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- Tracking the spread of disease on social media
For many years, researchers have turned to the public logs of search engine terms to help them track the spread of disease. They can analyse the keywords and phrases that people use and when they become interested in a disease or have symptoms. Much value has been recognised in this kind of disease tracking and it has been used to research influenza outbreaks, the spread of MERS and the Zika virus, and other health problems. At the time of writing, it is approximately three months since we first recognised the emergence of a new coronavirus in China that would ultimately become known as the pathogen to cause the novel pandemic disease, Covid-19.
Writing in the International Journal of Web and Grid Services, in rather prescient work undertaken long before the disease name Covid-19 had been coined, a team from Gachon University in Korea, was asking whether social media content might be harvested to allow researchers to spot the emergence of new diseases and to track them once they appear.
SoYeop Yoo, DaeHo Kim, SungMin Yang, and OkRan Jeong of the Department of Software at Gachon University, explain how social media has become as a sensor for a wide range of topics in almost every area of human endeavour. Mining the vast daily output of this realm is a daunting task, but it can be done and many trends in politics, finance, science, health, medicine, entertainment, celebrity, and beyond can be tracked.
The team has now built a workflow that allows them to carry out real-time processing of social media data and to develop a model that manages the data and can detect the emergence of disease accurately. "If we can detect information about an infectious disease in real time, we can cope with it more quickly," the team suggests. Moreover, "We can obtain information about the symptoms of specific diseases and hospital information by analysing various opinions and information on the disease."
Yoo, S., Kim, D., Yang, S. and Jeong, O. (2020) 'Real-time disease detection and analysis system using social media contents', Int. J. Web and Grid Services, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.22-38.
- Voting on a blockchain
The "blockchain" concept on which cryptocurrencies work might be extrapolated to many other areas of life, such as voting systems, where it's incontrovertible chain of decisions and evidence could ensure validity in a political or other election.
Writing in the International Journal of Web and Grid Services, a team from Lodz University of Technology, in Lódz, Poland, explain how it was the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, introduced by an individual (or a group) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, that revealed the blockchain concept. The blockchain concept was invented to be used to give value to a cryptocurrency but its description shows that it might be used in other areas equally as well:
A blockchain is essentially an open and distributed ledger, a growing list of records (blocks) that are linked sequentially and encrypted. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a mathematical Merkle tree). The nature of a blockchain means that previous entries cannot be modified without all users seeing the modification, which makes it tamperproof.
Aneta Poniszewska-Maranda, Michal Pawlak, and Jakub Guziur of the Institute of Information Technology at LUT, explain that current electronic voting systems have their pros and cons. However, a common problem with all of the approaches used so far is that they suffer from inadequate transparency and auditability. There are four main approaches to electronic voting – dedicated voting machines, voting with optical scanning voting machines, voting with electronic ballot printers, and voting through the internet. Each has benefits, each has drawbacks. Moreover, the field is very fragmented by diverse technology and solutions to each of those main four methods.
This, the team suggests, is where blockchain would come into its own. Blockchain could underpin an existing approach to electronic voting but add the requisite ability to supervise the process and make it auditable to preclude fraud. Not only might the blockchain approach be used to prevent fraud it opens up the voting system to independent inspection beyond those holding the ballot, whether government, company board or other organization. It opens it up to being audited and inspected without compromising voter anonymity or the integrity of the result.
The team concedes that there are limitations to even the blockchain approach at the moment in that voter anonymity might be compromised to a limited degree by the proximity of given blocks in the system. However, they suggest this will be surmountable with additional research.
Poniszewska-Maranda, A., Pawlak, M. and Guziur, J. (2020) 'Auditable blockchain voting system – the blockchain technology toward the electronic voting process', Int. J. Web and Grid Services, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.1–21.
- Cashing on cryptocurrencies
Heed the words of their profits – In uncertain times, uncertain things can happen. Writing in the International Journal of Business Performance Management, a team in the United Arab Emirates asks whether cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin is perhaps the most infamous, might ultimately overtake conventional currencies, the fiat money.
Avaneesh Jumde and Boo Yun Cho of the Higher Colleges of Technology on Dubai Women's Campus, Al Nahda, Dubai, point out how Bitcoin made the terms "cryptocurrency" and "blockchain" familiar to financiers and investors the world over. The technological roots of these terms quickly attracting those who live by the words of their profits. At first, there was a cryptocurrency bubble, which has waxed and waned, but always in the background and barely acknowledged by the bankers and financial regulators is the idea that such forms of money might somehow usurp hard cash.
The team has now used statistical analysis to hedge their bets as to which of the cryptocurrencies might eventually predominate following the proliferation of such forms of money and whether there might be a displacement of fiat money. There is, of course, the possibility that cryptocurrencies would exist in parallel with the fiat in a similar way to gold bullion existing alongside folding paper money, for instance. They have looked at the likes of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Ripple and compared and contrasted their characteristics against the fiat money of different countries.
At the moment, fiat money remains the main contender in the battle for dominance in terms of accessibility, utility, the ability to convert to the currency of other nations, liquidity, volatility, and even financial speculation. Fiat money is more amenable to these requirements and remains preferable for the vast majority of people. However, major uncertainty about human behaviour driven by disease, climate change, and other uncontrollable factors, could lead to gradual or sudden change in our perception of money, its worth, and its utility.
Jumde, A. and Cho, B.Y. (2020) 'Can cryptocurrencies overtake the fiat money?', Int. J. Business Performance Management, Vol. 21, Nos. 1/2, pp.6–20.
- Decidedly deleting data
A survey of secure deletion of data held "in the cloud" has been undertaken by Minyao Hua, Yinyuan Zhao, and Tao Jiang of the School of Cyber Engineering at Xidian University in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. The team reports details in the International Journal of Embedded Systems.
Cloud computing utilizing third-party computer systems, servers, processors, data storage equipment to allow uses to offload the resources they would otherwise require on their premises on to remote systems. There are many different levels of cloud service, some are free or freemium or paid and aimed at individual consumers all the way up to the demands of the corporate and enterprise level. Security and privacy of the data any user stores in the cloud is critical to their ongoing success and sustainability. Breaches occur.
There is a secondary, but just as important issue in that when a user deletes the data they have stored in the cloud, they need to be assured that the data is securely deleted and can no longer be retrieved either by the cloud service provider or malicious parties that might illicitly access those services. The team's survey compares private and public cloud services and reports on the deletion security of the various services available.
In conclusion, the team recognises that there are problems facing users and have recognized two obvious, fundamental deletion methods that are used to purportedly ensure deletion security for users. The first is the extreme, physical destruction of storage media. The second usually involves software deletion that encrypts the data irretrievably if the key is discarded or lost. There is inevitably a trade-off between efficiency and security. The next challenge will be to ensure deleted data cannot be recovered by future quantum computing technology.
Hua, M., Zhao, Y. and Jiang, T. (2020) 'Secure data deletion in cloud storage: a survey', Int. J. Embedded Systems, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.253–265.
- Invertebrates indicators for compost
Researchers in Nigeria are investigating how organic composting of cow rumen and vegetable waste affects macro-invertebrate populations at a market composting site. Composting is an important way to deal with such waste and the changes in populations of flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), and mites and ticks (Acarina), can act as a useful proxy for how well the process is working. The shifting populations coupled with physical and chemical examination can then be used to fine-tune the composting process for best end results.
Oluwatobi Oni of the University of Ibadan and his colleagues point out that it is critical that waste generated by people is managed properly whether it is of animal or other origin. The team points out that improper management can lead to the formation of breeding sites for pathogen-carrying invertebrates, such as malaria-bearing mosquitoes. The presence of waste in a market might also lead to food poisoning and diarrhoea, surface and groundwater contamination, the emergence of diseases such as cholera, poor indoor and outdoor air quality, and even increase the risk of flooding. As such, better methods of waste management are high on the agenda in the developing world, for instance.
"It is certain that composting remains important in the management of organic waste, especially in this part of the world and extensive study is proposed as regards species biodiversity associated with the different composting stages and their impact on compost quality," the team concludes.
Oni, O.D., Oloruntoba, E.O., Sridhar, M.K.C., Hammed, T.B., Ibrahim, K.T. and Popoola, K.O.K. (2020) 'Macro-invertebrate population changes during composting of organic waste at Alesinloye Market, Ibadan', Int. J. Agriculture Innovation, Technology and Globalisation, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp.266–284.
- 棋牌游戏服务端下载Special educational needs
New research published in the International Journal of Learning and Change discusses the psychological needs and educational support of children with special physical needs.
Sofia Usmanova and Regina Gazizova of the Bashkir State University in Sterlitamak, Russia, discuss the promotion of what they refer to as a "harmonised personality" in learners with physical disabilities and how the necessary support can ensure that these young people have the tools to grow to be important and valued members of society.
There is an increasing number of children with special educational needs that require complex support in their educational activities, socialisation, upbringing, and development. We need to accumulate all available experience and attract various specialists to increase the level of development and adaptation in children with special needs, the team writes. An important part of that, the researchers suggest is providing diagnostics of a child's development based on several criteria, including verbal and non-verbal communication, motor skills, adaptation within the group, development of attention and concentration. Ultimately, training of educators based on improved knowledge is key.
Usmanova, S.G. and Gazizova, R.R. (2020) 'Characteristics of psychological and pedagogical support of children with special needs', Int. J. Learning and Change, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.55–75.
- Predicting windpower
A computer algorithm based on how bats fly at night tracking flying insect prey with their bio-sonar could help meteorologists predict wind patterns more reliably, according to new research published in the International Journal of Embedded Systems. The work could have implications for the optimal running wind turbines for sustainable power generation.
Dingcheng Wang, Yiyi Lu, Beijing Chen, and Youzhi Zhao of the School of Computer and Software at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, in Nanjing, China, explain how wind power has come to the fore as one of the most important alternatives to electricity generation without the need to burn fossil fuels. However, it depends on steady winds. The stability of wind turbines is also susceptible to gusting and winds that are too fast-moving.
The team has now tested a bat algorithm model of wind direction and speed that in simulations shows that a multi-output least-squares support vector machine prediction is the most effective approach to prediction. Such predictions would not only help operators ensure the safety of the wind turbines by shutting them down at appropriate times but allow them to manage the output in the context of other power supplies feeding into the local or national electricity grids.
Wang, D., Lu, Y., Chen, B. and Zhao, Y. (2020) 'Wind weather prediction based on multi-output least squares support vector regression optimised by bat algorithm', Int. J. Embedded Systems, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.137–145.
- Internet of Healthcare privacy protocols
How can we keep electronic healthcare information secure in the world of the Internet of Things where diagnostic, devices, monitors, and other equipment are all connected? A team from India, writing in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering offers one possible solution.
Aakanksha Tewari and B.B. Gupta of the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, explain how they have developed a secure and low-cost environment for the IoT devices in healthcare. Their aim is to make the lives of patients easier and more comfortable by providing them with more effective treatments but at the same time not compromise their privacy.
They describe their solution as utilizing a very simple mutual authentication protocol. This, they say provides strong location privacy by using one way hashing, pseudo-random number generators, and bitwise operations. They add that strong location privacy is critical to ensuring healthcare security and they can enforce this property by ensuring that tags in the network are indistinguishable and the connection protocols ensure forward secrecy. The team has now verified through a formal proof model just how secure is their approach to location privacy. The team adds that the system is suitable for any kind of IoT healthcare device however large or small. Moreover, the protocol is suitable for both passive and active tags.
Tewari, A. and Gupta, B.B. (2020) 'An internet-of-things-based security scheme for healthcare environment for robust location privacy', Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp.298–303.
- 好运来棋牌官网Opening the museum door online
At the time of writing, museums the world over are being forced to close their doors to the public because of Covid-19. They will hopefully re-open at some point. In the meantime, a study published in the International Journal of Digital Culture and Electronic Tourism discusses the nature of so-called stakeholder engagement on Facebook among the world's most popular museums. This may well have implications during the current crisis as museums seek support through the closure period.
Vincenzo Scafarto of the Department of Human, Social and Health Sciences at the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, in Cassino, Federica Ricci and Gaetano della Corte of the Department of Law and Economics of Productive Activities, University of Rome 'Sapienza', and Carla Morrone of the Department of Business and Economics at the University of Naples 'Parthenope', Italy provide the details. They point out that social media and social networking have become one of the more immediate ways in which organizations can connect with their stakeholders. There are many advantages in terms of marketing new exhibits when it comes to running a museum as well as gleaning feedback from visitors in a way that was never possible with the conventional "suggestions box" at the exit approach of yesteryear.
However, the team has found that some museums have struggled to embrace the new technology and its opportunities for any number of reasons. They have now looked at the most well-attended museums and their Facebook activity to see whether insights can be garnered as to whether that particular realm of social media is engaging potential and past visitors in a positive manner. They found that on the whole, museums were simply using social media as a one-way promotional tool and not recognizing the importance of the true dialogue that the new tools offer the provider and the customer.
They suggest the museum stakeholders must use more finely grained metrics to investigate their own activity and the visitor response on social media. During the current "lockdown" of so many such attractions the world over, the time may well be ripe for museums to fully engage with their putative and past visitors before they re-open their doors once the crisis is history, as it were.
Scafarto, V., Ricci, F., della Corte, G. and Morrone, C. (2020) 'Stakeholder engagement via Facebook: an analysis of world's most popular museums', Int. J. Digital Culture and Electronic Tourism, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.6–21.
- OCR for graffiti
Researchers in China have recognised that optical character recognition (OCR) has matured and can identify and extract information from documents that use standard writing styles. However, the world over people have very different ways of writing that might remain obscure to OCR. Moreover, people scrawl and gesture on tablets and phones and other devices in ways that are not even close to their normal handwriting and so are likely to be illegible to a computer.
The team has now developed an algorithm that can, with fine granularity, extract information from what might be loosely terms graffiti, convoluted handwriting that might even be indecipherable to some extent to a human reader, let alone a computer.
Jiashuang Xu and Zhangjie Fu of the Computer and Software College at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, and Xingyue Du of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Xi'an Polytechnic University in Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province, China, provide details of their approach in the International Journal of Computational Science and Engineering.
So far the team has trained their system to recognise 26 letters of the Latin (English) alphabet with almost 86 percent accuracy and are now working on extending and improving the technology. An additional, point is that the system utilizes a motion-detection approach rather than requiring touch input and so could be adapted for non-screen input devices such as wearables, where one might gesture to a device embedded in clothing, for instance.
Xu, J., Fu, Z. and Du, X. (2020) 'Graffiti-writing recognition with fine-grained information', Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp.163–172.
New Editor for International Journal of Public Law and Policy
Prof. Giuseppe Mastruzzo from the International University College of Turin in Italy has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Public Law and Policy.
New Editor for International Journal of Hydromechatronics
Prof. Yimin Shao from Chongqing University in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Hydromechatronics.
Scholarly publishing community has role to play in protecting U.S. healthcare workers from COVID-19: non-medical professionals asked to donate protective supplies to GetUsPPE.org
Critical PPE items such as facemasks, goggles, gloves, and protective gowns are stockpiled in offices and facilities that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic: from labs in universities and corporations, to machine shops, cleanrooms and engineering and construction job sites.
The website GetUsPPE.org is coordinating the transfer of unused PPE from private organisations to the healthcare facilities requesting them in the same vicinity.
GetUsPPE.org is a grassroots organisation led by emergency medicine physicians, working to give all PPE proceeds to the frontline healthcare workers most in need.
- Surgical masks
- Face shields
- Nitrile gloves
- Isolation gowns
- Disinfectant wipes
- Hand sanitiser
- Disposable shoe covers
- Nasopharyngeal swabs
Please visit GetUsPPE.org for details of how you can help.
New Editor for International Journal of Value Chain Management
Prof. Zbigniew Pastuszak from Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Value Chain Management.
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