Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

Search results for: Thorsten Chmura

12 Bridging the Gap and Widening the Divide

Authors: Lerato Dixon, Thorsten Chmura


This paper explores whether ethnic identity in Zimbabwe leads to discriminatory behaviour and the degree to which a norm-based intervention can shift this discriminatory behaviour. Social Identity Theory suggests that group identity can lead to favouritism towards the in-group and discriminatory behaviour towards the out-group. Agents yield higher utility from maintaining positive self-esteem by confirming with group behaviour. This paper focuses on the two majority ethnic groups in Zimbabwe – the Ndebele and Shona. Racial identities are synonymous with the language spoken. Zimbabwe’s history highlights how identity formation took place. As following independence, political parties became recognised as either Ndebele or Shona-speaking. It is against this backdrop that this study investigates the degree to which norm-based nudge can alter behaviour. This paper uses experimental methods to analyse discriminatory behaviour between two naturally occurring ethnic groups in Zimbabwe. In addition, we investigate if social norm-based interventions can shift discriminatory behaviour to understand if the divide between these two identity groups can be further divided or healed. Participants are randomly assigned into three groups to receive information regarding a social norm. We compare the effect of a proscriptive social norm-based intervention, stating what shouldn't be done and prescriptive social norms as interventions, stating what should be done. Specifically, participants are either shown the socially appropriate (Heal) norm, the socially inappropriateness (Divide) norm regarding interethnic marriages or no norm-based intervention. Following the random assignment into intervention groups, participants take part in the Trust Game. We conjecture that discrimination will shift in accordance with the prevailing social norm. Instead, we find evidence of interethnic discriminatory behaviour. We also find that trust increases when interacting with Ndebele, Shona and Zimbabwean participants following the Heal intervention. However, if the participant is Shona, the Heal intervention decreases trust toward in-groups and Zimbabwean co-players. On the other hand, if the participant is Shona, the Divide treatment significantly increases trust toward Ndebele participants. In summary, we find evidence that norm-based interventions significantly change behaviour. However, the prescriptive norm-based intervention (Heal) decreases trust toward the in-group, out-group and national identity group if the participant is Shona – therefore having an adverse effect. In contrast, the proscriptive Divide treatment increases trust if the participant is Shona towards Ndebele co-players. We conclude that norm-based interventions have a ‘rebound’ effect by altering behaviour in the opposite direction.

Keywords: discrimination, social identity, social norm-based intervention, zimbabwe

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11 Real Time Video Based Smoke Detection Using Double Optical Flow Estimation

Authors: Anton Stadler, Thorsten Ike


In this paper, we present a video based smoke detection algorithm based on TVL1 optical flow estimation. The main part of the algorithm is an accumulating system for motion angles and upward motion speed of the flow field. We optimized the usage of TVL1 flow estimation for the detection of smoke with very low smoke density. Therefore, we use adapted flow parameters and estimate the flow field on difference images. We show in theory and in evaluation that this improves the performance of smoke detection significantly. We evaluate the smoke algorithm using videos with different smoke densities and different backgrounds. We show that smoke detection is very reliable in varying scenarios. Further we verify that our algorithm is very robust towards crowded scenes disturbance videos.

Keywords: low density, optical flow, upward smoke motion, video based smoke detection

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10 Iterative Design Process for Development and Virtual Commissioning of Plant Control Software

Authors: Thorsten Prante, Robert Schöch, Ruth Fleisch, Vaheh Khachatouri, Alexander Walch


The development of industrial plant control software is a complex and often very expensive task. One of the core problems is that a lot of the implementation and adaptation work can only be done after the plant hardware has been installed. In this paper, we present our approach to virtually developing and validating plant-level control software of production plants. This way, plant control software can be virtually commissioned before actual ramp-up of a plant, reducing actual commissioning costs and time. Technically, this is achieved by linking the actual plant-wide process control software (often called plant server) and an elaborate virtual plant model together to form an emulation system. Method-wise, we are suggesting a four-step iterative process with well-defined increments and time frame. Our work is based on practical experiences from planning to commissioning and start-up of several cut-to-size plants.

Keywords: iterative system design, virtual plant engineering, plant control software, simulation and emulation, virtual commissioning

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9 Method Validation for Determining Platinum and Palladium in Catalysts Using Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry

Authors: Marin Senila, Oana Cadar, Thorsten Janisch, Patrick Lacroix-Desmazes


The study presents the analytical capability and validation of a method based on microwave-assisted acid digestion for quantitative determination of platinum and palladium in catalysts using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). In order to validate the method, the main figures of merit such as limit of detection and limit of quantification, precision and accuracy were considered and the measurement uncertainty was estimated based on the bottom-up approach according to the international guidelines of ISO/IEC 17025. Limit of detections, estimated from blank signal using 3 s criterion, were 3.0 mg/kg for Pt and respectively 3.6 mg/kg for Pd, while limits of quantification were 9.0 mg/kg for Pt and respectively 10.8 mg/kg for Pd. Precisions, evaluated as standard deviations of repeatability (n=5 parallel samples), were less than 10% for both precious metals. Accuracies of the method, verified by recovery estimation certified reference material NIST SRM 2557 - pulverized recycled monolith, were 99.4 % for Pt and 101% for Pd. The obtained limit of quantifications and accuracy were satisfactory for the intended purpose. The paper offers all the steps necessary to validate the determination method for Pt and Pd in catalysts using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry.

Keywords: catalyst analysis, ICP-OES, method validation, platinum, palladium

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8 The Emoji Method: An Approach for Identifying and Formulating Problem Ideas

Authors: Thorsten Herrmann, Alexander Laukemann, Hansgeorg Binz, Daniel Roth


For the analysis of already identified and existing problems, the pertinent literature provides a comprehensive collection of approaches as well as methods in order to analyze the problems in detail. But coming up with problems, which are assets worth pursuing further, is often challenging. However, the importance of well-formulated problem ideas and their influence of subsequent creative processes are incontestable and proven. In order to meet the covered challenges, the Institute for Engineering Design and Industrial Design (IKTD) developed the Emoji Method. This paper presents the Emoji Method, which support designers to generate problem ideas in a structured way. Considering research findings from knowledge management and innovation management, research into emojis and emoticons reveal insights by means of identifying and formulating problem ideas within the early design phase. The simple application and the huge supporting potential of the Emoji Method within the early design phase are only few of the many successful results of the conducted evaluation. The Emoji Method encourages designers to identify problem ideas and describe them in a structured way in order to start focused with generating solution ideas for the revealed problem ideas.

Keywords: emojis, problem ideas, innovation management, knowledge management

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7 Microvesicles in Peripheral and Uterine Blood in Women with Atypical Hyperplasia and Endometrioid Endometrial Cancer

Authors: Barbara Zapala, Marek Dziechciowski, Olaf Chmura, Monika Piwowar, Katarzyna Gawlik, Dorota Pawlicka-Gosiewska, Krzysztof Skotniczny, Bogdan Solnica, Kazimierz Pitynski


BACKGROUND: Endometrial cancer is one of the most common gynecologic malignancy in developed countries.We hypothesized that amount of circulating micro-particles in blood may be connected with the development of endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer. The aim of this study was to measure the micro-particles amount in uterine venous blood and in peripheral venous blood in women with atypical endometrial hyperplasia and endometrioid endometrial cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: By using flow cytometry (BD Canto II cytometer) we measured micro-particles amount in citrate plasma samples from peripheral and uterine venous blood of women with atypical hyperplasia of endometrium or endometrial cancer. We determined the amount of total (TF+), endothelial (CD144+) and monocytic (CD14+) micro- particles. RESULTS: Here we show statistically significant higher micro-particle levels in women with atypical hyperplasia of endometrium or endometrial cancer in comparison to healthy women. Performing measurements of the amounts of total, endothelial and monocytic microparticles allow for reliable differentiation between healthy, atypical hyperplasia and endometrial cancer groups. In blood samples from uterine veins the circulating micro-particle levels were significantly different from peripheral blood samples. The micro-particle levels in uterine blood samples were 7-fold higher than in those from peripheral blood of women with both atypical hyperplasia of endometrium and endometrial cancer when compared to the control group of healthy women. CONCLUSION: These results strongly suggested that the level of circulating micro-particles may be a sign of endometrial cancer development, however the detailed study is needed focusing on molecular processes passed through this small circulating molecules.

Keywords: endometrial cancer, endometrial hyperplasia, microvesicles, uterine blood

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6 Experimental Validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics Used for Pharyngeal Flow Patterns during Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Authors: Pragathi Gurumurthy, Christina Hagen, Patricia Ulloa, Martin A. Koch, Thorsten M. Buzug


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder where the patient suffers a disturbed airflow during sleep due to partial or complete occlusion of the pharyngeal airway. Recently, numerical simulations have been used to better understand the mechanism of pharyngeal collapse. However, to gain confidence in the solutions so obtained, an experimental validation is required. Therefore, in this study an experimental validation of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) used for the study of human pharyngeal flow patterns during OSA is performed. A stationary incompressible Navier-Stokes equation solved using the finite element method was used to numerically study the flow patterns in a computed tomography-based human pharynx model. The inlet flow rate was set to 250 ml/s and such that a flat profile was maintained at the inlet. The outlet pressure was set to 0 Pa. The experimental technique used for the validation of CFD of fluid flow patterns is phase contrast-MRI (PC-MRI). Using the same computed tomography data of the human pharynx as in the simulations, a phantom for the experiment was 3 D printed. Glycerol (55.27% weight) in water was used as a test fluid at 25°C. Inflow conditions similar to the CFD study were simulated using an MRI compatible flow pump (CardioFlow-5000MR, Shelley Medical Imaging Technologies). The entire experiment was done on a 3 T MR system (Ingenia, Philips) with 108 channel body coil using an RF-spoiled, gradient echo sequence. A comparison of the axial velocity obtained in the pharynx from the numerical simulations and PC-MRI shows good agreement. The region of jet impingement and recirculation also coincide, therefore validating the numerical simulations. Hence, the experimental validation proves the reliability and correctness of the numerical simulations.

Keywords: computational fluid dynamics, experimental validation, phase contrast-MRI, obstructive sleep apnea

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5 CFD Simulation of the Pressure Distribution in the Upper Airway of an Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patient

Authors: Christina Hagen, Pragathi Kamale Gurmurthy, Thorsten M. Buzug


CFD simulations are performed in the upper airway of a patient suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that is a sleep related breathing disorder characterized by repetitive partial or complete closures of the upper airways. The simulations are aimed at getting a better understanding of the pathophysiological flow patterns in an OSA patient. The simulation is compared to medical data of a sleep endoscopic examination under sedation. A digital model consisting of surface triangles of the upper airway is extracted from the MR images by a region growing segmentation process and is followed by a careful manual refinement. The computational domain includes the nasal cavity with the nostrils as the inlet areas and the pharyngeal volume with an outlet underneath the larynx. At the nostrils a flat inflow velocity profile is prescribed by choosing the velocity such that a volume flow rate of 150 ml/s is reached. Behind the larynx at the outlet a pressure of -10 Pa is prescribed. The stationary incompressible Navier-Stokes equations are numerically solved using finite elements. A grid convergence study has been performed. The results show an amplification of the maximal velocity of about 2.5 times the inlet velocity at a constriction of the pharyngeal volume in the area of the tongue. It is the same region that also shows the highest pressure drop from about 5 Pa. This is in agreement with the sleep endoscopic examinations of the same patient under sedation showing complete contractions in the area of the tongue. CFD simulations can become a useful tool in the diagnosis and therapy of obstructive sleep apnea by giving insight into the patient’s individual fluid dynamical situation in the upper airways giving a better understanding of the disease where experimental measurements are not feasible. Within this study, it could been shown on one hand that constriction areas within the upper airway lead to a significant pressure drop and on the other hand a good agreement of the area of pressure drop and the area of contraction could be shown.

Keywords: biomedical engineering, obstructive sleep apnea, pharynx, upper airways

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4 Optimising Post-Process Heat Treatments of Selective Laser Melting-Produced Ti-6Al-4V Parts to Achieve Superior Mechanical Properties

Authors: Gerrit Ter Haar, Thorsten Becker, Deborah Blaine


The Additive Manufacturing (AM) process of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) has seen an exponential growth in sales and development in the past fifteen years. Whereas the capability of SLM was initially limited to rapid prototyping, progress in research and development (R&D) has allowed SLM to be capable of fully functional parts. This technology is still at a primitive stage and technical knowledge of the vast number of variables influencing final part quality is limited. Ongoing research and development of the sensitive printing process and post processes is of utmost importance in order to qualify SLM parts to meet international standards. Quality concerns in Ti-6Al-4V manufactured through SLM has been identified, which include: high residual stresses, part porosity, low ductility and anisotropic mechanical properties. Whereas significant quality improvements have been made through optimising printing parameters, research indicates as-produced part ductility to be a major limiting factor when compared to its wrought counterpart. This study aims at achieving an in-depth understanding of the underlining links between SLM produced Ti-6Al-4V microstructure and its mechanical properties. Knowledge of microstructural transformation kinetics of Ti-6Al-4V allows for the optimisation of post-process heat treatments thereby achieving the required process route to manufacture high quality SLM produced Ti-6Al-4V parts. Experimental methods used to evaluate the kinematics of microstructural transformation of SLM Ti-6Al-4V are: optical microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction. Results show that a low-temperature heat treatment is capable of transforming the as-produced, martensitic microstructure into a duel-phase microstructure exhibiting both a high strength and improved ductility. Furthermore, isotropy of mechanical properties can be achieved through certain annealing routes. Mechanical properties identical to that of wrought Ti-6Al-4V can, therefore, be achieved through an optimised process route.

Keywords: EBSD analysis, heat treatments, microstructural characterisation, selective laser melting, tensile behaviour, Ti-6Al-4V

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3 Peptide-Based Platform for Differentiation of Antigenic Variations within Influenza Virus Subtypes (Flutype)

Authors: Henry Memczak, Marc Hovestaedt, Bernhard Ay, Sandra Saenger, Thorsten Wolff, Frank F. Bier


The influenza viruses cause flu epidemics every year and serious pandemics in larger time intervals. The only cost-effective protection against influenza is vaccination. Due to rapid mutation continuously new subtypes appear, what requires annual reimmunization. For a correct vaccination recommendation, the circulating influenza strains had to be detected promptly and exactly and characterized due to their antigenic properties. During the flu season 2016/17, a wrong vaccination recommendation has been given because of the great time interval between identification of the relevant influenza vaccine strains and outbreak of the flu epidemic during the following winter. Due to such recurring incidents of vaccine mismatches, there is a great need to speed up the process chain from identifying the right vaccine strains to their administration. The monitoring of subtypes as part of this process chain is carried out by national reference laboratories within the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). To this end, thousands of viruses from patient samples (e.g., throat smears) are isolated and analyzed each year. Currently, this analysis involves complex and time-intensive (several weeks) animal experiments to produce specific hyperimmune sera in ferrets, which are necessary for the determination of the antigen profiles of circulating virus strains. These tests also bear difficulties in standardization and reproducibility, which restricts the significance of the results. To replace this test a peptide-based assay for influenza virus subtyping from corresponding virus samples was developed. The differentiation of the viruses takes place by a set of specifically designed peptidic recognition molecules which interact differently with the different influenza virus subtypes. The differentiation of influenza subtypes is performed by pattern recognition guided by machine learning algorithms, without any animal experiments. Synthetic peptides are immobilized in multiplex format on various platforms (e.g., 96-well microtiter plate, microarray). Afterwards, the viruses are incubated and analyzed comparing different signaling mechanisms and a variety of assay conditions. Differentiation of a range of influenza subtypes, including H1N1, H3N2, H5N1, as well as fine differentiation of single strains within these subtypes is possible using the peptide-based subtyping platform. Thereby, the platform could be capable of replacing the current antigenic characterization of influenza strains using ferret hyperimmune sera.

Keywords: antigenic characterization, influenza-binding peptides, influenza subtyping, influenza surveillance

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2 Prenatal Paraben Exposure Impacts Infant Overweight Development and in vitro Adipogenesis

Authors: Beate Englich, Linda Schlittenbauer, Christiane Pfeifer, Isabel Kratochvil, Michael Borte, Gabriele I. Stangl, Martin von Bergen, Thorsten Reemtsma, Irina Lehmann, Kristin M. Junge


The worldwide production of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) has risen dramatically over the last decades, as so has the prevalence for obesity. Many EDCs are believed to contribute to this obesity epidemic, by enhancing adipogenesis or disrupting relevant metabolism. This effect is most tremendous in the early prenatal period when priming effects find a highly vulnerable time window. Therefore, we investigate the impact of parabens on childhood overweight development and adipogenesis in general. Parabens are ester of 4-hydroxy-benzoic acid and part of many cosmetic products or food packing. Therefore, ubiquitous exposure can be found in the westernized world, with exposure already starting during the sensitive prenatal period. We assessed maternal cosmetic product consumption, prenatal paraben exposure and infant BMI z-scores in the prospective German LINA cohort. In detail, maternal urinary concentrations (34 weeks of gestation) of methyl paraben (MeP), ethyl paraben (EtP), n-propyl paraben (PrP) and n-butyl paraben (BuP) were quantified using UPLC-MS/MS. Body weight and height of their children was assessed during annual clinical visits. Further, we investigated the direct influence of those parabens on adipogenesis in-vitro using a human mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation assay to mimic a prenatal exposure scenario. MSC were exposed to 0.1 – 50 µM paraben during the entire differentiation period. Differentiation outcome was monitored by impedance spectrometry, real-time PCR and triglyceride staining. We found that maternal cosmetic product consumption was highly correlated with urinary paraben concentrations at pregnancy. Further, prenatal paraben exposure was linked to higher BMI Z-scores in children. Our in-vitro analysis revealed that especially the long chained paraben BuP stimulates adipogenesis by increasing the expression of adipocyte specific genes (PPARγ, ADIPOQ, LPL, etc.) and triglyceride storage. Moreover, we found that adiponectin secretion is increased whereas leptin secretion is reduced under BuP exposure in-vitro. Further mechanistic analysis for receptor binding and activation of PPARγ and other key players in adipogenesis are currently in process. We conclude that maternal cosmetic product consumption is linked to prenatal paraben exposure of children and contributes to the development of infant overweight development by triggering key pathways of adipogenesis.

Keywords: adipogenesis, endocrine disruptors, paraben, prenatal exposure

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1 The Seller’s Sense: Buying-Selling Perspective Affects the Sensitivity to Expected-Value Differences

Authors: Taher Abofol, Eldad Yechiam, Thorsten Pachur


In four studies, we examined whether seller and buyers differ not only in subjective price levels for objects (i.e., the endowment effect) but also in their relative accuracy given objects varying in expected value. If, as has been proposed, sellers stand to accrue a more substantial loss than buyers do, then their pricing decisions should be more sensitive to expected-value differences between objects. This is implied by loss aversion due to the steeper slope of prospect theory’s value function for losses than for gains, as well as by loss attention account, which posits that losses increase the attention invested in a task. Both accounts suggest that losses increased sensitivity to relative values of different objects, which should result in better alignment of pricing decisions to the objective value of objects on the part of sellers. Under loss attention, this characteristic should only emerge under certain boundary conditions. In Study 1 a published dataset was reanalyzed, in which 152 participants indicated buying or selling prices for monetary lotteries with different expected values. Relative EV sensitivity was calculated for participants as the Spearman rank correlation between their pricing decisions for each of the lotteries and the lotteries' expected values. An ANOVA revealed a main effect of perspective (sellers versus buyers), F(1,150) = 85.3, p < .0001 with greater EV sensitivity for sellers. Study 2 examined the prediction (implied by loss attention) that the positive effect of losses on performance emerges particularly under conditions of time constraints. A published dataset was reanalyzed, where 84 participants were asked to provide selling and buying prices for monetary lotteries in three deliberations time conditions (5, 10, 15 seconds). As in Study 1, an ANOVA revealed greater EV sensitivity for sellers than for buyers, F(1,82) = 9.34, p = .003. Importantly, there was also an interaction of perspective by deliberation time. Post-hoc tests revealed that there were main effects of perspective both in the condition with 5s deliberation time, and in the condition with 10s deliberation time, but not in the 15s condition. Thus, sellers’ EV-sensitivity advantage disappeared with extended deliberation. Study 3 replicated the design of study 1 but administered the task three times to test if the effect decays with repeated presentation. The results showed that the difference between buyers and sellers’ EV sensitivity was replicated in repeated task presentations. Study 4 examined the loss attention prediction that EV-sensitivity differences can be eliminated by manipulations that reduce the differential attention investment of sellers and buyers. This was carried out by randomly mixing selling and buying trials for each participant. The results revealed no differences in EV sensitivity between selling and buying trials. The pattern of results is consistent with an attentional resource-based account of the differences between sellers and buyers. Thus, asking people to price, an object from a seller's perspective rather than the buyer's improves the relative accuracy of pricing decisions; subtle changes in the framing of one’s perspective in a trading negotiation may improve price accuracy.

Keywords: decision making, endowment effect, pricing, loss aversion, loss attention

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