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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-07-18
    Description: Almost all animals and plants are inhabited by diverse communities of microorganisms, the microbiota, thereby forming an integrated entity, the metaorganism. Natural selection should favor hosts that shape the community composition of these microbes to promote a beneficial host-microbe symbiosis. Indeed, animal hosts often pose selective environments, which only a subset of the environmentally available microbes are able to colonize. How these microbes assemble after colonization to form the complex microbiota is less clear. Neutral models are based on the assumption that the alternatives in microbiota community composition are selectively equivalent and thus entirely shaped by random population dynamics and dispersal. Here, we use the neutral model as a null hypothesis to assess microbiata composition in host organisms, which does not rely on invoking any adaptive processes underlying microbial community assembly. We show that the overall microbiota community structure from a wide range of host organisms, in particular including previously understudied invertebrates, is in many cases consistent with neutral expectations. Our approach allows to identify individual microbes that are deviating from the neutral expectation and are therefore interesting candidates for further study. Moreover, using simulated communities, we demonstrate that transient community states may play a role in the deviations from the neutral expectation. Our findings highlight that the consideration of neutral processes and temporal changes in community composition are critical for an in-depth understanding of microbiota-host interactions.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Aquatic ecosystems worldwide continue to experience unprecedented warming and ecological change. Warming increases metabolic rates of animals, plants, and microbes, accelerating their use of energy and materials, their population growth, and interaction rates. At a much larger biological scale, warming accelerates ecosystem-level processes, elevating fluxes of carbon and oxygen between biota and the atmosphere. Although these general effects of temperature at finer and broader biological scales are widely observed, they can lead to contradictory predictions for how warming affects the structure and function of ecological communities at the intermediate scale of biological organization. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that the presence of predators and their associated species interactions modify the temperature dependence of net ecosystem oxygen production and respiration. We tracked a series of independent freshwater ecosystems (370 L) over 9 weeks, and we found that at higher temperatures, cascading effects of predators on zooplankton prey and algae were stronger than at lower temperatures. When grazing was weak or absent, standing phytoplankton biomass declined by 85%–95% (〈1-fold) over the temperature gradient (19–30 °C), and by 3-fold when grazers were present and lacked predators. These temperature-dependent species interactions and consequent community biomass shifts occurred without signs of species loss or community collapse, and only modestly affected the temperature dependence of net ecosystem oxygen fluxes. The exponential increases in net ecosystem oxygen production and consumption were relatively insensitive to differences in trophic interactions among ecosystems. Furthermore, monotonic declines in phytoplankton standing stock suggested no threshold effects of warming across systems. We conclude that local changes in community structure, including temperature-dependent trophic cascades, may be compatible with prevailing and predictable effects of temperature on ecosystem functions related to fundamental effects of temperature on metabolism.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Habitat-forming species sustain biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in harsh environments through the amelioration of physical stress. Nonetheless, their role in shaping patterns of species distribution under future climate scenarios is generally overlooked. Focusing on coastal systems, we assess how habitat-forming species can influence the ability of stress-sensitive species to exhibit plastic responses, adapt to novel environmental conditions, or track suitable climates. Here, we argue that habitat-former populations could be managed as a nature-based solution against climate-driven loss of biodiversity. Drawing from different ecological and biological disciplines, we identify a series of actions to sustain the resilience of marine habitat-forming species to climate change, as well as their effectiveness and reliability in rescuing stress-sensitive species from increasingly adverse environmental conditions.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1271: Spectral and Spatial Classification of Hyperspectral Images Based on Random Multi-Graphs Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081271 Authors: Feng Gao Qun Wang Junyu Dong Qizhi Xu Hyperspectral image classification has been acknowledged as the fundamental and challenging task of hyperspectral data processing. The abundance of spectral and spatial information has provided great opportunities to effectively characterize and identify ground materials. In this paper, we propose a spectral and spatial classification framework for hyperspectral images based on Random Multi-Graphs (RMGs). The RMG is a graph-based ensemble learning method, which is rarely considered in hyperspectral image classification. It is empirically verified that the semi-supervised RMG deals well with small sample setting problems. This kind of problem is very common in hyperspectral image applications. In the proposed method, spatial features are extracted based on linear prediction error analysis and local binary patterns; spatial features and spectral features are then stacked into high dimensional vectors. The high dimensional vectors are fed into the RMG for classification. By randomly selecting a subset of features to create a graph, the proposed method can achieve excellent classification performance. The experiments on three real hyperspectral datasets have demonstrated that the proposed method exhibits better performance than several closely related methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1413: Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081413 Authors: Aubrey L. Woern Dennis J. Byard Robert B. Oakley Matthew J. Fiedler Samantha L. Snabes Joshua M. Pearce Fused particle fabrication (FPF) (or fused granular fabrication (FGF)) has potential for increasing recycled polymers in 3-D printing. Here, the open source Gigabot X is used to develop a new method to optimize FPF/FGF for recycled materials. Virgin polylactic acid (PLA) pellets and prints were analyzed and were then compared to four recycled polymers including the two most popular printing materials (PLA and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)) as well as the two most common waste plastics (polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP)). The size characteristics of the various materials were quantified using digital image processing. Then, power and nozzle velocity matrices were used to optimize the print speed, and a print test was used to maximize the output for a two-temperature stage extruder for a given polymer feedstock. ASTM type 4 tensile tests were used to determine the mechanical properties of each plastic when they were printed with a particle drive extruder system and were compared with filament printing. The results showed that the Gigabot X can print materials 6.5× to 13× faster than conventional printers depending on the material, with no significant reduction in the mechanical properties. It was concluded that the Gigabot X and similar FPF/FGF printers can utilize a wide range of recycled polymer materials with minimal post processing.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1414: Numerical-Experimental Study of the Consolidation Phenomenon in the Selective Laser Melting Process with a Thermo-Fluidic Coupled Model Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081414 Authors: Francisco Cordovilla Ángel García-Beltrán Miguel Garzón Diego A. Muñoz José L. Ocaña One of the main limiting factors for a widespread industrial use of the Selective Laser Melting Process it its lack of productivity, which restricts the use of this technology just for high added-value components. Typically, the thickness of the metallic powder that is used lies on the scale of micrometers. The use of a layer up to one millimeter would be necessarily associated to a dramatic increase of productivity. Nevertheless, when the layer thickness increases, the complexity of consolidation phenomena makes the process difficult to be governed. The present work proposes a 3D finite element thermo-coupled model to study the evolution from the metallic powder to the final consolidated material, analyzing specifically the movements and loads of the melt pool, and defining the behavior of some critical thermophysical properties as a function of temperature and the phase of the material. This model uses advanced numerical tools such as the Arbitrary Lagrangean–Eulerian formulation and the Automatic Remeshing technique. A series of experiments have been carried out, using a high thickness powder layer, allowing for a deeper understanding of the consolidation phenomena and providing a reference to compare the results of the numerical calculations.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1269: Panoramic Image and Three-Axis Laser Scanner Integrated Approach for Indoor 3D Mapping Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081269 Authors: Pengcheng Zhao Qingwu Hu Shaohua Wang Mingyao Ai Qingzhou Mao High-precision indoor three-dimensional maps are a prerequisite for building information models, indoor location-based services, etc., but the indoor mapping solution is still in the stage of technological experiment and application scenario development. In this paper, indoor mapping equipment integrating a three-axis laser scanner and panoramic camera is designed, and the corresponding workflow and critical technologies are described. First, hardware design and software for controlling the operations and calibration of the spatial relationship between sensors are completed. Then, the trajectory of the carrier is evaluated by a simultaneous location and mapping framework, which includes reckoning of the real-time position and attitude of the carrier by a filter fusing the horizontally placed laser scanner data and inertial measurement data, as well as the global optimization by a closed-loop adjustment using a graph optimization algorithm. Finally, the 3D point clouds and panoramic images of the scene are reconstructed from two tilt-mounted laser scanners and the panoramic camera by synchronization of the position and attitude of the carrier. The experiment was carried out in a five-story library using the proposed prototype system; the results demonstrate accuracies of up to 3 cm for 2D maps, and up to 5 cm for 3D maps, and the produced point clouds and panoramic images can be utilized for modeling and further works related to large-scale indoor scenes. Therefore, the proposed system is an efficient and accurate solution for indoor 3D mapping.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1270: Greening and Browning of the Hexi Corridor in Northwest China: Spatial Patterns and Responses to Climatic Variability and Anthropogenic Drivers Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081270 Authors: Qingyu Guan Liqin Yang Ninghui Pan Jinkuo Lin Chuanqi Xu Feifei Wang Zeyu Liu The arid region of northwest China provides a unique terrestrial ecosystem to identify the response of vegetation activities to natural and anthropogenic changes. To reveal the influences of climate and anthropogenic factors on vegetation, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), climate data, and land use and land cover change (LUCC) maps were used for this study. We analyzed the spatiotemporal change of NDVI during 2000–2015. A partial correlation analysis suggested that the contribution of precipitation (PRE) and temperature (TEM) on 95.43% of observed greening trends was 47% and 20%, respectively. The response of NDVI in the eastern section of the Qilian Mountains (ESQM) and the western section of the Qilian Mountains (WSQM) to PRE and TEM showed opposite trends. The multiple linear regressions used to quantify the contribution of anthropogenic activity on the NDVI trend indicated that the ESQM and oasis areas were mainly affected by anthropogenic activities (26%). The observed browning trend in the ESQM was attributed to excessive consumption of natural resources. A buffer analysis and piecewise regression methods were further applied to explore the influence of urbanization on NDVI and its change rate. The study demonstrated that urbanization destroys the vegetation cover within the developed city areas and extends about 4 km beyond the perimeter of urban areas and the NDVI of buffer cities (counties) in the range of 0–4 km (0–3 km) increased significantly. In the range of 5–15 (4–10) km (except for Jiayuguan), climate factors were the major drivers of a slight downtrend in the NDVI. The relationship of land use change and NDVI trends showed that construction land, urban settlement, and farmland expanded sharply by 171.43%, 60%, and 10.41%, respectively. It indicated that the rapid process of urbanization and coordinated urban-rural development shrunk ecosystem services.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2640: Spatial Extension of Road Traffic Sensor Data with Artificial Neural Networks Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082640 Authors: Mariano Gallo Giuseppina De Luca This paper proposes a method for estimating traffic flows on some links of a road network knowing the data on other links that are monitored with sensors. In this way, it is possible to obtain more information on traffic conditions without increasing the number of monitored links. The proposed method is based on artificial neural networks (ANNs), wherein the input data are the traffic flows on some monitored road links and the output data are the traffic flows on some unmonitored links. We have implemented and tested several single-layer feed-forward ANNs that differ in the number of neurons and the method of generating datasets for training. The proposed ANNs were trained with a supervised learning approach where input and output example datasets were generated through traffic simulation techniques. The proposed method was tested on a real-scale network and gave very good results if the travel demand patterns were known and used for generating example datasets, and promising results if the demand patterns were not considered in the procedure. Numerical results have underlined that the ANNs with few neurons were more effective than the ones with many neurons in this specific problem.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2643: Galfenol Thin Films and Nanowires Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082643 Authors: Bethanie J. H. Stadler Madhukar Reddy Rajneeta Basantkumar Patrick McGary Eliot Estrine Xiaobo Huang Sang Yeob Sung Liwen Tan Jia Zou Mazin Maqableh Daniel Shore Thomas Gage Joseph Um Matthew Hein Anirudh Sharma Galfenol (Fe1−xGax, 10 < x < 40) may be the only smart material that can be made by electrochemical deposition which enables thick film and nanowire structures. This article reviews the deposition, characterization, and applications of Galfenol thin films and nanowires. Galfenol films have been made by sputter deposition as well as by electrochemical deposition, which can be difficult due to the insolubility of gallium. However, a stable process has been developed, using citrate complexing, a rotating disk electrode, Cu seed layers, and pulsed deposition. Galfenol thin films and nanowires have been characterized for crystal structures and magnetostriction both by our group and by collaborators. Films and nanowires have been shown to be largely polycrystalline, with magnetostrictions that are on the same order of magnitude as textured bulk Galfenol. Electrodeposited Galfenol films were made with epitaxial texture on GaAs. Galfenol nanowires have been made by electrodeposition into anodic aluminum oxide templates using similar parameters defined for films. Segmented nanowires of Galfenol/Cu have been made to provide engineered magnetic properties. Applications of Galfenol and other magnetic nanowires include microfluidic sensors, magnetic separation, cellular radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast, and hyperthermia.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2018-08-13
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2644: Effects of the Ground Resolution and Thresholding on Crack Width Measurements Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082644 Authors: Cho Yoon Jung When diagnosing the condition of a structure, it is necessary to measure the widths of any existing cracks in the structure. To ensure safety when relying on images of cracks, the selected imaging parameters and processing technology must be well understood. In this study, the effects of the ground sample distance and threshold values on the crack width measurement error are analyzed from a theoretical perspective. Here, the main source of such errors is assumed to be due to the mixed pixel phenomena in the left and right boundary pixels. Thus, a mathematical model is proposed in which the intensity changes in these pixels are computed via an equation. In addition, the relationship between the error and error probability distribution is represented with an equation based on the threshold values and mean error. Upon analysis, it was found that the threshold value that minimizes the error is at the mid-point between the background and foreground, and the probabilistic nature of the error indicates that it is theoretically possible to predict both the error and its probability distribution. The proposed model was validated using artificial images.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3131: The Main Agroecological Structure (MAS) of the Agroecosystems: Concept, Methodology and Applications Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093131 Authors: Tomás Enrique León-Sicard Javier Toro Calderón Liven Fernando Martínez-Bernal José Alejandro Cleves-Leguízamo This document presents the concept of the Main Agroecological Structure of agroecosystems (MAS) from the perspective of environmental thinking (ecosystem-culture relationships) and considered as a dissipative cultural structure. It discusses the possible applications of this concept (resilience, production, diversity) both inside and outside the farms. The potential MAS can be useful in the planning processes of the farms because it allows the quantification of the internal and external corridors, including natural vegetation. At the same time, it can be an important tool in the context of landscape management because it shows a series of cultural relations (economic, social, symbolic and technological) that are normally overlooked by the partial analysis of landscape ecology.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3130: Fraud, Economic versus Social-Psychological Losses, and Sustainable E-Auction Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093130 Authors: Xiaobing Zhang Fu-Sheng Tsai Chih-Chen Lin Ya-Fang Cheng Kun-Hwa Lu As compared to the economic losses, social and psychological losses are of equal importance in discussing the losses when encountering fraud. Taking advantage of a perspective paper form (i.e., free writing style with a mix of description, analysis, and comments) with in-depth discussions and well-developed propositions, we combine considerations from the knowledge gap, platform quality, and risk management to discuss the comparative seriousness of different fraud-caused losses. The conceptual model mainly articulates on a series of relationships among different degrees of knowledge gap, platform quality, and risk management in predicting the various combinative losses in the economic, social, and psychological aspects. Propositions follow. First, when the knowledge gap is higher, the economic losses of being cheated on the internet will be higher, while lower in social and psychological losses. Second, when perceived platform quality is higher, the economic losses of being cheated on the internet will be lower, while higher in social and psychological losses. Third, when platform risk management is better, all aspects of being cheated on the internet will be lower. Based on the assumption of network externality, we also argue that the multiple dimensions of fraud-caused losses may damage e-auction sustainability. Theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 379: Effective Blind Frequency Offset Estimation Scheme for BST-OFDM Based HDTV Broadcast Systems Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10090379 Authors: Yong-An Jung Young-Hwan You The integrated services digital broadcasting-terrestrial (ISDB-T) system is designed in order to accommodate high-quality video/audio and multimedia services, using band segmented transmission orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (BST-OFDM) scheme. In the ISDB-T system, the pilot configuration varies depending on whether a segment uses a coherent or differential modulation. Therefore, it is necessary to perform a joint estimation of carrier frequency offset (CFO) and sampling frequency offset (SFO) independent of the segment format in the ISDB-T system. The goal is to complete those synchronization tasks while considering an information-carrying transmission and multiplexing configuration control (TMCC) signal as pilot symbols. It is demonstrated through numerical simulations that the differential BPSK-modulated TMCC information can be efficiently used for a least-squares estimation of CFO and SFO, offering an acceptable performance.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1179: The Influence of Groundwater on the Sliding and Deposition Behaviors of Cataclinal Slopes Water doi: 10.3390/w10091179 Authors: Cheng-Hsueh Weng Ming-Lang Lin Chia-Ming Lo Hsi-Hung Lin In 2015, Typhoon Soudelor caused a number of slopes to collapse in Wulai District of New Taipei City. One of these landslides took place in the village of Zhongzhi and involved atypical cataclinal slope failure with a rock–soil interface. The remaining rock in the slope and the rock that originally covered it contained vertical joints, so groundwater could have flowed through the joints and influenced landslide behavior. However, few existing studies have examined the influence of upward groundwater flow on slope stability. To fill this gap, this study used physical tests and discrete element method software to conduct relevant investigations. We first conducted tests using the ground water flow and cataclinal slope simulator, in which water can flow out of holes in the platform to simulate upward-seeping groundwater. We used gypsum boards or rhombus-shaped grinding stones to simulate rock with vertical joints and round grinding stones mixed in paste to simulate cohesive regolith. The objective of the tests was to understand the influence of water flow on the landslide behavior of the specimens and the connections between movement behavior and the sequence of sliding between different materials during the landslide. We then reproduced the physical tests using discrete element method software PFC3D (Particle Flow Code 3D Version 4.0 by Itasca, Minneapolis, MN, USA) to display the influence of water flow on specimens, including the weakening of bond strength, decreasing coefficient of friction between particles, and the application of seepage force, as well as uplift and lateral forces caused by water pressure. This process gave us an understanding of the influence of different groundwater conditions on landslide behavior, which facilitates the study of landslide mechanisms and movement behavior. Finally, we applied the water flow influence settings to simulate and examine the Zhongzhi landslide process. Compared to methods that simply reduce the friction coefficients to trigger landslides, our numerical simulation was closer to reality in that in this case a rising water table triggered the landslide.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1178: Recent Trends (2012–2016) of N, Si, and P Export from the Nemunas River Watershed: Loads, Unbalanced Stoichiometry, and Threats for Downstream Aquatic Ecosystems Water doi: 10.3390/w10091178 Authors: Irma Vybernaite-Lubiene Mindaugas Zilius Laura Saltyte-Vaisiauske Marco Bartoli The Curonian Lagoon, the largest in Europe, suffers from nuisance cyanobacterial blooms during summer, probably triggered by unbalanced nutrient availability. However, nutrient delivery to this system was never analysed in detail. During 2012–2016, we analysed the monthly discharge, nutrient loads, and ecological stoichiometry at the closing section of the Nemunas River, the main nutrient source to the lagoon. The aim of this study was to investigate seasonal and annual variations of nitrogen (N), silica (Si), and phosphorous (P) with respect to discharge, climatic features, and historical trends. The nutrient loads varied yearly by up to 50% and their concentrations underwent strong seasonality, with summer N and Si limitation. The river discharge (16 ± 4 km3·yr−1) was lower than the historical average (21.8 km3·yr−1). Changes in agricultural practices resulted in similar N export from the river watershed compared to historical data (1986–2002), while sewage treatment plant improvements led to a ~60% decrease of P loads. This work contributes new data to the scattered available information on the most important nutrient source to the Curonian Lagoon. Further P reduction is needed to avoid unbalanced dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus (DIN:DIP~10) ecological stoichiometry in summer, which may stimulate undesired cyanobacterial blooms.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 378: Applications of Differential Form Wu’s Method to Determine Symmetries of (Partial) Differential Equations Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10090378 Authors: Temuer Chaolu Sudao Bilige In this paper, we present an application of Wu’s method (differential characteristic set (dchar-set) algorithm) for computing the symmetry of (partial) differential equations (PDEs) that provides a direct and systematic procedure to obtain the classical and nonclassical symmetry of the differential equations. The fundamental theory and subalgorithms used in the proposed algorithm consist of a different version of the Lie criterion for the classical symmetry of PDEs and the zero decomposition algorithm of a differential polynomial (d-pol) system (DPS). The version of the Lie criterion yields determining equations (DTEs) of symmetries of differential equations, even those including a nonsolvable equation. The decomposition algorithm is used to solve the DTEs by decomposing the zero set of the DPS associated with the DTEs into a union of a series of zero sets of dchar-sets of the system, which leads to simplification of the computations.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 377: The Absolute Ruin Insurance Risk Model with a Threshold Dividend Strategy Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10090377 Authors: Wenguang Yu Yujuan Huang Chaoran Cui The absolute ruin insurance risk model is modified by including some valuable market economic information factors, such as credit interest, debit interest and dividend payments. Such information is especially important for insurance companies to control risks. We further assume that the insurance company is able to finance and continue to operate when its reserve is negative. We investigate the integro-differential equations for some interest actuarial diagnostics. We also provide numerical examples to explain the effects of relevant parameters on actuarial diagnostics.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1177: Investigating the Dynamic Influence of Hydrological Model Parameters on Runoff Simulation Using Sequential Uncertainty Fitting-2-Based Multilevel-Factorial-Analysis Method Water doi: 10.3390/w10091177 Authors: Shuai Zhou Yimin Wang Jianxia Chang Aijun Guo Ziyan Li Hydrological model parameters are generally considered to be simplified representations that characterize hydrologic processes. Therefore, their influence on runoff simulations varies with climate and catchment conditions. To investigate the influence, a three-step framework is proposed, i.e., a Latin hypercube sampling (LHS-OAT) method multivariate regression model is used to conduct parametric sensitivity analysis; then, the multilevel-factorial-analysis method is used to quantitatively evaluate the individual and interactive effects of parameters on the hydrologic model output. Finally, analysis of the reasons for dynamic parameter changes is performed. Results suggest that the difference in parameter sensitivity for different periods is significant. The soil bulk density (SOL_BD) is significant at all times, and the parameter Soil Convention Service (SCS) runoff curve number (CN2) is the strongest during the flood period, and the other parameters are weaker in different periods. The interaction effects of CN2 and SOL_BD, as well as effective hydraulic channel conditions (CH_K2) and SOL_BD, are obvious, indicating that soil bulk density can impact the amount of loss generated by surface runoff and river recharge to groundwater. These findings help produce the best parameter inputs and improve the applicability of the model.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2107: Optimal P-Q Control of Grid-Connected Inverters in a Microgrid Based on Adaptive Population Extremal Optimization Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082107 Authors: Min-Rong Chen Huan Wang Guo-Qiang Zeng Yu-Xing Dai Da-Qiang Bi The optimal P-Q control issue of the active and reactive power for a microgrid in the grid-connected mode has attracted increasing interests recently. In this paper, an optimal active and reactive power control is developed for a three-phase grid-connected inverter in a microgrid by using an adaptive population-based extremal optimization algorithm (APEO). Firstly, the optimal P-Q control issue of grid-connected inverters in a microgrid is formulated as a constrained optimization problem, where six parameters of three decoupled PI controllers are real-coded as the decision variables, and the integral time absolute error (ITAE) between the output and referenced active power and the ITAE between the output and referenced reactive power are weighted as the objective function. Then, an effective and efficient APEO algorithm with an adaptive mutation operation is proposed for solving this constrained optimization problem. The simulation and experiments for a 3kW three-phase grid-connected inverter under both nominal and variable reference active power values have shown that the proposed APEO-based P-Q control method outperforms the traditional Z-N empirical method, the adaptive genetic algorithm-based, and particle swarm optimization-based P-Q control methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2104: Online Energy Management and Heterogeneous Task Scheduling for Smart Communities with Residential Cogeneration and Renewable Energy Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082104 Authors: Yongsheng Cao Guanglin Zhang Demin Li Lin Wang Zongpeng Li With the development of renewable energy technology and communication technology in recent years, many residents now utilize renewable energy devices in their residences with energy storage systems. We have full confidence in the promising prospects of sharing idle energy with others in a community. However, it is a great challenge to share residents’ energy with others in a community to minimize the total cost of all residents. In this paper, we study the problem of energy management and task scheduling for a community with renewable energy and residential cogeneration, such as residential combined heat and power system (resCHP) to pay the least electricity bill. We take elastic and inelastic load demands into account which are delay intolerant and delay tolerant tasks in the community. The minimum cost problem of a non-cooperative community is extracted into a random non-convex optimization problem with some physical constraints. Our objective is to minimize the time-average cost for each resident in the community, including the cost of the external grid and natural gas. The Lyapunov optimization theory and a primal-dual gradient method are adopted to tackle this problem, which needs no future data and has low computational complexity. Furthermore, we design a cooperative renewable energy sharing algorithm based on State-action-reward-state-action (Sarsa) Algorithm, in the condition that each residence in the community is able to communicate with its neighbors by a central controller. Finally, extensive simulations are presented to validate the proposed algorithms by using practical data.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2105: SOLIS—A Novel Decision Support Tool for the Assessment of Solar Radiation in ArcGIS Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082105 Authors: Jan K. Kazak Małgorzata Świąder The global Sustainable Development Goals influence the implementation of energy development strategies worldwide. However, in order to support local stakeholders in sustainable energy development strategies and climate change adaptation plans and the implementation of policies, there is a need to equip local decision makers with tools enabling the assessment of sustainable energy investments. In order to do so, the aim of this study is to create a novel tool for the assessment of solar radiation (SOLIS) in ArcGIS. The SOLIS tool builds on the existing ArcGIS algorithm by including input data conversion and post-processing of the results. This should expand the group of potential users of solar radiation analyses. The self-filtering tool excludes surfaces that are not suitable for solar energy investments due to geometrical reasons. The reduction of the size of the output data is positive for technical reasons (speed of the calculation and occupied storage place) and for cognitive reasons (reduction of the number of objects necessary to analyse by the user). The SOLIS tool limits the requirement for users to insert three-dimensional (3D) models of roofs (with any geometry) and select solar radiation calculation periods. The highlight of this research is to develop the decision support tool for the assessment of solar radiation, which would reduce the requirements for potential users, in order to promote indicator-based assessments among non-Geographical Information Systems (GIS) specialists.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2103: A Study on the Fuel Economy Potential of Parallel and Power Split Type Hybrid Electric Vehicles Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082103 Authors: Hyunhwa Kim Junbeom Wi Jiho Yoo Hanho Son Chiman Park Hyunsoo Kim What is the best number of gear steps for parallel type hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and what are the pros and cons of the power split type HEV compared to the parallel type have been interesting issues in the development of HEVs. In this study, a comparative analysis was performed to evaluate the fuel economy potential of a parallel HEV and a power split type HEV. First, the fuel economy potential of the parallel HEV was investigated for the number of gear steps. Four-speed, six-speed, and eight-speed automatic transmissions (ATs) and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) were selected, and their drivetrain losses were considered in the dynamic programming (DP). It was found from DP results that the power electronics system (PE) loss decreased because the magnitude of the motor load leveling power decreased as the number of gear steps increased. On the other hand, the drivetrain losses including the electric oil pump (EOP) loss increased with increasing gear step. The improvement rate from the 4-speed to the 6-speed was the greatest, while it decreased for the higher gear step. The fuel economy of the CVT HEV was rather low due to the large EOP loss in spite of the reduced PE loss. In addition, the powertrain characteristics of the parallel HEV were compared with the power split type HEV. In the power split type HEV, the PE loss was almost double compared to that of the parallel HEV because two large capacity motor-generators were used. However, the drivetrain loss and EOP loss of the power split type HEV were found to be much smaller due to its relatively simple architecture. It is expected that the power characteristics of the parallel and power split type HEVs obtained from the DP results can be used in the development of HEV systems.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2102: Electromechanical Transient Modeling of Line Commutated Converter-Modular Multilevel Converter-Based Hybrid Multi-Terminal High Voltage Direct Current Transmission Systems Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082102 Authors: Liang Xiao Yan Li Huangqing Xiao Zheren Zhang Zheng Xu A method for electromechanical modeling of line commutated converter (LCC)-modular multilevel converter (MMC)-based hybrid multi-terminal High Voltage Direct Current Transmission (HVDC) systems for large-scale power system transient stability study is proposed. Firstly, the general idea of modeling the LCC-MMC hybrid multi-terminal HVDC system is presented, then the AC-side and DC-side models of the LCC/MMC are established. Different from the conventional first-order DC-side model of the MMC, an improved second-order DC-side model of the MMC is established. Besides considering the firing angle limit of the LCC, a sequential power flow algorithm is proposed for the initialization of LCC-MMC hybrid multi-terminal HVDC system. Lastly, simulations of small scale and large scale power systems embedded with a three-terminal LCC-MMC hybrid HVDC system are performed on the electromechanical simulation platform PSS/E. It is demonstrated that if the firing angle limit is not considered, the accuracy of the power flow solutions will be greatly affected. Steady state calculation and dynamic simulation show that the developed LCC-MMC hybrid MTDC model is accurate enough for electromechanical transient stability studies of large-scale AC/DC system.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2100: A Novel Computational Approach for Harmonic Mitigation in PV Systems with Single-Phase Five-Level CHBMI Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082100 Authors: Rosario Miceli Giuseppe Schettino Fabio Viola In this paper, a novel approach to low order harmonic mitigation in fundamental switching frequency modulation is proposed for high power photovoltaic (PV) applications, without trying to solve the cumbersome non-linear transcendental equations. The proposed method allows for mitigation of the first-five harmonics (third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh harmonics), to reduce the complexity of the required procedure and to allocate few computational resource in the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based control board. Therefore, the voltage waveform taken into account is different respect traditional voltage waveform. The same concept, known as “voltage cancelation”, used for single-phase cascaded H-bridge inverters, has been applied at a single-phase five-level cascaded H-bridge multilevel inverter (CHBMI). Through a very basic methodology, the polynomial equations that drive the control angles were detected for a single-phase five-level CHBMI. The acquired polynomial equations were implemented in a digital system to real-time operation. The paper presents the preliminary analysis in simulation environment and its experimental validation.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2098: Analysis of Shallow Subsurface Geological Structures and Ground Effective Thermal Conductivity for the Evaluation of Ground-Source Heat Pump System Installation in the Aizu Basin, Northeast Japan Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082098 Authors: Takeshi Ishihara Gaurav Shrestha Shohei Kaneko Youhei Uchida Shallow subsurface geological structure mapping combined with ground effective thermal conductivity values at the basin scale provide an appropriate method to evaluate the installation potential of ground-source heat pump systems. This study analyzed the geological structure of the Aizu Basin (Northeast Japan) using sedimentary cores and boring log and mapped the distribution of average ground effective thermal conductivity in the range from −10 m to −100 m depth calculated from cores and logs. Gravel layers dominate in alluvial fans of the northern and southern basin areas, which are found to be associated with higher average ground effective thermal conductivity values, 1.3–1.4 W/m/K, while central and western floodplain areas show lower values of 1.0–1.3 W/m/K due to the existence of thick mud layers in the shallow subsurface. The results indicate that the conventional closed-loop systems are more feasible in northern and southern basin areas than in the central and western areas. Evaluation for the installation potential of the ground-source heat pump systems using depth-based distribution maps of average ground effective thermal conductivity is the originality of this study. This approach is valuable and proper for the simple assessment of the system installation in different sedimentary plains and basins in Japan and other countries.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2097: Prediction of Wave Power Generation Using a Convolutional Neural Network with Multiple Inputs Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082097 Authors: Chenhua Ni Xiandong Ma Successful development of a marine wave energy converter (WEC) relies strongly on the development of the power generation device, which needs to be efficient and cost-effective. An innovative multi-input approach based on the Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) is investigated to predict the power generation of a WEC system using a double-buoy oscillating body device (OBD). The results from the experimental data show that the proposed multi-input CNN performs much better at predicting results compared with the conventional artificial network and regression models. Through the power generation analysis of this double-buoy OBD, it shows that the power output has a positive correlation with the wave height when it is higher than 0.2 m, which becomes even stronger if the wave height is higher than 0.6 m. Furthermore, the proposed approach associated with the CNN algorithm in this study can potentially detect the changes that could be due to presence of anomalies and therefore be used for condition monitoring and fault diagnosis of marine energy converters. The results are also able to facilitate controlling of the electricity balance among energy conversion, wave power produced and storage.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 600: Identity Vector Extraction by Perceptual Wavelet Packet Entropy and Convolutional Neural Network for Voice Authentication Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20080600 Authors: Lei Lei Kun She Recently, the accuracy of voice authentication system has increased significantly due to the successful application of the identity vector (i-vector) model. This paper proposes a new method for i-vector extraction. In the method, a perceptual wavelet packet transform (PWPT) is designed to convert speech utterances into wavelet entropy feature vectors, and a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) is designed to estimate the frame posteriors of the wavelet entropy feature vectors. In the end, i-vector is extracted based on those frame posteriors. TIMIT and VoxCeleb speech corpus are used for experiments and the experimental results show that the proposed method can extract appropriate i-vector which reduces the equal error rate (EER) and improve the accuracy of voice authentication system in clean and noisy environment.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 601: A Maximum-Entropy Method to Estimate Discrete Distributions from Samples Ensuring Nonzero Probabilities Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20080601 Authors: Paul Darscheid Anneli Guthke Uwe Ehret When constructing discrete (binned) distributions from samples of a data set, applications exist where it is desirable to assure that all bins of the sample distribution have nonzero probability. For example, if the sample distribution is part of a predictive model for which we require returning a response for the entire codomain, or if we use Kullback–Leibler divergence to measure the (dis-)agreement of the sample distribution and the original distribution of the variable, which, in the described case, is inconveniently infinite. Several sample-based distribution estimators exist which assure nonzero bin probability, such as adding one counter to each zero-probability bin of the sample histogram, adding a small probability to the sample pdf, smoothing methods such as Kernel-density smoothing, or Bayesian approaches based on the Dirichlet and Multinomial distribution. Here, we suggest and test an approach based on the Clopper–Pearson method, which makes use of the binominal distribution. Based on the sample distribution, confidence intervals for bin-occupation probability are calculated. The mean of each confidence interval is a strictly positive estimator of the true bin-occupation probability and is convergent with increasing sample size. For small samples, it converges towards a uniform distribution, i.e., the method effectively applies a maximum entropy approach. We apply this nonzero method and four alternative sample-based distribution estimators to a range of typical distributions (uniform, Dirac, normal, multimodal, and irregular) and measure the effect with Kullback–Leibler divergence. While the performance of each method strongly depends on the distribution type it is applied to, on average, and especially for small sample sizes, the nonzero, the simple “add one counter”, and the Bayesian Dirichlet-multinomial model show very similar behavior and perform best. We conclude that, when estimating distributions without an a priori idea of their shape, applying one of these methods is favorable.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 603: Symmetry, Outer Bounds, and Code Constructions: A Computer-Aided Investigation on the Fundamental Limits of Caching Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20080603 Authors: Chao Tian We illustrate how computer-aided methods can be used to investigate the fundamental limits of the caching systems, which are significantly different from the conventional analytical approach usually seen in the information theory literature. The linear programming (LP) outer bound of the entropy space serves as the starting point of this approach; however, our effort goes significantly beyond using it to prove information inequalities. We first identify and formalize the symmetry structure in the problem, which enables us to show the existence of optimal symmetric solutions. A symmetry-reduced linear program is then used to identify the boundary of the memory-transmission-rate tradeoff for several small cases, for which we obtain a set of tight outer bounds. General hypotheses on the optimal tradeoff region are formed from these computed data, which are then analytically proven. This leads to a complete characterization of the optimal tradeoff for systems with only two users, and certain partial characterization for systems with only two files. Next, we show that by carefully analyzing the joint entropy structure of the outer bounds for certain cases, a novel code construction can be reverse-engineered, which eventually leads to a general class of codes. Finally, we show that outer bounds can be computed through strategically relaxing the LP in different ways, which can be used to explore the problem computationally. This allows us firstly to deduce generic characteristic of the converse proof, and secondly to compute outer bounds for larger problem cases, despite the seemingly impossible computation scale.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 493: Spatio-Temporal Dynamic Architecture of Living Brush Mattress: Root System and Soil Shear Strength in Riverbanks Forests doi: 10.3390/f9080493 Authors: Dong Zhang Jinhua Cheng Ying Liu Hongjiang Zhang Lan Ma Xuemei Mei Yihui Sun As a basal measure of soil bioengineering, the living brush mattress has been widely applied in riparian ecological protection forest construction. The living brush mattress shows favorable protective effects on riverbanks. However, there are few reports on the root structure and the soil strengthening benefit of the living brush mattress. The present work reports a series of experiments on root morphology and soil shear strength enhancement at the temporal and spatial scales. The object of the study is 24 living brush mattress trees constructed with Salix alba L. ‘Tristis’ (LBS hereafter). Traditional root morphology and mechanical measurement methods were used to collect the parameters. The results showed that the root systems of LBS had the characteristics of symmetry and upslope growth. The roots were mainly distributed in a cylindrical region of the soil (radius × thickness: 0.4 m × 0.5 m) and their biomass increased with different growth rates for the periods from 1 to 5 and from 5 to 7 years. Both age and slope position were factors that influence root growth. The root diameter falls within 0–5 mm, has a significant effect on the soil shear strength and provides a conical-shape potentiation zone to ensure the efficient protection of a riverbank. The results of this study demonstrate that LBS is an efficient and feasible engineering measure in the field of riverbank protection.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1595: An Analytical Study of Electromagnetic Deep Penetration Conditions and Implications in Lossy Media through Inhomogeneous Waves Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091595 Authors: Paolo Baccarelli Fabrizio Frezza Patrizio Simeoni Nicola Tedeschi This paper illustrates how the penetration of electromagnetic waves in lossy media strongly depends on the waveform and not only on the media involved. In particular, the so-called inhomogeneous plane waves are compared against homogeneous plane waves illustrating how the first ones can generate deep penetration effects. Moreover, the paper provides examples showing how such waves may be practically generated. The approach taken here is analytical and it concentrates on the deep penetration conditions obtained by means of incident inhomogeneous plane waves incoming from a lossless medium and impinging on a lossy medium. Both conditions and constraints that the waveforms need to possess to achieve deep penetration are analysed. Some results are finally validated through numerical computations. The theory presented here is of interest in view of a practical implementation of the deep penetration effect.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1593: Study on Formation Process and Models of Linear Fe Cluster Structure on a Si(111)-7 × 7-CH3OH Surface Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091593 Authors: Wenxin Li Wanyu Ding Dongying Ju Ken-ichi Tanaka Fumio Komori STM results showed that Fe atoms were deposited on a Si(111)-7 × 7 reconstructed surface, which was saturated with CH3OH molecules. Fe atomic linear structure was composed of stable clusters and in-situ observed by the scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The aim to improve its application of magnetic memory material, both formation process and models, has been explored in this paper. By combining surface images and mass spectrometer data, an intermediate layer model was established. In terms of thermal stability, the most favorable adsorption sites of CH3OH were further explored. After that, Fe atoms were deposited on the Si(111)-7 × 7-CH3OH surface, forming a linear cluster structure. On the one hand, a new Fe cluster model was put forward in this paper, which was established with height measurement and 3D surface display technology. This model is also affected by the evaporation temperature, which can be consistent with the atomic stacking pattern of face centered cubic structures. On the other hand, the slight height change suggested the stability of linear structures. Even in the condition of thin air introduction, Fe cluster showed a good performance, which suggested the possibility of magnetic memory application in the future. These investigations are believed to have, to a certain extent, increased the probability of forming Fe linear clusters on the surface of silicon substrate, especially according to the models and surface technology we adjusted.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2018-09-04
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 381: Effects of Superplasticizer on the Hydration, Consistency, and Strength Development of Cemented Paste Backfill Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8090381 Authors: Jian Zhang Hongwei Deng Abbas Taheri Junren Deng Bo Ke The strength and consistency of cemented paste backfill (CPB) are of key concerns in the stope stability and cost control for underground mines. It is common practice to use additives, such as superplasticizer, to improve the performance of CPB. This study mainly focuses on the effects of superplasticizer on the hydration, consistency, and strength of CPB. In this study, a polynaphtalene sulfonate was used as the superplasticizer. The binder is a mix of 33.3% ordinary Portland cement and 66.7% fly ash. The CPB specimens with a tailings-binder ratio of 3:1 and a solid concentration of 70% were then tested by a low field nuclear magnetic resonance system after different hydration times. Effects of polynaphtalene sulfonate on the hydration, fluidity, and strength were investigated. Results showed that the polynaphtalene sulfonate has a strong influence on short-duration hydration, which may contribute to the strength increase of CPB. It has been demonstrated that the polynaphtalene sulfonate improved the fluidity of the CPB mixture. With the increased dosage of polynaphtalene sulfonate, the slump increased. It was also found that the polynaphtalene sulfonate dosage has a negligible effect on the 1 day (d) strength while it has a strengthening effect on the 7 d, 14 d, and 28 d strength of CPB specimens.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Jianxia Li, Xiaofei Xia, Shenjian Xu, Jiayue Wu, Linlin Peng, Liangcheng Zhao The seeds of Salix and Populus (Salicaceae) are characterized by having numerous long hairs which loosely accompanying the seeds and a small annular appendage which surrounding the base of the seed along with tufted hairs. In this study, the complete development and detailed structure of the hairs and annular appendage in Salix matsudana were investigated using standard techniques for plant anatomy and histochemistry. The results show that the hairs originate successively from the single epidermal cells of the placenta (in megaspore mother cell phase) and funiculus (in eight-nucleate phase), and that their development consists of a progressive increase in cell size and an absence of cell division. The annular appendage is initiated from four to five rows of cells at the distal end of the funiculus in octant proembryo phase and its development is characterized by reactivated meristematic activity and a size increase of these cells. The initiation and development of the hairs are irrelevant to ovule development but fertilization and a developed embryo is necessary for the annular appendage to occur. Considering the reliable fossils, we inferred that the feature of seeds surrounded by long hairs is an ancestral character, and that the detachment of hairs from the funiculus and the occurrence of an annular appendage with tufts of hairs may be the more derived states for seed dispersal in Salix and Populus .
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Hong Zou, Ivan Jakovlić, Dong Zhang, Rong Chen, Shahid Mahboob, Khalid Abdullah Al-Ghanim, Fahad Al-Misned, Wen-Xiang Li, Gui-Tang Wang As a result of great diversity in life histories and a large number of described species, taxonomic and phylogenetic uncertainty permeates the entire crustacean order of Isopoda. Large molecular datasets capable of providing sufficiently high phylogenetic resolution, such as mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes), are needed to infer their evolutionary history with confidence, but isopod mitogenomes remain remarkably poorly represented in public databases. We sequenced the complete mitogenome of Cymothoa indica , a species belonging to a family from which no mitochondrial genome was sequenced yet, Cymothoidae. The mitogenome (circular, 14484 bp, A+T = 63.8%) is highly compact, appears to be missing two tRNA genes ( trnI and trnE ), and exhibits a unique gene order with a large number of rearrangements. High compactness and the existence of palindromes indicate that the mechanism behind these rearrangements might be associated with linearization events in its evolutionary history, similar to those proposed for isopods from the Armadillidium genus (Oniscidea). Isopods might present an important model system to study the proposed discontinuity in the dynamics of mitochondrial genomic architecture evolution. Phylogenetic analyses (Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood) conducted using nucleotide sequences of all mitochondrial genes resolved Oniscidea and Cymothoida suborders as paraphyletic. Cymothoa indica was resolved as a sister group (basal) to all remaining isopods, which challenges the accepted isopod phylogeny, where Cymothoida are the most derived, and Phreatoicidea the most basal isopod group. There is growing evidence that Cymothoida suborder might be split into two evolutionary distant clades, with parasitic species being the most basal split in the Isopoda clade, but a much larger amount of molecular resources carrying a high phylogenetic resolution will be needed to infer the remarkably complex evolutionary history of this group of animals with confidence.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 37
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Iara Antonia Lustosa Nogueira, Érika Joseth Sousa Nogueira da Cruz, Andréa Martins Melo Fontenele, José Albuquerque de Figueiredo Neto Background Menopause consists of a physiological process in women between 40 and 50 years of age, and it has substantial consequences for health, ranging from disturbances in lipid and glycidic metabolism to psychological stress and sleep alterations, thereby increasing women’s risk of cardiovascular diseases. Here, we attempted to identify potential lipid alterations not identified by the classic methods. Methods and results We analyzed the serum lipid profile in 40 women in pre- and post-menopause using a lipidomic approach and mass spectrometry. Lipid species presented increased concentrations, with a difference of more than 25% post-menopause and with the ceramides (N.C23:0.Cer, N.C23:0(OH).Cer and N.C24:0(OH).Cer) standing out with a fold change of 1.68, 1.59, and 1.58, respectively. It was also observed that 14 metabolites presented a significant difference in the average concentrations between pre- and post-menopause, especially the ceramide species. Strong and positive correlations were identified between various metabolites and fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides. Of note were the association ceramide (N.C10:0.Cer) and lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE.a.C18:0) between fasting glucose and glycated hemoglobin. Conclusion This study detected lipid alterations, especially in ceramides, post-menopause, as well as correlations with glycidic and lipid markers, which may in the future be useful to investigate diseases associated with menopause.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 38
    facet.materialart.
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Gillian Dale, Danielle Sampers, Stephanie Loo, C. Shawn Green The tradeoff between knowing when to seek greater rewards (exploration), and knowing when to settle (exploitation), is critical to success. One dispositional factor that may modulate this tradeoff is “grit.” Gritty individuals tend to persist in the face of difficulty and consequently experience greater life success. It is possible that they may also experience a greater tendency to explore in a reward task. However, although most exploration/exploitation tasks manipulate beliefs about the presence/magnitude of rewards in the environment, the belief of one’s ability to actually achieve a reward is also critical. As such, we investigated whether individuals higher in grit were more likely to explore, and how beliefs about the magnitude/presence of rewards, and the perceived ability to achieve a reward, modulated their exploration tendencies. Over two experiments, participants completed 4 different exploration/persistence tasks: two that tapped into participant beliefs about the presence/magnitude of rewards, and two that tapped into participant beliefs about their ability to achieve a reward. Participants also completed measures of dispositional grit (Experiment 1a and 1b), conscientiousness (Experiment 1b), and working memory (Experiment 1a and 1b). In both experiments, we found a relationship between the two “belief of rewards” tasks, as well as between the two “belief of ability” tasks, but performance was unrelated across the two types of task. We also found that dispositional grit was strongly associated with greater exploration, but only on the “belief of ability” tasks. Finally, in Experiment 1b we showed that conscientiousness better predicted exploration on the “belief of ability” tasks than grit, suggesting that it is not grittiness per se that is associated with exploration. Overall, our findings showed that individuals high in grit/conscientiousness are more likely to explore, but only when there is a known reward available that they believe they have the ability to achieve.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Kazufumi Nakamura, Masakiyo Sakaguchi, Hiromi Matsubara, Satoshi Akagi, Toshihiro Sarashina, Kentaro Ejiri, Kaoru Akazawa, Megumi Kondo, Koji Nakagawa, Masashi Yoshida, Toru Miyoshi, Takeshi Ogo, Takahiro Oto, Shinichi Toyooka, Yuichiro Higashimoto, Kei Fukami, Hiroshi Ito Background Pulmonary vascular remodeling of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by an inappropriate increase of vascular cells. The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) is a type I single-pass transmembrane protein belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily and is involved in a broad range of hyperproliferative diseases. RAGE is also implicated in the etiology of PAH and is overexpressed in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) in patients with PAH. We examined the role of RAGE in the inappropriate increase of PASMCs in patients with PAH. Methods and results PASMCs were obtained from 12 patients with PAH including 9 patients with idiopathic PAH (IPAH) and 3 patients with heritable PAH (HPAH) (2 patients with BMPR2 mutation and one patient with SMAD9 mutation) who underwent lung transplantation. Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence staining revealed that RAGE and S100A8 and A9, ligands of RAGE, were overexpressed in IPAH and HPAH-PASMCs in the absence of any external growth stimulus. PDGF-BB (10 ng/mL) up-regulated the expression of RAGE in IPAH and HPAH-PASMCs. PAH-PASMCs are hyperplastic in the absence of any external growth stimulus as assessed by 3H-thymidine incorporation. This result indicates overgrowth characterized by continued growth under a condition of no growth stimulation in PAH-PASMCs. PDGF-BB stimulation caused a higher growth rate of PAH-PASMCs than that of non-PAH-PASMCs. AS-1, an inhibitor of TIR domain-mediated RAGE signaling, significantly inhibited overgrowth characterized by continued growth under a condition of no growth stimulation in IPAH and HPAH-PASMCs (P
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Clarisse Dibao-Dina, Denis Angoulvant, Jean-Pierre Lebeau, Jean-Eudes Peurois, Karim Abdallah El Hirtsi, Anne-Marie Lehr-Drylewicz Background The 20% observed mortality within 5 years among survivors of myocardial infarction may be explained in part by non-adherence to the recommended treatment over the long term. Main objective To investigate post-myocardial infarction patients’ adherence to the therapeutic, lifestyle and risk factor control recommendations of the French health authority over 6 years. Materials and methods A cohort of survivors of myocardial infarction established in Tours in 2009 was followed over 6 years. The general practitioner of the patients included in the first 1-year follow-up study was contacted to collect data on treatments, cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyle between January and June 2015. Data were described and compared with the recommendations and predictors of achieving all the recommended targets were determined. Results A total of 97 patients (52%) among the 185 patients who underwent a coronary angioplasty for MI were included at baseline. Treatment was adapted by the general practitioner on the advice on the cardiologist for 75% (73/97) patients, by both of them for 12% (12/97) and by the general practitioner alone for 7% (7/97) patients. Among the 97 initial patients, 62 were included in the final analysis at 6 years. Fatal events rate was 5% (5/97) at 1 year and 12% (11/91) at 6 years. Non-fatal events rate was 44% (43/97) at 6 months, 19% (17/91) at 1 year and 29% (18/62) at 6 years. Six years after the myocardial infarction, 6 (10%) patients achieved the recommended targets in terms of prescriptions of treatment, risk factors and lifestyle targets. Exposure to a cardiac rehabilitation program after a myocardial infarction was associated with long-term achievement of optimal therapeutic objectives (OR = 7.31 [95% CI 1.74; 44.88], p
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: by Abdelbassat Ketfi, Merzak Gharnaout, Mohamed Bougrida, Helmi Ben Saad Background The validation of the multi-ethnic GLI-2012 spirometric norms has been debated in several countries. However, its applicability in Algeria has not been verified. Aim To ascertain how well the GLI-2012 norms fit contemporary adult Algerian spirometric data. Methods This was a cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of 300 healthy non-smoker adults (50% men, age range: 18–85 years) recruited from the Algiers region general population. All participants underwent a clinical examination and a plethysmography measurement. Z-scores for some spirometric data [FEV 1 , FVC, FEV 1 /FVC and forced expiratory flow at 25–75% of FVC (FEF 25-75% )] were calculated. If the average Z-score deviated by “ 〈 ± 0.5” from the overall mean, the GLI-2012 norms would be considered as reflective of contemporary Algerian spirometry. Results The means±SDs of age, height, weight, FVC, FEV 1 , FEV 1 /FVC and FEF 25-75% of the participants were, respectively, 48±17 years, 1.65±0.10 m, 73±14 kg, 4.04±1.04 L, 3.18±0.82 L, 0.79±0.05 and 4.09±1.09 L/s. Almost the quarter of participants were obese. The total sample means±SDs Z-scores were 0.22±0.87 for FVC, 0.04±0.88 for FEV 1 , -0.34±0.67 for FEV 1 /FVC and 0.93±0.79 for FEF 25-75% . For men and women, only the means±SDs of the FEF 25-75% Z-scores exceeded the threshold of “± 0.5”, respectively, 1.13±0.77 and 0.73±0.76. Conclusion Results of the present study, performed in an Algerian population of healthy non-smoking adults, supported the applicability of the GLI-2012 norms to interpret FEV 1 , FVC and FEV 1 /FVC but not the FEF 25-75% .
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  • 42
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Siobain Duffy The high mutation rate of RNA viruses is credited with their evolvability and virulence. This Primer, however, discusses recent evidence that this is, in part, a byproduct of selection for faster genomic replication.
    Print ISSN: 1544-9173
    Electronic ISSN: 1545-7885
    Topics: Biology
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Rong Zhang, Zhao Ren, Wei Chen Gene co-expression network analysis is extremely useful in interpreting a complex biological process. The recent droplet-based single-cell technology is able to generate much larger gene expression data routinely with thousands of samples and tens of thousands of genes. To analyze such a large-scale gene-gene network, remarkable progress has been made in rigorous statistical inference of high-dimensional Gaussian graphical model (GGM). These approaches provide a formal confidence interval or a p-value rather than only a single point estimator for conditional dependence of a gene pair and are more desirable for identifying reliable gene networks. To promote their widespread use, we herein introduce an extensive and efficient R package named SILGGM (Statistical Inference of Large-scale Gaussian Graphical Model) that includes four main approaches in statistical inference of high-dimensional GGM. Unlike the existing tools, SILGGM provides statistically efficient inference on both individual gene pair and whole-scale gene pairs. It has a novel and consistent false discovery rate (FDR) procedure in all four methodologies. Based on the user-friendly design, it provides outputs compatible with multiple platforms for interactive network visualization. Furthermore, comparisons in simulation illustrate that SILGGM can accelerate the existing MATLAB implementation to several orders of magnitudes and further improve the speed of the already very efficient R package FastGGM. Testing results from the simulated data confirm the validity of all the approaches in SILGGM even in a very large-scale setting with the number of variables or genes to a ten thousand level. We have also applied our package to a novel single-cell RNA-seq data set with pan T cells. The results show that the approaches in SILGGM significantly outperform the conventional ones in a biological sense. The package is freely available via CRAN at https://cran.r-project.org/package=SILGGM.
    Print ISSN: 1553-734X
    Electronic ISSN: 1553-7358
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Simon Schäper, Hamish Yau, Elizaveta Krol, Dorota Skotnicka, Thomas Heimerl, Joe Gray, Volkhard Kaever, Lotte Søgaard-Andersen, Waldemar Vollmer, Anke Becker Members of the Rhizobiales (class of α-proteobacteria) display zonal peptidoglycan cell wall growth at one cell pole, contrasting with the dispersed mode of cell wall growth along the sidewalls of many other rod-shaped bacteria. Here, we show that the seven-transmembrane receptor (7TMR) protein RgsP (SMc00074), together with the putative membrane-anchored peptidoglycan metallopeptidase RgsM (SMc02432), have key roles in unipolar peptidoglycan formation during growth and at mid-cell during cell division in Sinorhizobium meliloti . RgsP is composed of a periplasmic globular 7TMR-DISMED2 domain, a membrane-spanning region, and cytoplasmic PAS, GGDEF and EAL domains. The EAL domain confers phosphodiesterase activity towards the second messenger cyclic di-GMP, a key regulatory player in the transition between bacterial lifestyles. RgsP and RgsM localize to sites of zonal cell wall synthesis at the new cell pole and cell divison site, suggesting a role in cell wall biogenesis. The two proteins are essential for cell wall biogenesis and cell growth. Cells depleted of RgsP or RgsM had an altered muropeptide composition and RgsM binds to peptidoglycan. RgsP and RgsM orthologs are functional when interchanged between α-rhizobial species pointing to a conserved mechanism for cell wall biogenesis/remodeling within the Rhizobiales. Overall, our findings suggest that RgsP and RgsM contribute to the regulation of unipolar cell wall biogenesis in α-rhizobia.
    Print ISSN: 1553-7390
    Electronic ISSN: 1553-7404
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Kyubum Lee, Maria Livia Famiglietti, Aoife McMahon, Chih-Hsuan Wei, Jacqueline Ann Langdon MacArthur, Sylvain Poux, Lionel Breuza, Alan Bridge, Fiona Cunningham, Ioannis Xenarios, Zhiyong Lu Manually curating biomedical knowledge from publications is necessary to build a knowledge based service that provides highly precise and organized information to users. The process of retrieving relevant publications for curation, which is also known as document triage, is usually carried out by querying and reading articles in PubMed. However, this query-based method often obtains unsatisfactory precision and recall on the retrieved results, and it is difficult to manually generate optimal queries. To address this, we propose a machine-learning assisted triage method. We collect previously curated publications from two databases UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot and the NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog, and used them as a gold-standard dataset for training deep learning models based on convolutional neural networks. We then use the trained models to classify and rank new publications for curation. For evaluation, we apply our method to the real-world manual curation process of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot and the GWAS Catalog. We demonstrate that our machine-assisted triage method outperforms the current query-based triage methods, improves efficiency, and enriches curated content. Our method achieves a precision 1.81 and 2.99 times higher than that obtained by the current query-based triage methods of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot and the GWAS Catalog, respectively, without compromising recall. In fact, our method retrieves many additional relevant publications that the query-based method of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot could not find. As these results show, our machine learning-based method can make the triage process more efficient and is being implemented in production so that human curators can focus on more challenging tasks to improve the quality of knowledge bases.
    Print ISSN: 1553-734X
    Electronic ISSN: 1553-7358
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Massimo Ralli, Antonio Greco, Armando Boccassini, Giancarlo Altissimi, Carlo Di Paolo, Vincenzo Falasca, Armando De Virgilio, Antonella Polimeni, Giancarlo Cianfrone, Marco de Vincentiis Objective Determine in a cohort of patients with normal hearing and chronic tinnitus if self-reported history for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and a positive modulation of tinnitus in the TMJ region could be suggestive of an underlying TMJ disorder. Patients and methods The study included 226 patients presenting to the Head and Neck Service of our University Hospital. Following audiological and somatic tinnitus evaluation, patients were divided into two groups. The study group (n = 134) included subjects that met both the following criteria: A) a self-reported history for TMJ dysfunction and B) a positive modulation of tinnitus following somatic maneuvers in the TMJ region. The control group (n = 92) included patients with similar demographic and tinnitus characteristics that did not meet the proposed criteria for somatic tinnitus. Afterwards, patients underwent clinical TMJ evaluation in the Service of Clinical Gnathology of our University. Results One hundred thirty-one patients (57.9%) received a clinical diagnosis of TMJ disorder according to DC/TMD Axis I; 79.1% in the study group and 27.2% in the control group. Ninety-five (42.1%) patients were negative for TMJ disorders; 20.9% in the study group and 72.8% in the control group. A significantly higher number of TMJ disorders was found in patients in the study group compared to the control group (p
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Péter L. Erdős, Tamás Róbert Mezei, István Miklós, Dániel Soltész Since 1997 a considerable effort has been spent on the study of the swap (switch) Markov chains on graphic degree sequences. All of these results assume some kind of regularity in the corresponding degree sequences. Recently, Greenhill and Sfragara published a breakthrough paper about irregular normal and directed degree sequences for which rapid mixing of the swap Markov chain is proved. In this paper we present two groups of results. An example from the first group is the following theorem: let d → be a directed degree sequence on n vertices. Denote by Δ the maximum value among all in- and out-degrees and denote by | E → | the number of edges in the realization. Assume furthermore that Δ 〈 1 2 | E → | - 4. Then the swap Markov chain on the realizations of d → is rapidly mixing. This result is a slight improvement on one of the results of Greenhill and Sfragara. An example from the second group is the following: let d be a bipartite degree sequence on the vertex set U ⊎ V , and let 0 〈 c 1 ≤ c 2 〈 | U | and 0 〈 d 1 ≤ d 2 〈 | V | be integers, where c 1 ≤ d( v ) ≤ c 2 : ∀ v ∈ V and d 1 ≤ d( u ) ≤ d 2 : ∀ u ∈ U . Furthermore assume that ( c 2 − c 1 − 1)( d 2 − d 1 − 1) 〈 max{ c 1 (| V | − d 2 ), d 1 (| U | − c 2 )}. Then the swap Markov chain on the realizations of d is rapidly mixing. A straightforward application of this latter result shows that when a random bipartite or directed graph is generated under the Erdős—Rényi G ( n , p ) model with mild assumptions on n and p then the degree sequence of the generated graph has, with high probability, a rapidly mixing swap Markov chain on its realizations.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 48
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    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Remo M. A. van der Heiden, Christian P. Janssen, Stella F. Donker, Lotte E. S. Hardeman, Keri Mans, J. Leon Kenemans We investigate how susceptible human drivers are to auditory signals in three situations: when stationary, when driving, or when being driven by an autonomous vehicle. Previous research has shown that human susceptibility is reduced when driving compared to when being stationary. However, it is not known how susceptible humans are under autonomous driving conditions. At the same time, good susceptibility is crucial under autonomous driving conditions, as such systems might use auditory signals to communicate a transition of control from the automated vehicle to the human driver. We measured susceptibility using a three-stimulus auditory oddball paradigm while participants experienced three driving conditions: stationary, autonomous, or driving. We studied susceptibility through the frontal P3 (fP3) Electroencephalography Event-Related Potential response (EEG ERP response). Results show that the fP3 component is reduced in autonomous compared to stationary conditions, but not as strongly as when participants drove themselves. In addition, the fP3 component is further reduced when the oddball task does not require a response (i.e., in a passive condition, versus active). The implication is that, even in a relatively simple autonomous driving scenario, people’s susceptibility of auditory signals is not as high as would be beneficial for responding to auditory stimuli.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 49
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Momina Hussain, Muhammad Atif Iqbal, Bradley J. Till, Mehboob-ur- Rahman Wheat is a staple food crop of many countries. Improving resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses remain key breeding targets. Among these, rust diseases are the most detrimental in terms of depressing wheat production. In the present study, chemical mutagenesis was used to induce mutations in the wheat variety NN-Gandum-1. This cultivar is moderately resistant to leaf and yellow rust. The aim of mutagenesis was to improve resistance to the disease as well as to study function of genes conferring resistance to the disease. In the present investigation, a 0.8% EMS dose was found optimum for supporting 45–55% germination of NN-Gandum-1. A total of 3,634 M 2 fertile plants were produced from each of the M 1 plant. Out of these, 33 (0.91%) and 20 plants (0.55%) showed absolute resistance to leaf and yellow rust, respectively. While 126 (3.46%) and 127 plants (3.49%) exhibited high susceptibility to the leaf and yellow rust, respectively. In the M 4 generation, a total of 11 M 4 lines (nine absolute resistant and two highly susceptible) and one wild type were selected for NGS-based exome capture assay. A total of 104,779 SNPs were identified that were randomly distributed throughout the wheat sub genomes (A, B and D). Induced mutations in intronic sequences predominated. The highest total number of SNPs detected in this assay were mapped to chr.2B (14,273 SNPs), which contains the highest number of targeted base pairs in the assay. The average mutation density across all regions interrogated was estimated to be one mutation per 20.91 Mb. The highest mutation frequency was found in chr.2D (1/11.7 kb) and the lowest in chr.7D (1/353.4 kb). Out of the detected mutations, 101 SNPs were filtered using analysis criteria aimed to enrich for mutations that may affect gene function. Out of these, one putative SNP detected in Lr21 were selected for further analysis. The SNP identified in chimeric allele ( Lr21 ) of a resistant mutant (N1-252) was located in a NBS domain of chr.1BS at 3.4 Mb position. Through computational analysis, it was demonstrated that this identified SNP causes a substitution of glutamic acid with alanine, resulting in a predicted altered protein structure. This mutation, therefore, is a candidate for contributing to the resistance phenotype in the mutant line. Based on this work, we conclude that the wheat mutant resource developed is useful as a source of novel genetic variation for forward-genetic screens and also as a useful tool for gaining insights into the important biological circuits of different traits of complex genomes like wheat.
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Fernanda Almeida, Amanda Aparecida Seribelli, Marta Inês Cazentini Medeiros, Dália dos Prazeres Rodrigues, Alessandro de MelloVarani, Yan Luo, Marc W. Allard, Juliana Pfrimer Falcão Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been used as a powerful technology for molecular epidemiology, surveillance, identification of species and serotype, identification of the sources of outbreaks, among other purposes. In Brazil, there is relatively few epidemiological data on Salmonella . In this study, 90 Salmonella Typhimurium strains had their genome sequenced to uncover the diversity of Salmonella Typhimurium isolated from humans and food, between 1983 and 2013, from different geographic regions in Brazil based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis. A total of 39 resistance genes were identified, such as aminoglycoside, tetracycline, sulfonamide, trimethoprim, beta-lactam, fluoroquinolone, phenicol and macrolide, as well as the occurrence of point mutations in some of the genes such as gyrA , gyrB , parC and parE . A total of 65 (72.2%) out of 90 S . Typhimurium strains studied were phenotypically resistant to sulfonamides, 44 (48.9%) strains were streptomycin resistant, 27 (30%) strains were resistant to tetracycline, 21 (23.3%) strains were gentamicin resistant, and seven (7.8%) strains were resistant to ceftriaxone. In the gyrA gene, it was observed the following amino acid substitutions: Asp(87)→Gly, Asp(87)→Asn, Ser(83)→Phe, Ser(83)→Tyr. Phylogenetic results placed the 90 S . Typhimurium strains into two major clades suggesting the existence of a prevalent subtype, likely more adapted, among strains isolated from humans, with some diversity in subtypes in foods. The variety and prevalence of resistant genes found in these Salmonella Typhimurium strains reinforces their potential hazard for humans and the risk in foods in Brazil.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by D. Ntirampeba, I. Neema, L. Kazembe Background Making inferences about measles distribution patterns at small area level is vital for more focal targeted intervention. However, in statistical literature, the analysis of originally collected data on one resolution with the purpose to make inferences on a different level of spatial resolution is referred to as the misalignment problem. In Namibia the measles data were available in aggregated format at regional level for the period 2005 to 2014. This leads to a spatial misalignment problem if the purpose is to make decisions at constituency level. Moreover, although data on risk covariates of measles could be obtained at constituency level, they were not available each year between 2005 and 2014. Thus, assuming that covariates were constant through the study period would induce measurement errors which might have effects on the analysis results. This paper presents a spatio-temporal model through a multi-step approach in order to deal with misalignment and measurement error. Methods For the period 2005–2014, measles data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) were analysed in two steps. First, a multi-step approach was applied to correct spatial misalignment in the data. Second, a classical measurement error model was fitted to account for measurement errors. The time effects were specified using a nonparametric formulation for the linear trend through first order random walk. An interaction between area and time was modelled through type I and type II interaction structures. Results The study showed that there was high variation in measles risk across constituencies and as well as over the study period (2005–2014). Furthermore, the risk of measles was found to be associated with (i) the number of people aged between 0 and 24 years, (ii) the percentages of women aged 15–49 with an educational level more than secondary, (iii) the percentages of children age 12–23 months who received measles vaccine, (iv) the percentages of malnourished children under 5 years, and (vi) the measles cases for each previous year. Conclusion The study showed some of the determinants of measles risk and revealed areas at high risk through disease mapping. Additionally, the study showed a non-linear temporal distribution of measles risk over the study period. Finally, it was shown that ignoring the measurement errors may yield misleading results. It was recommended that group and geographically targeted intervention, prevention and control strategies can be tailored on the basis these findings.
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  • 52
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Elena Deligianni, Natalie C. Silmon de Monerri, Paul J. McMillan, Lucia Bertuccini, Fabiana Superti, Maria Manola, Lefteris Spanos, Christos Louis, Michael J. Blackman, Leann Tilley, Inga Siden-Kiamos Pore forming proteins such as those belonging to the membrane attack/perforin (MACPF) family have important functions in many organisms. Of the five MACPF proteins found in Plasmodium parasites, three have functions in cell passage and one in host cell egress. Here we report an analysis of the perforin-like protein 4, PPLP4, in the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei . We found that the protein is expressed only in the ookinete, the invasive stage of the parasite formed in the mosquito midgut. Transcriptional analysis revealed that expression of the pplp4 gene commences during ookinete development. The protein was detected in retorts and mature ookinetes. Using two antibodies, the protein was found localized in a dotted pattern, and 3-D SIM super-resolution microcopy revealed the protein in the periphery of the cell. Analysis of a C-terminal mCherry fusion of the protein however showed mainly cytoplasmic label. A pplp4 null mutant formed motile ookinetes, but these were unable to invade and traverse the midgut epithelium resulting in severely impaired oocyst formation and no transmission to naïve mice. However, when in vitro cultured ookinetes were injected into the thorax of the mosquito, thus by-passing midgut passage, sporozoites were formed and the mutant parasites were able to infect naïve mice. Taken together, our data show that PPLP4 is required only for ookinete invasion of the mosquito midgut. Thus PPLP4 has a similar role to the previously studied PPLP3 and PPLP5, raising the question why three proteins with MACPF domains are needed for invasion by the ookinete of the mosquito midgut epithelium.
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Lincoln S. C. Wong, Tim P. Lynch, Neville S. Barrett, Jeffrey T. Wright, Mark A. Green, David J. H. Flynn The critically endangered spotted handfish ( Brachionichthys hirsutus ) is restricted to a limited number of locations in south-eastern Tasmania, Australia. As is often the case for rare species, conducting statistically adequate surveys for B . hirsutus can be costly and time consuming due to the low probability of encountering individuals. For the first time we used a highly efficient and rigorous Global Positioning System (GPS) parameterised underwater visual census (GUVC) to survey B . hirsutus abundance within all nine known local populations in the Derwent Estuary within one season. In addition, a benthic microhabitat assessment was conducted simultaneously using a GoPro ® camera attached to diver to determine B . hirsutus microhabitat preferences. B . hirsutus local populations varied between sites, with densities ranging from 1.58 to 43.0 fishes per hectare. B . hirsutus demonstrates a strong preference for complex microhabitat features, such as depressions and ripple formations filled with biogenic substrates (e.g. shells) but avoids simple, low relief microhabitats (e.g. sand flats) and areas dominated by ephemeral, filamentous algae. Complex microhabitats may enable B . hirsutus to avoid predators, increase forage opportunities or provide higher quality spawning sites. This first wide-scale application of GUVC for B . hirsutus allowed us to survey a larger number of sites than previously possible to provide a robust reference point for future long-term monitoring.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Anny H. Xiang, Mary Helen Black, Yu-Hsiang Shu, Jun Wu, Adrienne MacKay, Corinna Koebnick, Richard M. Watanabe, Thomas A. Buchanan Obesity and adipokines are associated with development of type 2 diabetes. However, limited longitudinal studies have examined their roles on declining β-cell function over time. This report assessed three adiposity measures (BMI, percent body fat, trunk fat), insulin resistance, and fifteen adipokines in relationship to longitudinal change in β-cell function measured by disposition index (DI) from frequently-sampled-intravenous-glucose-tolerance testing. The results showed that three factors were significantly and independently associated with rate of change in DI over time: rate of change in BMI (negative), rate of change in IL-6 (negative), and baseline adiponectin (positive). The association was the strongest for changing BMI and was largely explained by changing insulin resistance; the association with changing IL-6 was also largely explained by changing insulin resistance. Baseline adiponectin remained positively associated after adjustment for changing insulin resistance, suggesting an independent effect of adiponectin to preserve or improve β-cell function. These findings provide evidence and potential mechanisms for the role of obesity in promoting β-cell dysfunction, highlighting the potential importance of mitigating obesity and its metabolic effects in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Mareen Matz, Frederik Heinrich, Christine Lorkowski, Kaiyin Wu, Jens Klotsche, Qiang Zhang, Nils Lachmann, Pawel Durek, Klemens Budde, Mir-Farzin Mashreghi Interstitial fibrosis/tubular atrophy (IFTA) is associated with reduced allograft survival, whereas antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) is the major cause for renal allograft failure. To identify specific microRNAs and their regulation involved in these processes, total RNA from blood cells of 16 kidney transplanted (KTx) patients with ABMR, stable graft function (SGF) and with T-cell mediated rejection (TCMR) was isolated. MicroRNA expression was determined by high-throughput sequencing. Differentially expressed candidate microRNAs were analyzed with RT-PCR in patients with SGF (n = 53), urinary tract infection (UTI) (n = 17), borderline rejection (BL) (n = 19), TCMR (n = 40), ABMR (n = 22) and IFTA (n = 30). From the 301 detected microRNAs, 64 were significantly regulated between the three cohorts. Selected candidate microRNAs miR-223-3p, miR-424-3p and miR-145-5p distinguished TCMR and ABMR from SGF, but not from other pathologies. Most importantly, miR-145-5p expression in IFTA patients was significantly downregulated and displayed a high diagnostic accuracy compared to SGF alone (AUC = 0.891) and compared to SGF, UTI, BL, TCMR and ABMR patients combined (AUC = 0.835), which was verified by cross-validation. The identification of miR-145-5p as IFTA specific marker in blood constitutes the basis for evaluating this potentially diagnostic microRNA as biomarker in studies including high numbers of patients and different pathologies and also the further analysis of fibrosis causing etiologies after kidney transplantation.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Jean-Noël Hubert, Tatiana Zerjal, Frédéric Hospital Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) is an aggressive cancer notorious for its rare etiology and its impact on Tasmanian devil populations. Two regions underlying an evolutionary response to this cancer were recently identified using genomic time-series pre- and post-DTFD arrival. Here, we support that DFTD shaped the genome of the Tasmanian devil in an even more extensive way than previously reported. We detected 97 signatures of selection, including 148 protein coding genes having a human orthologue, linked to DFTD. Most candidate genes are associated with cancer progression, and an important subset of candidate genes has additional influence on social behavior. This confirms the influence of cancer on the ecology and evolution of the Tasmanian devil. Our work also demonstrates the possibility to detect highly polygenic footprints of short-term selection in very small populations.
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Francesco Bisognin, Giulia Lombardi, Donatella Lombardo, Maria Carla Re, Paola Dal Monte Background The new Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra assay (Ultra, Cepheid, Sunnyvale, USA) is a cartridge-based automated diagnostic test that can simultaneously identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTB) and resistance to Rifampicin (RIF). With respect to the previous version Xpert MTB/RIF assay (Xpert), IS6110/IS1081 repetitive elements probes have been added allowing the detection of lower MTB load, defined by the new semi-quantitative category “trace” with indeterminate RIF resistance. The aim of this study was to evaluate performance of the new version Ultra on Xpert-negative, but TB culture-positive clinical samples. Methods The de-identified frozen samples (-20 °C) collected over a 4-year period (February 2014-October 2017), which had previously resulted smear-negative, Xpert-negative but MTB culture-positive, were analyzed with Ultra. The de-frosted samples were loaded into the cartridge using the same process as the previous version, according to manufacturer’s instruction. Results During the study period 382 MTB culture-positive samples were archived: 314 resulted Xpert-positive and 68 Xpert-negative. Thirty-one of the 68 Xpert-negative samples resulted positive with Ultra, with an overall improvement in MTB detection of 45.6%. Out of 36 Xpert-negative respiratory samples, 18 resulted Ultra-positive with the following semi-quantitative loads: “low”(n = 1), “very low”(n = 11), “trace”(n = 6), with an improvement in MTB detection of 50%. The best performance was achieved on bronchoalveolar lavage specimens (53.8%). Out of 32 Xpert-negative non-respiratory samples, 13 resulted Ultra-positive with the following semi-quantitative loads: “very low”(n = 7), “trace”(n = 6), with an improvement in MTB detection of 40.6%. The best performance was achieved on biopsies (55.6%) and lymph nodes (50%). The new category “trace” detected 12 out of the 31 Ultra-positive MTB samples; in the remaining 19 samples RIF susceptibility was determined with 100% concordance with the phenotypic susceptibility test. The mean time to positivity of samples found negative by Ultra was significantly longer in comparison to positive samples in liquid culture. Conclusions Our results are consistent with the few studies published so far and confirm the better performance of Ultra compared to the previous version in both respiratory and non-respiratory smear-negative samples, with an overall improvement of 45.6%.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1406: JAXA High-Resolution Land Use/Land Cover Map for Central Vietnam in 2007 and 2017 Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10091406 Authors: Phan Cao Duong Ta Hoang Trung Kenlo Nishida Nasahara Takeo Tadono Robust remote monitoring of land cover changes is essential for a range of studies such as climate modeling, ecosystems, and environmental protection. However, since each satellite data has its own effective features, it is difficult to obtain high accuracy land cover products derived from a single satellite’s data, perhaps because of cloud cover, suboptimal acquisition schedules, and the restriction of data accessibility. In this study, we integrated Landsat 5, 7, and 8, Sentinel-2, Advanced Land Observing Satellite Advanced Visual, and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (ALOS/AVNIR-2), ALOS Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) Mosaic, ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 Mosaic, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and ancillary data, using kernel density estimation to map and analyze land use/cover change (LUCC) over Central Vietnam from 2007 to 2017. The region was classified into nine categories, i.e., water, urban, rice paddy, upland crops, grassland, orchard, forest, mangrove, and bare land by an automatic model which was trained and tested by 98,000 reference data collected from field surveys and visual interpretations. Results were the 2007 and 2017 classified maps with the same spatial resolutions of 10 m and the overall accuracies of 90.5% and 90.6%, respectively. They indicated that Central Vietnam experienced an extensive change in land cover (33 ± 18% of the total area) during the study period. Gross gains in forests (2680 km2) and water bodies (570 km2) were primarily from conversion of orchards, paddy fields, and crops. Total losses in bare land (495 km2) and paddy (485 km2) were largely to due transformation to croplands and urban & other infrastructure lands. In addition, the results demonstrated that using global land cover products for specific applications is impaired because of uncertainties and inconsistencies. These findings are essential for the development of resource management strategy and environmental studies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1405: Investigations on the Coregistration of Sentinel-1 TOPS with the Conventional Cross-Correlation Technique Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10091405 Authors: Yuxiao Qin Daniele Perissin Jing Bai In Sentinel-1 TOPS mode, the antenna sweeps in the azimuth direction for the purpose of illuminating the targets with the entire azimuth antenna pattern (AAP). This azimuth sweeping introduces an extra high-frequency Doppler term into the impulse response function (IRF), which poses a more strict coregistration accuracy for the interferometric purpose. A 1/1000 pixel coregistration accuracy is required for the interferometric phase error to be negligible, and the enhanced spectral diversity (ESD) method is applied for achieving such accuracy. However, since ESD derives miscoregistration from cross-interferometric phase, and phase is always wrapped to [ − π , π ) , an initial coregistration method with enough accuracy is required to resolve the phase ambiguity in ESD. The mainstream for initial coregistration that meets this requirement is the geometrical approach, which accuracy mainly depends on the accuracy of orbits. In this article, the authors propose to investigate the feasibility of using the conventional coregistration approach, namely the cross-correlation-and-rigid-transformation, as the initial coregistration method. The aim is to quantify the coregistration accuracy for cross-correlation-and-rigid-transformation using the Cramér-Rao lower bound (CRLB) and determine whether this method could eventually help to resolve the phase ambiguities of ESD. In addition, we studied the feasibility and robustness of the cross-correlation plus ESD under different conditions. For validation, we checked whether the cross-correlation plus ESD approach could reach the same coregistration accuracy as geometrical plus ESD approach. In general, for large areas with enough coherence and little topography variance, the cross-correlation method could be used as an alternative to the geometrical approach. The interferogram from the two different approaches (with ESD applied afterward) shows a negligible difference under such circumstances.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1275: Focusing High-Resolution Airborne SAR with Topography Variations Using an Extended BPA Based on a Time/Frequency Rotation Principle Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081275 Authors: Chunhui Lin Shiyang Tang Linrang Zhang Ping Guo With the increasing requirement for resolution, the negligence of topography variations causes serious phase errors, which leads to the degradation of the focusing quality of the synthetic aperture (SAR) imagery, and geometric distortion. Hence, a precise and fast algorithm is necessary for high-resolution airborne SAR. In this paper, an extended back-projection (EBP) algorithm is proposed to compensate the phase errors caused by topography variations. Three-dimensional (3D) variation will be processed in the time-domain for high-resolution airborne SAR. Firstly, the quadratic phase error (QPE) brought by topography variations is analyzed in detail for high-resolution airborne SAR. Then, the key operation, a time-frequency rotation operation, is applied to decrease the samplings in the azimuth time-domain. Just like the time-frequency rotation of the conventional two-step approach, this key operation can compress data in an azimuth time-domain and it reduces the computational burden of the conventional back-projection algorithm, which is applied lastly in the time-domain processing. The results of the simulations validate that the proposed algorithm, including frequency-domain processing and time-domain processing can obtain good focusing performance. At the same time, it has strong practicability with a small amount of computation, compared with the conventional algorithm.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1272: Mapping Damage-Affected Areas after Natural Hazard Events Using Sentinel-1 Coherence Time Series Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081272 Authors: Stephanie Olen Bodo Bookhagen The emergence of the Sentinel-1A and 1B satellites now offers freely available and widely accessible Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. Near-global coverage and rapid repeat time (6–12 days) gives Sentinel-1 data the potential to be widely used for monitoring the Earth’s surface. Subtle land-cover and land surface changes can affect the phase and amplitude of the C-band SAR signal, and thus the coherence between two images collected before and after such changes. Analysis of SAR coherence therefore serves as a rapidly deployable and powerful tool to track both seasonal changes and rapid surface disturbances following natural disasters. An advantage of using Sentinel-1 C-band radar data is the ability to easily construct time series of coherence for a region of interest at low cost. In this paper, we propose a new method for Potentially Affected Area (PAA) detection following a natural hazard event. Based on the coherence time series, the proposed method (1) determines the natural variability of coherence within each pixel in the region of interest, accounting for factors such as seasonality and the inherent noise of variable surfaces; and (2) compares pixel-by-pixel syn-event coherence to temporal coherence distributions to determine where statistically significant coherence loss has occurred. The user can determine to what degree the syn-event coherence value (e.g., 1st, 5th percentile of pre-event distribution) constitutes a PAA, and integrate pertinent regional data, such as population density, to rank and prioritise PAAs. We apply the method to two case studies, Sarpol-e, Iran following the 2017 Iran-Iraq earthquake, and a landslide-prone region of NW Argentina, to demonstrate how rapid identification and interpretation of potentially affected areas can be performed shortly following a natural hazard event.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2018-08-14
    Description: by Noriko Otsuki, Reiko Arakawa, Kaori Kaneko, Ryoko Aoki, Masayuki Arakawa, Kayoko Saito Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a severe genetic neuromuscular disorder caused by insufficiency of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Several clinical trials have been conducted with the aim of upregulating the expression of the SMN protein in SMA patients. In order to evaluate the efficiency of these SMN-targeted approaches, it has become necessary to verify SMN protein levels in the cells of SMA patients. Accordingly, we have developed a method allowing the evaluation of the functional SMN protein with 〈 1.5 mL of peripheral blood using imaging flow cytometry. The expression of SMN protein in CD3 + , CD19 + , and CD33 ++ cells obtained from SMA patients, was significantly reduced compared with that in cells from control subjects. In spot analysis of CD33 ++ cells, the intensities of SMN spots were significantly reduced in SMA subjects, when compared with that in controls. Therefore, SMN spots implied the presence of functional SMN protein in the cell nucleus. To our knowledge, our results are the first to demonstrate the presence of functional SMN protein in freshly isolated peripheral blood cells. We anticipate that SMN spot analysis will become the primary endpoint assay for the evaluation and monitoring of therapeutic intervention, with SMN serving as a reliable biomarker of therapeutic efficacy in SMA patients.
    Electronic ISSN: 1932-6203
    Topics: Medicine , Natural Sciences in General
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2945: A Residual Analysis-Based Improved Particle Filter in Mobile Localization for Wireless Sensor Networks Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092945 Authors: Long Cheng Liang Feng Yan Wang Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have become a popular research subject in recent years. With the data collected by sensors, the information of a monitored area can be easily obtained. As a main contribution of WSN localization is widely applied in many fields. However, when the propagation of signals is obstructed there will be some severe errors which are called Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) errors. To overcome this difficulty, we present a residual analysis-based improved particle filter (RAPF) algorithm. Because the particle filter (PF) is a powerful localization algorithm, the proposed algorithm adopts PF as its main body. The idea of residual analysis is also used in the proposed algorithm for its reliability. To test the performance of the proposed algorithm, a simulation is conducted under several conditions. The simulation results show the superiority of the proposed algorithm compared with the Kalman Filter (KF) and PF. In addition, an experiment is designed to verify the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm in an indoors environment. The localization result of the experiment also confirms the fact that the proposed algorithm can achieve a lower localization error compared with KF and PF.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2947: A Dynamic Calibration Method of Installation Misalignment Angles between Two Inertial Navigation Systems Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092947 Authors: Ming Hua Kui Li Yanhong Lv Qi Wu Generally, in order to ensure the reliability of Navigation system, vehicles are usually equipped with two or more sets of inertial navigation systems (INSs). Fusion of navigation measurement information from different sets of INSs can improve the accuracy of autonomous navigation effectively. However, due to the existence of misalignment angles, the coordinate axes of different systems are usually not in coincidence with each other absolutely, which would lead to serious problems when integrating the attitudes information. Therefore, it is necessary to precisely calibrate and compensate the misalignment angles between different systems. In this paper, a dynamic calibration method of misalignment angles between two systems was proposed. This method uses the speed and attitude information of two sets of INSs during the movement of the vehicle as measurements to dynamically calibrate the misalignment angles of two systems without additional information sources or other external measuring equipment, such as turntable. A mathematical model of misalignment angles between two INSs was established. The simulation experiment and the INSs vehicle experiments were conducted to verify the effectiveness of the method. The results show that the calibration accuracy of misalignment angles between the two sets of systems can reach to 1″ while using the proposed method.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2935: Microfluidically Frequency-Reconfigurable Quasi-Yagi Dipole Antenna Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092935 Authors: Syed Imran Hussain Shah Sungjoon Lim In this paper, a frequency reconfigurable quasi-Yagi dipole antenna is proposed by leveraging the properties of microfluidic technology. The proposed antenna comprises a metal-printed driven dipole element and three directors. To tune resonant frequencies, microfluidic channels are integrated into the driven element. To maintain a high gain for all the tuned frequencies, microfluidic channels are also integrated into the directors. Therefore, the length of the driven-element as well as directors can be controlled by injecting liquid metal in the microfluidic channels. The proposed antenna has the capability of tuning the frequency by varying the length of the metal-filled channels, while maintaining a high gain for all the tuned frequencies. The proposed antenna’s performance is experimentally demonstrated after fabrication. The injected amount of liquid metal into the microfluidic channels is controlled using programmable pneumatic micropumps. The prototype exhibits continuous tuning of the resonant frequencies from 1.8 GHz to 2.4 GHz; the measured peak gain of the proposed antenna is varied in the range of 8 dBi to 8.5 dBi. Therefore, continuous tuning with high gain is successfully demonstrated using liquid-metal-filled microfluidic channels.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2934: Electrocomposite Developed with Chitosan and Ionic Liquids Using Screen-Printed Carbon Electrodes Useful to Detect Rutin in Tropical Fruits Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092934 Authors: Lili Muñoz Verónica Arancibia Olimpo García-Beltrán Edgar Nagles John J. Hurtado This work reports the development of a composite of the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([BMIM]BP4) and chitosan (CS) described in previous reports through a new method using cyclic voltammetry with 10 cycles at a scan rate of 50.0 mV s−1. This method is different from usual methods such as casting, deposition, and constant potential, and it allows the development of an electroactive surface toward the oxidation of rutin by stripping voltammetry applied to the detection in tropical fruits such as orange, lemon, and agraz (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz), with results similar to those reported in previous studies. In addition, the surface was characterized by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and Raman spectroscopy. The limit of detection was 0.07 µmol L−1 and the relative standard deviation (RSD) of 10 measurements using the same modified electrode was 0.86%. Moreover, the stability of the sensor was studied for six days using the same modified electrode, where the variation of the signal using a known concentration of rutin (RT) was found to be less than 5.0%. The method was validated using a urine chemistry control spiked with known amounts of RT and possible interference was studied using ten substances including organic and biological compounds, metal ions, and dyes. The results obtained in this study demonstrated that this electrodeveloped composite was sensitive, selective, and stable.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2944: Dynamic Toolface Estimation for Rotary Steerable Drilling System Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092944 Authors: Weiliang Wang Yanfeng Geng Kai Wang Jieru Si Joice de Oliveira Fiaux In drilling engineering, Toolface is an angle used to describe bit direction. It is a challenging task to accurately estimate Toolface while drilling because of the downhole harsh conditions, but it is a primary step for the dynamic point-the-bit rotary steerable system (DPRSS). A new dynamic Toolface estimator is present, which fuses measurements from two accelerometers and one gyro. A dual-accelerometer Toolface measuring method is designed to compensate the circumferential acceleration of DPRSS. A nonlinear Complementary Filter (CF) is used to suppress the effect of vibration and axial acceleration. The frequency-domain characteristics of nonlinear CF are analyzed and its natural frequency is determined adaptively based on real time drilling conditions. This new estimator is validated on a DPRSS prototype under typical drilling modes; it is demonstrated with high robustness and follows the references satisfactorily.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2946: Performance Analysis of IoT-Based Sensor, Big Data Processing, and Machine Learning Model for Real-Time Monitoring System in Automotive Manufacturing Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092946 Authors: Muhammad Syafrudin Ganjar Alfian Norma Latif Fitriyani Jongtae Rhee With the increase in the amount of data captured during the manufacturing process, monitoring systems are becoming important factors in decision making for management. Current technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT)-based sensors can be considered a solution to provide efficient monitoring of the manufacturing process. In this study, a real-time monitoring system that utilizes IoT-based sensors, big data processing, and a hybrid prediction model is proposed. Firstly, an IoT-based sensor that collects temperature, humidity, accelerometer, and gyroscope data was developed. The characteristics of IoT-generated sensor data from the manufacturing process are: real-time, large amounts, and unstructured type. The proposed big data processing platform utilizes Apache Kafka as a message queue, Apache Storm as a real-time processing engine and MongoDB to store the sensor data from the manufacturing process. Secondly, for the proposed hybrid prediction model, Density-Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise (DBSCAN)-based outlier detection and Random Forest classification were used to remove outlier sensor data and provide fault detection during the manufacturing process, respectively. The proposed model was evaluated and tested at an automotive manufacturing assembly line in Korea. The results showed that IoT-based sensors and the proposed big data processing system are sufficiently efficient to monitor the manufacturing process. Furthermore, the proposed hybrid prediction model has better fault prediction accuracy than other models given the sensor data as input. The proposed system is expected to support management by improving decision-making and will help prevent unexpected losses caused by faults during the manufacturing process.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3166: New Market Opportunities and Consumer Heterogeneity in the U.S. Organic Food Market Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093166 Authors: GwanSeon Kim Jun Ho Seok Tyler B. Mark This paper investigates what factors and characteristics of organic consumers affect annual organic food expenditure by using Nielsen’s consumer panel dataset from 2010 to 2014. To be specific, this paper explores new marketing opportunities by investigating organic consumer heterogeneity in different household income levels by utilizing the multilevel model. Findings in this study will contribute to the previous and existing literature in three-folds. First, we find that the organic consumers are more heterogeneous in the high-level of income groups (approximately above $60,000), as well as the low-income households between $35,000 and $45,000. This finding demonstrates that the income levels above $60,000 and around $40,000 have potential market segmentation. Second, we find that that annual organic expenditure is positively associated with consumers who consecutively repurchase organic food products compared to irregular organic consumers, supporting a different level of satisfaction. Third, we find that USDA organic labeling has a positive effect on annual organic expenditure compared to the organic labeling certified by private companies, implying the importance of credibility for the organic labeling.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3167: Designing a Sustainable Development Goal Index through a Goal Programming Model: The Case of EU-28 Countries Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093167 Authors: Francisco Guijarro Juan A. Poyatos The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations are at the center of the global political agenda to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal education, promote gender equality and ensure environmental sustainability between others. These goals are organised in 169 indicators, which give an accurate perspective on the main dimensions related with country sustainable development. To gain insight into the relative position of involved countries, it is necessary to develop a composite index that summarises the global progress in the achievement of these goals, but considering possible conflicts and trade-offs between individual SDGs. The objective of this paper is to introduce a Goal Programming model to calculate a composite SDG index, capable of overcoming some of the limitations of celebrated approaches such as arithmetic and geometric averages. The proposed model balances between two extreme solutions: one which calculates a consensus index that reflects the majority trend of the SDGs, and another one which biases the estimated index towards those SDGs that show the most discrepancy with the rest. The model is applied on the EU-28 countries, and shows that the best performing countries regarding the sustainable development are Austria and Luxembourg, while Greece and Romania remain as the worst performers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3164: Do CSR Activities Increase Firm Value? Evidence from the Korean Market Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093164 Authors: Chune Young Chung Sangjun Jung Jason Young Corporate social responsibility has recently become a new metric of corporate performance. Some argue that corporate social responsibility should be used not only for corporate image improvement, but also as a major competitive strategy. Given this perspective, this study considers the effect of corporate social responsibility on firm value using data from all firms listed on the Korea Exchange from 2005 to 2015 that provide corporate social responsibility information. Specifically, we use the Korea Economic Justice Institution Index, which is an important metric for corporate social responsibility in Korea, to empirically analyze the relation between corporate social responsibility and firm value. Further, given the growing attention to the Korean manufacturing environment and the significant influence of the global manufacturing environment, we aim to determine the differential characteristics of manufacturing corporations using the relation between corporate social responsibility and firm value. The results strongly support a positive relation between corporate social responsibility and firm value. Furthermore, our detailed analysis of the manufacturing industry indicates some differential characteristics with respect to this relation. Overall, we find that every corporation should adopt corporate social responsibility as an active competitive strategy, taking the corporate condition into account.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3160: An Assessment of the Implementation of the European Tourism Indicator System for Sustainable Destinations in Italy Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093160 Authors: Patrizia Modica Alessandro Capocchi Ilaria Foroni Mariangela Zenga The European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS) is a product of the European Union (EU) Sustainable Development Strategy, which was formulated with the objectives of promoting economic prosperity, social equity, cohesion, and environmental protection. In this paper, we present an analysis of the results of the implementation of the ETIS during the period 2013–2016, in the Italian tourist destination of South Sardinia. While the implementation of ETIS constitutes a significant advancement in Italy, and more widely in Europe, our findings reveal that an adaptive management approach is necessary for achieving the anticipated objectives and adapting these standardized indicators to different territorial contexts. Difficulties were encountered in both data collection and stakeholders’ involvement in the implementation process. Insufficient knowledge, and familiarity with the complex technical aspects of the indicator toolkit among primary stakeholders, was another constraint associated with its implementation. We believe that the findings of this analysis can provide guidelines and inputs for other European countries and tourist destinations that are currently in the process of implementing the ETIS toolkit or similar methodologies. In particular, the pioneering sustainable tourism performance measurement system (STPMS) can be adapted to meet local needs.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2933: Membrane-Based Microwave-Mediated Electrochemical Immunoassay for the In Vitro, Highly Sensitive Detection of Osteoporosis-Related Biomarkers Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092933 Authors: Hye Youn Kim Shinobu Sato Shigeori Takenaka Min-Ho Lee Highly sensitive and multiplexed in vitro detection of osteoporosis-related biochemical markers were carried out based on the membrane-based microwave-mediated electrochemical immunoassay (MMeEIA), where we can dramatically reduce the sample preparation time by shortening the incubation time of conjugation to obtain sensitive detection based on three dimensional conjugation of antibodies with target antigens in nylon membrane disk. C-terminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen (CTx), Osteocalcin (OC), parathyroid hormone (PTH), and N-terminal propeptide of type I collagen (P1NP), which can be utilized to monitor the progress of osteoporosis, were quantified using their corresponding antibody immobilized in membranes. Coefficient of variations in this intra- and inter-assays were within 8.0% for all markers. When compared with data obtained from clinically used standard equipment (Roche modular E170), their coefficients of determination, R2 values, are mostly more than 0.9. They show that the results obtained from MMeEIA are in good agreement with that from the conventional clinical instruments.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3159: Usability of the EPC Tools for the Profitability Calculation of a Retrofitting in a Residential Building Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093159 Authors: Alex Gonzalez Caceres Muriel Diaz After the oil crisis in the 70s energy regulation codes were implemented, but a great portion of existing dwellings have not been retrofitted to current requirements. To face this issue several actions were taken in the European Union (EU), among these, the implementation of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), which include a Recommendation List of Measures (RLMs) to retrofit buildings. Some concerns exist about the lack of confidence on these recommendations. The main objective of this study is to analyze the usefulness of the EPC, answering if it is possible to deliver a realistic financial assessment about renovation strategies using these tools. The study is based on three indicators: Consumption, energy saving variations and profitability. The study is based on a renovation project case study, where simulations and Life Cycle Cost Assessment (LCCA) were performed, in order to identify the different results that EPC’s and an energy efficiency assessment could lead to. The results show important differences in all the concepts evaluated.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3165: Frame Analysis of ENGO Conceptualization of Sustainable Forest Management: Environmental Justice and Neoliberalism at the Core of Sustainability Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093165 Authors: Nenad Šimunović Franziska Hesser Tobias Stern Normative judgments on sustainability underpin concepts that shape the supply scenarios of timber consumption. The modern understanding of sustainable forest management is shaped by a diverse spectrum of social demands, going beyond the principle of sustainable yield management. Rival stakeholders compete to incorporate their ideas and interpretations of sustainable forest management into policy institutions. Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) have emerged as one of the dominant stakeholders in the forest-based sector. We set out to explore ENGO-specific conceptualizations of sustainable forest management and investigate differences in understanding among various ENGOs. By conducting a frame analysis of ENGO press releases, we identified two master frames: environmental justice and environmentalist frames. A difference in the emphasis placed on procedural and distributive justice as well as a different standpoint in the commons versus commodity debate emerged as the main divergences between the master frames. The results of our study demonstrate how the differences between the master frames underpin different conceptualizations of sustainable forest management. On the one hand, the ENGOs associated with the environmental justice master frame advocate for the broader implementation of community forest management based on power-sharing. On the other hand, the ENGOs associated with the environmentalist master frame promote a wide range of approaches associated with ecosystem management and social forestry paradigms. Moreover, the ENGOs associated with the environmentalist master frame challenge the concept of sustainable forest management as defined by the Helsinki and Montreal process by advocating for ecosystem management. The ENGOs associated with the environmental justice master frame reject the mainstream concept of sustainable forest management in any guise. Future research on ethical issues underlying forestry concepts may provide more conceptual and operational clarity for both forest managers and policy-makers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3158: Critical Behavioral Risk Factors among Principal Participants in the Chinese Construction Industry Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093158 Authors: Pengcheng Xiang Fuyuan Jia Xiaohui Li The main participants in construction projects are the client, contractors, material suppliers, and consultants such as the project supervisor. They play the most important roles in implementing construction projects, and their behavior has a significant impact on the project’s performance. Because each participant has their own particular interests, by virtue of proprietary information advantage, each individual participant is driven to achieve maximum benefit, which can result in improper behavior with respect to each other. The risk of this resulting in moral hazard and adverse selection based on information asymmetry is called behavioral risk among principal construction participants. Behavior is affected by various risk factors; successful implementation of construction projects depends on effective management of the key risk factors. This paper identifies and ranks the critical behavioral risk factors from the perspective of principal construction participants in the Chinese construction industry. The data used for analysis is based on an interview and questionnaire survey. Factor analysis is conducted with the assistance of SPSS17.0. Forty-one potential behavioral risk factors are identified, with 30 of those being critical, including “client changes project objective or investment direction”, “designer uses technological capability advantage to obtain profit”, and others. These findings contribute to the understanding of risk management in the construction industry in China. They also serve as a useful reference for further studies on the subject.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3149: Innovative Blockchain-Based Approach for Sustainable and Credible Environment in Food Trade: A Case Study in Shandong Province, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093149 Authors: Dianhui Mao Zhihao Hao Fan Wang Haisheng Li Agri-food trade has a profound impact on social stability and sustainable economic development. However, there are several technological problems in current agricultural product transactions. For example, it is almost impossible to improve the efficiency of transactions and maintain market stability. This paper designs a novel Food Trading System with COnsortium blockchaiN (FTSCON) to eliminate information asymmetry in the food trade, in order to establish a sustainable and credible trading environment, the system uses consortium blockchain technology to meet the challenge of different authentications and permissions for different roles in food trade. Meanwhile, we have used the online double auction mechanism to eliminate competition. We also have designed a improved Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (iPBFT) algorithm to improve efficiency. In addition, a case study based on a series of data from Shandong Province, China indicate that the FTSCON can achieve profit improvement of merchants. Therefore, the proposed system proved to have high commercial value.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 380: The Weighted Arithmetic Mean–Geometric Mean Inequality is Equivalent to the Hölder Inequality Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10090380 Authors: Yongtao Li Xian-Ming Gu Jianxing Zhao In the current note, we investigate the mathematical relations among the weighted arithmetic mean–geometric mean (AM–GM) inequality, the Hölder inequality and the weighted power-mean inequality. Meanwhile, the proofs of mathematical equivalence among the weighted AM–GM inequality, the weighted power-mean inequality and the Hölder inequality are fully achieved. The new results are more generalized than those of previous studies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 79
    Publication Date: 2018-09-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3154: Design Methodology for Street-Oriented Block Housing Considering Daylight and Natural Ventilation Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093154 Authors: Ho-Jeong Kim Jin-Soo Kim This study presents a design methodology for street-oriented block housing, as a model for gradual small-scale block-unit development, that can secure two hours of continuous access to daylight on the winter solstice at azimuth angles of 0° and 60° in Seoul, South Korea, and, in addition, developed a methodology for wind path planning for existing types of developed housing. The results of this study have confirmed the feasibility of a housing design that can secure two hours of continuous access to daylight along with no less than 200 percent of development density, achieved through the elimination of self-shadows by using distances between residential buildings and shadow characteristics according to azimuth angles. In addition, the study identified an air flow stagnation section by assessing the air flow of the exterior space of street-oriented block housing in consideration of day-lit environments, and examined a planning model that can enhance natural ventilation potential by activating the air flow of the exterior space. Wind path planning was conducted for 24 alternatives that were produced based on the developed design methodology, and the wind velocity ratio of street-oriented block housing ranged from 0.34 to 0.59. In terms of disadvantages of street-oriented block housing in securing wind paths, this study confirmed that air flow could be strengthened by adjusting the form of the lower-part opening, which is open in the direction of incoming wind, designing a staggered mass layout in high-rise masses, and combining building floor heights. The above findings of this study suggest that a performance-based approach is necessary for the improvement of environmental performance in street-oriented block housing, in consideration of azimuth angles and the prevailing wind direction from the initial phase of planning.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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