ResearchPad - computer-engineering Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A network analysis of research productivity by country, discipline, and wealth]]> Research productivity has been linked to a country’s intellectual and economic wealth. Further analysis is needed to assess the association between the distribution of research across disciplines and the economic status of countries.MethodsBy using 55 years of data, spanning 1962 to 2017, of Elsevier publications across a large set of research disciplines and countries globally, this manuscript explores the relationship and evolution of relative research productivity across different disciplines through a network analysis. It also explores the associations of those with economic productivity categories, as measured by the World Bank economic classification. Additional analysis of discipline similarities is possible by exploring the cross-country evolution of those disciplines.ResultsResults show similarities in the relative importance of research disciplines among most high-income countries, with larger idiosyncrasies appearing among the remaining countries. This group of high-income countries shows similarities in the dynamics of the relative distribution of research productivity over time, forming a stable research productivity cluster. Lower income countries form smaller, more independent and evolving clusters, and differ significantly from each other and from higher income countries in the relative importance of their research emphases. Country-based similarities in research productivity profiles also appear to be influenced by geographical proximity.ConclusionsThis new form of analyses of research productivity, and its relation to economic status, reveals novel insights to the dynamics of the economic and research structure of countries. This allows for a deeper understanding of the role a country’s research structure may play in shaping its economy, and also identification of benchmark resource allocations across disciplines for developing countries. ]]> <![CDATA[Structure and belonging: Pathways to success for underrepresented minority and women PhD students in STEM fields]]>

The advancement of underrepresented minority and women PhD students to elite postdoctoral and faculty positions in the STEM fields continues to lag that of majority males, despite decades of efforts to mitigate bias and increase opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. In 2015, the National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NSF AGEP) California Alliance (Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, UCLA) conducted a wide-ranging survey of graduate students across the mathematical, physical, engineering, and computer sciences in order to identify levers to improve the success of PhD students, and, in time, improve diversity in STEM leadership positions, especially the professoriate. The survey data were interpreted via path analysis, a method that identifies significant relationships, both direct and indirect, among various factors and outcomes of interest. We investigated two important outcomes: publication rates, which largely determine a new PhD student’s competitiveness in the academic marketplace, and subjective well-being. Women and minority students who perceived that they were well-prepared for their graduate courses and accepted by their colleagues (faculty and fellow students), and who experienced well-articulated and structured PhD programs, were most likely to publish at rates comparable to their male majority peers. Women PhD students experienced significantly higher levels of distress than their male peers, both majority and minority, while both women and minority student distress levels were mitigated by clearly-articulated expectations, perceiving that they were well-prepared for graduate level courses, and feeling accepted by their colleagues. It is unclear whether higher levels of distress in women students is related directly to their experiences in their STEM PhD programs. The findings suggest that mitigating factors that negatively affect diversity should not, in principle, require the investment of large resources, but rather requires attention to the local culture and structure of individual STEM PhD programs.

<![CDATA[Towards a process management life-cycle model for graduation projects in computer engineering]]>

Graduation projects play an important role in computer engineering careers in which students are expected to draw upon their knowledge and skills that were acquired since admission. To manage the activities of graduation projects, an iterative and incremental approach which aims continuous improvement is proposed as an alternative to a controversial delivery model. However, such integration brings up a set of challenges to be taken into account: e.g. multiple project deliveries, more labor-intensive effort from instructors, and ultimately continuous learning for all participants. One promising way to achieve such an integrated and continuous deployment velocity is to eliminate potential bottlenecks by giving student teams to receive early and continuous feedback. To this end, we propose a continuous feedback and delivery mechanism for managing the life-cycle of a graduation project through draft proposal, literature review, requirements gathering, design, implementation and testing which should produce intermediate outputs at predefined intervals. Most importantly, our approach makes it possible to quantify most of the activities involved in life-cycle process with various rubrics (i.e. measurement scales) that have been purposefully developed. The proposed model promotes the fact that all improvements should be monitored, evaluated and documented. The results of this study indicate that students who were managed using this approach produced better project deliverables and ultimately have delivered better and successful projects.

<![CDATA[Multiple Citation Indicators and Their Composite across Scientific Disciplines]]>

Many fields face an increasing prevalence of multi-authorship, and this poses challenges in assessing citation metrics. Here, we explore multiple citation indicators that address total impact (number of citations, Hirsch H index [H]), co-authorship adjustment (Schreiber Hm index [Hm]), and author order (total citations to papers as single; single or first; or single, first, or last author). We demonstrate the correlation patterns between these indicators across 84,116 scientists (those among the top 30,000 for impact in a single year [2013] in at least one of these indicators) and separately across 12 scientific fields. Correlation patterns vary across these 12 fields. In physics, total citations are highly negatively correlated with indicators of co-authorship adjustment and of author order, while in other sciences the negative correlation is seen only for total citation impact and citations to papers as single author. We propose a composite score that sums standardized values of these six log-transformed indicators. Of the 1,000 top-ranked scientists with the composite score, only 322 are in the top 1,000 based on total citations. Many Nobel laureates and other extremely influential scientists rank among the top-1,000 with the composite indicator, but would rank much lower based on total citations. Conversely, many of the top 1,000 authors on total citations have had no single/first/last-authored cited paper. More Nobel laureates of 2011–2015 are among the top authors when authors are ranked by the composite score than by total citations, H index, or Hm index; 40/47 of these laureates are among the top 30,000 by at least one of the six indicators. We also explore the sensitivity of indicators to self-citation and alphabetic ordering of authors in papers across different scientific fields. Multiple indicators and their composite may give a more comprehensive picture of impact, although no citation indicator, single or composite, can be expected to select all the best scientists.

<![CDATA[Open-Source Syringe Pump Library]]>

This article explores a new open-source method for developing and manufacturing high-quality scientific equipment suitable for use in virtually any laboratory. A syringe pump was designed using freely available open-source computer aided design (CAD) software and manufactured using an open-source RepRap 3-D printer and readily available parts. The design, bill of materials and assembly instructions are globally available to anyone wishing to use them. Details are provided covering the use of the CAD software and the RepRap 3-D printer. The use of an open-source Rasberry Pi computer as a wireless control device is also illustrated. Performance of the syringe pump was assessed and the methods used for assessment are detailed. The cost of the entire system, including the controller and web-based control interface, is on the order of 5% or less than one would expect to pay for a commercial syringe pump having similar performance. The design should suit the needs of a given research activity requiring a syringe pump including carefully controlled dosing of reagents, pharmaceuticals, and delivery of viscous 3-D printer media among other applications.

<![CDATA[Robust Identification of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Plastics through Bayesian Decision]]>

Recycling is one of the most efficient methods for environmental friendly waste management. Among municipal wastes, plastics are the most common material that can be easily recycled and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of its major types. PET material is used in consumer goods packaging such as drinking bottles, toiletry containers, food packaging and many more. Usually, a recycling process is tailored to a specific material for optimal purification and decontamination to obtain high grade recyclable material. The quantity and quality of the sorting process are limited by the capacity of human workers that suffer from fatigue and boredom. Several automated sorting systems have been proposed in the literature that include using chemical, proximity and vision sensors. The main advantages of vision based sensors are its environmentally friendly approach, non-intrusive detection and capability of high throughput. However, the existing methods rely heavily on deterministic approaches that make them less accurate as the variations in PET plastic waste appearance are too high. We proposed a probabilistic approach of modeling the PET material by analyzing the reflection region and its surrounding. Three parameters are modeled by Gaussian and exponential distributions: color, size and distance of the reflection region. The final classification is made through a supervised training method of likelihood ratio test. The main novelty of the proposed method is the probabilistic approach in integrating various PET material signatures that are contaminated by stains under constant lighting changes. The system is evaluated by using four performance metrics: precision, recall, accuracy and error. Our system performed the best in all evaluation metrics compared to the benchmark methods. The system can be further improved by fusing all neighborhood information in decision making and by implementing the system in a graphics processing unit for faster processing speed.

<![CDATA[Human Matching Behavior in Social Networks: An Algorithmic Perspective]]>

We argue that algorithmic modeling is a powerful approach to understanding the collective dynamics of human behavior. We consider the task of pairing up individuals connected over a network, according to the following model: each individual is able to propose to match with and accept a proposal from a neighbor in the network; if a matched individual proposes to another neighbor or accepts another proposal, the current match will be broken; individuals can only observe whether their neighbors are currently matched but have no knowledge of the network topology or the status of other individuals; and all individuals have the common goal of maximizing the total number of matches. By examining the experimental data, we identify a behavioral principle called prudence, develop an algorithmic model, analyze its properties mathematically and by simulations, and validate the model with human subject experiments for various network sizes and topologies. Our results include i) a -approximate maximum matching is obtained in logarithmic time in the network size for bounded degree networks; ii) for any constant , a -approximate maximum matching is obtained in polynomial time, while obtaining a maximum matching can require an exponential time; and iii) convergence to a maximum matching is slower on preferential attachment networks than on small-world networks. These results allow us to predict that while humans can find a “good quality” matching quickly, they may be unable to find a maximum matching in feasible time. We show that the human subjects largely abide by prudence, and their collective behavior is closely tracked by the above predictions.

<![CDATA[Remote Data Retrieval for Bioinformatics Applications: An Agent Migration Approach]]>

Some of the approaches have been developed to retrieve data automatically from one or multiple remote biological data sources. However, most of them require researchers to remain online and wait for returned results. The latter not only requires highly available network connection, but also may cause the network overload. Moreover, so far none of the existing approaches has been designed to address the following problems when retrieving the remote data in a mobile network environment: (1) the resources of mobile devices are limited; (2) network connection is relatively of low quality; and (3) mobile users are not always online. To address the aforementioned problems, we integrate an agent migration approach with a multi-agent system to overcome the high latency or limited bandwidth problem by moving their computations to the required resources or services. More importantly, the approach is fit for the mobile computing environments. Presented in this paper are also the system architecture, the migration strategy, as well as the security authentication of agent migration. As a demonstration, the remote data retrieval from GenBank was used to illustrate the feasibility of the proposed approach.

<![CDATA[Electrical Maxwell Demon and Szilard Engine Utilizing Johnson Noise, Measurement, Logic and Control]]>

We introduce a purely electrical version of Maxwell's demon which does not involve mechanically moving parts such as trapdoors, etc. It consists of a capacitor, resistors, amplifiers, logic circuitry and electronically controlled switches and uses thermal noise in resistors (Johnson noise) to pump heat. The only types of energy of importance in this demon are electrical energy and heat. We also demonstrate an entirely electrical version of Szilard's engine, i.e., an information-controlled device that can produce work by employing thermal fluctuations. The only moving part is a piston that executes work, and the engine has purely electronic controls and it is free of the major weakness of the original Szilard engine in not requiring removal and repositioning the piston at the end of the cycle. For both devices, the energy dissipation in the memory and other binary informatics components are insignificant compared to the exponentially large energy dissipation in the analog part responsible for creating new information by measurement and decision. This result contradicts the view that the energy dissipation in the memory during erasure is the most essential dissipation process in a demon. Nevertheless the dissipation in the memory and information processing parts is sufficient to secure the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

<![CDATA[Distributed Medical Image Analysis and Diagnosis through Crowd-Sourced Games: A Malaria Case Study]]>

In this work we investigate whether the innate visual recognition and learning capabilities of untrained humans can be used in conducting reliable microscopic analysis of biomedical samples toward diagnosis. For this purpose, we designed entertaining digital games that are interfaced with artificial learning and processing back-ends to demonstrate that in the case of binary medical diagnostics decisions (e.g., infected vs. uninfected), with the use of crowd-sourced games it is possible to approach the accuracy of medical experts in making such diagnoses. Specifically, using non-expert gamers we report diagnosis of malaria infected red blood cells with an accuracy that is within 1.25% of the diagnostics decisions made by a trained medical professional.

<![CDATA[Image Classification of Human Carcinoma Cells Using Complex Wavelet-Based Covariance Descriptors]]>

Cancer cell lines are widely used for research purposes in laboratories all over the world. Computer-assisted classification of cancer cells can alleviate the burden of manual labeling and help cancer research. In this paper, we present a novel computerized method for cancer cell line image classification. The aim is to automatically classify 14 different classes of cell lines including 7 classes of breast and 7 classes of liver cancer cells. Microscopic images containing irregular carcinoma cell patterns are represented by subwindows which correspond to foreground pixels. For each subwindow, a covariance descriptor utilizing the dual-tree complex wavelet transform (DT-WT) coefficients and several morphological attributes are computed. Directionally selective DT-WT feature parameters are preferred primarily because of their ability to characterize edges at multiple orientations which is the characteristic feature of carcinoma cell line images. A Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier with radial basis function (RBF) kernel is employed for final classification. Over a dataset of 840 images, we achieve an accuracy above 98%, which outperforms the classical covariance-based methods. The proposed system can be used as a reliable decision maker for laboratory studies. Our tool provides an automated, time- and cost-efficient analysis of cancer cell morphology to classify different cancer cell lines using image-processing techniques, which can be used as an alternative to the costly short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The data set used in this manuscript is available as supplementary material through

<![CDATA[Internet Video Telephony Allows Speech Reading by Deaf Individuals and Improves Speech Perception by Cochlear Implant Users]]>


To analyze speech reading through Internet video calls by profoundly hearing-impaired individuals and cochlear implant (CI) users.


Speech reading skills of 14 deaf adults and 21 CI users were assessed using the Hochmair Schulz Moser (HSM) sentence test. We presented video simulations using different video resolutions (1280×720, 640×480, 320×240, 160×120 px), frame rates (30, 20, 10, 7, 5 frames per second (fps)), speech velocities (three different speakers), webcameras (Logitech Pro9000, C600 and C500) and image/sound delays (0–500 ms). All video simulations were presented with and without sound and in two screen sizes. Additionally, scores for live Skype™ video connection and live face-to-face communication were assessed.


Higher frame rate (>7 fps), higher camera resolution (>640×480 px) and shorter picture/sound delay (<100 ms) were associated with increased speech perception scores. Scores were strongly dependent on the speaker but were not influenced by physical properties of the camera optics or the full screen mode. There is a significant median gain of +8.5%pts (p = 0.009) in speech perception for all 21 CI-users if visual cues are additionally shown. CI users with poor open set speech perception scores (n = 11) showed the greatest benefit under combined audio-visual presentation (median speech perception +11.8%pts, p = 0.032).


Webcameras have the potential to improve telecommunication of hearing-impaired individuals.

<![CDATA[Fingerprint Recognition with Identical Twin Fingerprints]]>

Fingerprint recognition with identical twins is a challenging task due to the closest genetics-based relationship existing in the identical twins. Several pioneers have analyzed the similarity between twins' fingerprints. In this work we continue to investigate the topic of the similarity of identical twin fingerprints. Our study was tested based on a large identical twin fingerprint database that contains 83 twin pairs, 4 fingers per individual and six impressions per finger: 3984 (83*2*4*6) images. Compared to the previous work, our contributions are summarized as follows: (1) Two state-of-the-art fingerprint identification methods: P071 and VeriFinger 6.1 were used, rather than one fingerprint identification method in previous studies. (2) Six impressions per finger were captured, rather than just one impression, which makes the genuine distribution of matching scores more realistic. (3) A larger sample (83 pairs) was collected. (4) A novel statistical analysis, which aims at showing the probability distribution of the fingerprint types for the corresponding fingers of identical twins which have same fingerprint type, has been conducted. (5) A novel analysis, which aims at showing which finger from identical twins has higher probability of having same fingerprint type, has been conducted. Our results showed that: (a) A state-of-the-art automatic fingerprint verification system can distinguish identical twins without drastic degradation in performance. (b) The chance that the fingerprints have the same type from identical twins is 0.7440, comparing to 0.3215 from non-identical twins. (c) For the corresponding fingers of identical twins which have same fingerprint type, the probability distribution of five major fingerprint types is similar to the probability distribution for all the fingers' fingerprint type. (d) For each of four fingers of identical twins, the probability of having same fingerprint type is similar.

<![CDATA[Two-Level Incremental Checkpoint Recovery Scheme for Reducing System Total Overheads]]>

Long-running applications are often subject to failures. Once failures occur, it will lead to unacceptable system overheads. The checkpoint technology is used to reduce the losses in the event of a failure. For the two-level checkpoint recovery scheme used in the long-running tasks, it is unavoidable for the system to periodically transfer huge memory context to a remote stable storage. Therefore, the overheads of setting checkpoints and the re-computing time become a critical issue which directly impacts the system total overheads. Motivated by these concerns, this paper presents a new model by introducing i-checkpoints into the existing two-level checkpoint recovery scheme to deal with the more probable failures with the smaller cost and the faster speed. The proposed scheme is independent of the specific failure distribution type and can be applied to different failure distribution types. We respectively make analyses between the two-level incremental and two-level checkpoint recovery schemes with the Weibull distribution and exponential distribution, both of which fit with the actual failure distribution best. The comparison results show that the total overheads of setting checkpoints, the total re-computing time and the system total overheads in the two-level incremental checkpoint recovery scheme are all significantly smaller than those in the two-level checkpoint recovery scheme. At last, limitations of our study are discussed, and at the same time, open questions and possible future work are given.

<![CDATA[Self-Regulation of Amygdala Activation Using Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback]]>

Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) with neurofeedback allows investigation of human brain neuroplastic changes that arise as subjects learn to modulate neurophysiological function using real-time feedback regarding their own hemodynamic responses to stimuli. We investigated the feasibility of training healthy humans to self-regulate the hemodynamic activity of the amygdala, which plays major roles in emotional processing. Participants in the experimental group were provided with ongoing information about the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activity in the left amygdala (LA) and were instructed to raise the BOLD rtfMRI signal by contemplating positive autobiographical memories. A control group was assigned the same task but was instead provided with sham feedback from the left horizontal segment of the intraparietal sulcus (HIPS) region. In the LA, we found a significant BOLD signal increase due to rtfMRI neurofeedback training in the experimental group versus the control group. This effect persisted during the Transfer run without neurofeedback. For the individual subjects in the experimental group the training effect on the LA BOLD activity correlated inversely with scores on the Difficulty Identifying Feelings subscale of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale. The whole brain data analysis revealed significant differences for Happy Memories versus Rest condition between the experimental and control groups. Functional connectivity analysis of the amygdala network revealed significant widespread correlations in a fronto-temporo-limbic network. Additionally, we identified six regions — right medial frontal polar cortex, bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, left anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral superior frontal gyrus — where the functional connectivity with the LA increased significantly across the rtfMRI neurofeedback runs and the Transfer run. The findings demonstrate that healthy subjects can learn to regulate their amygdala activation using rtfMRI neurofeedback, suggesting possible applications of rtfMRI neurofeedback training in the treatment of patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.

<![CDATA[BatSLAM: Simultaneous Localization and Mapping Using Biomimetic Sonar]]>

We propose to combine a biomimetic navigation model which solves a simultaneous localization and mapping task with a biomimetic sonar mounted on a mobile robot to address two related questions. First, can robotic sonar sensing lead to intelligent interactions with complex environments? Second, can we model sonar based spatial orientation and the construction of spatial maps by bats? To address these questions we adapt the mapping module of RatSLAM, a previously published navigation system based on computational models of the rodent hippocampus. We analyze the performance of the proposed robotic implementation operating in the real world. We conclude that the biomimetic navigation model operating on the information from the biomimetic sonar allows an autonomous agent to map unmodified (office) environments efficiently and consistently. Furthermore, these results also show that successful navigation does not require the readings of the biomimetic sonar to be interpreted in terms of individual objects/landmarks in the environment. We argue that the system has applications in robotics as well as in the field of biology as a simple, first order, model for sonar based spatial orientation and map building.

<![CDATA[How Does National Scientific Funding Support Emerging Interdisciplinary Research: A Comparison Study of Big Data Research in the US and China]]>

How do funding agencies ramp-up their capabilities to support research in a rapidly emerging area? This paper addresses this question through a comparison of research proposals awarded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in the field of Big Data. Big data is characterized by its size and difficulties in capturing, curating, managing and processing it in reasonable periods of time. Although Big Data has its legacy in longstanding information technology research, the field grew very rapidly over a short period. We find that the extent of interdisciplinarity is a key aspect in how these funding agencies address the rise of Big Data. Our results show that both agencies have been able to marshal funding to support Big Data research in multiple areas, but the NSF relies to a greater extent on multi-program funding from different fields. We discuss how these interdisciplinary approaches reflect the research hot-spots and innovation pathways in these two countries.

<![CDATA[Moving GIS Research Indoors: Spatiotemporal Analysis of Agricultural Animals]]>

A proof of concept applying wildlife ecology techniques to animal welfare science in intensive agricultural environments was conducted using non-cage laying hens. Studies of wildlife ecology regularly use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assess wild animal movement and behavior within environments with relatively unlimited space and finite resources. However, rather than depicting landscapes, a GIS could be developed in animal production environments to provide insight into animal behavior as an indicator of animal welfare. We developed a GIS-based approach for studying agricultural animal behavior in an environment with finite space and unlimited resources. Concurrent data from wireless body-worn location tracking sensor and video-recording systems, which depicted spatially-explicit behavior of hens (135 hens/room) in two identical indoor enclosures, were collected. The spatial configuration of specific hen behaviors, variation in home range patterns, and variation in home range overlap show that individual hens respond to the same environment differently. Such information could catalyze management practice adjustments (e.g., modifying feeder design and/or location). Genetically-similar hens exhibited diverse behavioral and spatial patterns via a proof of concept approach enabling detailed examinations of individual non-cage laying hen behavior and welfare.