Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 16

Search results for: Eran Oren

16 Processing Mild versus Strong Violations in Music: A Pilot Study Using Event-Related Potentials

Authors: Marie-Eve Joret, Marijn Van Vliet, Flavio Camarrone, Marc M. Van Hulle


Event-related potentials (ERPs) provide evidence that the human brain can process and understand music at a pre-attentive level. Music-specific ERPs include the Early Right Anterior Negativity (ERAN) and a late Negativity (N5). This study aims to further investigate this issue using two types of syntactic manipulations in music: mild violations, containing no out-of-key tones and strong violations, containing out-of-key tones. We will examine whether both manipulations will elicit the same ERPs.

Keywords: ERAN ERPs, Music, N5, P3, ERPs, Music, N5 component, P3 component

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15 Bionaut™: A Microrobotic Drug-Device Platform for the Local Treatment of Brainstem Gliomas

Authors: Alex Kiselyov, Suehyun Cho, Darrell Harrington; Florent Cros, Olin Palmer, John Caputo, Michael Kardosh, Eran Oren, William Loudon, Michael Shpigelmacher


Despite the most aggressive surgical and adjuvant therapeutic strategies, treatment of both pediatric and adult brainstem tumors remains problematic. Novel strategies, including targeted biologics, immunotherapy, and specialized delivery systems such as convection-enhanced delivery (CED), have been proposed. While some of these novel treatments are entering phase I trials, the field is still in need of treatment(s) that exhibits dramatically enhanced potency with optimal therapeutic ratio. Bionaut Labs has developed a modular microrobotic platform for performing localized delivery of diverse therapeutics in vivo. Our biocompatible particles (Bionauts™) are externally propelled and visualized in real-time. Bionauts™ are specifically designed to enhance the effect of radiation therapy via anatomically precise delivery of a radiosensitizing agent, as exemplified by temozolomide (TMZ) and Avastin™ to the brainstem gliomas of diverse origin. The treatment protocol is designed to furnish a better therapeutic outcome due to the localized (vs systemic) delivery of the drug to the neoplastic lesion(s) for use as a synergistic combination of radiation and radiosensitizing agent. In addition, the procedure is minimally invasive and is expected to be appropriate for both adult and pediatric patients. Current progress, including platform optimization, selection of the lead radiosensitizer as well as in vivo safety studies of the Bionauts™ in large animals, specifically the spine and the brain of porcine and ovine models, will be discussed.

Keywords: Bionaut, brainstem, glioma, local delivery, micro-robot, radiosensitizer

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14 Bionaut™: A Breakthrough Robotic Microdevice to Treat Non-Communicating Hydrocephalus in Both Adult and Pediatric Patients

Authors: Suehyun Cho, Darrell Harrington, Florent Cros, Olin Palmer, John Caputo, Michael Kardosh, Eran Oren, William Loudon, Alex Kiselyov, Michael Shpigelmacher


Bionaut Labs, LLC is developing a minimally invasive robotic microdevice designed to treat non-communicating hydrocephalus in both adult and pediatric patients. The device utilizes biocompatible microsurgical particles (Bionaut™) that are specifically designed to safely and reliably perform accurate fenestration(s) in the 3rd ventricle, aqueduct of Sylvius, and/or trapped intraventricular cysts of the brain in order to re-establish normal cerebrospinal fluid flow dynamics and thereby balance and/or normalize intra/intercompartmental pressure. The Bionaut™ is navigated to the target via CSF or brain tissue in a minimally invasive fashion with precise control using real-time imaging. Upon reaching the pre-defined anatomical target, the external driver allows for directing the specific microsurgical action defined to achieve the surgical goal. Notable features of the proposed protocol are i) Bionaut™ access to the intraventricular target follows a clinically validated endoscopy trajectory which may not be feasible via ‘traditional’ rigid endoscopy: ii) the treatment is microsurgical, there are no foreign materials left behind post-procedure; iii) Bionaut™ is an untethered device that is navigated through the subarachnoid and intraventricular compartments of the brain, following pre-designated non-linear trajectories as determined by the safest anatomical and physiological path; iv) Overall protocol involves minimally invasive delivery and post-operational retrieval of the surgical Bionaut™. The approach is expected to be suitable to treat pediatric patients 0-12 months old as well as adult patients with obstructive hydrocephalus who fail traditional shunts or are eligible for endoscopy. Current progress, including platform optimization, Bionaut™ control, and real-time imaging and in vivo safety studies of the Bionauts™ in large animals, specifically the spine and the brain of ovine models, will be discussed.

Keywords: Bionaut™, cerebrospinal fluid, CSF, fenestration, hydrocephalus, micro-robot, microsurgery

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13 Bionaut™: A Minimally Invasive Microsurgical Platform to Treat Non-Communicating Hydrocephalus in Dandy-Walker Malformation

Authors: Suehyun Cho, Darrell Harrington, Florent Cros, Olin Palmer, John Caputo, Michael Kardosh, Eran Oren, William Loudon, Alex Kiselyov, Michael Shpigelmacher


The Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM) represents a clinical syndrome manifesting as a combination of posterior fossa cyst, hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis, and obstructive hydrocephalus. Anatomic hallmarks include hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis, enlargement of the posterior fossa, and cystic dilatation of the fourth ventricle. Current treatments of DWM, including shunting of the cerebral spinal fluid ventricular system and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), are frequently clinically insufficient, require additional surgical interventions, and carry risks of infections and neurological deficits. Bionaut Labs develops an alternative way to treat Dandy-Walker Malformation (DWM) associated with non-communicating hydrocephalus. We utilize our discreet microsurgical Bionaut™ particles that are controlled externally and remotely to perform safe, accurate, effective fenestration of the Dandy-Walker cyst, specifically in the posterior fossa of the brain, to directly normalize intracranial pressure. Bionaut™ allows for complex non-linear trajectories not feasible by any conventional surgical techniques. The microsurgical particle safely reaches targets in the lower occipital section of the brain. Bionaut™ offers a minimally invasive surgical alternative to highly involved posterior craniotomy or shunts via direct fenestration of the fourth ventricular cyst at the locus defined by the individual anatomy. Our approach offers significant advantages over the current standards of care in patients exhibiting anatomical challenge(s) as a manifestation of DWM, and therefore, is intended to replace conventional therapeutic strategies. Current progress, including platform optimization, Bionaut™ control, and real-time imaging and in vivo safety studies of the Bionauts™ in large animals, specifically the spine and the brain of ovine models, will be discussed.

Keywords: Bionaut™, cerebral spinal fluid, CSF, cyst, Dandy-Walker, fenestration, hydrocephalus, micro-robot

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12 Comparison Physicochemical Properties of Hexane Extracted Aniseed Oil from Cold Press Extraction Residue and Cold Press Aniseed Oil

Authors: Derya Ören, Şeyma Akalın


Cold pres technique is a traditional method to obtain oil. The cold-pressing procedure, involves neither heat nor chemical treatments, so cold press technique has low oil yield and cold pressed herbal material residue still contains some oil. In this study, the oil that is remained in the cold pressed aniseed extracted with hegzan and analysed to determine physicochemical properties and quality parameters. It is found that the aniseed after cold press process contains % 10 oil. Other analysis parametres free fatty acid (FFA) is 2,1 mgKOH/g, peroxide value is 7,6 meq02/kg. Cold pressed aniseed oil values are determined for fatty acid (FFA) value as 2,1 mgKOH/g, peroxide value 4,5 meq02/kg respectively. Also fatty acid composition is analysed, it is found that both of these oil have same fatty acid composition. The main fatty acids are; oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids.

Keywords: aniseed oil, cold press, extraction, residue

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11 Stress and Marital Satisfaction of Parents to Children Diagnosed with Autism

Authors: Oren Shtayermman


The current investigation expended on research among parents caring for a child who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An online web survey was used to collect data from 253 parents caring for a child with a diagnosis of ASD. Both parents reported on elevated levels of parental stress associated with caring for the child on the spectrum. In addition, lower levels of marital satisfaction were found in both parents. About 13% of the parents in the sample met the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and About 15% of the parents met the diagnostic criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Although the majority of the sample was females (94%) significant differences were found between males and females in relation to meeting the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Higher levels of stress were associated with higher number of Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms and higher number of Major Depressive Disorder symptoms. Findings from this study indicate how vulnerable parents and especially females are in relation to caring to a child diagnosed with ASD. Educational Objectives: At the conclusion of the paper, the readers should be able to: -Identify levels of stress and marital satisfaction among parents caring for a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, -Recognize the impact of stress on the development of mental health issues, -Name the two most common mood and anxiety related disorders associated with caring for a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Keywords: autism, stress, parents, children

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10 The Severity of Electric Bicycle Injuries Compared to Classic Bicycle Injuries in Children: A Retrospective Review

Authors: Tali Capua, Karin Hermon, Miguel Glatstein, Oren Tavor, Ayelet Rimon


Background: Electric bicycles (E-bikes) are one of a wide range of light electric vehicles that provide convenient local transportation and attractive recreational opportunities. Along with their growing use worldwide, the E-bike related injury rate increases. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to specifically compare E-bike with classic bicycle related injuries in children. Methods: Data of all pediatric ( < 16 years of age) bicycle related injuries presenting to an urban level I trauma center between 2014 and 2015 were collected and analyzed. The recorded data included age, gender, details of the accident, as well severity of injury, medical diagnosis, and the outcome. Abbreviated Injury Score (AIS) and Injury Severity Score (ISS) were calculated for each patient. Data of E-bike related injuries and classic bicycle were then compared. Results: A total of 124 bicycle related injuries and 97 E-bike related injuries presented to the emergency department. Once pedestrians and bicycle passengers were removed, the groups of riders consisted of 111 bikers and 85 E-bikers. The mean age of bikers was 9.9 years (range 3-16 years) and of E-bikers was 13.7 years (range 7.5-16 years). Injuries to the head and the extremities were common in both groups. Compared to bikers, E-bikers had significantly more injuries to intra-abdominal organs (p = 0.04). Twenty patients (16%) with bicycle related injuries were admitted, and 13 (15%) patients with E-bike related injuries, of the latter group four underwent surgical intervention. ISS scores were low overall, but the injuries of higher severity (ISS > 9) were among the E-bikers. Conclusions: This study provides unique information which suggests that injuries in E-bikers tend to be more severe than in classic bikers. There is a need for regulation regarding the use of E-bikes to enhance the safety of both bikers and other road and pavement users.

Keywords: bicycle, electric bicycle, injury, pediatric, trauma

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9 Quantifying the Impacts of Elevated CO2 and N Fertilization on Wood Density in Loblolly Pine

Authors: Y. Cochet, A. Achim, Tom Flatman, J-C. Domec, J. Ogée, L. Wingate, Ram Oren


It is accepted that atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase in the future. For the past 30 years, researchers have used FACE (Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) facilities to study the development of terrestrial ecosystems under elevated CO2 (eCO2). Forest responses to eCO2 are likely to impact timber industries with potential feedbacks towards the atmosphere. The main objectives of this study were to examine whether eCO2 alone or in combination with N-fertilization alter wood properties and to identify changes in wood anatomy related to water transport. Wood disks were sampled at breast height from mature loblolly pine trees (Pinus taeda L.) harvested at the Duke FACE site (NC, USA). By measuring ring width and intra-ring changes in density (X-ray densitometry) and tracheid size (lumen and cell wall thickness) from pith to bark, the following hypotheses were tested: 1) eCO2 and N-fertilization interact positively to increase significantly above-ground primary productivity; 2) eCO2 and N-fertilization lead to a decrease in density; 3) eCO2 and N-fertilization increase lumen diameter and decrease cell wall thickness, thus affecting water transport capacity. Our results revealed a boost in earlywood tracheid production induced by eCO2 lasting a few years. The following decrease seemed to be buffered by N-fertilization. X-ray profiles did not show a marked decrease in wood density under eCO2 or N-fertilization, although there were changes in cell anatomical properties such as a reduction in cell-wall thickness and an increase in lumen diameter. If such effects of eCO2 are confirmed, forest management strategies for example N-fertilization should be redesigned.

Keywords: wood density, Duke FACE (free-air carbon dioxide enrichment), N fertilization, tree ring

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8 Creation of Computerized Benchmarks to Facilitate Preparedness for Biological Events

Authors: B. Adini, M. Oren


Introduction: Communicable diseases and pandemics pose a growing threat to the well-being of the global population. A vital component of protecting the public health is the creation and sustenance of a continuous preparedness for such hazards. A joint Israeli-German task force was deployed in order to develop an advanced tool for self-evaluation of emergency preparedness for variable types of biological threats. Methods: Based on a comprehensive literature review and interviews with leading content experts, an evaluation tool was developed based on quantitative and qualitative parameters and indicators. A modified Delphi process was used to achieve consensus among over 225 experts from both Germany and Israel concerning items to be included in the evaluation tool. Validity and applicability of the tool for medical institutions was examined in a series of simulation and field exercises. Results: Over 115 German and Israeli experts reviewed and examined the proposed parameters as part of the modified Delphi cycles. A consensus of over 75% of experts was attained for 183 out of 188 items. The relative importance of each parameter was rated as part of the Delphi process, in order to define its impact on the overall emergency preparedness. The parameters were integrated in computerized web-based software that enables to calculate scores of emergency preparedness for biological events. Conclusions: The parameters developed in the joint German-Israeli project serve as benchmarks that delineate actions to be implemented in order to create and maintain an ongoing preparedness for biological events. The computerized evaluation tool enables to continuously monitor the level of readiness and thus strengths and gaps can be identified and corrected appropriately. Adoption of such a tool is recommended as an integral component of quality assurance of public health and safety.

Keywords: biological events, emergency preparedness, bioterrorism, natural biological events

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7 A Method for Clinical Concept Extraction from Medical Text

Authors: Moshe Wasserblat, Jonathan Mamou, Oren Pereg


Natural Language Processing (NLP) has made a major leap in the last few years, in practical integration into medical solutions; for example, extracting clinical concepts from medical texts such as medical condition, medication, treatment, and symptoms. However, training and deploying those models in real environments still demands a large amount of annotated data and NLP/Machine Learning (ML) expertise, which makes this process costly and time-consuming. We present a practical and efficient method for clinical concept extraction that does not require costly labeled data nor ML expertise. The method includes three steps: Step 1- the user injects a large in-domain text corpus (e.g., PubMed). Then, the system builds a contextual model containing vector representations of concepts in the corpus, in an unsupervised manner (e.g., Phrase2Vec). Step 2- the user provides a seed set of terms representing a specific medical concept (e.g., for the concept of the symptoms, the user may provide: ‘dry mouth,’ ‘itchy skin,’ and ‘blurred vision’). Then, the system matches the seed set against the contextual model and extracts the most semantically similar terms (e.g., additional symptoms). The result is a complete set of terms related to the medical concept. Step 3 –in production, there is a need to extract medical concepts from the unseen medical text. The system extracts key-phrases from the new text, then matches them against the complete set of terms from step 2, and the most semantically similar will be annotated with the same medical concept category. As an example, the seed symptom concepts would result in the following annotation: “The patient complaints on fatigue [symptom], dry skin [symptom], and Weight loss [symptom], which can be an early sign for Diabetes.” Our evaluations show promising results for extracting concepts from medical corpora. The method allows medical analysts to easily and efficiently build taxonomies (in step 2) representing their domain-specific concepts, and automatically annotate a large number of texts (in step 3) for classification/summarization of medical reports.

Keywords: clinical concepts, concept expansion, medical records annotation, medical records summarization

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6 A Pilot Study on the Development and Validation of an Instrument to Evaluate Inpatient Beliefs, Expectations and Attitudes toward Reflexology (IBEAR)-16

Authors: Samuel Attias, Elad Schiff, Zahi Arnon, Eran Ben-Arye, Yael Keshet, Ibrahim Matter, Boker Lital Keinan


Background: Despite the extensive use of manual therapies, reflexology in particular, no validated tools have been developed to evaluate patients' beliefs, attitudes and expectations regarding reflexology. Such tools however are essential to improve the results of the reflexology treatment, by better adjusting it to the patients' attitudes and expectations. The tool also enables assessing correlations with clinical results of interventional studies using reflexology. Methods: The IBEAR (Inpatient Beliefs, Expectations and Attitudes toward Reflexology) tool contains 25 questions (8 demographic and 17 specifically addressing reflexology), and was constructed in several stages: brainstorming by a multidisciplinary team of experts; evaluation of each of the proposed questions by the experts' team; and assessment of the experts' degree of agreement per each question, based on a Likert 1-7 scale (1 – don't agree at all; 7 – agree completely). Cronbach's Alpha was computed to evaluate the questionnaire's reliability while the Factor analysis test was used for further validation (228 patients). The questionnaire was tested and re-tested (48h) on a group of 199 patients to assure clarity and reliability, using the Pearson coefficient and the Kappa test. It was modified based on these results into its final form. Results: After its construction, the IBEAR questionnaire passed the expert group's preliminary consensus, evaluation of the questions' clarity (from 5.1 to 7.0), inner validation (from 5.5 to 7) and structural validation (from 5.5 to 6.75). Factor analysis pointed to two content worlds in a division into 4 questions discussing attitudes and expectations versus 5 questions on belief and attitudes. Of the 221 questionnaires collected, a Cronbach's Alpha coefficient was calculated on nine questions relating to beliefs, expectations, and attitudes regarding reflexology. This measure stood at 0.716 (satisfactory reliability). At the Test-Retest stage, 199 research participants filled in the questionnaire a second time. The Pearson coefficient for all questions ranged between 0.73 and 0.94 (good to excellent reliability). As for dichotomic answers, Kappa scores ranged between 0.66 and 1.0 (mediocre to high). One of the questions was removed from the IBEAR following questionnaire validation. Conclusions: The present study provides evidence that the proposed IBEAR-16 questionnaire is a valid and reliable tool for the characterization of potential reflexology patients and may be effectively used in settings which include the evaluation of inpatients' beliefs, expectations, and attitudes toward reflexology.

Keywords: reflexology, attitude, expectation, belief, CAM, inpatient

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5 Exploring Professional Development Needs of Mathematics Teachers through Their Reflective Practitioner Experiences

Authors: Sevket Ceyhun Cetin, Mehmet Oren


According to existing educational research studies, students learn better with high teacher quality. Therefore, professional development has become a crucial way of increasing the quality of novices and veteran in-service teachers by providing support regarding content and pedagogy. To answer what makes PD effective, researchers have studied different PD models and revealed some critical elements that need to be considered, such as duration of a PD and the manner of delivery (e.g., lecture vs. engaging). Also, it has been pointed out that if PDs are prepared as one-size-fits-all, they most likely be ineffective in addressing teachers’ needs toward improving instructional quality. Instead, teachers’ voices need to be heard, and the foci of PDs should be determined based on their specific needs. Thus, this study was conducted to identify professional development needs of middle school mathematics teachers based on their self-evaluation of their performances in light of teaching standards. This study also aimed to explore whether the PD needs with respect to years of teaching experience (novice vs. veteran). These teachers had participated in a federally-funded research grant, which aimed to improve the competencies of 6-9 grade-level mathematics teachers in pedagogy and content areas. In the research project, the participants had consistently videoed their lessons throughout a school year and reflected on their performances, using Teacher Advanced Program (TAPTM) rubric, which was based on the best practices of teaching. Particularly, they scored their performances in the following areas and provided evidence as the justifications of their scores: Standards and Objectives, Presenting Instructional Content, Lesson Structure and Pacing, Activities and Materials, Academic Feedback, Grouping Students, and Questioning. The rating scale of the rubric is 1 through 5 (i.e., 1=Unsatisfactory [performance], 3=Proficient, and 5=Exemplary). For each area mentioned above, the numerical scores of 77 written reports (for 77 videoed lessons) of 24 teachers (nnovices=12 and nveteran=12) were averaged. Overall, the average score of each area was below 3 (ranging between 2.43 and 2.86); in other words, teachers judged their performances incompetent across the seven areas. In the second step of the data analysis, the lowest three areas in which novice and veteran teachers performed poorly were selected for further qualitative analysis. According to the preliminary results, the lowest three areas for the novice teachers were: Questioning, Grouping Students, and Academic Feedback. Grouping Students was also one of the lowest areas of the veteran teachers, but the other two areas for this group were: Lesson Structure & Pacing, and Standards & Objectives. Identifying in-service teachers’ needs based on their reflective practitioner experiences provides educators very crucial information that can be used to create more effective PD that improves teacher quality.

Keywords: mathematics teacher, professional development, self-reflection, video data

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4 Designing Automated Embedded Assessment to Assess Student Learning in a 3D Educational Video Game

Authors: Mehmet Oren, Susan Pedersen, Sevket C. Cetin


Despite the frequently criticized disadvantages of the traditional used paper and pencil assessment, it is the most frequently used method in our schools. Although assessments do an acceptable measurement, they are not capable of measuring all the aspects and the richness of learning and knowledge. Also, many assessments used in schools decontextualize the assessment from the learning, and they focus on learners’ standing on a particular topic but do not concentrate on how student learning changes over time. For these reasons, many scholars advocate that using simulations and games (S&G) as a tool for assessment has significant potentials to overcome the problems in traditionally used methods. S&G can benefit from the change in technology and provide a contextualized medium for assessment and teaching. Furthermore, S&G can serve as an instructional tool rather than a method to test students’ learning at a particular time point. To investigate the potentials of using educational games as an assessment and teaching tool, this study presents the implementation and the validation of an automated embedded assessment (AEA), which can constantly monitor student learning in the game and assess their performance without intervening their learning. The experiment was conducted on an undergraduate level engineering course (Digital Circuit Design) with 99 participant students over a period of five weeks in Spring 2016 school semester. The purpose of this research study is to examine if the proposed method of AEA is valid to assess student learning in a 3D Educational game and present the implementation steps. To address this question, this study inspects three aspects of the AEA for the validation. First, the evidence-centered design model was used to lay out the design and measurement steps of the assessment. Then, a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to test if the assessment can measure the targeted latent constructs. Finally, the scores of the assessment were compared with an external measure (a validated test measuring student learning on digital circuit design) to evaluate the convergent validity of the assessment. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis showed that the fit of the model with three latent factors with one higher order factor was acceptable (RMSEA < 0.00, CFI =1, TLI=1.013, WRMR=0.390). All of the observed variables significantly loaded to the latent factors in the latent factor model. In the second analysis, a multiple regression analysis was used to test if the external measure significantly predicts students’ performance in the game. The results of the regression indicated the two predictors explained 36.3% of the variance (R2=.36, F(2,96)=27.42.56, p<.00). It was found that students’ posttest scores significantly predicted game performance (β = .60, p < .000). The statistical results of the analyses show that the AEA can distinctly measure three major components of the digital circuit design course. It was aimed that this study can help researchers understand how to design an AEA, and showcase an implementation by providing an example methodology to validate this type of assessment.

Keywords: educational video games, automated embedded assessment, assessment validation, game-based assessment, assessment design

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3 Deep Learning Based Text to Image Synthesis for Accurate Facial Composites in Criminal Investigations

Authors: Zhao Gao, Eran Edirisinghe


The production of an accurate sketch of a suspect based on a verbal description obtained from a witness is an essential task for most criminal investigations. The criminal investigation system employs specifically trained professional artists to manually draw a facial image of the suspect according to the descriptions of an eyewitness for subsequent identification. Within the advancement of Deep Learning, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) have shown great promise in Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. Additionally, Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) have also proven to be very effective in image generation. In this study, a trained GAN conditioned on textual features such as keywords automatically encoded from a verbal description of a human face using an RNN is used to generate photo-realistic facial images for criminal investigations. The intention of the proposed system is to map corresponding features into text generated from verbal descriptions. With this, it becomes possible to generate many reasonably accurate alternatives to which the witness can use to hopefully identify a suspect from. This reduces subjectivity in decision making both by the eyewitness and the artist while giving an opportunity for the witness to evaluate and reconsider decisions. Furthermore, the proposed approach benefits law enforcement agencies by reducing the time taken to physically draw each potential sketch, thus increasing response times and mitigating potentially malicious human intervention. With publically available 'CelebFaces Attributes Dataset' (CelebA) and additionally providing verbal description as training data, the proposed architecture is able to effectively produce facial structures from given text. Word Embeddings are learnt by applying the RNN architecture in order to perform semantic parsing, the output of which is fed into the GAN for synthesizing photo-realistic images. Rather than the grid search method, a metaheuristic search based on genetic algorithms is applied to evolve the network with the intent of achieving optimal hyperparameters in a fraction the time of a typical brute force approach. With the exception of the ‘CelebA’ training database, further novel test cases are supplied to the network for evaluation. Witness reports detailing criminals from Interpol or other law enforcement agencies are sampled on the network. Using the descriptions provided, samples are generated and compared with the ground truth images of a criminal in order to calculate the similarities. Two factors are used for performance evaluation: The Structural Similarity Index (SSIM) and the Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR). A high percentile output from this performance matrix should attribute to demonstrating the accuracy, in hope of proving that the proposed approach can be an effective tool for law enforcement agencies. The proposed approach to criminal facial image generation has potential to increase the ratio of criminal cases that can be ultimately resolved using eyewitness information gathering.

Keywords: RNN, GAN, NLP, facial composition, criminal investigation

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2 Enhancing the Performance of Automatic Logistic Centers by Optimizing the Assignment of Material Flows to Workstations and Flow Racks

Authors: Sharon Hovav, Ilya Levner, Oren Nahum, Istvan Szabo


In modern large-scale logistic centers (e.g., big automated warehouses), complex logistic operations performed by human staff (pickers) need to be coordinated with the operations of automated facilities (robots, conveyors, cranes, lifts, flow racks, etc.). The efficiency of advanced logistic centers strongly depends on optimizing picking technologies in synch with the facility/product layout, as well as on optimal distribution of material flows (products) in the system. The challenge is to develop a mathematical operations research (OR) tool that will optimize system cost-effectiveness. In this work, we propose a model that describes an automatic logistic center consisting of a set of workstations located at several galleries (floors), with each station containing a known number of flow racks. The requirements of each product and the working capacity of stations served by a given set of workers (pickers) are assumed as predetermined. The goal of the model is to maximize system efficiency. The proposed model includes two echelons. The first is the setting of the (optimal) number of workstations needed to create the total processing/logistic system, subject to picker capacities. The second echelon deals with the assignment of the products to the workstations and flow racks, aimed to achieve maximal throughputs of picked products over the entire system given picker capacities and budget constraints. The solutions to the problems at the two echelons interact to balance the overall load in the flow racks and maximize overall efficiency. We have developed an operations research model within each echelon. In the first echelon, the problem of calculating the optimal number of workstations is formulated as a non-standard bin-packing problem with capacity constraints for each bin. The problem arising in the second echelon is presented as a constrained product-workstation-flow rack assignment problem with non-standard mini-max criteria in which the workload maximum is calculated across all workstations in the center and the exterior minimum is calculated across all possible product-workstation-flow rack assignments. The OR problems arising in each echelon are proved to be NP-hard. Consequently, we find and develop heuristic and approximation solution algorithms based on exploiting and improving local optimums. The LC model considered in this work is highly dynamic and is recalculated periodically based on updated demand forecasts that reflect market trends, technological changes, seasonality, and the introduction of new items. The suggested two-echelon approach and the min-max balancing scheme are shown to work effectively on illustrative examples and real-life logistic data.

Keywords: logistics center, product-workstation, assignment, maximum performance, load balancing, fast algorithm

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1 Femicide in the News: Jewish and Arab Victims and Culprits in the Israeli Hebrew Media

Authors: Ina Filkobski, Eran Shor


This article explores how newspapers cover murder of women by family members and intimate partners. Three major Israeli newspapers were compared in order to analyse the coverage of Jewish and Arab victims and culprits and to examine whether and in what ways the media contribute to the construction of symbolic boundaries between minority and dominant social groups. A sample of some 459 articles that were published between 2013 and 2015 was studied using a systematic qualitative content analysis. Our findings suggest that the treatment of murder cases by the media varies according to the ethnicity of both victims and culprits. The murder of Jews by family members or intimate partners was framed as a shocking and unusual event, a result of the individual personality or pathology of the culprit. Conversely, when Arabs were the killers, murders were often explained by focusing on the culture of the ethnic group, described as traditional, violent, and patriarchal. In two-thirds of the cases in which Arabs were involved, so-called ‘honor killing’ or other cultural explanations were proposed as the motive for the murder. This was often the case even before a suspect was detected, while police investigation was at its very early stages, and often despite forceful denials from victims’ families. In case of Jewish culprits, more than half of the articles in our sample suggested mental disorder to explain the acts and cultural explanations were almost entirely absent. Beyond the emphasis on psychological vs. cultural explanations, newspaper articles also tend to provide much more detail about Jewish culprits than about Arabs. Such detailed examinations convey a desire to make sense of the event by understanding the supposedly unique and unorthodox nature of the killer. The detailed accounts were usually absent from the reports on Arab killers. Thus, even if reports do not explicitly offer cultural motivations for the murder, the fact that reports often remain laconic leaves people to draw their own conclusions, which would then be likely based on existing cognitive scripts and previous reports on family murders among Arabs. Such treatment contributes to the notion that Arab and Muslim cultures, religions, and nationalities are essentially misogynistic and adhere to norms of honor and shame that are radically different from those of modern societies, such as the Jewish-Israeli one. Murder within the family is one of the most dramatic occurrences in the social world, and in societies that see themselves as modern it is a taboo; an ultimate signifier of danger. We suggest that representations of murder provide a valuable prism for examining the construction of group boundaries. Our analysis, therefore, contributes to the scholarly effort to understand the creation and reinforcement of symbolic boundaries between ‘society’ and its ‘others’ by systematically tracing the media constructions of ‘otherness’. While our analysis focuses on Israel, studies on the United States, Canada, and various European countries with ethnically and racially heterogeneous populations, make it clear that the stigmatisation and exclusion of visible, religious, and language minorities are not unique to the Israeli case.

Keywords: comparative study of media coverege of minority and majority groups, construction of symbolic group boundaries, murder of women by family members and intimate partners, Israel, Jews, Arabs

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