Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30

Search results for: Daniela I. Borissova

30 A Discrete Choice Modeling Approach to Modular Systems Design

Authors: Ivan C. Mustakerov, Daniela I. Borissova

Abstract:

The paper proposes an approach for design of modular systems based on original technique for modeling and formulation of combinatorial optimization problems. The proposed approach is described on the example of personal computer configuration design. It takes into account the existing compatibility restrictions between the modules and can be extended and modified to reflect different functional and users- requirements. The developed design modeling technique is used to formulate single objective nonlinear mixedinteger optimization tasks. The practical applicability of the developed approach is numerically tested on the basis of real modules data. Solutions of the formulated optimization tasks define the optimal configuration of the system that satisfies all compatibility restrictions and user requirements.

Keywords: Constrained discrete combinatorial choice, modular systems design, optimization problem, PC configuration.

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29 Data Structures and Algorithms of Intelligent Web-Based System for Modular Design

Authors: Ivan C. Mustakerov, Daniela I. Borissova

Abstract:

In recent years, new product development became more and more competitive and globalized, and the designing phase is critical for the product success. The concept of modularity can provide the necessary foundation for organizations to design products that can respond rapidly to market needs. The paper describes data structures and algorithms of intelligent Web-based system for modular design taking into account modules compatibility relationship and given design requirements. The system intelligence is realized by developed algorithms for choice of modules reflecting all system restrictions and requirements. The proposed data structure and algorithms are illustrated by case study of personal computer configuration. The applicability of the proposed approach is tested through a prototype of Web-based system.

Keywords: Data structures, algorithms, intelligent web-based system, modular design.

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28 K-best Night Vision Devices by Multi-Criteria Mixed-Integer Optimization Modeling

Authors: Daniela I. Borissova, Ivan C. Mustakerov

Abstract:

The paper describes an approach for defining of k-best night vision devices based on multi-criteria mixed-integer optimization modeling. The parameters of night vision devices are considered as criteria that have to be optimized. Using different user preferences for the relative importance between parameters different choice of k-best devices can be defined. An ideal device with all of its parameters at their optimum is used to determine how far the particular device from the ideal one is. A procedure for evaluation of deviation between ideal solution and k-best solutions is presented. The applicability of the proposed approach is numerically illustrated using real night vision devices data. The proposed approach contributes to quality of decisions about choice of night vision devices by making the decision making process more certain, rational and efficient. 

Keywords: K-best devices, mixed-integer model, multi-criteria problem, night vision devices.

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27 Investments Attractiveness via Combinatorial Optimization Ranking

Authors: Ivan C. Mustakerov, Daniela I. Borissova

Abstract:

The paper proposes an approach to ranking a set of potential countries to invest taking into account the investor point of view about importance of different economic indicators. For the goal, a ranking algorithm that contributes to rational decision making is proposed. The described algorithm is based on combinatorial optimization modeling and repeated multi-criteria tasks solution. The final result is list of countries ranked in respect of investor preferences about importance of economic indicators for investment attractiveness. Different scenarios are simulated conforming to different investors preferences. A numerical example with real dataset of indicators is solved. The numerical testing shows the applicability of the described algorithm. The proposed approach can be used with any sets of indicators as ranking criteria reflecting different points of view of investors. 

Keywords: Combinatorial optimization modeling, economics investment attractiveness, economics ranking algorithm, multi-criteria problems.

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26 An Algorithm for an Optimal Staffing Problem in Open Shop Environment

Authors: Daniela I. Borissova, Ivan C. Mustakerov

Abstract:

The paper addresses a problem of optimal staffing in open shop environment. The problem is to determine the optimal number of operators serving a given number of machines to fulfill the number of independent operations while minimizing staff idle. Using a Gantt chart presentation of the problem it is modeled as twodimensional cutting stock problem. A mixed-integer programming model is used to get minimal job processing time (makespan) for fixed number of machines' operators. An algorithm for optimal openshop staffing is developed based on iterative solving of the formulated optimization task. The execution of the developed algorithm provides optimal number of machines' operators in the sense of minimum staff idle and optimal makespan for that number of operators. The proposed algorithm is tested numerically for a real life staffing problem. The testing results show the practical applicability for similar open shop staffing problems.

Keywords: Integer programming, open shop problem, optimal staffing.

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25 Web-Based Architecture of a System for Design Assessment of Night Vision Devices

Authors: Daniela I. Borissova, Ivan C. Mustakerov, Evgeni D. Bantutov

Abstract:

Nowadays the devices of night vision are widely used both for military and civil applications. The variety of night vision applications require a variety of the night vision devices designs. A web-based architecture of a software system for design assessment before producing of night vision devices is developed. The proposed architecture of the web-based system is based on the application of a mathematical model for designing of night vision devices. An algorithm with two components – for iterative design and for intelligent design is developed and integrated into system architecture. The iterative component suggests compatible modules combinations to choose from. The intelligent component provides compatible combinations of modules  satisfying given user requirements to device parameters. The proposed web-based architecture of a system for design assessment of night vision devices is tested via a prototype of the system. The testing showed the applicability of both iterative and intelligent components of algorithm. 

Keywords: Night vision devices, design modeling, software architecture, web-based system.

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24 Optimal Manufacturing Scheduling for Dependent Details Processing

Authors: Ivan C. Mustakerov, Daniela I. Borissova

Abstract:

The increasing competitiveness in manufacturing industry is forcing manufacturers to seek effective processing schedules. The paper presents an optimization manufacture scheduling approach for dependent details processing with given processing sequences and times on multiple machines. By defining decision variables as start and end moments of details processing it is possible to use straightforward variables restrictions to satisfy different technological requirements and to formulate easy to understand and solve optimization tasks for multiple numbers of details and machines. A case study example is solved for seven base moldings for CNC metalworking machines processed on five different machines with given processing order among details and machines and known processing time-s duration. As a result of linear optimization task solution the optimal manufacturing schedule minimizing the overall processing time is obtained. The manufacturing schedule defines the moments of moldings delivery thus minimizing storage costs and provides mounting due-time satisfaction. The proposed optimization approach is based on real manufacturing plant problem. Different processing schedules variants for different technological restrictions were defined and implemented in the practice of Bulgarian company RAIS Ltd. The proposed approach could be generalized for other job shop scheduling problems for different applications.

Keywords: Optimal manufacturing scheduling, linear programming, metalworking machines production, dependant details processing.

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23 Social Responsibility and Environmental Issues Addressed by Businesses in Romania

Authors: Daniela Grădinaru, Iuliana Georgescu, Loredana Huţanu (Toma), Mihai-Bogdan Afrăsinei

Abstract:

This article aims to analyze the situation of Romanian companies from an environmental point of view. Environmental issues are addressed very often nowadays, and they reach and affect every domain, including the economical one. Implementing an environmental management system will not only help the companies to comply with laws and regulations, but, above all, will offer them an important competitive advantage.

Keywords: Environmental management system, environmental reporting, environmental expenses, sustainable development.

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22 An Adverse Model for Price Discrimination in the Case of Monopoly

Authors: Daniela Elena Marinescu, Ioana Manafi, Dumitru Marin

Abstract:

We consider a Principal-Agent model with the Principal being a seller who does not know perfectly how much the buyer (the Agent) is willing to pay for the good. The buyer-s preferences are hence his private information. The model corresponds to the nonlinear pricing problem of Maskin and Riley. We assume there are three types of Agents. The model is solved using “informational rents" as variables. In the last section we present the main characteristics of the optimal contracts in asymmetric information and some possible extensions of the model.

Keywords: Adverse selection, asymmetric information, informational rent, nonlinear pricing, optimal contract

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21 Detection of Diabetic Symptoms in Retina Images Using Analog Algorithms

Authors: Daniela Matei, Radu Matei

Abstract:

In this paper a class of analog algorithms based on the concept of Cellular Neural Network (CNN) is applied in some processing operations of some important medical images, namely retina images, for detecting various symptoms connected with diabetic retinopathy. Some specific processing tasks like morphological operations, linear filtering and thresholding are proposed, the corresponding template values are given and simulations on real retina images are provided.

Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy, pathology detection, cellular neural networks, analog algorithms.

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20 Artificial Intelligence for Software Quality Improvement

Authors: Martín Agüero, Franco Madou, Gabriela Esperón, Daniela López De Luise

Abstract:

This paper presents a software quality support tool, a Java source code evaluator and a code profiler based on computational intelligence techniques. It is Java prototype software developed by AI Group [1] from the Research Laboratories at Universidad de Palermo: an Intelligent Java Analyzer (in Spanish: Analizador Java Inteligente, AJI). It represents a new approach to evaluate and identify inaccurate source code usage and transitively, the software product itself. The aim of this project is to provide the software development industry with a new tool to increase software quality by extending the value of source code metrics through computational intelligence.

Keywords: Software metrics, artificial intelligence, neuralnetworks, clustering algorithms, expert systems

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19 Contribution for Rural Development through Training in Organic Farming

Authors: Raquel P. F. Guiné, Daniela V. T. A. Costa, Paula M. R. Correia, Moisés Castro, Luis T. Guerra, Cristina A. Costa

Abstract:

The aim of this work was to characterize a potential target group of people interested in participating into a training program in organic farming in the context of mobile-learning. The information sought addressed in particular, but not exclusively, possible contents, formats and forms of evaluation that will contribute to define the course objectives and curriculum, as well as to ensure that the course meets the needs of the learners and their preferences. The sample was selected among different European countries. The questionnaires were delivered electronically for answering on-line and in the end 135 consented valid questionnaires were obtained. The results allowed characterizing the target group and identifying their training needs and preferences towards m-learning formats, giving valuable tools to design the training offer.

Keywords: Mobile-learning, organic farming, rural development, survey.

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18 Current Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy

Authors: Daniela F. Maluf, Fernanda Roters, Luma C. F. Silva

Abstract:

The goal of this work is to report the main dermatological alterations occurring during pregnancy and actual cosmetic protocols available and recommended for safe use. Throughout pregnancy, woman's body undergoes many transformations such as hormonal changes and weight gain. These alterations can result in undesirable skin aspects that end up affecting the future mother's life. The main complaints of pregnant women involve melasma advent, varicose veins, edema, and natural skin aging. Even if most of the time is recommended to wait for the birth to use cosmetics, there are some alternatives to prevent and to treat these alterations during pregnancy. For all these cases, there is a need to update information about safety and efficacy of new actives and technologies in cosmetic products. The purpose of this study was to conduct a literature review about the main skin alterations during pregnancy and actual recommended treatments, according to the current legislation.

Keywords: Pregnancy, cosmetic, treatment, physiological changes.

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17 Balancing Strategies for Parallel Content-based Data Retrieval Algorithms in a k-tree Structured Database

Authors: Radu Dobrescu, Matei Dobrescu, Daniela Hossu

Abstract:

The paper proposes a unified model for multimedia data retrieval which includes data representatives, content representatives, index structure, and search algorithms. The multimedia data are defined as k-dimensional signals indexed in a multidimensional k-tree structure. The benefits of using the k-tree unified model were demonstrated by running the data retrieval application on a six networked nodes test bed cluster. The tests were performed with two retrieval algorithms, one that allows parallel searching using a single feature, the second that performs a weighted cascade search for multiple features querying. The experiments show a significant reduction of retrieval time while maintaining the quality of results.

Keywords: balancing strategies, multimedia databases, parallelprocessing, retrieval algorithms

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16 Intrapreneurship Discovery: Standard Strategy to Boost Innovation inside Companies

Authors: Chiara Mansanta, Daniela Sani

Abstract:

This paper studies the concept of intrapreneurship discovery for innovation and technology development related to the manufacturing industries set up in the center of Italy, in Marche Region. The study underlined the key drivers of the innovation process and the main factors that influence innovation. Starting from a literature study on open innovation, this paper examines the role of human capital to support company’s development. The empirical part of the study is based on a survey to 151 manufacturing companies that represent the 34% of that universe at the regional level. The survey underlined the main KPI’s that influence companies in their decision processes; then tools for these decision processes are presented.

Keywords: Business model, decision making, intrapreneurship discovery, open innovation, standard methodology.

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15 Methods for Data Selection in Medical Databases: The Binary Logistic Regression -Relations with the Calculated Risks

Authors: Cristina G. Dascalu, Elena Mihaela Carausu, Daniela Manuc

Abstract:

The medical studies often require different methods for parameters selection, as a second step of processing, after the database-s designing and filling with information. One common task is the selection of fields that act as risk factors using wellknown methods, in order to find the most relevant risk factors and to establish a possible hierarchy between them. Different methods are available in this purpose, one of the most known being the binary logistic regression. We will present the mathematical principles of this method and a practical example of using it in the analysis of the influence of 10 different psychiatric diagnostics over 4 different types of offences (in a database made from 289 psychiatric patients involved in different types of offences). Finally, we will make some observations about the relation between the risk factors hierarchy established through binary logistic regression and the individual risks, as well as the results of Chi-squared test. We will show that the hierarchy built using the binary logistic regression doesn-t agree with the direct order of risk factors, even if it was naturally to assume this hypothesis as being always true.

Keywords: Databases, risk factors, binary logisticregression, hierarchy.

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14 Effect of Plasma Therapy on Epidermal Regeneration

Authors: Magda Bădescu, Daniela Jitaru, C.Grigoraş, L.Bădescu, I. Topala, Manuela Ciocoiu

Abstract:

The purpose of our study was to compare spontaneous re-epithelisation characteristics versus assisted re-epithelisation. In order to assess re-epithelisation of the injured skin, we have imagined and designed a burn wound model on Wistar rat skin. Our aim was to create standardised, easy reproducible and quantifiable skin lesions involving entire epidermis and superficial dermis. We then have applied the above mentioned therapeutic strategies to compare regeneration of epidermis and dermis, local and systemic parameter changes in different conditions. We have enhanced the reepithelisation process under a moist atmosphere of a polyurethane wound dress modified with helium non-thermal plasma, and with the aid of direct cold-plasma treatment respectively. We have followed systemic parameters change: hematologic and biochemical parameters, and local features: oxidative stress markers and histology of skin in the above mentioned conditions. Re-epithelisation is just a part of the skin regeneration process, which recruits cellular components, with the aid of epidermal and dermal interaction via signal molecules.

Keywords: Plasma medicine, re-epithelisation and tissue regeneration

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13 Evaluation of Bioactive Phenols in Blueberries from Different Cultivars

Authors: Christophe Gonçalves, Raquel P. F. Guiné, Daniela Teixeira, Fernando J. Gonçalves

Abstract:

Blueberries are widely valued for their high content in phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity, and hence beneficial for the human health. In this way, a study was done to determine the phenolic composition (total phenols, anthocyanins and tannins) and antioxidant activity of blueberries from three cultivars (Duke, Bluecrop, and Ozarkblue) grown in two different Portuguese farms. Initially two successive extractions were done with methanol followed by two extractions with aqueous acetone solutions. These extracts obtained were then used to evaluate the amount of phenolic compounds and the antioxidant activity. The total phenols were observed to vary from 4.9 to 8.2 mg GAE/g fresh weight, with anthocyanin’s contents in the range 1.5-2.8 mg EMv3G/g and tannins contents in the range 1.5- 3.8 mg/g. The results for antioxidant activity ranged from 9.3 to 23.2 molTE/g and from 24.7 to 53.4molTE/g, when measured, respectively, by DPPH and ABTS methods. In conclusion it was observed that, in general, the cultivar had a visible effect on the phenols present, and furthermore, the geographical origin showed relevance either in the phenols contents or the antioxidant activity.

Keywords: Anthocyanins, antioxidant activity, blueberry cultivar, geographical origin, phenolic compounds.

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12 FleGSens – Secure Area Monitoring Using Wireless Sensor Networks

Authors: Peter Rothenpieler, Daniela Kruger, Dennis Pfisterer, Stefan Fischer, Denise Dudek, Christian Haas, Martina Zitterbart

Abstract:

In the project FleGSens, a wireless sensor network (WSN) for the surveillance of critical areas and properties is currently developed which incorporates mechanisms to ensure information security. The intended prototype consists of 200 sensor nodes for monitoring a 500m long land strip. The system is focused on ensuring integrity and authenticity of generated alarms and availability in the presence of an attacker who may even compromise a limited number of sensor nodes. In this paper, two of the main protocols developed in the project are presented, a tracking protocol to provide secure detection of trespasses within the monitored area and a protocol for secure detection of node failures. Simulation results of networks containing 200 and 2000 nodes as well as the results of the first prototype comprising a network of 16 nodes are presented. The focus of the simulations and prototype are functional testing of the protocols and particularly demonstrating the impact and cost of several attacks.

Keywords: Wireless Sensor Network, Security, Trespass Detection, Testbed.

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11 Negative Impact of Bacteria Legionella Pneumophila in Hot Water Distribution Systems on Human Health

Authors: Daniela Ocipova, Zuzana Vranayova, Ondrej Sikula

Abstract:

Safe drinking water is one of the biggest issues facing the planet this century. The primary aim of this paper is to present our research focused on theoretical and experimental analysis of potable water and in-building water distribution systems from the point of view of microbiological risk on the basis of confrontation between the theoretical analysis and synthesis of gathered information in conditions of the Slovak Republic. The presence of the bacteria Legionella in water systems, especially in hot water distribution system, represents in terms of health protection of inhabitants the crucial problem which cannot be overlooked. Legionella pneumophila discovery, its classification and its influence on installations inside buildings are relatively new. There are a lot of guidelines and regulations developed in many individual countries for the design, operation and maintenance for tap water systems to avoid the growth of bacteria Legionella pneumophila, but in Slovakia we don-t have any. The goal of this paper is to show the necessity of prevention and regulations for installations inside buildings verified by simulation methods.

Keywords: Legionella pneumophila, water temperature, distribution system, risk analysis, simulations.

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10 Statistical Analysis of the Factors that Influence the Properties of Blueberries from Cultivar Bluecrop

Authors: Raquel P. F. Guiné, Susana R. Matos, Daniela V. T. A. Costa, Fernando J. Gonçalves

Abstract:

Because blueberries are worldwide recognized as a good source of beneficial components, their consumption has increased in the past decades, and so have the scientific works about their properties. Hence, this work was undertaken to evaluate the effect of some production and conservation factors on the properties of blueberries from cultivar Bluecrop. The physical and chemical analyses were done according to established methodologies and then all data was treated using software SPSS for assessment of the possible differences among the factors investigated and/or the correlations between the variables at study. The results showed that location of production influenced some of the berries properties (caliber, sugars, antioxidant activity, color and texture) and that the age of the bushes was correlated with moisture, sugars and acidity, as well as lightness. On the other hand, altitude of the farm only was correlated to sugar content. With regards to conservation, it influenced only anthocyanins content and DPPH antioxidant activity. Finally, the type of extract and the order of extraction had a pronounced influence on all the phenolic properties evaluated.

Keywords: Antioxidant activity, blueberry, conservation, geographical origin, phenolic compounds, statistical analysis.

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9 New Models of Financial Management Put into Effect in Dental Practices in Romania –Empirical Study

Authors: Dutescu Adriana, Amariei Corneliu, Sahlian Daniela, Stanila Aurelian, Stanila Oana

Abstract:

20 years of dentistry was a period of transition from communist to market economy but Romanian doctors have insufficient management knowledge. Recently, the need for modern management has increased due to technologies and superior materials appearance, as patient-s demands. Research goal is to increase efficiency by evaluating dental medical office cost categories in real pricing procedures. Empirical research is based on guided study that includes information about the association between categories of cost perception and therapeutic procedures commonly used in dental offices. Due to the obtained results to identify all the labours that make up a settled procedure costs were determined for each procedure. Financial evaluation software was created with the main functions: introducing and maintaining patient records, treatment and appointments made, procedures cost and monitoring office productivity. We believe that the study results can significantly improve the financial management of dental offices, increasing the effectiveness and quality of services.

Keywords: costs, financial methods, management.

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8 Negative RT-PCR in a Newborn Infected with Zika Virus: A Case Report

Authors: Vallejo Michael, Acuña Edgar, Roa Juan David, Peñuela Rosa, Parra Alejandra, Casallas Daniela, Rodriguez Sheyla

Abstract:

Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome is an entity composed by a variety of birth defects presented in newborns that have been exposed to the Zika Virus during pregnancy. The syndrome characteristic features are severe microcephaly, cerebral tissue abnormalities, ophthalmological abnormalities such as uveitis and chorioretinitis, arthrogryposis, clubfoot deformity and muscular tone abnormalities. The confirmatory test is the Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) associated to the physical findings. Here we present the case of a newborn with microcephaly whose mother presented a confirmed Zika Virus infection during the third trimester of pregnancy, despite of the evident findings and the history of Zika infection the RT-PCR in amniotic and cerebrospinal fluid of the newborn was negative. RT-PCR has demonstrated a low sensibility in samples with low viral loads, reason why, we propose a clinical diagnosis in patients with clinical history of Zika Virus infection during pregnancy accompanied by evident clinical manifestations of the child.

Keywords: Zika Virus, polymerase chain reaction, microcephaly, amniotic fluid.

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7 Friction Calculation and Simulation of Column Electric Power Steering System

Authors: Seyed Hamid Mirmohammad Sadeghi, Raffaella Sesana, Daniela Maffiodo

Abstract:

This study presents a procedure for friction calculation of column electric power steering (C-EPS) system which affects handling and comfort in driving. The friction losses estimation is obtained from experimental tests and mathematical calculation. Parts in C-EPS mainly involved in friction losses are bearings and worm gear. In the theoretical approach, the gear geometry and Hertz law were employed to measure the normal load and the sliding velocity and contact areas from the worm gears driving conditions. The viscous friction generated in the worm gear was obtained with a theoretical approach and the result was applied to model the friction in the steering system. Finally, by viscous friction coefficient and Coulomb friction coefficient, values of friction in worm gear were calculated. According to the Bearing Company and the characteristics of each bearing, the friction torques due to load and due to speed were calculated. A MATLAB Simulink model for calculating the friction in bearings and worm gear in C-EPS were done and the total friction value was estimated.

Keywords: Friction, worm gear, column electric power steering system, Simulink, bearing, electric power steering, EPS.

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6 Impact of Ship Traffic to PM2.5 and Particle Number Concentrations in Three Port-Cities of the Adriatic/Ionian Area

Authors: Daniele Contini, Antonio Donateo, Andrea Gambaro, Athanasios Argiriou, Dimitrios Melas, Daniela Cesari, Anastasia Poupkou, Athanasios Karagiannidis, Apostolos Tsakis, Eva Merico, Rita Cesari, Adelaide Dinoi

Abstract:

Emissions of atmospheric pollutants from ships and harbour activities are a growing concern at international level given their potential impacts on air quality and climate. These close-to-land emissions have potential impact on local communities in terms of air quality and health. Recent studies show that the impact of maritime traffic to atmospheric particulate matter concentrations in several coastal urban areas is comparable with the impact of road traffic of a medium size town. However, several different approaches have been used for these estimates making difficult a direct comparison of results. In this work, an integrated approach based on emission inventories and dedicated measurement campaigns has been applied to give a comparable estimate of the impact of maritime traffic to PM2.5 and particle number concentrations in three major harbours of the Adriatic/Ionian Seas. The influences of local meteorology and of the logistic layout of the harbours are discussed.

Keywords: Ship emissions, PM2.5, particle number concentrations, impact of shipping to atmospheric aerosol.

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5 Cross Signal Identification for PSG Applications

Authors: Carmen Grigoraş, Victor Grigoraş, Daniela Boişteanu

Abstract:

The standard investigational method for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) diagnosis is polysomnography (PSG), which consists of a simultaneous, usually overnight recording of multiple electro-physiological signals related to sleep and wakefulness. This is an expensive, encumbering and not a readily repeated protocol, and therefore there is need for simpler and easily implemented screening and detection techniques. Identification of apnea/hypopnea events in the screening recordings is the key factor for the diagnosis of OSAS. The analysis of a solely single-lead electrocardiographic (ECG) signal for OSAS diagnosis, which may be done with portable devices, at patient-s home, is the challenge of the last years. A novel artificial neural network (ANN) based approach for feature extraction and automatic identification of respiratory events in ECG signals is presented in this paper. A nonlinear principal component analysis (NLPCA) method was considered for feature extraction and support vector machine for classification/recognition. An alternative representation of the respiratory events by means of Kohonen type neural network is discussed. Our prospective study was based on OSAS patients of the Clinical Hospital of Pneumology from Iaşi, Romania, males and females, as well as on non-OSAS investigated human subjects. Our computed analysis includes a learning phase based on cross signal PSG annotation.

Keywords: Artificial neural networks, feature extraction, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, pattern recognition, signalprocessing.

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4 A Survey of Online User Perspectives and Age Profile in an Undergraduate Fundamental Business Technology Course

Authors: Danielle Morin, Jennifer D. E. Thomas, Raafat G. Saade, Daniela Petrachi

Abstract:

Over the past few decades, more and more students choose to enroll in online classes instead of attending in-class lectures. While past studies consider students’ attitudes towards online education and how their grades differed from in-class lectures, the profile of the online student remains a blur. To shed light on this, an online survey was administered to about 1,500 students enrolled in an undergraduate Fundamental Business Technology course at a Canadian University. The survey was comprised of questions on students’ demographics, their reasons for choosing online courses, their expectations towards the course, the communication channels they use for the course with fellow students and with the instructor. This paper focused on the research question: Do the perspectives of online students concerning the online experience, in general, and in the course in particular, differ according to age profile? After several statistical analyses, it was found that age does have an impact on the reasons why students select online classes instead of in-class. For example, it was found that the perception that an online course might be easier than in-class delivery was a more important reason for younger students than for older ones. Similarly, the influence of friends is much more important for younger students, than for older students. Similar results were found when analyzing students’ expectation about the online course and their use of communication tools. Overall, the age profile of online users had an impact on reasons, expectations and means of communication in an undergraduate Fundamental Business Technology course. It is left to be seen if this holds true across other courses, graduate and undergraduate.

Keywords: Communication channels, fundamentals of business technology, online classes, pedagogy, user age profile, user perspectives.

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3 Pesticides Use in Rural Settings in Romania

Authors: Anca E. Gurzau, Alexandru Coman, Eugen S. Gurzau, Marinela Penes, Daniela Dumitrescu, DorinMarchean, Ioan Chera

Abstract:

The environment pollution with pesticides and heavy metals is a recognized problem nowadays, with extension to the global scale the tendency of amplification. Even with all the progress in the environmental field, both in the emphasize of the effect of the pollutants upon health, the linked studies environment-health are insufficient, not only in Romania but all over the world also. We aim to describe the particular situation in Romania regarding the uncontrolled use of pesticides, to identify and evaluate the risk zones for health and the environment in Romania, with the final goal of designing adequate programs for reduction and control of the risk sources. An exploratory study was conducted to determine the magnitude of the pesticide use problem in a population living in Saliste, a rural setting in Transylvania, Romania. The significant stakeholders in Saliste region were interviewed and a sample from the population living in Saliste area was selected to fill in a designed questionnaire. All the selected participants declared that they used pesticides in their activities for more than one purpose. They declared they annually applied pesticides for a period of time between 11 and 30 years, from 5 to 9 days per year on average, mainly on crops situated at some distance from the houses but high risk behavior was identified as the volunteers declared the use of pesticides in the backyard gardens, near their homes, where children were playing. The pesticide applicators did not have the necessary knowledge about safety and exposure. The health data must be correlated with exposure biomarkers in attempt to identify the possible health effects of the pesticides exposure. Future plans include educational campaigns to raise the awareness of the population on the danger of uncontrolled use of pesticides.

Keywords: Pesticides, health effects, Romania, Saliste.

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2 Cirrhosis Mortality Prediction as Classification Using Frequent Subgraph Mining

Authors: Abdolghani Ebrahimi, Diego Klabjan, Chenxi Ge, Daniela Ladner, Parker Stride

Abstract:

In this work, we use machine learning and data analysis techniques to predict the one-year mortality of cirrhotic patients. Data from 2,322 patients with liver cirrhosis are collected at a single medical center. Different machine learning models are applied to predict one-year mortality. A comprehensive feature space including demographic information, comorbidity, clinical procedure and laboratory tests is being analyzed. A temporal pattern mining technic called Frequent Subgraph Mining (FSM) is being used. Model for End-stage liver disease (MELD) prediction of mortality is used as a comparator. All of our models statistically significantly outperform the MELD-score model and show an average 10% improvement of the area under the curve (AUC). The FSM technic itself does not improve the model significantly, but FSM, together with a machine learning technique called an ensemble, further improves the model performance. With the abundance of data available in healthcare through electronic health records (EHR), existing predictive models can be refined to identify and treat patients at risk for higher mortality. However, due to the sparsity of the temporal information needed by FSM, the FSM model does not yield significant improvements. Our work applies modern machine learning algorithms and data analysis methods on predicting one-year mortality of cirrhotic patients and builds a model that predicts one-year mortality significantly more accurate than the MELD score. We have also tested the potential of FSM and provided a new perspective of the importance of clinical features.

Keywords: machine learning, liver cirrhosis, subgraph mining, supervised learning

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1 Enzyme Involvement in the Biosynthesis of Selenium Nanoparticles by Geobacillus wiegelii Strain GWE1 Isolated from a Drying Oven

Authors: Daniela N. Correa-Llantén, Sebastián A. Muñoz-Ibacache, Mathilde Maire, Jenny M. Blamey

Abstract:

The biosynthesis of nanoparticles by microorganisms, on the contrary to chemical synthesis, is an environmentally-friendly process which has low energy requirements. In this investigation, we used the microorganism Geobacillus wiegelii, strain GWE1, an aerobic thermophile belonging to genus Geobacillus, isolated from a drying oven. This microorganism has the ability to reduce selenite evidenced by the change of color from colorless to red in the culture. Elemental analysis and composition of the particles were verified using transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. The nanoparticles have a defined spherical shape and a selenium elemental state. Previous experiments showed that the presence of the whole microorganism for the reduction of selenite was not necessary. The results strongly suggested that an intracellular NADPH/NADH-dependent reductase mediates selenium nanoparticles synthesis under aerobic conditions. The enzyme was purified and identified by mass spectroscopy MALDI-TOF TOF technique. The enzyme is a 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase. Histograms of nanoparticles sizes were obtained. Size distribution ranged from 40-160 nm, where 70% of nanoparticles have less than 100 nm in size. Spectroscopic analysis showed that the nanoparticles are composed of elemental selenium. To analyse the effect of pH in size and morphology of nanoparticles, the synthesis of them was carried out at different pHs (4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0). For thermostability studies samples were incubated at different temperatures (60, 80 and 100 ºC) for 1 h and 3 h. The size of all nanoparticles was less than 100 nm at pH 4.0; over 50% of nanoparticles have less than 100 nm at pH 5.0; at pH 6.0 and 8.0 over 90% of nanoparticles have less than 100 nm in size. At neutral pH (7.0) nanoparticles reach a size around 120 nm and only 20% of them were less than 100 nm. When looking at temperature effect, nanoparticles did not show a significant difference in size when they were incubated between 0 and 3 h at 60 ºC. Meanwhile at 80 °C the nanoparticles suspension lost its homogeneity. A change in size was observed from 0 h of incubation at 80ºC, observing a size range between 40-160 nm, with 20% of them over 100 nm. Meanwhile after 3 h of incubation at size range changed to 60-180 nm with 50% of them over 100 nm. At 100 °C the nanoparticles aggregate forming nanorod structures. In conclusion, these results indicate that is possible to modulate size and shape of biologically synthesized nanoparticles by modulating pH and temperature.

Keywords: Genus Geobacillus, NADPH/NADH-dependent reductase, Selenium nanoparticles.

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