survival, proliferation and transplantation efficiency of HSC, leading the way to a more widespread use of HSC for research and clinical purposes. StemCell2MAXTM MIX is a solution that improves HSC expansion up to 20x, while preserving stemness, when compared to state-of-the-art. In a recent study by a leading cord blood bank, StemCell2MAX MIX was shown to support a selective 100-fold expansion of CD34+ Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells (when compared to a 10-fold expansion of Total Nucleated Cells), while maintaining their multipotent differentiative potential as assessed by CFU assays. The technology developed by StemCell2MAXTM opens new horizons for the usage of expanded hematopoietic progenitors for both research purposes (including quality and functional assays in Cord Blood Banks) and clinical applications.

Keywords: Transplantation, expansion, Cord Blood, hematopoietic stem cell

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1 Acerola and Orange By-Products as Sources of Bioactive Compounds for Probiotic Fermented Milks

Authors: Tatyane Lopes de Freitas, Antonio Diogo S. Vieira, Susana Marta Isay Saad, Maria Ines Genovese


The fruit processing industries generate a large volume of residues to produce juices, pulps, and jams. These residues, or by-products, consisting of peels, seeds, and pulps, are routinely discarded. Fruits are rich in bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, which have positive effects on health. Dry residues from two fruits, acerola (M. emarginata D. C.) and orange (C. sinensis), were characterized in relation to contents of ascorbic acid, minerals, total dietary fibers, moisture, ash, lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates, and also high performance liquid chromatographic profile of flavonoids, total polyphenols and proanthocyanidins contents, and antioxidant capacity by three different methods (Ferric reducing antioxidant power assay-FRAP, Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity-ORAC, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazil (DPPH) radical scavenging activity). Acerola by-products presented the highest acid ascorbic content (605 mg/100 g), and better antioxidant capacity than orange by-products. The dry residues from acerola demonstrated high contents of proanthocyanidins (617 µg CE/g) and total polyphenols (2525 mg gallic acid equivalents - GAE/100 g). Both presented high total dietary fiber (above 60%) and protein contents (acerola: 10.4%; orange: 9.9%), and reduced fat content (acerola: 1.6%; orange: 2.6%). Both residues showed high levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and were considered sources of these minerals. With acerola by-product, four formulations of probiotics fermented milks were produced: F0 (without the addition of acerola residue (AR)), F2 (2% AR), F5 (5% AR) and F10 (10% AR). The physicochemical characteristics of the fermented milks throughout of storage were investigated, as well as the impact of in vitro simulated gastrointestinal conditions on flavonoids and probiotics. The microorganisms analyzed maintained their populations around 8 log CFU/g during storage. After the gastric phase of the simulated digestion, the populations decreased, and after the enteric phase, no colonies were detected. On the other hand, the flavonoids increased after the gastric phase, maintaining or suffering small decrease after enteric phase. Acerola by-products powder is a valuable ingredient to be used in functional foods because is rich in vitamin C, fibers and flavonoids. These flavonoids appear to be highly resistant to the acids and salts of digestion.

Keywords: by-products, fermented milk, orange, acerola

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