Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 705

Search results for: agent

705 A Bacterial Foraging Optimization Algorithm Applied to the Synthesis of Polyacrylamide Hydrogels

Authors: Florin Leon, Silvia Curteanu

Abstract:

The Bacterial Foraging Optimization (BFO) algorithm is inspired by the behavior of bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Myxococcus xanthus when searching for food, more precisely the chemotaxis behavior. Bacteria perceive chemical gradients in the environment, such as nutrients, and also other individual bacteria, and move toward or in the opposite direction to those signals. The application example considered as a case study consists in establishing the dependency between the reaction yield of hydrogels based on polyacrylamide and the working conditions such as time, temperature, monomer, initiator, crosslinking agent and inclusion polymer concentrations, as well as type of the polymer added. This process is modeled with a neural network which is included in an optimization procedure based on BFO. An experimental study of BFO parameters is performed. The results show that the algorithm is quite robust and can obtain good results for diverse combinations of parameter values.

Keywords: Bacterial foraging optimization, hydrogels, neural networks, modeling.

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704 Dependability Tools in Multi-Agent Support for Failures Analysis of Computer Networks

Authors: Myriam Noureddine

Abstract:

During their activity, all systems must be operational without failures and in this context, the dependability concept is essential avoiding disruption of their function. As computer networks are systems with the same requirements of dependability, this article deals with an analysis of failures for a computer network. The proposed approach integrates specific tools of the plat-form KB3, usually applied in dependability studies of industrial systems. The methodology is supported by a multi-agent system formed by six agents grouped in three meta agents, dealing with two levels. The first level concerns a modeling step through a conceptual agent and a generating agent. The conceptual agent is dedicated to the building of the knowledge base from the system specifications written in the FIGARO language. The generating agent allows producing automatically both the structural model and a dependability model of the system. The second level, the simulation, shows the effects of the failures of the system through a simulation agent. The approach validation is obtained by its application on a specific computer network, giving an analysis of failures through their effects for the considered network.

Keywords: Computer network, dependability, KB3 plat-form, multi-agent system, failure.

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703 An Application of Path Planning Algorithms for Autonomous Inspection of Buried Pipes with Swarm Robots

Authors: Richard Molyneux, Christopher Parrott, Kirill Horoshenkov

Abstract:

This paper aims to demonstrate how various algorithms can be implemented within swarms of autonomous robots to provide continuous inspection within underground pipeline networks. Current methods of fault detection within pipes are costly, time consuming and inefficient. As such, solutions tend toward a more reactive approach, repairing faults, as opposed to proactively seeking leaks and blockages. The paper presents an efficient inspection method, showing that autonomous swarm robotics is a viable way of monitoring underground infrastructure. Tailored adaptations of various Vehicle Routing Problems (VRP) and path-planning algorithms provide a customised inspection procedure for complicated networks of underground pipes. The performance of multiple algorithms is compared to determine their effectiveness and feasibility. Notable inspirations come from ant colonies and stigmergy, graph theory, the k-Chinese Postman Problem ( -CPP) and traffic theory. Unlike most swarm behaviours which rely on fast communication between agents, underground pipe networks are a highly challenging communication environment with extremely limited communication ranges. This is due to the extreme variability in the pipe conditions and relatively high attenuation of acoustic and radio waves with which robots would usually communicate. This paper illustrates how to optimise the inspection process and how to increase the frequency with which the robots pass each other, without compromising the routes they are able to take to cover the whole network.

Keywords: Autonomous inspection, buried pipes, stigmergy, swarm intelligence, vehicle routing problem.

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702 Producing and Mechanical Testing of Urea-Formaldehyde Resin Foams Reinforced by Waste Phosphogypsum

Authors: Krasimira Georgieva, Yordan Denev

Abstract:

Many of thermosetting resins have application only in filled state, reinforced with different mineral fillers. The co-filling of polymers with mineral filler and gases creates a possibility for production of polymer composites materials with low density. This processing leads to forming of new materials – gas-filled plastics (polymer foams). The properties of these materials are determined mainly by the shape and size of internal structural elements (pores). The interactions on the phase boundaries have influence on the materials properties too. In the present work, the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins were reinforced by waste phosphogypsum. The waste phosphogypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) is a solid by-product in wet phosphoric acid production processes. The values of the interactions polymer-filler were increased by using two modifying agents: polyvinyl acetate for polymer matrix and sodium metasilicate for filler. Technological methods for gas-filling and recipes of urea-formaldehyde based materials with apparent density 20-120 kg/m3 were developed. The heat conductivity of the samples is between 0.024 and 0.029 W/moK. Tensile analyses were carried out at 10 and 50% deformation and show values 0.01-0.14 MPa and 0.01-0.09 MPa, respectively. The apparent density of obtained materials is between 20 and 92 kg/m3. The changes in the tensile properties and density of these materials according to sodium metasilicate content were studied too. The mechanism of phosphogypsum adsorption modification was studied using methods of FT-IR spectroscopy. The structure of the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins was described by results of electron scanning microscopy at three different magnification ratios – x50, x150 and x 500. The aim of present work is to study the possibility of the usage of phosphogypsum as mineral filler for urea-formaldehyde resins and development of a technology for the production of gas-filled reinforced polymer composite materials. The structure and the properties of obtained composite materials are suitable for thermal and sound insulation applications.

Keywords: Gas-filled thermosets, mechanical properties, phosphogypsum, urea-formaldehyde resins.

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701 Measuring Banks’ Antifragility via Fuzzy Logic

Authors: Danielle Sandler dos Passos, Helder Coelho, Flávia Mori Sarti

Abstract:

Analysing the world banking sector, we realize that traditional risk measurement methodologies no longer reflect the actual scenario with uncertainty and leave out events that can change the dynamics of markets. Considering this, regulators and financial institutions began to search more realistic models. The aim is to include external influences and interdependencies between agents, to describe and measure the operationalization of these complex systems and their risks in a more coherent and credible way. Within this context, X-Events are more frequent than assumed and, with uncertainties and constant changes, the concept of antifragility starts to gain great prominence in comparison to others methodologies of risk management. It is very useful to analyse whether a system succumbs (fragile), resists (robust) or gets benefits (antifragile) from disorder and stress. Thus, this work proposes the creation of the Banking Antifragility Index (BAI), which is based on the calculation of a triangular fuzzy number – to "quantify" qualitative criteria linked to antifragility.

Keywords: Complex adaptive systems, X-events, risk management, antifragility, banking antifragility index, triangular fuzzy number.

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700 The South African Polycentric Water Resource Governance-Management Nexus: Parlaying an Institutional Agent and Structured Social Engagement

Authors: J. H. Boonzaaier, A. C. Brent

Abstract:

South Africa, a water scarce country, experiences the phenomenon that its life supporting natural water resources is seriously threatened by the users that are totally dependent on it. South Africa is globally applauded to have of the best and most progressive water laws and policies. There are however growing concerns regarding natural water resource quality deterioration and a critical void in the management of natural resources and compliance to policies due to increasing institutional uncertainties and failures. These are in accordance with concerns of many South African researchers and practitioners that call for a change in paradigm from talk to practice and a more constructive, practical approach to governance challenges in the management of water resources. A qualitative theory-building case study through longitudinal action research was conducted from 2014 to 2017. The research assessed whether a strategic positioned institutional agent can be parlayed to facilitate and execute WRM on catchment level by engaging multiple stakeholders in a polycentric setting. Through a critical realist approach a distinction was made between ex ante self-deterministic human behaviour in the realist realm, and ex post governance-management in the constructivist realm. A congruence analysis, including Toulmin’s method of argumentation analysis, was utilised. The study evaluated the unique case of a self-steering local water management institution, the Impala Water Users Association (WUA) in the Pongola River catchment in the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Exploiting prevailing water resource threats, it expanded its ancillary functions from 20,000 to 300,000 ha. Embarking on WRM activities, it addressed natural water system quality assessments, social awareness, knowledge support, and threats, such as: soil erosion, waste and effluent into water systems, coal mining, and water security dimensions; through structured engagement with 21 different catchment stakeholders. By implementing a proposed polycentric governance-management model on a catchment scale, the WUA achieved to fill the void. It developed a foundation and capacity to protect the resilience of the natural environment that is critical for freshwater resources to ensure long-term water security of the Pongola River basin. Further work is recommended on appropriate statutory delegations, mechanisms of sustainable funding, sufficient penetration of knowledge to local levels to catalyse behaviour change, incentivised support from professionals, back-to-back expansion of WUAs to alleviate scale and cost burdens, and the creation of catchment data monitoring and compilation centres.

Keywords: Institutional agent, water governance, polycentric water resource management, water resource management.

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699 Application of Thermoplastic Microbioreactor to the Single Cell Study of Budding Yeast to Decipher the Effect of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural on Growth

Authors: Elif Gencturk, Ekin Yurdakul, Ahmet Y. Celik, Senol Mutlu, Kutlu O. Ulgen

Abstract:

Yeast cells are generally used as a model system of eukaryotes due to their complex genetic structure, rapid growth ability in optimum conditions, easy replication and well-defined genetic system properties. Thus, yeast cells increased the knowledge of the principal pathways in humans. During fermentation, carbohydrates (hexoses and pentoses) degrade into some toxic by-products such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF or HMF) and furfural. HMF influences the ethanol yield, and ethanol productivity; it interferes with microbial growth and is considered as a potent inhibitor of bioethanol production. In this study, yeast single cell behavior under HMF application was monitored by using a continuous flow single phase microfluidic platform. Microfluidic device in operation is fabricated by hot embossing and thermo-compression techniques from cyclo-olefin polymer (COP). COP is biocompatible, transparent and rigid material and it is suitable for observing fluorescence of cells considering its low auto-fluorescence characteristic. The response of yeast cells was recorded through Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) tagged Nop56 gene product, which is an essential evolutionary-conserved nucleolar protein, and also a member of the box C/D snoRNP complexes. With the application of HMF, yeast cell proliferation continued but HMF slowed down the cell growth, and after HMF treatment the cell proliferation stopped. By the addition of fresh nutrient medium, the yeast cells recovered after 6 hours of HMF exposure. Thus, HMF application suppresses normal functioning of cell cycle but it does not cause cells to die. The monitoring of Nop56 expression phases of the individual cells shed light on the protein and ribosome synthesis cycles along with their link to growth. Further computational study revealed that the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory or inductive effects of HMF on growth are enriched in functional categories of protein degradation, protein processing, DNA repair and multidrug resistance. The present microfluidic device can successfully be used for studying the effects of inhibitory agents on growth by single cell tracking, thus capturing cell to cell variations. By metabolic engineering techniques, engineered strains can be developed, and the metabolic network of the microorganism can thus be manipulated such that chemical overproduction of target metabolite is achieved along with the maximum growth/biomass yield.  

Keywords: COP, HMF, ribosome biogenesis, thermoplastic microbioreactor, yeast.

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698 Recovery of Post-Consumer PET Bottles in a Composite Material Preparation

Authors: Rafenomananjara Tsinjo Nirina, Tomoo Sekito, Andrianaivoravelona Jaconnet Oliva

Abstract:

Manufacturing a composite material from post-consumer bottles is an interesting outlet since Madagascar is still facing the challenges of managing plastic waste on the one hand and appropriate waste treatment facilities are not yet developed on the other hand. New waste management options are needed to divert End-Of-Life (EOL) soft plastic wastes from landfills and incineration. Waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles might be considered as a valuable resource and recovered into polymer concrete. The methodology is easy to implement and appropriate to the local context in Madagascar. This approach will contribute to the production of ecological building materials that might be profitable for the environment and the construction sector. This work aims to study the feasibility of using the post-consumer PET bottles as an alternative binding agent instead of the conventional Portland cement and water. Then, the mechanical and physical properties of the materials were evaluated.

Keywords: PET recycling, polymer concrete, ecological building materials, pollution mitigation.

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697 Manipulation of Ideological Items in the Audiovisual Translation of Voiced-Over Documentaries in the Arab World

Authors: S. Chabbak

Abstract:

In a widely globalized world, the influence of audiovisual translation on the culture and identity of audiences is unmistakable. However, in the Arab World, there is a noticeable disproportion between this growing influence and the research carried out in the field. As a matter of fact, the voiced-over documentary is one of the most abundantly translated genres in the Arab World that carries lots of ideological elements which are in many cases rendered by manipulation. However, voiced-over documentaries have hardly received any focused attention from researchers in the Arab World. This paper attempts to scrutinize the process of translation of voiced-over documentaries in the Arab World, from French into Arabic in the present case study, by sub-categorizing the ideological items subject to manipulation, identifying the techniques utilized in their translation and exploring the potential extra-linguistic factors that prompt translation agents to opt for manipulative translation. The investigation is based on a corpus of 94 episodes taken from a series entitled 360° GEO Reports, produced by the French German network ARTE in French, and acquired, translated and aired by Al Jazeera Documentary Channel for Arab audiences. The results yielded 124 cases of manipulation in four sub-categories of ideological items, and the use of 10 different oblique procedures in the process of manipulative translation. The study also revealed that manipulation is in most of the instances dictated by the editorial line of the broadcasting channel, in addition to the religious, geopolitical and socio-cultural peculiarities of the target culture.

Keywords: Audiovisual translation, ideological items, manipulation, voiced-over documentaries.

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696 Waste Management in a Hot Laboratory of Japan Atomic Energy Agency – 1: Overview and Activities in Chemical Processing Facility

Authors: Kazunori Nomura, Hiromichi Ogi, Masaumi Nakahara, Sou Watanabe, Atsuhiro Shibata

Abstract:

Chemical Processing Facility of Japan Atomic Energy Agency is a basic research field for advanced back-end technology developments with using actual high-level radioactive materials such as irradiated fuels from the fast reactor, high-level liquid waste from reprocessing plant. In the nature of a research facility, various kinds of chemical reagents have been offered for fundamental tests. Most of them were treated properly and stored in the liquid waste vessel equipped in the facility, but some were not treated and remained at the experimental space as a kind of legacy waste. It is required to treat the waste in safety. On the other hand, we formulated the Medium- and Long-Term Management Plan of Japan Atomic Energy Agency Facilities. This comprehensive plan considers Chemical Processing Facility as one of the facilities to be decommissioned. Even if the plan is executed, treatment of the “legacy” waste beforehand must be a necessary step for decommissioning operation. Under this circumstance, we launched a collaborative research project called the STRAD project, which stands for Systematic Treatment of Radioactive liquid waste for Decommissioning, in order to develop the treatment processes for wastes of the nuclear research facility. In this project, decomposition methods of chemicals causing a troublesome phenomenon such as corrosion and explosion have been developed and there is a prospect of their decomposition in the facility by simple method. And solidification of aqueous or organic liquid wastes after the decomposition has been studied by adding cement or coagulants. Furthermore, we treated experimental tools of various materials with making an effort to stabilize and to compact them before the package into the waste container. It is expected to decrease the number of transportation of the solid waste and widen the operation space. Some achievements of these studies will be shown in this paper. The project is expected to contribute beneficial waste management outcome that can be shared world widely.

Keywords: Chemical Processing Facility, medium- and long-term management plan of JAEA Facilities, STRAD project, treatment of radioactive waste.

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695 Waste Management in a Hot Laboratory of Japan Atomic Energy Agency – 3: Volume Reduction and Stabilization of Solid Waste

Authors: Masaumi Nakahara, Sou Watanabe, Hiromichi Ogi, Atsuhiro Shibata, Kazunori Nomura

Abstract:

In the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, three types of experimental research, advanced reactor fuel reprocessing, radioactive waste disposal, and nuclear fuel cycle technology, have been carried out at the Chemical Processing Facility. The facility has generated high level radioactive liquid and solid wastes in hot cells. The high level radioactive solid waste is divided into three main categories, a flammable waste, a non-flammable waste, and a solid reagent waste. A plastic product is categorized into the flammable waste and molten with a heating mantle. The non-flammable waste is cut with a band saw machine for reducing the volume. Among the solid reagent waste, a used adsorbent after the experiments is heated, and an extractant is decomposed for its stabilization. All high level radioactive solid wastes in the hot cells are packed in a high level radioactive solid waste can. The high level radioactive solid waste can is transported to the 2nd High Active Solid Waste Storage in the Tokai Reprocessing Plant in the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

Keywords: High level radioactive solid waste, advanced reactor fuel reprocessing, radioactive waste disposal, nuclear fuel cycle technology.

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694 Self-Healing Phenomenon Evaluation in Cementitious Matrix with Different Water/Cement Ratios and Crack Opening Age

Authors: V. G. Cappellesso, D. M. G. da Silva, J. A. Arndt, N. dos Santos Petry, A. B. Masuero, D. C. C. Dal Molin

Abstract:

Concrete elements are subject to cracking, which can be an access point for deleterious agents that can trigger pathological manifestations reducing the service life of these structures. Finding ways to minimize or eliminate the effects of this aggressive agents’ penetration, such as the sealing of these cracks, is a manner of contributing to the durability of these structures. The cementitious self-healing phenomenon can be classified in two different processes. The autogenous self-healing that can be defined as a natural process in which the sealing of this cracks occurs without the stimulation of external agents, meaning, without different materials being added to the mixture, while on the other hand, the autonomous seal-healing phenomenon depends on the insertion of a specific engineered material added to the cement matrix in order to promote its recovery. This work aims to evaluate the autogenous self-healing of concretes produced with different water/cement ratios and exposed to wet/dry cycles, considering two ages of crack openings, 3 days and 28 days. The self-healing phenomenon was evaluated using two techniques: crack healing measurement using ultrasonic waves and image analysis performed with an optical microscope. It is possible to observe that by both methods, it possible to observe the self-healing phenomenon of the cracks. For young ages of crack openings and lower water/cement ratios, the self-healing capacity is higher when compared to advanced ages of crack openings and higher water/cement ratios. Regardless of the crack opening age, these concretes were found to stabilize the self-healing processes after 80 days or 90 days.

Keywords: Self-healing, autogenous, water/cement ratio, curing cycles, test methods.

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693 Non-Timber Forest Products and Livelihood Linkages: A Case of Lamabagar, Nepal

Authors: Sandhya Rijal, Saroj Adhikari, Ramesh R. Pant

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Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) have attracted substantial interest in the recent years with the increasing recognition that these can provide essential community needs for improved and diversified rural livelihood and support the objectives of biodiversity conservation. Nevertheless, various challenges are witnessed in their sustainable harvest and management. Assuming that sustainable management with community stewardship can offer one of the solutions to existing challenges, the study assesses the linkages between NTFPs and rural livelihood in Lamabagar village of Dolakha, Nepal. The major objective was to document the status of NTFPs and their contributions in households of Lamabagar. For status documentation, vegetation sampling was done using systematic random sampling technique. 30 plots of 10 m × 10 m were laid down in six parallel transect lines at horizontal distance of 160 m in two different community forests. A structured questionnaire survey was conducted in 76 households (excluding non-response rate) using stratified random sampling technique for contribution analysis. Likewise, key informant interview and focus group discussions were also conducted for data triangulations. 36 different NTFPs were recorded from the vegetation sample in two community forests of which 50% were used for medicinal purposes. The other uses include fodder, religious value, and edible fruits and vegetables. Species like Juniperus indica, Daphne bholua Aconitum spicatum, and Lyonia ovalifolia were frequently used for trade as a source of income, which was sold in local market. The protected species like Taxus wallichiana and Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora were also recorded in the area for which the trade is prohibited. The protection of these species urgently needs community stewardship. More than half of the surveyed households (55%) were depending on NTFPs for their daily uses, other than economic purpose whereas 45% of them sold those products in the market directly or in the form of local handmade products as a source of livelihood. NTFPs were the major source of primary health curing agents especially for the poor and unemployed people in the study area. Hence, the NTFPs contributed to livelihood under three different categories: subsistence, supplement income and emergency support, depending upon the economic status of the households. Although the status of forest improved after handover to the user group, the availability of valuable medicinal herbs like Rhododendron anthopogon, Swertia nervosa, Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora, and Aconitum spicatum were declining. Inadequacy of technology, lack of easy transport access, and absence of good market facility were the major limitations for external trade of NTFPs in the study site. It was observed that people were interested towards conservation only if they could get some returns: economic in terms of rural settlements. Thus, the study concludes that NTFPs could contribute rural livelihood and support conservation objectives only if local communities are provided with the easy access of technology, market and capital.

Keywords: Contribution, medicinal, subsistence, sustainable harvest.

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692 Compression Strength of Treated Fine-Grained Soils with Epoxy or Cement

Authors: M. Mlhem

Abstract:

Geotechnical engineers face many problematic soils upon construction and they have the choice for replacing these soils with more appropriate soils or attempting to improve the engineering properties of the soil through a suitable soil stabilization technique. Mostly, improving soils is environmental, easier and more economical than other solutions. Stabilization soils technique is applied by introducing a cementing agent or by injecting a substance to fill the pore volume. Chemical stabilizers are divided into two groups: traditional agents such as cement or lime and non-traditional agents such as polymers. This paper studies the effect of epoxy additives on the compression strength of four types of soil and then compares with the effect of cement on the compression strength for the same soils. Overall, the epoxy additives are more effective in increasing the strength for different types of soils regardless its classification. On the other hand, there was no clear relation between studied parameters liquid limit, passing No.200, unit weight and between the strength of samples for different types of soils.

Keywords: Additives, clay, compression strength, epoxy, stabilization.

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691 Interbank Networks and the Benefits of Using Multilayer Structures

Authors: Danielle Sandler dos Passos, Helder Coelho, Flávia Mori Sarti

Abstract:

Complexity science seeks the understanding of systems adopting diverse theories from various areas. Network analysis has been gaining space and credibility, namely with the biological, social and economic systems. Significant part of the literature focuses only monolayer representations of connections among agents considering one level of their relationships, and excludes other levels of interactions, leading to simplistic results in network analysis. Therefore, this work aims to demonstrate the advantages of the use of multilayer networks for the representation and analysis of networks. For this, we analyzed an interbank network, composed of 42 banks, comparing the centrality measures of the agents (degree and PageRank) resulting from each method (monolayer x multilayer). This proved to be the most reliable and efficient the multilayer analysis for the study of the current networks and highlighted JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank as the most important banks of the analyzed network.

Keywords: Complexity, interbank networks, multilayer networks, network analysis.

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690 Numerical Evaluation of Lateral Bearing Capacity of Piles in Cement-Treated Soils

Authors: Reza Ziaie Moayed, Saeideh Mohammadi

Abstract:

Soft soil is used in many of civil engineering projects like coastal, marine and road projects. Because of low shear strength and stiffness of soft soils, large settlement and low bearing capacity will occur under superstructure loads. This will make the civil engineering activities more difficult and costlier. In the case of soft soils, improvement is a suitable method to increase the shear strength and stiffness for engineering purposes. In recent years, the artificial cementation of soil by cement and lime has been extensively used for soft soil improvement. Cement stabilization is a well-established technique for improving soft soils. Artificial cementation increases the shear strength and hardness of the natural soils. On the other hand, in soft soils, the use of piles to transfer loads to the depths of ground is usual. By using cement treated soil around the piles, high bearing capacity and low settlement in piles can be achieved. In the present study, lateral bearing capacity of short piles in cemented soils is investigated by numerical approach. For this purpose, three dimensional (3D) finite difference software, FLAC 3D is used. Cement treated soil has a strain hardening-softening behavior, because of breaking of bonds between cement agent and soil particle. To simulate such behavior, strain hardening-softening soil constitutive model is used for cement treated soft soil. Additionally, conventional elastic-plastic Mohr Coulomb constitutive model and linear elastic model are used for stress-strain behavior of natural soils and pile. To determine the parameters of constitutive models and also for verification of numerical model, the results of available triaxial laboratory tests on and insitu loading of piles in cement treated soft soil are used. Different parameters are considered in parametric study to determine the effective parameters on the bearing of the piles on cemented treated soils. In the present paper, the effect of various length and height of the artificial cemented area, different diameter and length of the pile and the properties of the materials are studied. Also, the effect of choosing a constitutive model for cemented treated soils in the bearing capacity of the pile is investigated.

Keywords: Cement-treated soils, pile, lateral capacity, FLAC 3D.

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689 Bioleaching of Metals Contained in Spent Catalysts by Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans DSM 26636

Authors: Andrea M. Rivas-Castillo, Marlenne Gómez-Ramirez, Isela Rodríguez-Pozos, Norma G. Rojas-Avelizapa

Abstract:

Spent catalysts are considered as hazardous residues of major concern, mainly due to the simultaneous presence of several metals in elevated concentrations. Although hydrometallurgical, pyrometallurgical and chelating agent methods are available to remove and recover some metals contained in spent catalysts; these procedures generate potentially hazardous wastes and the emission of harmful gases. Thus, biotechnological treatments are currently gaining importance to avoid the negative impacts of chemical technologies. To this end, diverse microorganisms have been used to assess the removal of metals from spent catalysts, comprising bacteria, archaea and fungi, whose resistance and metal uptake capabilities differ depending on the microorganism tested. Acidophilic sulfur oxidizing bacteria have been used to investigate the biotreatment and extraction of valuable metals from spent catalysts, namely Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferroxidans, as they present the ability to produce leaching agents such as sulfuric acid and sulfur oxidation intermediates. In the present work, the ability of A. thiooxidans DSM 26636 for the bioleaching of metals contained in five different spent catalysts was assessed by growing the culture in modified Starkey mineral medium (with elemental sulfur at 1%, w/v), and 1% (w/v) pulp density of each residue for up to 21 days at 30 °C and 150 rpm. Sulfur-oxidizing activity was periodically evaluated by determining sulfate concentration in the supernatants according to the NMX-k-436-1977 method. The production of sulfuric acid was assessed in the supernatants as well, by a titration procedure using NaOH 0.5 M with bromothymol blue as acid-base indicator, and by measuring pH using a digital potentiometer. On the other hand, Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry was used to analyze metal removal from the five different spent catalysts by A. thiooxidans DSM 26636. Results obtained show that, as could be expected, sulfuric acid production is directly related to the diminish of pH, and also to highest metal removal efficiencies. It was observed that Al and Fe are recurrently removed from refinery spent catalysts regardless of their origin and previous usage, although these removals may vary from 9.5 ± 2.2 to 439 ± 3.9 mg/kg for Al, and from 7.13 ± 0.31 to 368.4 ± 47.8 mg/kg for Fe, depending on the spent catalyst proven. Besides, bioleaching of metals like Mg, Ni, and Si was also obtained from automotive spent catalysts, which removals were of up to 66 ± 2.2, 6.2±0.07, and 100±2.4, respectively. Hence, the data presented here exhibit the potential of A. thiooxidans DSM 26636 for the simultaneous bioleaching of metals contained in spent catalysts from diverse provenance.

Keywords: Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans, spent catalysts, bioleaching, metals, sulfuric acid, sulfur-oxidizing activity.

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688 Investigation of Some Flotation Parameters and the Role of Dispersants in the Flotation of Chalcopyrite

Authors: H. A. Taner, V. Önen

Abstract:

A suitable choice of flotation parameters and reagents have a strong effect on the effectiveness of flotation process. The objective of this paper is to give an overview of the flotation of chalcopyrite with the different conditions and dispersants. Flotation parameters such as grinding time, pH, type, and dosage of dispersant were investigated. In order to understand the interaction of some dispersants, sodium silicate, sodium hexametaphosphate and sodium polyphosphate were used. The optimum results were obtained at a pH of 11.5 and a grinding time of 10 minutes. A copper concentrate was produced assaying 29.85% CuFeS2 and 65.97% flotation recovery under optimum rougher flotation conditions with sodium silicate.

Keywords: Chalcopyrite, dispersant, flotation, copper.

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687 Synthesis, Physicochemical Characterization and Study of the Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorobutanol

Authors: N. Hadhoum, B. Guerfi, T. M. Sider, Z. Yassa, T. Djerboua, M. Boursouti, M. Mamou, F. Z. Hadjadj Aoul, L. R. Mekacher

Abstract:

Introduction and objectives: Chlorobutanol is a raw material, mainly used as an antiseptic and antimicrobial preservative in injectable and ophthalmic preparations. The main objective of our study was the synthesis and evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of chlorobutanol hemihydrates. Material and methods: Chlorobutanol was synthesized according to the nucleophilic addition reaction of chloroform to acetone, identified by an infrared absorption using Spectrum One FTIR spectrometer, melting point, Scanning electron microscopy and colorimetric reactions. The dosage of carvedilol active substance was carried out by assaying the degradation products of chlorobutanol in a basic solution. The chlorobutanol obtained was subjected to bacteriological tests in order to study its antimicrobial activity. The antibacterial activity was evaluated against strains such as Escherichia coli (ATCC 25 922), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25 923) and Pseudomonas aeroginosa (ATCC = American type culture collection). The antifungal activity was evaluated against human pathogenic fungal strains, such as Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger provided by the parasitology laboratory of the Hospital of Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria. Results and discussion: Chlorobutanol was obtained in an acceptable yield. The characterization tests of the product obtained showed a white and crystalline appearance (confirmed by scanning electron microscopy), solubilities (in water, ethanol and glycerol), and a melting temperature in accordance with the requirements of the European pharmacopoeia. The colorimetric reactions were directed towards the presence of a trihalogenated carbon and an alcohol function. The spectral identification (IR) showed the presence of characteristic chlorobutanol peaks and confirmed the structure of the latter. The microbiological study revealed an antimicrobial effect on all strains tested (Sataphylococcus aureus (MIC = 1250 µg/ml), E. coli (MIC = 1250 µg/ml), Pseudomonas aeroginosa (MIC = 1250 µg/ml), Candida albicans (MIC =2500 µg/ml), Aspergillus niger (MIC =2500 µg/ml)) with MIC values close to literature data. Conclusion: Thus, on the whole, the synthesized chlorobutanol satisfied the requirements of the European Pharmacopoeia, and possesses antibacterial and antifungal activity; nevertheless, it is necessary to insist on the purification step of the product in order to eliminate the maximum impurities.

Keywords: Antimicrobial agent, bacterial and fungal strains, chlorobutanol, MIC.

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686 Pathomorphological Features of Lungs from Brown Hares Infected with Parasites

Authors: Mariana Panayotova-Pencheva, Anetka Trifonova, Vassilena Dakova

Abstract:

790 lungs from brown hares (Lepus europeus L.) from different regions of Bulgaria were investigated during the period 2009-2017. The parasitological status and pathomorphological features in the lungs were recorded. The following parasite species were established: one nematode - Protostrongylus tauricus (7.59% prevalence), one tapeworm – larva of Taenia pisiformis Cysticercus pisiformis (3.04% prevalence) and one arthropod – larva of Linguatula serrata – Pentastomum dentatum (0.89% prevalence). Macroscopic lesions in the lungs were different depending on the causative agents. The infections with C. pisiformis and P. dentatum were attended with small, mainly superficial changes in the lungs. Protostrongylid infections were connected with different in appearance and burden macroscopic changes. In 77.7%, they were nodular, and in the rest of cases, they diffuse. The consistency of the lesions was compact. In most of the cases, alterations were grey in colour, rarely were dark-red or marble-like. In 91.7% of these cases, they were spread on the apical parts of large lung lobes. In 36.7% middle parts of the large lung lobes, and, in 26.7% small lung lobes, were also affected. The small lung lobes were never independently infected.

Keywords: Cysticercus pisiformis, Lepus europeus, lung lesions, Pentastomum dentatum, Protostrongylus tauricus.

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685 Influence Analysis of Macroeconomic Parameters on Real Estate Price Variation in Taipei, Taiwan

Authors: Li Li, Kai-Hsuan Chu

Abstract:

It is well known that the real estate price depends on a lot of factors. Each house current value is dependent on the location, room number, transportation, living convenience, year and surrounding environments. Although, there are different experienced models for housing agent to estimate the price, it is a case by case study without overall dynamic variation investigation. However, many economic parameters may more or less influence the real estate price variation. Here, the influences of most macroeconomic parameters on real estate price are investigated individually based on least-square scheme and grey correlation strategy. Then those parameters are classified into leading indices, simultaneous indices and laggard indices. In addition, the leading time period is evaluated based on least square method. The important leading and simultaneous indices can be used to establish an artificial intelligent neural network model for real estate price variation prediction. The real estate price variation of Taipei, Taiwan during 2005 ~ 2017 are chosen for this research data analysis and validation. The results show that the proposed method has reasonable prediction function for real estate business reference.

Keywords: Real estate price, least-square, grey correlation, macroeconomics.

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684 Antibiotic Prescribing in the Acute Care in Iraq

Authors: Ola A. Nassr, Ali M. Abd Alridha, Rua A. Naser, Rasha S. Abbas

Abstract:

Background: Excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents among hospitalized patients remains an important patient safety and public health issue worldwide. Not only does this behavior incur unnecessary cost but it is also associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study is to obtain an insight into the prescribing patterns of antibiotics in surgical and medical wards, to help identify a scope for improvement in service delivery. Method: A simple point prevalence survey included a convenience sample of 200 patients admitted to medical and surgical wards in a government teaching hospital in Baghdad between October 2017 and April 2018. Data were collected by a trained pharmacy intern using a standardized form. Patient’s demographics and details of the prescribed antibiotics, including dose, frequency of dosing and route of administration, were reported. Patients were included if they had been admitted at least 24 hours before the survey. Patients under 18 years of age, having a diagnosis of cancer or shock, or being admitted to the intensive care unit, were excluded. Data were checked and entered by the authors into Excel and were subjected to frequency analysis, which was carried out on anonymized data to protect patient confidentiality. Results: Overall, 88.5% of patients (n=177) received 293 antibiotics during their hospital admission, with a small variation between wards (80%-97%). The average number of antibiotics prescribed per patient was 1.65, ranging from 1.3 for medical patients to 1.95 for surgical patients. Parenteral third-generation cephalosporins were the most commonly prescribed at a rate of 54.3% (n=159) followed by nitroimidazole 29.4% (n=86), quinolones 7.5% (n=22) and macrolides 4.4% (n=13), while carbapenems and aminoglycosides were the least prescribed together accounting for only 4.4% (n=13). The intravenous route was the most common route of administration, used for 96.6% of patients (n=171). Indications were reported in only 63.8% of cases. Culture to identify pathogenic organisms was employed in only 0.5% of cases. Conclusion: Broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed at an alarming rate. This practice may provoke antibiotic resistance and adversely affect the patient outcome. Implementation of an antibiotic stewardship program is warranted to enhance the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of antimicrobial agents.

Keywords: Acute care, antibiotic misuse, Iraq, prescribing.

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683 Socio-Economic Insight of the Secondary Housing Market in Colombo Suburbs: Seller’s Point of Views

Authors: R. G. Ariyawansa, M. A. N. R. M. Perera

Abstract:

“House” is a powerful symbol of socio-economic background of individuals and families. In fact, housing provides all types of needs/wants from basic needs to self-actualization needs. This phenomenon can be realized only having analyzed hidden motives of buyers and sellers of the housing market. Hence, the aim of this study is to examine the socio-economic insight of the secondary housing market in Colombo suburbs. This broader aim was achieved via analyzing the general pattern of the secondary housing market, identifying socio-economic motives of sellers of the secondary housing market, and reviewing sellers’ experience of buyer behavior. A purposive sample of 50 sellers from popular residential areas in Colombo such as Maharagama, Kottawa, Piliyandala, Punnipitiya, and Nugegoda was used to collect primary data instead of relevant secondary data from published and unpublished reports. The sample was limited to selling price ranging from Rs15 million to Rs25 million, which apparently falls into middle and upper-middle income houses in the context. Participatory observation and semi-structured interviews were adopted as key data collection tools. Data were descriptively analyzed. This study found that the market is mainly handled by informal agents who are unqualified and unorganized. People such as taxi/tree-wheel drivers, boutique venders, security personals etc. are engaged in housing brokerage as a part time career. Few fulltime and formally organized agents were found but they were also not professionally qualified. As far as housing quality is concerned, it was observed that 90% of houses was poorly maintained and illegally modified. They are situated in poorly maintained neighborhoods as well. Among the observed houses, 2% was moderately maintained and 8% was well maintained and modified. Major socio-economic motives of sellers were “migrating foreign countries for education and employment” (80% and 10% respectively), “family problems” (4%), and “social status” (3%). Other motives were “health” and “environmental/neighborhood problems” (3%). This study further noted that the secondary middle income housing market in the area directly related with the migrants who motivated for education in foreign countries, mainly Australia, UK and USA. As per the literature, families motivated for education tend to migrate Colombo suburbs from remote areas of the country. They are seeking temporary accommodation in lower middle income housing. However, the secondary middle income housing market relates with the migration from Colombo to major global cities. Therefore, final transaction price of this market may depend on migration related dates such as university deadlines, visa and other agreements. Hence, it creates a buyers’ market lowering the selling price. Also it was revealed that the buyers tend to trust more on this market as far as the quality of construction of houses is concerned than brand new houses which are built for selling purpose.

Keywords: Informal housing market, hidden motives of buyers and sellers, secondary housing market, socio-economic insight.

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682 In vitro Control of Aedes aegypti Larvae Using Beauveria bassiana

Authors: R. O. B. Bitencourt, F. S. Farias, M. C. Freitas, C. J. R. Balduino, E.S. Mesquita, A. R. C. Corval, P. S. Gôlo, E. G. Pontes, V. R. E. P. Bittencourt, I. C. Angelo

Abstract:

Aedes aegypti larval survival rate was assessed after exposure to blastopores or conidia (mineral oil-in-water formulation or aqueous suspension) of Beauveria bassiana CG 479 propagules (blastospores or conidia). Here, mineral oil was used in the fungal formulation to control Aedes aegypti larvae. 1%, 0.5% or 0.1% mineral oil-in-water solutions were used to evaluate mineral oil toxicity for mosquito larvae. In the oil toxicity test, 0.1% mineral oil solution reduced only 4.5% larval survival; accordingly, this concentration was chosen for fungal oil-in-water formulations. Aqueous suspensions were prepared using 0.01% Tween 80® in sterile dechlorinated water. A. aegypti larvae (L2) were exposed in aqueous suspensions or mineral oil-in-water fungal formulations at 1×107 propagules mL-1; the survival rate (assessed daily, for 7 days) and the median survival time (S50) were calculated. Seven days after the treatment, mosquito larvae survival rates were 8.56%, 16.22%, 58%, and 42.56% after exposure to oil-in-water blastospores, oil-in-water conidia, blastospores aqueous suspension and conidia aqueous suspension (respectively). Larvae exposed to 0.01% Tween 80® had 100% survival rate and the ones treated with 0.1% mineral oil-in-water had 95.11% survival rate. Larvae treated with conidia (regardless the presence of oil) or treated with blastospores formulation had survival median time (S50) ranging from one to two days. S50 was not determined (ND) when larvae were exposed to blastospores aqueous suspension, 0.01% Tween 80® (aqueous control) or 0.1% mineral oil-in-water formulation (oil control). B. bassiana conidia and blastospores (mineral oil-in-water formulated or suspended in water) had potential to control A. aegypti mosquito larvae, despite mineral oil-in-water formulation yielded better results in comparison to aqueous suspensions. Here, B. bassiana CG 479 isolate is suggested as a potential biocontrol agent of A. aegypti mosquito larvae.

Keywords: Blastospores, formulation, mosquitoes, conidia.

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681 Mechanical Investigation Approach to Optimize the High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel Fe-Based Amorphous Coatings Reinforced by B4C Nanoparticles

Authors: Behrooz Movahedi

Abstract:

Fe-based amorphous feedstock powders are used as the matrix into which various ratios of hard B4C nanoparticles (0, 5, 10, 15, 20 vol.%) as reinforcing agents were prepared using a planetary high-energy mechanical milling. The ball-milled nanocomposite feedstock powders were also sprayed by means of high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) technique. The characteristics of the powder particles and the prepared coating depending on their microstructures and nanohardness were examined in detail using nanoindentation tester. The results showed that the formation of the Fe-based amorphous phase was noticed over the course of high-energy ball milling. It is interesting to note that the nanocomposite coating is divided into two regions, namely, a full amorphous phase region and homogeneous dispersion of B4C nanoparticles with a scale of 10–50 nm in a residual amorphous matrix. As the B4C content increases, the nanohardness of the composite coatings increases, but the fracture toughness begins to decrease at the B4C content higher than 20 vol.%. The optimal mechanical properties are obtained with 15 vol.% B4C due to the suitable content and uniform distribution of nanoparticles. Consequently, the changes in mechanical properties of the coatings were attributed to the changes in the brittle to ductile transition by adding B4C nanoparticles.

Keywords: Fe-based amorphous, B4C nanoparticles, nanocomposite coating, HVOF.

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680 Absorbed Dose Estimation of 177Lu-DOTATOC in Adenocarcinoma Breast Cancer Bearing Mice

Authors: S. Zolghadri, M. Mousavi-Daramoroudi, H. Yousefnia, F. Abbasi-Davani

Abstract:

In this study, the absorbed dose of human organs after injection of 177Lu-DOTATOC was studied based on the biodistribution of the complex in adenocarcinoma breast cancer bearing mice. For this purpose, the biodistribution of the radiolabelled complex was studied and compartmental modeling was applied to calculate the absorbed dose with high precision. As expected, 177Lu-DOTATOC illustrated a notable specific uptake in tumor and pancreas, organs with high level of somatostatin receptor on their surface and the effectiveness of the radio-conjugate for targeting of the breast adenocarcinoma tumors was indicated. The elicited results of modeling were the exponential equations, and those are utilized for obtaining the cumulated activity data by taking their integral. The results also exemplified that non-target absorbed-doses such as the liver, spleen and pancreas were approximately 0.008, 0.004, and 0.039, respectively. While these values were so much lower than target (tumor) absorbed-dose, it seems due to this low toxicity, this complex is a good agent for therapy.

Keywords: Breast cancer, compartmental modeling, 177Lu, dosimetry.

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679 Preparation of Carbon Nanofiber Reinforced HDPE Using Dialkylimidazolium as a Dispersing Agent: Effect on Thermal and Rheological Properties

Authors: J. Samuel, S. Al-Enezi, A. Al-Banna

Abstract:

High-density polyethylene reinforced with carbon nanofibers (HDPE/CNF) have been prepared via melt processing using dialkylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (ionic liquid) as a dispersion agent. The prepared samples were characterized by thermogravimetric (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) analyses. The samples blended with imidazolium ionic liquid exhibit higher thermal stability. DSC analysis showed clear miscibility of ionic liquid in the HDPE matrix and showed single endothermic peak. The melt rheological analysis of HDPE/CNF composites was performed using an oscillatory rheometer. The influence of CNF and ionic liquid concentration (ranging from 0, 0.5, and 1 wt%) on the viscoelastic parameters was investigated at 200 °C with an angular frequency range of 0.1 to 100 rad/s. The rheological analysis shows the shear-thinning behavior for the composites. An improvement in the viscoelastic properties was observed as the nanofiber concentration increases. The progress in the modulus values was attributed to the structural rigidity imparted by the high aspect ratio CNF. The modulus values and complex viscosity of the composites increased significantly at low frequencies. Composites blended with ionic liquid exhibit slightly lower values of complex viscosity and modulus over the corresponding HDPE/CNF compositions. Therefore, reduction in melt viscosity is an additional benefit for polymer composite processing as a result of wetting effect by polymer-ionic liquid combinations.

Keywords: HDPE, carbon nanofiber, ionic liquid, complex viscosity, modulus.

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678 An Approach to Secure Mobile Agent Communication in Multi-Agent Systems

Authors: Olumide Simeon Ogunnusi, Shukor Abd Razak, Michael Kolade Adu

Abstract:

Inter-agent communication manager facilitates communication among mobile agents via message passing mechanism. Until now, all Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA) compliant agent systems are capable of exchanging messages following the standard format of sending and receiving messages. Previous works tend to secure messages to be exchanged among a community of collaborative agents commissioned to perform specific tasks using cryptosystems. However, the approach is characterized by computational complexity due to the encryption and decryption processes required at the two ends. The proposed approach to secure agent communication allows only agents that are created by the host agent server to communicate via the agent communication channel provided by the host agent platform. These agents are assumed to be harmless. Therefore, to secure communication of legitimate agents from intrusion by external agents, a 2-phase policy enforcement system was developed. The first phase constrains the external agent to run only on the network server while the second phase confines the activities of the external agent to its execution environment. To implement the proposed policy, a controller agent was charged with the task of screening any external agent entering the local area network and preventing it from migrating to the agent execution host where the legitimate agents are running. On arrival of the external agent at the host network server, an introspector agent was charged to monitor and restrain its activities. This approach secures legitimate agent communication from Man-in-the Middle and Replay attacks.

Keywords: Agent communication, introspective agent, isolation of agent, policy enforcement system.

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677 Comparative Advantage of Mobile Agent Application in Procuring Software Products on the Internet

Authors: Michael K. Adu, Boniface K. Alese, Olumide S. Ogunnusi

Abstract:

This paper brings to fore the inherent advantages in application of mobile agents to procure software products rather than downloading software content on the Internet. It proposes a system whereby the products come on compact disk with mobile agent as deliverable. The client/user purchases a software product, but must connect to the remote server of the software developer before installation. The user provides an activation code that activates mobile agent which is part of the software product on compact disk. The validity of the activation code is checked on connection at the developer’s end to ascertain authenticity and prevent piracy. The system is implemented by downloading two different software products as compare with installing same products on compact disk with mobile agent’s application. Downloading software contents from developer’s database as in the traditional method requires a continuously open connection between the client and the developer’s end, a fixed network is not economically or technically feasible. Mobile agent after being dispatched into the network becomes independent of the creating process and can operate asynchronously and autonomously. It can reconnect later after completing its task and return for result delivery. Response Time and Network Load are very minimal with application of Mobile agent.

Keywords: Activation code, internet, mobile agent, software developer, software products.

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676 Understanding Workplace Behavior through Organizational Culture and Complex Adaptive Systems Theory

Authors: Péter Restás, Andrea Czibor, Zsolt Péter Szabó

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Purpose: This article aims to rethink the phenomena of employee behavior as a product of a system. Both organizational culture and Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory emphasize that individual behavior depends on the specific system and the unique organizational culture. These two major theories are both represented in the field of organizational studies; however, they are rarely used together for the comprehensive understanding of workplace behavior. Methodology: By reviewing the literature we use key concepts stemming from organizational culture and CAS theory in order to show the similarities between these theories and create an enriched understanding of employee behavior. Findings: a) Workplace behavior is defined here as social cognition issue. b) Organizations are discussed here as complex systems, and cultures which drive and dictate the cognitive processes of agents in the system. c) Culture gives CAS theory a context which lets us see organizations not just as ever-changing and unpredictable, but as such systems that aim to create and maintain stability by recurring behavior. Conclusion: Applying the knowledge from culture and CAS theory sheds light on our present understanding of employee behavior, also emphasizes the importance of novel ways in organizational research and management.

Keywords: Complex adaptive systems theory, employee behavior, organizational culture, stability.

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