Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: Jared Oluoch

10 VANETs: Security Challenges and Future Directions

Authors: Jared Oluoch

Abstract:

Connected vehicles are equipped with wireless sensors that aid in Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communication. These vehicles will in the near future provide road safety, improve transport efficiency, and reduce traffic congestion. One of the challenges for connected vehicles is how to ensure that information sent across the network is secure. If security of the network is not guaranteed, several attacks can occur, thereby compromising the robustness, reliability, and efficiency of the network. This paper discusses existing security mechanisms and unique properties of connected vehicles. The methodology employed in this work is exploratory. The paper reviews existing security solutions for connected vehicles. More concretely, it discusses various cryptographic mechanisms available, and suggests areas of improvement. The study proposes a combination of symmetric key encryption and public key cryptography to improve security. The study further proposes message aggregation as a technique to overcome message redundancy. This paper offers a comprehensive overview of connected vehicles technology, its applications, its security mechanisms, open challenges, and potential areas of future research.

Keywords: VANET, connected vehicles, 802.11p, WAVE, DSRC, trust, security, cryptography

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9 A Middleware Management System with Supporting Holonic Modules for Reconfigurable Management System

Authors: Roscoe McLean, Jared Padayachee, Glen Bright

Abstract:

There is currently a gap in the technology covering the rapid establishment of control after a reconfiguration in a Reconfigurable Manufacturing System. This gap involves the detection of the factory floor state and the communication link between the factory floor and the high-level software. In this paper, a thin, hardware-supported Middleware Management System (MMS) is proposed and its design and implementation are discussed. The research found that a cost-effective localization technique can be combined with intelligent software to speed up the ramp-up of a reconfigured system. The MMS makes the process more intelligent, more efficient and less time-consuming, thus supporting the industrial implementation of the RMS paradigm.

Keywords: intelligent systems, middleware, reconfigurable manufacturing, management system

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8 Metastatic Polypoid Nodular Melanoma Management During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Stefan Bradu, Daniel Siegel, Jameson Loyal, Andrea Leaf, Alana Kurtti, Usha Alapati, Jared Jagdeo

Abstract:

Compared with all other variants of nodular melanoma, patients with polypoid nodular melanoma have the lowest 5-year survival rate. The pathophysiology and management of polypoid melanoma are scarcely reported in the literature. Although surgical excision is the cornerstone of melanoma management, treatment of polypoid melanoma is complicated by several negative prognostic factors, including early metastasis. This report demonstrates the successful treatment of a rapidly developing red nodular polypoid melanoma with metastasis using surgery and adjuvant nivolumab in a SARS-CoV-2-positive patient who delayed seeking care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to detailing the successful treatment approach, the immunosuppressive effects of SARS-2-CoV and its possible contribution to the rapid progression of polypoid melanoma are discussed. This case highlights the complex challenges of melanoma diagnosis and management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: covid-19, dermatology, immunotherapy, melanoma, nivolumab

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7 Mobile Application Interventions in Positive Psychology: Current Status and Recommendations for Effective App Design

Authors: Gus Salazar, Jeremy Bekker, Lauren Linford, Jared Warren

Abstract:

Positive psychology practices allow for its principles to be applied to all people, regardless of their current level of functioning. To increase the dissemination of these practices, interventions are being adapted for use with digital technology, such as mobile apps. However, the research regarding positive psychology mobile app interventions is still in its infancy. In an effort to facilitate progress in this important area, we 1) conducted a qualitative review to summarize the current state of the positive psychology mobile app literature and 2) developed research-supported recommendations for positive psychology app development to maximize behavior change. In our literature review, we found that while positive psychology apps varied widely in content and purpose, there was a near-complete lack of research supporting their effectiveness. Most apps provided no rationale for the behavioral change techniques (BCTs) they employed in their app, and most did not develop their app with specific theoretical frameworks or design models in mind. Given this problem, we recommended four steps for effective positive psychology app design. First, developers must establish their app in a research-supported theory of change. Second, researchers must select appropriate behavioral change techniques which are consistent with their app’s goals. Third, researchers must leverage effective design principles. These steps will help mobile applications use data-driven methods for encouraging behavior change in their users. Lastly, we discuss directions for future research. In particular, researchers must investigate the effectiveness of various BCTs in positive psychology interventions. Although there is some research on this point, we do not yet clearly understand the mechanisms within the apps that lead to behavior change. Additionally, app developers must also provide data on the effectiveness of their mobile apps. As developers follow these steps for effective app development and as researchers continue to investigate what makes these apps most effective, we will provide millions of people in need with access to research-based mental health resources.

Keywords: behavioral change techniques, mobile app, mobile intervention, positive psychology

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6 Economic Efficiency of Cassava Production in Nimba County, Liberia: An Output-Oriented Approach

Authors: Kollie B. Dogba, Willis Oluoch-Kosura, Chepchumba Chumo

Abstract:

In Liberia, many of the agricultural households cultivate cassava for either sustenance purposes, or to generate farm income. Many of the concentrated cassava farmers reside in Nimba, a north-eastern County that borders two other economies: the Republics of Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea. With a high demand for cassava output and products in emerging Asian markets coupled with an objective of the Liberia agriculture policies to increase the competitiveness of valued agriculture crops; there is a need to examine the level of resource-use efficiency for many agriculture crops. However, there is a scarcity of information on the efficiency of many agriculture crops, including cassava. Hence the study applying an output-oriented method seeks to assess the economic efficiency of cassava farmers in Nimba County, Liberia. A multi-stage sampling technique was employed to generate a sample for the study. From 216 cassava farmers, data related to on-farm attributes, socio-economic and institutional factors were collected. The stochastic frontier models, using the Translog functional forms, of production and revenue, were used to determine the level of revenue efficiency and its determinants. The result showed that most of the cassava farmers are male (60%). Many of the farmers are either married, engaged or living together with a spouse (83%), with a mean household size of nine persons. Farmland is prevalently obtained by inheritance (95%), average farm size is 1.34 hectares, and most cassava farmers did not access agriculture credits (76%) and extension services (91%). The mean cassava output per hectare is 1,506.02 kg, which estimates average revenue of L$23,551.16 (Liberian dollars). Empirical results showed that the revenue efficiency of cassava farmers varies from 0.1% to 73.5%; with the mean revenue efficiency of 12.9%. This indicates that on average, there is a vast potential of 87.1% to increase the economic efficiency of cassava farmers in Nimba by improving technical and allocative efficiencies. For the significant determinants of revenue efficiency, age and group membership had negative effects on revenue efficiency of cassava production; while farming experience, access to extension, formal education, and average wage rate have positive effects. The study recommends the setting-up and incentivizing of farmer field schools for cassava farmers to primarily share their farming experiences with others and to learn robust cultivation techniques of sustainable agriculture. Also, farm managers and farmers should consider a fix wage rate in labor contracts for all stages of cassava farming.

Keywords: economic efficiency, frontier production and revenue functions, Nimba County, Liberia, output-oriented approach, revenue efficiency, sustainable agriculture

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5 Psychometric Properties of Several New Positive Psychology Measures

Authors: Lauren Benyo Linford, Jared Warren, Jeremy Bekker, Gus Salazar

Abstract:

In order to accurately identify areas needing improvement and track growth, the availability of valid and reliable measures of different facets of well-being is vital. Because no specific measures currently exist for many facets of well-being, the purpose of this study was to construct and validate measures of the following constructs: Purpose, Values, Mindfulness, Savoring, Gratitude, Optimism, Supportive Relationships, Interconnectedness, Compassion, Community, Contribution, Engaged Living, Personal Growth, Flow Experiences, Self-Compassion, Exercise, Meditation, and an overall measure of subjective well-being—the Survey on Flourishing. In order to assess their psychometric properties, each measure was examined for internal consistency estimates, and items with poor item-test correlations were dropped. Additionally, the convergent validity of the Survey on Flourishing (SURF) was assessed. Total score correlations of SURF and other commonly used measures of well-being such as the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), the PERMA Profiler (measure of Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement) were examined to establish convergent validity. The Kessler Psychological distress scale (K6) was also included to determine the divergent validity of the SURF measure. Three week test-retest reliability was also assessed for the SURF measure. Additionally, normative data from general population samples was collected for both the Self-Compassion and Survey on Flourishing (SURF) measures. The purpose of this study is to introduce each of these measures, divulge the psychometric findings of this study, as well as explore additional psychometric properties of the SURF measure in particular. This study will highlight how these measures can be used in future research exploring these positive psychology constructs. Additionally, this study will discuss the utility of these measures to guide individuals in their use of the online self-directed, self-administered My Best Self 101 positive psychology resources developed by the researchers. The goal of My Best Self 101 is to disseminate real, research-based measures and tools to individuals who are seeking to increase their well-being.

Keywords: measurement, psychometrics, test validation, well-Being

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4 Efficient Reuse of Exome Sequencing Data for Copy Number Variation Callings

Authors: Chen Wang, Jared Evans, Yan Asmann

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With the quick evolvement of next-generation sequencing techniques, whole-exome or exome-panel data have become a cost-effective way for detection of small exonic mutations, but there has been a growing desire to accurately detect copy number variations (CNVs) as well. In order to address this research and clinical needs, we developed a sequencing coverage pattern-based method not only for copy number detections, data integrity checks, CNV calling, and visualization reports. The developed methodologies include complete automation to increase usability, genome content-coverage bias correction, CNV segmentation, data quality reports, and publication quality images. Automatic identification and removal of poor quality outlier samples were made automatically. Multiple experimental batches were routinely detected and further reduced for a clean subset of samples before analysis. Algorithm improvements were also made to improve somatic CNV detection as well as germline CNV detection in trio family. Additionally, a set of utilities was included to facilitate users for producing CNV plots in focused genes of interest. We demonstrate the somatic CNV enhancements by accurately detecting CNVs in whole exome-wide data from the cancer genome atlas cancer samples and a lymphoma case study with paired tumor and normal samples. We also showed our efficient reuses of existing exome sequencing data, for improved germline CNV calling in a family of the trio from the phase-III study of 1000 Genome to detect CNVs with various modes of inheritance. The performance of the developed method is evaluated by comparing CNV calling results with results from other orthogonal copy number platforms. Through our case studies, reuses of exome sequencing data for calling CNVs have several noticeable functionalities, including a better quality control for exome sequencing data, improved joint analysis with single nucleotide variant calls, and novel genomic discovery of under-utilized existing whole exome and custom exome panel data.

Keywords: bioinformatics, computational genetics, copy number variations, data reuse, exome sequencing, next generation sequencing

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3 Safety Validation of Black-Box Autonomous Systems: A Multi-Fidelity Reinforcement Learning Approach

Authors: Jared Beard, Ali Baheri

Abstract:

As autonomous systems become more prominent in society, ensuring their safe application becomes increasingly important. This is clearly demonstrated with autonomous cars traveling through a crowded city or robots traversing a warehouse with heavy equipment. Human environments can be complex, having high dimensional state and action spaces. This gives rise to two problems. One being that analytic solutions may not be possible. The other is that in simulation based approaches, searching the entirety of the problem space could be computationally intractable, ruling out formal methods. To overcome this, approximate solutions may seek to find failures or estimate their likelihood of occurrence. One such approach is adaptive stress testing (AST) which uses reinforcement learning to induce failures in the system. The premise of which is that a learned model can be used to help find new failure scenarios, making better use of simulations. In spite of these failures AST fails to find particularly sparse failures and can be inclined to find similar solutions to those found previously. To help overcome this, multi-fidelity learning can be used to alleviate this overuse of information. That is, information in lower fidelity can simulations can be used to build up samples less expensively, and more effectively cover the solution space to find a broader set of failures. Recent work in multi-fidelity learning has passed information bidirectionally using “knows what it knows” (KWIK) reinforcement learners to minimize the number of samples in high fidelity simulators (thereby reducing computation time and load). The contribution of this work, then, is development of the bidirectional multi-fidelity AST framework. Such an algorithm, uses multi-fidelity KWIK learners in an adversarial context to find failure modes. Thus far, a KWIK learner has been used to train an adversary in a grid world to prevent an agent from reaching its goal; thus demonstrating the utility of KWIK learners in an AST framework. The next step is implementation of the bidirectional multi-fidelity AST framework described. Testing will be conducted in a grid world containing an agent attempting to reach a goal position and adversary tasked with intercepting the agent as demonstrated previously. Fidelities will be modified by adjusting the size of a time-step, with higher-fidelity effectively allowing for more responsive closed loop feedback. Results will compare the single KWIK AST learner with the multi-fidelity algorithm with respect to number of samples, distinct failure modes found, and relative effect of learning after a number of trials.

Keywords: multi-fidelity reinforcement learning, multi-fidelity simulation, safety validation, falsification

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2 ‘Nature Will Slow You Down for a Reason’: Virtual Elder-Led Support Services during COVID-19

Authors: Grandmother Roberta Oshkawbewisens, Elder Isabelle Meawasige, Lynne Groulx, Chloë Hamilton, Lee Allison Clark, Dana Hickey, Wansu Qiu, Jared Leedham, Nishanthini Mahendran, Cameron Maclaine

Abstract:

In March of 2020, the world suddenly shifted with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; in-person programs and services were unavailable and a scramble to shift to virtual service delivery began. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) established virtual programming through the Resiliency Lodge model and connected with Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people across Turtle Island and Inuit Nunangat through programs that provide a safe space to slow down and reflect on their lives, environment, and well-being. To continue to grow the virtual Resiliency Lodge model, NWAC needed to develop an understanding of three questions: how COVID-19 affects Elder-led support services, how Elder-led support services have adapted during the pandemic, and what Wise Practices need to be implemented to continue to develop, refine, and evaluate virtual Elder-led support services specifically for Indigenous women, girls, two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people. Through funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), NWAC gained deeper insight into these questions and developed a series of key findings and recommendations that are outlined throughout this report. The goals of this project are to contribute to a more robust participatory analysis that reflects the complexities of Elder-led virtual cultural responses and the impacts of COVID-19 on Elder-led support services; develop culturally and contextually meaningful virtual protocols and wise practices for virtual Indigenous-led support; and develop an Evaluation Strategy to improve the capacity of the Resiliency Lodge model. Significant findings from the project include Resiliency Lodge programs, especially crafting and business sessions, have provided participants with a sense of community and contributed to healing and wellness; Elder-led support services need greater and more stable funding to offer more workshops to more Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people; and Elder- and Indigenous-led programs play a significant role in healing and building a sense of purpose and belonging among Indigenous people. Ultimately, the findings and recommendations outlined in this research project help to guide future Elder-led virtual support services and emphasize the critical need to increase access to Elder-led programming for Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people.

Keywords: indigenous women, traditional healing, virtual programs, covid-19

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1 Disseminating Positive Psychology Resources Online: Current Research and Future Directions

Authors: Warren Jared, Bekker Jeremy, Salazar Guy, Jackman Katelyn, Linford Lauren

Abstract:

Introduction: Positive Psychology research has burgeoned in the past 20 years; however, relatively few evidence-based resources to cultivate positive psychology skills are widely available to the general public. The positive psychology resources at www.mybestself101.org were developed to assist individuals in cultivating well-being using a variety of techniques, including gratitude, purpose, mindfulness, self-compassion, savoring, personal growth, and supportive relationships. These resources are empirically based and are built to be accessible to a broad audience. Key Objectives: This presentation highlights results from two recent randomized intervention studies of specific MBS101 learning modules. A key objective of this research is to empirically assess the efficacy and usability of these online resources. Another objective of this research is to encourage the broad dissemination of online positive psychology resources; thus, recommendations for further research and dissemination will be discussed. Methods: In both interventions, we recruited adult participants using social media advertisements. The participants completed several well-being and positive psychology construct-specific measures (savoring and self-compassion measures) at baseline and post-intervention. Participants in the experimental condition were also given a feedback questionnaire to gather qualitative data on how participants viewed the modules. Participants in the self-compassion study were randomly split between an experimental group, who received the treatment, and a control group, who were placed on a waitlist. There was no control group for the savoring study. Participants were instructed to read content on the module and practice savoring or self-compassion strategies listed in the module for a minimum of twenty minutes a day for 21 days. The intervention was semi-structured, as participants were free to choose which module activities they would complete from a menu of research-based strategies. Participants tracked which activities they completed and how long they spent on the modules each day. Results: In the savoring study, participants increased in savoring ability as indicated by multiple measures. In addition, participants increased in well-being from pre- to post-treatment. In the self-compassion study, repeated measures mixed model analyses revealed that compared to waitlist controls, participants who used the MBS101 self-compassion module experienced significant improvements in self-compassion, well-being, and body image with effect sizes ranging from medium to large. Attrition was 10.5% for the self-compassion study and 71% for the savoring study. Overall, participants indicated that the modules were generally helpful, and they particularly appreciated the specific strategy menus. Participants requested more structured course activities, more interactive content, and more practice activities overall. Recommendations: Mybestself101.org is an applied positive psychology research program that shows promise as a model for effectively disseminating evidence-based positive psychology resources that are both engaging and easily accessible. Considerable research is still needed, both to test the efficacy and usability of the modules currently available and to improve them based on participant feedback. Feedback received from participants in the randomized controlled trial led to the development of an expanded, 30-day online course called The Gift of Self-Compassion and an online mindfulness course currently in development called Mindfulness For Humans.

Keywords: positive psychology, intervention, online resources, self-compassion, dissemination, online curriculum

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