Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 27

Search results for: Muhaned Zaidi

27 Rail-To-Rail Output Op-Amp Design with Negative Miller Capacitance Compensation

Authors: Muhaned Zaidi, Ian Grout, Abu Khari bin A’ain

Abstract:

In this paper, a two-stage op-amp design is considered using both Miller and negative Miller compensation techniques. The first op-amp design uses Miller compensation around the second amplification stage, whilst the second op-amp design uses negative Miller compensation around the first stage and Miller compensation around the second amplification stage. The aims of this work were to compare the gain and phase margins obtained using the different compensation techniques and identify the ability to choose either compensation technique based on a particular set of design requirements. The two op-amp designs created are based on the same two-stage rail-to-rail output CMOS op-amp architecture where the first stage of the op-amp consists of differential input and cascode circuits, and the second stage is a class AB amplifier. The op-amps have been designed using a 0.35mm CMOS fabrication process.

Keywords: op-amp, rail-to-rail output, Miller compensation, Negative Miller capacitance

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26 Investigating Software Engineering Challenges in Game Development

Authors: Fawad Zaidi

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This paper discusses a variety of challenges and solutions involved with creating computer games and the issues faced by the software engineers working in this field. This review further investigates the articles coverage of project scope and the problem of feature creep that appears to be inherent with game development. The paper tries to answer the following question: Is this a problem caused by a shortage, or bad software engineering practices, or is this outside the control of the software engineering component of the game production process?

Keywords: software engineering, computer games, software applications, development

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25 Utilizing Reflection as a Tool for Experiential Learning through a Simulated Activity

Authors: Nadira Zaidi

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The aim of this study is to gain direct feedback of interviewees in a simulated interview process. Reflection based on qualitative data analysis has been utilized through the Gibbs Reflective Cycle, with 30 students as respondents at the Undergraduate level. The respondents reflected on the positive and negative aspects of this active learning process in order to increase their performance in actual job interviews. Results indicate that students engaged in the process successfully imbibed the feedback that they received from the interviewers and also identified the areas that needed improvement.

Keywords: experiential learning, positive and negative impact, reflection, simulated

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24 Toward a Measure of Appropriateness of User Interfaces Adaptations Solutions

Authors: Abderrahim Siam, Ramdane Maamri, Zaidi Sahnoun

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The development of adaptive user interfaces (UI) presents for a long time an important research area in which researcher attempt to call upon the full resources and skills of several disciplines. The adaptive UI community holds a thorough knowledge regarding the adaptation of UIs with users and with contexts of use. Several solutions, models, formalisms, techniques, and mechanisms were proposed to develop adaptive UI. In this paper, we propose an approach based on the fuzzy set theory for modeling the concept of the appropriateness of different solutions of UI adaptation with different situations for which interactive systems have to adapt their UIs.

Keywords: adaptive user interfaces, adaptation solution’s appropriateness, fuzzy sets

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23 Determination of Various Properties of Biodiesel Produced from Different Feedstocks

Authors: Faisal Anwar, Dawar Zaidi, Shubham Dixit, Nafees Ahmedii

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This paper analyzes the various properties of biodiesel such as pour point, cloud point, viscosity, calorific value, etc produced from different feedstocks. The aim of the work is to analyze change in these properties after converting feedstocks to biodiesel and then comparring it with ASTM 6751-02 standards to check whether they are suitable for diesel engines or not. The conversion of feedstocks is carried out by a process called transesterification. This conversion is carried out to reduce viscosity, pour point, etc. It has been observed that there is some remarkable change in the properties of oil after conversion.

Keywords: biodiesel, ethyl ester, free fatty acid, production

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22 Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation: Does Gender Matter?

Authors: Irfan Ullah Munir, Shen Yue, Muhammad Shahzad Ijaz, Saad Hussain, Syeda Yumna Zaidi

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Financial literacy is fundamental to every decision-making process and has received attention from researchers, regulatory bodies and policy makers in the recent past. This study is an attempt to evaluate financial literacy in an emerging economy, particularly Pakistan, and its influence on people's stock market participation. Data of this study was collected through a structured questionnaire from a sample of 300 respondents. EFA is used to check the convergent and discriminant validity. Data is analyzed using Hayes (2013) approach. A set of demographic control variables that have passed the mean difference test is used. We demonstrate that participants with financial literacy tend to invest more in the stock market. We also find that association among financial literacy and participation in stock market gets moderated by gender.

Keywords: Financial literacy, Stock market participation, Gender, PSX

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21 Study of the Tribological Behavior of a Sliding Contact Brass-Steel Couple with Electrical Current

Authors: C. Boubechou, A. Bouchoucha, H. Zaidi

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The aim of this paper is to study the tribological behavior of a dynamic contact steel-brass couple with electric current. This study looks at a dry contact brass-steel couple where friction and wear are studied in terms of mechanical and electrical parameters. For this reason, a tribometer, pin-rotary disc is used in an atmospheric atmosphere. The test parameters are as follows: the normal load (5-30N), the sliding speed (0.1 to 0.5 m / s) and the electric current (3-10A). The duration of each test is 30 minutes. The experimental results show that these parameters have a significant effect on the tribological behavior of the couple studied. The discussion of results is based on observations, using an optical microscope, MEB and a profilometer, worn surfaces and interface phenomena resulting from the process of sliding contact.

Keywords: brass-steel couple, dry friction, electrical current, morphology, normal load, sliding speeds, wear

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20 The Combination of the Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (MFCC), Perceptual Linear Prediction (PLP), JITTER and SHIMMER Coefficients for the Improvement of Automatic Recognition System for Dysarthric Speech

Authors: Brahim-Fares Zaidi, Malika Boudraa, Sid-Ahmed Selouani

Abstract:

Our work aims to improve our Automatic Recognition System for Dysarthria Speech (ARSDS) based on the Hidden Models of Markov (HMM) and the Hidden Markov Model Toolkit (HTK) to help people who are sick. With pronunciation problems, we applied two techniques of speech parameterization based on Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficients (MFCC's) and Perceptual Linear Prediction (PLP's) and concatenated them with JITTER and SHIMMER coefficients in order to increase the recognition rate of a dysarthria speech. For our tests, we used the NEMOURS database that represents speakers with dysarthria and normal speakers.

Keywords: hidden Markov model toolkit (HTK), hidden models of Markov (HMM), Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC), perceptual linear prediction (PLP’s)

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19 Experimental Assessment of Polypropylene Plastic Aggregates(PPA) for Pavement Construction: Their Mechanical Properties via Marshall Test

Authors: Samiullah Bhatti, Safdar Abbas Zaidi, Syed Murtaza Ali Jafri

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This research paper presents the results of using plastic aggregate in flexible pavement. Plastic aggregates have been prepared with polypropylene (PP) recycled products and have been tested with Marshall apparatus. Grade 60/70 bitumen has been chosen for this research with a total content of 2.5 %, 3 % and 3.5 %. Plastic aggregates are mixed with natural aggregates with different proportions and it ranges from 10 % to 100 % with an increment of 10 %. Therefore, a total of 10 Marshall cakes were prepared with plastic aggregates in addition to a standard pavement sample. In total 33 samples have been tested for Marshall stability, flow and voids in mineral aggregates. The results show an increase in the value when it changes from 2.5 % bitumen to 3 % and after then it goes again toward declination. Thus, 3 % bitumen content has been found as the most optimum value for flexible pavements. Among all the samples, 20 % PP aggregates sample has been found satisfactory with respect to all the standards provided by ASTM. Therefore, it is suggested to use 20 plastic aggregates in flexible pavement construction. A comparison of bearing capacity and skid resistance is also observed.

Keywords: marshall test, polypropylene plastic, plastic aggregates, flexible pavement alternative, recycling of plastic waste

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18 Study of Electrical Properties of An-Fl Based Organic Semiconducting Thin Film

Authors: A.G. S. Aldajani, N. Smida, M. G. Althobaiti, B. Zaidi

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In order to exploit the good electrical properties of anthracene and the excellent properties of fluorescein, new hybrid material has been synthesized (An-Fl). Current-voltage measurements were done on a new single-layer ITO/An-FL/Al device of typically 100 nm thickness. Atypical diode behavior is observed with a turn-on voltage of 4.4 V, a dynamic resistance of 74.07 KΩ and a rectification ratio of 2.02 due to unbalanced transport. Results show also that the current-voltage characteristics present three different regimes of the power-law (J~Vᵐ) for which the conduction mechanism is well described with space-charge-limited current conduction mechanism (SCLC) with a charge carrier mobility of 2.38.10⁻⁵cm2V⁻¹S⁻¹. Moreover, the electrical transport properties of this device have been carried out using a dependent frequency study in the range (50 Hz–1.4 MHz) for different applied biases (from 0 to 6 V). At lower frequency, the σdc values increase with bias voltage rising, supporting that the mobile ion can hop successfully to its nearest vacant site. From σac and impedance measurements, the equivalent electrical circuit is evidenced, where the conductivity process is coherent with an exponential trap distribution caused by structural defects and/or chemical impurities.

Keywords: semiconducting polymer, conductivity, SCLC, impedance spectroscopy

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17 E-Government Continuance Intention of Media Psychology: Some Insights from Psychographic Characteristics

Authors: Azlina Binti Abu Bakar, Fahmi Zaidi Bin Abdul Razak, Wan Salihin Wong Abdullah

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Psychographic is a psychological study of values, attitudes, interests and it is used mostly in prediction, opinion research and social research. This study predicts the influence of performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating condition on e-government acceptance among Malaysian citizens. The survey responses of 543 e-government users have been validated and analyzed by means of covariance-based Structural Equation Modeling. The findings indicate that e-government acceptance among Malaysian citizens are mainly influenced by performance expectancy (β = 0.66, t = 11.53, p < 0.01) and social influence (β = 0.20, t = 4.23, p < 0.01). Surprisingly, there is no significant effect of facilitating condition and effort expectancy on e-government continuance intention (β = 0.01, t = 0.27, p > 0.05; β = -0.01, t = -0.40, p > 0.05). This study offers government and vendors a frame of reference to analyze citizen’s situation before initiating new innovations. In case of Malaysian e-government technology, adoption strategies should be built around fostering level of citizens’ technological expectation and social influence on e-government usage.

Keywords: continuance intention, Malaysian citizen, media psychology, structural equation modeling

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16 Enhanced Test Scheme based on Programmable Write Time for Future Computer Memories

Authors: Nor Zaidi Haron, Fauziyah Salehuddin, Norsuhaidah Arshad, Sani Irwan Salim

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Resistive random access memories (RRAMs) are one of the main candidates for future computer memories. However, due to their tiny size and immature device technology, the quality of the outgoing RRAM chips is seen as a serious issue. Defective RRAM cells might behave differently than existing semiconductor memories (Dynamic RAM, Static RAM, and Flash), meaning that they are difficult to be detected using existing test schemes. This paper presents an enhanced test scheme, referred to as Programmable Short Write Time (PSWT) that is able to improve the detection of faulty RRAM cells. It is developed by applying multiple weak write operations, each with different time durations. The test circuit embedded in the RRAM chip is made programmable in order to supply different weak write times during testing. The RRAM electrical model is described using Verilog-AMS language and is simulated using HSPICE simulation tools. Simulation results show that the proposed test scheme offers better open-resistive fault detection compared to existing test schemes.

Keywords: memory fault, memory test, design-for-testability, resistive random access memory

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15 Challenges and Opportunities for Implementing Integrated Project Delivery Method in Public Sector Construction

Authors: Ahsan Ahmed, Ming Lu, Syed Zaidi, Farhan Khan

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The Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) method has been proposed as the solution to tackle complexity and fragmentation in the real world while addressing the construction industry’s growing needs for productivity and sustainability. Although the private sector has taken the initiative in implementing IPD and taken advantage of new technology such as building information modeling (BIM) in delivering projects, IPD remains less known and rarely used in public sector construction. The focus of this paper is set on the use of IPD in projects in public sector, which is potentially complemented by the use of analytical functionalities for workface planning and construction oriented design enabled by recent research advances in BIM. Experiences and lessons learned from implementing IPD in the private sector and in BIM-based construction automation research would play a vital role in reducing barriers and eliminating issues in connection with project delivery in the public sector. The paper elaborates issues challenges, contractual relationships and the interactions throughout the planning, design and construction phases in the context of implementing IPD on construction projects in the public sector. A slab construction case is used as a ‘sandbox’ model to elaborate (1) the ideal way of communication, integration, and collaboration among all the parties involved in project delivery in planning and (2) the execution of projects by using IDP principles and optimization, simulation analyses.

Keywords: integrated project delivery, IPD, building information modeling, BIM

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14 Artificial Intelligence-Based Chest X-Ray Test of COVID-19 Patients

Authors: Dhurgham Al-Karawi, Nisreen Polus, Shakir Al-Zaidi, Sabah Jassim

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The management of COVID-19 patients based on chest imaging is emerging as an essential tool for evaluating the spread of the pandemic which has gripped the global community. It has already been used to monitor the situation of COVID-19 patients who have issues in respiratory status. There has been increase to use chest imaging for medical triage of patients who are showing moderate-severe clinical COVID-19 features, this is due to the fast dispersal of the pandemic to all continents and communities. This article demonstrates the development of machine learning techniques for the test of COVID-19 patients using Chest X-Ray (CXR) images in nearly real-time, to distinguish the COVID-19 infection with a significantly high level of accuracy. The testing performance has covered a combination of different datasets of CXR images of positive COVID-19 patients, patients with viral and bacterial infections, also, people with a clear chest. The proposed AI scheme successfully distinguishes CXR scans of COVID-19 infected patients from CXR scans of viral and bacterial based pneumonia as well as normal cases with an average accuracy of 94.43%, sensitivity 95%, and specificity 93.86%. Predicted decisions would be supported by visual evidence to help clinicians speed up the initial assessment process of new suspected cases, especially in a resource-constrained environment.

Keywords: COVID-19, chest x-ray scan, artificial intelligence, texture analysis, local binary pattern transform, Gabor filter

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13 Perception of Discrimination Amongst Minorites in Canada Following the Inception of Bill 21

Authors: Ayman Mohammed, Abdul Raffay Ilyas, Syeda Rohma Sadia, Zuha Durrani, Fareeha Kamal, Shaheryar Syed, Arshiya Shareef, Mukarram Zaidi

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On June 16, 2019, Coalition Avenir de Québec (CAQ) passed Bill 21, a controversial bill impacting many Canadians. The Bill prohibits workers in the Quebec provincial sector from wearing any form of religious articles. While the Bill claims to treat all religious symbols equally, those with distinctive items of dress such as hijabs, kippahs, and turbans become targets of the discriminatory nature of the Bill. With the rise in xenophobic behaviour across Canada and the West, Think For Actions conducted a study of Bill 21. The study included responses from Indigenous, Muslims, Sikhs and Jewish people residing in Calgary. The focus was on the recent passing of Bill 21, their opinions on the perceived attitudes of intolerance, and the perceptions of common stereotypes. The data collection and analysis happened over 9 weeks. The method of data collection was semi-structured interviews held in focus groups in different religious institutions and cultural/community centres in Calgary. The focus groups generated unanimously negative responses to the Bill. Participants described the Bill as “hateful” and one which “targets minority religions”. The participants had hopes that the Bill would be defeated and Quebec residents would be protected by their basic rights to practice their religion.

Keywords: Bill 21, Islamophobia, Quebec, minorities, discrimination

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12 FRP Bars Spacing Effect on Numerical Thermal Deformations in Concrete Beams under High Temperatures

Authors: A. Zaidi, F. Khelifi, R. Masmoudi, M. Bouhicha

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5 In order to eradicate the degradation of reinforced concrete structures due to the steel corrosion, professionals in constructions suggest using fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) for their excellent properties. Nevertheless, high temperatures may affect the bond between FRP bar and concrete, and consequently the serviceability of FRP-reinforced concrete structures. This paper presents a nonlinear numerical investigation using ADINA software to investigate the effect of the spacing between glass FRP (GFRP) bars embedded in concrete on circumferential thermal deformations and the distribution of radial thermal cracks in reinforced concrete beams submitted to high temperature variations up to 60 °C for asymmetrical problems. The thermal deformations predicted from nonlinear finite elements model, at the FRP bar/concrete interface and at the external surface of concrete cover, were established as a function of the ratio of concrete cover thickness to FRP bar diameter (c/db) and the ratio of spacing between FRP bars in concrete to FRP bar diameter (e/db). Numerical results show that the circumferential thermal deformations at the external surface of concrete cover are linear until cracking thermal load varied from 32 to 55 °C corresponding to the ratio of e/db varied from 1.3 to 2.3, respectively. However, for ratios e/db >2.3 and c/db >1.6, the thermal deformations at the external surface of concrete cover exhibit linear behavior without any cracks observed on the specified surface. The numerical results are compared to those obtained from analytical models validated by experimental tests.

Keywords: concrete beam, FRP bars, spacing effect, thermal deformation

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11 Effect of Bi-Dispersity on Particle Clustering in Sedimentation

Authors: Ali Abbas Zaidi

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In free settling or sedimentation, particles form clusters at high Reynolds number and dilute suspensions. It is due to the entrapment of particles in the wakes of upstream particles. In this paper, the effect of bi-dispersity of settling particles on particle clustering is investigated using particle-resolved direct numerical simulation. Immersed boundary method is used for particle fluid interactions and discrete element method is used for particle-particle interactions. The solid volume fraction used in the simulation is 1% and the Reynolds number based on Sauter mean diameter is 350. Both solid volume fraction and Reynolds number lie in the clustering regime of sedimentation. In simulations, the particle diameter ratio (i.e. diameter of larger particle to smaller particle (d₁/d₂)) is varied from 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1. For each case of particle diameter ratio, solid volume fraction for each particle size (φ₁/φ₂) is varied from 1:1, 1:2 and 2:1. For comparison, simulations are also performed for monodisperse particles. For studying particles clustering, radial distribution function and instantaneous location of particles in the computational domain are studied. It is observed that the degree of particle clustering decreases with the increase in the bi-dispersity of settling particles. The smallest degree of particle clustering or dispersion of particles is observed for particles with d₁/d₂ equal to 4:1 and φ₁/φ₂ equal to 1:2. Simulations showed that the reduction in particle clustering by increasing bi-dispersity is due to the difference in settling velocity of particles. Particles with larger size settle faster and knockout the smaller particles from clustered regions of particles in the computational domain.

Keywords: dispersion in bi-disperse settling particles, particle microstructures in bi-disperse suspensions, particle resolved direct numerical simulations, settling of bi-disperse particles

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10 Nasopharyngeal Carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Children under 5 Years of Age before Introduction of Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV 10) in Urban and Rural Sindh

Authors: Muhammad Imran Nisar, Fyezah Jehan, Tauseef Akhund, Sadia Shakoor, Kanwal Nayani, Furqan Kabir, Asad Ali, Anita Zaidi

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Pneumococcal Vaccine -10 (PCV 10) was included in the Expanded Program of immunization (EPI) in Sindh, Pakistan in February 2013. This study was carried out immediately before the introduction of PCV 10 to establish baseline pneumococcal carriage and prevalent serotypes in naso-pharynx of children 3-11 months of age in an urban and rural community in Sindh, Pakistan. An additional sample of children aged 12 to 59 months was drawn from the urban community. Nasopharyngeal specimens were collected from a random sample of children. Samples were processed in a central laboratory in Karachi. Pneumococci were cultured on 5% Sheep Blood Agar and serotyping was performed using CDC standardized sequential multiplex PCR assay on bacterial colonies. Serotypes were then categorized into vaccine (PCV-10 and PCV-13) type and non-vaccine types. A total of 670 children were enrolled. Carriage rate for pneumococcus based on culture positivity was 74% and 79.5 % in the infant group in Karachi and Matiari respectively. Carriage rate was 78.2% for children aged 12 to 59 months in Karachi. Proportion of PCV 10 serotypes in infants was 38.8% and 33.5% in Karachi and Matiari respectively. In the older age group in Karachi, the proportion was 30.6%. Most common serotypes were 6A, 6B, 23F, 19A and 18C. This survey establishes vaccine and non-vaccine serotype carriage rate in a vaccine-naïve pediatric population among rural and urban communities in Sindh province. Annually planned surveys in the same communities will inform change in carriage rate after the introduction and uptake of PCV 10 in these communities.

Keywords: Naso-Pharyngeal carriage, Pakistan, PCV10, Pneumococcus

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9 Poliovirus Vaccine Immunity among Chronically Malnourished Pakistani Infants: A Randomized Controlled Trial from Developing Country

Authors: Ali Faisal Saleem, Farheen Quadri, Mach Ondrej, Anita Zaidi

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Purpose: Pakistan is the final frontier for a polio-free world. Chronic malnutrition is associated with lack of effective gut immunity, and possibly associated with poliomyelitis in children received multiple OPV. We evaluate IPV dose administered together with OPV results in higher immunogenicity and mucosal immunity compared to OPV alone in chronically malnourished infants. Methods AND Materials: A community-based, unblinded-randomized-trial, conducted in 5 peri-urban, low-middle-income households of Karachi, in infants 9-12 months. Two study groups were non-malnourished (HAZ= -2 or more) and chronic malnourished (HAZ <-2SD), with 2-arms each i) OPV and ii) OPV and IPV. Two blood specimens (2ml) at baseline and at day 28 and two stool specimens (6 gm.) at day 29 and after 7 days. All infants received a bOPV challenge dose after first stool specimen. Calculates sample size was 210 in each arm. Serological (baseline compared to 28 days post-vaccine) and mucosal immunity after one week of bOPV challenge dose were study outcomes. Results: Baseline seroprevalence in malnourished infants were low compared to non-malnourished (P1, P2 and P3 (p=<0.001). There is significant rise in antibody titer and P1 seroprevalence in Mal A and B after receiving study vaccine; much higher in Mal B. Infants randomized to bOPV + IPV study vaccine showed incremental immune response against P1 (Mal B, 92.2%; Nor B, 98.4%), P2 (Mal B, 90.4%; Nor B, 94.7%), and P3 (Mal B, 85.6% and Nor B, 93.5%) was observed. A significant proportion of infants in malnourished (P1, 13%; P2, 24%; P3, 26%) and normally nourished group (P1, 5%; P2, 11%; P3, 14%) were found to be seronegative at baseline. Infants who received BOPV + IPV as their study vaccine showed a very high seroconversion response after vaccine (p=<0.001 for P1, P2 and P3). Majority of the specimens were negative at baseline (Mal A, 2%, Mal B, 1%; Nor A, 2%; Nor B, 1%), and remains negative after bOPV challenge dose (Mal A, 8%, Mal B, 6%; Nor A, 11%; Nor B, 10%). Conclusion: Malnourished-infants have low poliovirus-seroprevalence that increased remarkably after IPV. There is less viral shedding after IPV in infants.

Keywords: chronic malnutrition, infants, IPV, OPV

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8 Effect of Fiddler Crab Burrows on Bacterial Communities of Mangrove Sediments

Authors: Mohammad Mokhtari, Gires Usup, Zaidi Che Cob

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Bacteria communities as mediators of the biogeochemical process are the main component of the mangrove ecosystems. Crab burrows by increasing oxic-anoxic interfaces and facilitating the flux rate between sediment and tidal water affect biogeochemical properties of sediments. The effect of fiddler crab burrows on the density and diversity of bacteria were investigated to elucidate the effect of burrow on bacterial distribution. Samples collected from the burrow walls of three species of fiddler crabs including Uca paradussumieri, Uca rosea, and Uca forcipata. Sediment properties including grain size, temperature, Redox potential, pH, chlorophyll, water and organic content were measured from the burrow walls to assess the correlation between environmental variables and bacterial communities. Bacteria were enumerated with epifluorescence microscopy after staining with SYBR green. Bacterial DNA extracted from sediment samples and the community profiles of bacteria were determined with Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP). High endemism was observed among bacterial communities. Among the 152 observed OTU’s, 22 were found only in crab burrows. The highest bacterial density and diversity were recorded in burrow wall. The results of ANOSIM indicated a significant difference between the bacterial communities from the three species of fiddler crab burrows. Only 3% of explained bacteria variability in the constrained ordination model of CCA was contributed to depth, while much of the bacteria’s variability was attributed to coarse sand, pH, and chlorophyll content. Our findings suggest that crab burrows by affecting sediment properties such as redox potential, pH, water, and chlorophyll content induce significant effects on the bacterial communities.

Keywords: bioturbation, canonical corresponding analysis, fiddler crab, microbial ecology

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7 Impact of Urbanization on Natural Drainage Pattern in District of Larkana, Sindh Pakistan

Authors: Sumaira Zafar, Arjumand Zaidi

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During past few years, several floods have adversely affected the areas along lower Indus River. Besides other climate related anomalies, rapidly increasing urbanization and blockage of natural drains due to siltation or encroachments are two other critical causes that may be responsible for these disasters. Due to flat topography of river Indus plains and blockage of natural waterways, drainage of storm water takes time adversely affecting the crop health and soil properties of the area. Government of Sindh is taking a keen interest in revival of natural drainage network in the province and has initiated this work under Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority. In this paper, geospatial techniques are used to analyze landuse/land-cover changes of Larkana district over the past three decades (1980-present) and their impact on natural drainage system. Satellite derived Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and topographic sheets (recent and 1950) are used to delineate natural drainage pattern of the district. The urban landuse map developed in this study is further overlaid on drainage line layer to identify the critical areas where the natural floodwater flows are being inhibited by urbanization. Rainfall and flow data are utilized to identify areas of heavy flow, whereas, satellite data including Landsat 7 and Google Earth are used to map previous floods extent and landuse/cover of the study area. Alternatives to natural drainage systems are also suggested wherever possible. The output maps of natural drainage pattern can be used to develop a decision support system for urban planners, Sindh development authorities and flood mitigation and management agencies.

Keywords: geospatial techniques, satellite data, natural drainage, flood, urbanization

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6 Geospatial Techniques for Impact Assessment of Canal Rehabilitation Program in Sindh, Pakistan

Authors: Sumaira Zafar, Arjumand Zaidi, Muhammad Arslan Hafeez

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Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) is the largest contiguous irrigation system of the world comprising Indus River and its tributaries, canals, distributaries, and watercourses. A big challenge faced by IBIS is transmission losses through seepage and leaks that account to 41 percent of the total water derived from the river and about 40 percent of that is through watercourses. Irrigation system rehabilitation programs in Pakistan are focused on improvement of canal system at the watercourse level (tertiary channels). Under these irrigation system management programs more than 22,800 watercourses have been improved or lined out of 43,000 (12,900 Kilometers) watercourses. The evaluation of the improvement work is required at this stage to testify the success of the programs. In this paper, emerging technologies of GIS and satellite remote sensing are used for impact assessment of watercourse rehabilitation work in Sindh. To evaluate the efficiency of the improved watercourses, few parameters are selected like soil moisture along watercourses, availability of water at tail end and changes in cultivable command areas. Improved watercourses details and maps are acquired from National Program for Improvement of Watercourses (NPIW) and Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (SUPARCO). High resolution satellite images of Google Earth for the year of 2004 to 2013 are used for digitizing command areas. Temporal maps of cultivable command areas show a noticeable increase in the cultivable land served by improved watercourses. Field visits are conducted to validate the results. Interviews with farmers and landowners also reveal their overall satisfaction in terms of availability of water at the tail end and increased crop production.

Keywords: geospatial, impact assessment, watercourses, GIS, remote sensing, seepage, canal lining

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5 Investigating Role of Novel Molecular Players in Forebrain Roof-Plate Midline Invagination

Authors: Mohd Ali Abbas Zaidi, Meenu Sachdeva, Jonaki Sen

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In the vertebrate embryo, the forebrain anlagen develops from the anterior-most region of the neural tube which is the precursor of the central nervous system (CNS). The roof plate located at the dorsal midline region of the forebrain anlagen, acts as a source of several secreted molecules involved in patterning and morphogenesis of the forebrain. One such key morphogenetic event is the invagination of the forebrain roof plate which results in separation of the single forebrain vesicle into two cerebral hemispheres. Retinoic acid (RA) signaling plays a key role in this process. Blocking RA signaling at the dorsal forebrain midline inhibits dorsal invagination and results in the absence of certain key features of this region, such as thinning of the neuroepithelium and a lowering of cell proliferation. At present we are investigating the possibility of other signaling pathways acting in concert with RA signaling to regulate this process. We have focused on BMP signaling, which we found to be active in a mutually exclusive domain to that of RA signaling within the roof plate. We have also observed that there is a change in BMP signaling activity on modulation of RA signaling indicating an antagonistic relationship between the two. Moreover, constitutive activation of BMP signaling seems to completely inhibit thinning and partially affect invagination, leaving the lowering of cell proliferation in the midline unaffected. We are employing in-silico modeling as well as molecular manipulations to investigate the relative contribution if any, of regional differences in rates of cell proliferation and thinning of the neuroepithelium towards the process of invagination. We have found expression of certain cell adhesion molecules in forebrain roof-plate whose mRNA localization across the thickness of neuroepithelium is influenced by Bmp and RA signaling, giving regional rigidity to roof plate and assisting invagination. We also found expression of certain cytoskeleton modifiers in a localized small domains in invaginating forebrain roof plate suggesting that midline invagination is under control of many factors.

Keywords: bone morphogenetic signaling, cytoskeleton, cell adhesion molecules, forebrain roof plate, retinoic acid signaling

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4 Impact of Contemporary Performance Measurement System and Organization Justice on Academic Staff Work Performance

Authors: Amizawati Mohd Amir, Ruhanita Maelah, Zaidi Mohd Noor

Abstract:

As part of the Malaysia Higher Institutions' Strategic Plan in promoting high-quality research and education, the Ministry of Higher Education has introduced various instrument to assess the universities performance. The aims are that university will produce more commercially-oriented research and continue to contribute in producing professional workforce for domestic and foreign needs. Yet the spirit of the success lies in the commitment of university particularly the academic staff to translate the vision into reality. For that reason, the element of fairness and justice in assessing individual academic staff performance is crucial to promote directly linked between university and individual work goals. Focusing on public research universities (RUs) in Malaysia, this study observes at the issue through the practice of university contemporary performance measurement system. Accordingly management control theory has conceptualized that contemporary performance measurement consisting of three dimension namely strategic, comprehensive and dynamic building upon equity theory, the relationships between contemporary performance measurement system and organizational justice and in turn the effect on academic staff work performance are tested based on online survey data administered on 365 academic staff from public RUs, which were analyzed using statistics analysis SPSS and Equation Structure Modeling. The findings validated the presence of strategic, comprehensive and dynamic in the contemporary performance measurement system. The empirical evidence also indicated that contemporary performance measure and procedural justice are significantly associated with work performance but not for distributive justice. Furthermore, procedural justice does mediate the relationship between contemporary performance measurement and academic staff work performance. Evidently, this study provides evidence on the importance of perceptions of justice towards influencing academic staff work performance. This finding may be a fruitful input in the setting up academic staff performance assessment policy.

Keywords: comprehensive, dynamic, distributive justice, contemporary performance measurement system, strategic, procedure justice, work performance

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3 Moderating Effect of Owner's Influence on the Relationship between the Probability of Client Failure and Going Concern Opinion Issuance

Authors: Mohammad Noor Hisham Osman, Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff, Zaidi Mat Daud, Zulkarnain Muhamad Sori

Abstract:

The problem that Malaysian auditors do not issue going concern opinion (GC opinion) to seriously financially distressed companies is still a pressing issue. Policy makers, particularly the Financial Statement Review Committee (FSRC) of Malaysian Institute of Accountant, have raised this issue as early as in 2009. Similar problem happened in the US, UK, and many developing countries. It is important for auditors to issue GC opinion properly because such opinion is one signal about the viability of a company much needed by stakeholders. There are at least two unanswered questions or research gaps in the literature on determinants of GC opinion. Firstly, is client’s probability of failure associated with GC opinion issuance? Secondly, to what extent influential owners (management, family, and institution) moderate the association between client probability of failure and GC opinion issuance. The objective of this study is, therefore, twofold; (1) To examine the extent of the relationship between the probability of client failure and the issuance of GC opinion and (2) To examine the level of management, family, and institutional ownerships moderate the association between client probability of failure and the issuance of GC opinion. This study is quantitative in nature, and the sources of data are secondary (mainly company’s annual reports). A total of four hypotheses have been developed and tested on data accumulated from annual reports of seriously financially distressed Malaysian public listed companies. Data from 2006 to 2012 on a sample of 644 observations have been analyzed using panel logistic regression. It is found that certainty (rather than probability) of client failure affects the issuance of GC opinion. In addition, it is found that only the level of family ownership does positively moderate the relationship between client probability of failure and GC opinion issuance. This study is a contribution to auditing literature as its findings can enhance our understanding about audit quality; particularly on the variables that are associated with the issuance of GC opinion. The findings of this study shed light on the roles family owners in GC opinion issuance process, and this would open ways for the researcher to suggest measures that can be used to tackle the problem of auditors do not want to issue GC opinion to financially distressed clients. The measures to be suggested can be useful to policy makers in formulating future promulgations.

Keywords: audit quality, auditing, auditor characteristics, going concern opinion, Malaysia

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2 High Strength, High Toughness Polyhydroxybutyrate-Co-Valerate Based Biocomposites

Authors: S. Z. A. Zaidi, A. Crosky

Abstract:

Biocomposites is a field that has gained much scientific attention due to the current substantial consumption of non-renewable resources and the environmentally harmful disposal methods required for traditional polymer composites. Research on natural fiber reinforced polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) has gained considerable momentum over the past decade. There is little work on PHAs reinforced with unidirectional (UD) natural fibers and little work on using epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) as a toughening agent for PHA-based biocomposites. In this work, we prepared polyhydroxybutyrate-co-valerate (PHBV) biocomposites reinforced with UD 30 wt.% flax fibers and evaluated the use of ENR with 50% epoxidation (ENR50) as a toughening agent for PHBV biocomposites. Quasi-unidirectional flax/PHBV composites were prepared by hand layup, powder impregnation followed by compression molding.  Toughening agents – polybutylene adiphate-co-terephthalate (PBAT) and ENR50 – were cryogenically ground into powder and mechanically mixed with main matrix PHBV to maintain the powder impregnation process. The tensile, flexural and impact properties of the biocomposites were measured and morphology of the composites examined using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The UD biocomposites showed exceptionally high mechanical properties as compared to the results obtained previously where only short fibers have been used. The improved tensile and flexural properties were attributed to the continuous nature of the fiber reinforcement and the increased proportion of fibers in the loading direction. The improved impact properties were attributed to a larger surface area for fiber-matrix debonding and for subsequent sliding and fiber pull-out mechanisms to act on, allowing more energy to be absorbed. Coating cryogenically ground ENR50 particles with PHBV powder successfully inhibits the self-healing nature of ENR-50, preventing particles from coalescing and overcoming problems in mechanical mixing, compounding and molding. Cryogenic grinding, followed by powder impregnation and subsequent compression molding is an effective route to the production of high-mechanical-property biocomposites based on renewable resources for high-obsolescence applications such as plastic casings for consumer electronics.

Keywords: natural fibers, natural rubber, polyhydroxyalkanoates, unidirectional

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1 Factors Associated with Treatment Adherence among Pulmonary Tuberculosis Patients in New Delhi

Authors: Ilham Zaidi, P. Sankara Sarma, Quazi Taufique Ahmed, V. Raman Kutty, Khalid Umer Khayyam, Gurpreet Singh, Abhishek Royal

Abstract:

Introduction: Tuberculosis is a global public health emergency, but it is particularly acute in India, which has the world's highest tuberculosis burden. Due to overpopulation, lack of sanitation, malnutrition, low living standards, and poor socioeconomic status, among other factors, it is India's most common infectious disease. The long period of treatment is one of the main reasons for considering it as a public health emergency. Consequently, there is an increase in patient noncompliance, which leads to treatment failure, adverse treatment outcomes, and deaths. This could lead to the growth of anti-TB drug resistance. According to the WHO, approximately 558 thousand new cases of Multi-Drug Resistance Tuberculosis were diagnosed worldwide, with 8.5 percent developed Extensively Drug Resistance Tuberculosis. Methodology: This study is a program-based cross-sectional descriptive survey of adult tuberculosis patients enrolled in the Delhi-based Revised National Tuberculosis Program. The study setting was 27 NTEP districts of Delhi. (N=65,893) and Sample size- was 200; the sampling method which is used in the study was the systemic random sampling method. Results: Most of the demographic factors (age, gender, residence, and family type) were not significantly associated with adherence; marital status was found statistically significant with the treatment compliance. Hesitation while telling people about the disease and motivation to strictly follow drug schedule by healthcare workers were other factors where a significant association with drug adherence was observed. The study findings also suggest that provision of food, minimal financial and other moral support from family, counseling, discussion and politeness by healthcare providers might also facilitate adherence. Discussion and Conclusions: For TB treatment, adherence, age, sex, socioeconomic status, types of accommodations, malnutrition, and personal hygiene should all be considered; similar results were observed in previous studies. In the care of TB patients, DOTS services, health workers, and family support play a significant role. According to the country's National Strategic Plan, the Indian government has set a goal of eliminating tuberculosis by 2025 and patients' compliance with TB care and treatment adherence is very crucial to achieve this aim. A cohort study will be able to give a better understanding of factors associated with adherence since this study may have missed some defaulters who were absconding and could not be reached. Important Terms: RNTCP, NTEP, DOTS, DS-TB, DR-TB, RR-TB, MDR-TB, XDR-TB, Treatment failure, Treatment relapse, Treatment adherence.

Keywords: treatment adherence, treatment relapse, treatment failure, drug resistance tuberculosis

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