Abstract: Since the establishment of the state of Israel, and as a result of various events that led to it, Jewish citizens and Arab citizens of the state have been in constant conflict, which finds its expression in most levels of life. Therefore, the attitude of one group member to the other group members is mostly tense, loaded, and saturated with mutual suspicion. Within this reality, in many higher education institutions in Israel, Jews and Arabs meet with each other intensively and for several years. For some students, this is their first opportunity for a meaningful cross-cultural encounter. These intercultural encounters, which allow positive interactions between members of different cultural groups, may contribute to the formation of "intercultural competence" which means long-term change in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior towards 'the other culture'. The current study examined the concept of the ‘other’ among Jewish and Arab students studying together and their "intercultural competence". The study also examined whether there is a difference in the perception of the ‘other’ between students studying in different academic programs, and between students taking academic courses on multiculturalism. This quantitative study was conducted among 274 Arab and Jewish students studying together, for bachelors or master's degree, in various academic programs at the Israel Academic College of Ramat-Gan. The background data of the participants are varied, in terms of religion, origin, religiosity, employment status, living area, and marital status. The main hypothesis is that academic, social, and intercultural encounters between Jewish and Arab students, who attend college together, will be a significant factor in building "intercultural competence". Additionally, the existence of "intercultural competence" has been linked to demographic characteristics of the students, as well as the nature of intercultural encounters between Jews and Arabs in a higher education institution. The dependent variables were measured by a self-report questionnaire, using the components of '"intercultural competence"' among students, which are: 1. Cognitive knowledge of the ‘others’, 2. Feelings towards the ‘others’, 3. Change in attitudes towards the 'others', and 4. Change in behavior towards the ‘others’. The findings indicate a higher "intercultural competence" among Arab students than Jews; it was also found higher level of "intercultural competence" among Educational Counseling students than the other respondents. The importance of this research lies in finding the means to develop "intercultural competence" among Jewish and Arab students, which may reduce prejudice and stereotypes towards the other culture and may even prevent occurrences of alienation and violence in cross-cultural encounters in Israel.
Abstract: In recent decades, the analysis of the effects of clustering as an essential factor for the development of innovations and the competitiveness of enterprises has raised great interest in different areas. Nowadays, companies have access to almost all tangible and intangible resources located and/or developed in any country in the world. However, despite the obvious advantages that this situation entails for companies, their geographical location has shown itself, increasingly clearly, to be a fundamental factor that positively influences their innovative performance and competitiveness. Industrial clusters could represent a unique level of analysis, positioned between the individual company and the industry, which makes them an ideal unit of analysis to determine the effects derived from company membership of a cluster. Also, the absorptive capacity (hereinafter 'AC') can mediate the process of innovation development by companies located in a cluster. The transformation and exploitation of knowledge could have a mediating effect between knowledge acquisition and innovative performance. The main objective of this work is to determine the key factors that affect the degree of generation and use of knowledge from the environment by companies and, consequently, their innovative performance and competitiveness. The elements analyzed are the companies' membership of a cluster and the AC. To this end, 30 most relevant papers published on this subject in the "Web of Science" database have been reviewed. Our findings show that, within a cluster, the knowledge coming from the companies' environment can significantly influence their innovative performance and competitiveness, although in this relationship, the degree of access and exploitation of the companies to this knowledge plays a fundamental role, which depends on a series of elements both internal and external to the company.
Abstract: This study aims to present an overview of recent research in building energy-retrofitting strategy applications and analyzing them within the context of hot arid climate regions which is in this case study represented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The main goal of this research is to do an analytical study of recent research approaches to show where the primary gap in knowledge exists and outline which possible strategies are available that can be applied in future research. Also, the paper focuses on energy retrofitting strategies at a building envelop level. The study is limited to specific measures within the hot arid climate region. Scientific articles were carefully chosen as they met the expression criteria, such as retrofitting, energy-retrofitting, hot-arid, energy efficiency, residential buildings, which helped narrow the research scope. Then the papers were explored through descriptive analysis and justified results within the Saudi context in order to draw an overview of future opportunities from the field of study for the last two decades. The conclusions of the analysis of the recent research confirmed that the field of study had a research shortage on investigating actual applications and testing of newly introduced energy efficiency applications, lack of energy cost feasibility studies and there was also a lack of public awareness. In terms of research methods, it was found that simulation software was a major instrument used in energy retrofitting application research. The main knowledge gaps that were identified included the need for certain research regarding actual application testing; energy retrofitting strategies application feasibility; the lack of research on the importance of how strategies apply first followed by the user acceptance of developed scenarios.
Abstract: Due to the importance given today to innovation, the education sector is evolving thanks digital technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) can be a potential teaching tool offering many advantages in the field of training and education, as it allows to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills using an immersive experience in less time than the traditional educational process. These assumptions allow to lay the foundations for a new educational environment, involving and stimulating for students. Starting from the objective of strengthening the innovative teaching offer and the learning processes, the case study of the research concerns the digitalization of MastrLAB, High Quality Laboratory (HQL) belonging to the Department of Structural, Building and Geotechnical Engineering (DISEG) of the Polytechnic of Turin, a center specialized in experimental mechanical tests on traditional and innovative building materials and on the structures made with them. The MastrLAB-VR has been developed, a revolutionary innovative training tool designed with the aim of educating the class in total safety on the techniques of use of machinery, thus reducing the dangers arising from the performance of potentially dangerous activities. The virtual laboratory, dedicated to the students of the Building and Civil Engineering Courses of the Polytechnic of Turin, has been projected to simulate in an absolutely realistic way the experimental approach to the structural tests foreseen in their courses of study: from the tensile tests to the relaxation tests, from the steel qualification tests to the resilience tests on elements at environmental conditions or at characterizing temperatures. The research work proposes a methodology for the virtualization of technical laboratories through the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM), starting from the creation of a digital model. The process includes the creation of an independent application, which with Oculus Rift technology will allow the user to explore the environment and interact with objects through the use of joypads. The application has been tested in prototype way on volunteers, obtaining results related to the acquisition of the educational notions exposed in the experience through a virtual quiz with multiple answers, achieving an overall evaluation report. The results have shown that MastrLAB-VR is suitable for both beginners and experts and will be adopted experimentally for other laboratories of the University departments.
Abstract: In seismic applications, hollow steel sections show, beyond undeniable esthetical appeal, promising structural advantages since, unlike open section counterparts, they are not susceptible to weak-axis and lateral-torsional buckling. In particular, hot-finished hollow steel sections have homogeneous material properties and favorable ductility but have been underutilized for cyclic bending. The main reason is that the parameters affecting their hysteretic behaviors are not yet well understood and, consequently, are not well exploited in existing codes of practice. Therefore, experimental investigations have been conducted on a wide range of hot-finished rectangular hollow section beams with the aim to providing basic knowledge for evaluating their seismic performance. The section geometry (width-to-thickness and depth-to-thickness ratios) and the type of loading (monotonic and cyclic) have been chosen as the key parameters to investigate the cyclic effect on the rotational capacity and to highlight the differences between monotonic and cyclic load conditions. The test results provide information on the parameters that affect the cyclic performance of hot-finished hollow steel beams and can be used to assess the design provisions stipulated in the current seismic codes of practice.
Abstract: Over-parameterized neural networks have attracted a
great deal of attention in recent deep learning theory research,
as they challenge the classic perspective of over-fitting when
the model has excessive parameters and have gained empirical
success in various settings. While a number of theoretical works
have been presented to demystify properties of such models, the
convergence properties of such models are still far from being
thoroughly understood. In this work, we study the convergence
properties of training two-hidden-layer partially over-parameterized
fully connected networks with the Rectified Linear Unit activation via
gradient descent. To our knowledge, this is the first theoretical work
to understand convergence properties of deep over-parameterized
networks without the equally-wide-hidden-layer assumption and
other unrealistic assumptions. We provide a probabilistic lower bound
of the widths of hidden layers and proved linear convergence rate of
gradient descent. We also conducted experiments on synthetic and
real-world datasets to validate our theory.
Abstract: This paper presents a multi-objective optimal design of
a cascade control system for an underactuated mechanical system.
Cascade control structures usually include two control algorithms
(inner and outer). To design such a control system properly, the
following conflicting objectives should be considered at the same
time: 1) the inner closed-loop control must be faster than the outer
one, 2) the inner loop should fast reject any disturbance and prevent
it from propagating to the outer loop, 3) the controlled system
should be insensitive to measurement noise, and 4) the controlled
system should be driven by optimal energy. Such a control problem
can be formulated as a multi-objective optimization problem such
that the optimal trade-offs among these design goals are found.
To authors best knowledge, such a problem has not been studied
in multi-objective settings so far. In this work, an underactuated
mechanical system consisting of a rotary servo motor and a ball
and beam is used for the computer simulations, the setup parameters
of the inner and outer control systems are tuned by NSGA-II
(Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm), and the dominancy
concept is used to find the optimal design points. The solution of
this problem is not a single optimal cascade control, but rather a set
of optimal cascade controllers (called Pareto set) which represent the
optimal trade-offs among the selected design criteria. The function
evaluation of the Pareto set is called the Pareto front. The solution
set is introduced to the decision-maker who can choose any point
to implement. The simulation results in terms of Pareto front and
time responses to external signals show the competing nature among
the design objectives. The presented study may become the basis for
multi-objective optimal design of multi-loop control systems.
Abstract: In this paper, a longitudinal and lateral control approach
based on a nonlinear observer is proposed for a convoy of autonomous
vehicles to follow a desired trajectory. To authors best knowledge,
this topic has not yet been sufficiently addressed in the literature
for the control of multi vehicles. The modeling of the convoy
of the vehicles is revisited using a robotic method for simulation
purposes and control design. With these models, a sliding mode
observer is proposed to estimate the states of each vehicle in the
convoy from the available sensors, then a sliding mode control
based on this observer is used to control the longitudinal and lateral
movement. The validation and performance evaluation are done using
the well-known driving simulator Scanner-Studio. The results are
presented for different maneuvers of 5 vehicles.
Abstract: Chronic venous diseases (CVD) are one of the common, though controversial problems in medicine. It is generally accepted that this pathology predominantly occurs in women. The issue of excessive weight as a risk factor for CVD is still considered debatable. To the author's best knowledge, today in Ukraine, there are barely any studies that describe the relationship between CVD and obesity. Our study aims to determine the association between age, body composition, obesity and CVD in postmenopausal women. The study was conducted in D. F. Chebotarev Institute of Gerontology, National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine. We have examined 96 postmenopausal women aged 46-85 years (mean age – 66.19 ± 0.96 years), who were divided into two groups depending on the presence of CVD. The women were examined by vascular surgeons. For the diagnosis of CVD, we used clinical, anatomic and pathophysiologic classifications. We also performed clinical, ultrasound and densitometry examinations. We found that the CVD frequency in postmenopausal women increased with age (from 72% in those aged 45-59 years to 84% in those aged 75-89 years). A significant correlation between the total fat mass and age was determined in postmenopausal women with CVD. We also observed a significant correlation between the lower extremities’ fat mass and age in both examined groups. A significant correlation between body mass index and age was determined only in postmenopausal women without CVD.
Abstract: To the author’s best knowledge, there are no published reports of effective methods for teaching fescue toxicosis and grass endophyte technology in the USA. To address this need, a group of university scientists, industry representatives, government agents, and livestock producers formed an organization called the Alliance for Grassland Renewal. One goal of the Alliance was to develop a teaching method that could be employed across all regions in the USA and all sectors of the agricultural community. The first step in developing this method was identification of experts who were familiar with the science and management of fescue toxicosis. The second step was curriculum development. Experts wrote a curriculum that addressed all aspects of toxicosis and management, including toxicology, animal nutrition, pasture management, economics, and mycology. The curriculum was created for presentation in lectures, laboratories, and in the field. The curriculum was in that it could be delivered across state lines, regardless of peculiar, in-state recommendations. The curriculum was also unique as it was unanimously supported by private companies otherwise in competition with each other. The final step in developing this teaching method was formulating a delivery plan. All experts, including university, industry, government, and production, volunteered to travel from any state in the USA, converge in one location, teach a 1-day workshop, then travel to the next location. The results of this teaching method indicate widespread success. Since 2012, experts across the entire USA have converged to teach Alliance workshops in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, with ongoing workshops in Arkansas and Tennessee. Data from post-workshop surveys indicate that instruction has been effective, as at least 50% of the participants stated their intention to adopt the endophyte technology presented in these workshops. The teaching method developed by the Alliance for Grassland Renewal has proved to be effective, and the Alliance continues to expand across the USA.
Abstract: Infrastructure projects are often subjected to delays and cost overruns and mistakenly described as unsuccessful projects. These projects have many peculiarities such as public attention, impact on the environment, subjected to special regulations, etc. They also deal with several stakeholders with different motivations and face unique risks. With this in mind we need to reconsider our approach to manage them, define their success factors and implement these success factors. Infrastructure projects are not only lacking a unified meaning of project success or a definition of success factors, but also a clear method to implement these factors. This paper investigates this gap and introduces a concept to implement success factors in an efficient way, taking into consideration the specific characteristics of infrastructure projects. This concept consists of six enablers such as project organization, project team, project management workflow, contract management, communication and knowledge transfer and project documentations. These enablers allow other success factors to be efficiently implemented in projects. In conclusion, this paper provides project managers as well as company managers with a tool to define and implement success factors efficiently in their projects, along with upgrading their assets for the coming projects. This tool consists of processes and validated checklists to ensure the best use of company resources and knowledge. Due to the special features of infrastructure projects this tool will be tested in the German infrastructure market. However, it is meant to be adaptable to other markets and industries.
Abstract: The paper will focus on management of heritage that integrates the local community, and argue towards an obligation to integrate this social aspect in heritage management. By broadening the understanding of heritage, a sustainable heritage management takes its departure in more than a continual conservation of the physicality of heritage. The social aspect, or the local community, is in many govern heritage management situations being overlooked and it is not managed through community based urban planning methods, e.g.: citizen-inclusion, a transparent process, informative and inviting initiatives, etc. Historical sites are often being described by embracing terms such as “ours” and “us”: “our history” and “a history that is part of us”. Heritage is not something static, it is a link between the life that has been lived in the historical frames, and the life that is defining it today. This view on heritage is rooted in the strive to ensure that heritage sites, besides securing the national historical interest, have a value for those people who are affected by it: living in it or visiting it. Antigua Guatemala is a UNESCO-defined heritage site and this site is being ‘threatened’ by tourism, habitation and recreation. In other words: ‘the use’ of the site is considered a threat of the preservation of the heritage. Contradictory the same types of use (tourism and habitation) can also be considered development ability, and perhaps even a sustainable management solution. ‘The use’ of heritage is interlinked with the perspective that heritage sites ought to have a value for people today. In other words, the heritage sites should be comprised of a contemporary substance. Heritage is entwined in its context of physical structures and the social layer. A synergy between the use of heritage and the knowledge about the heritage can generate a sustainable preservation solution. The paper will exemplify this symbiosis with different examples of a heritage management that is centred around a local community inclusion. The inclusive method is not new in architectural planning and it refers to a top-down and bottom-up balance in decision making. It can be endeavoured through designs of an inclusive nature. Catalyst architecture is a planning method that strives to move the process of design solutions into the public space. Through process-orientated designs, or catalyst designs, the community can gain an insight into the process or be invited to participate in the process. A balance between bottom-up and top-down in the development process of a heritage site can, in relation to management measures, be understood to generate a socially sustainable solution. The ownership and engagement that can be created among the local community, along with the use that ultimately can gain an economic benefit, can delegate the maintenance and preservation. Informative, inclusive and transparent planning methods can generate a heritage management that is long-term due to the collective understanding and effort. This method handles sustainable management on two levels: the current preservation necessities and the long-term management, while ensuring a value for people today.
Abstract: Absent Theaters is a project that virtually reconstructs three theaters that existed in the twentieth century, demolished in the city of Medellin, Colombia: Circo España, Bolívar, and Junín. Virtual reconstruction is used as an excuse to talk with those who lived in their childhood and youth cultural spaces that formed a whole generation. Around 100 people who witnessed these theaters were interviewed. The means used to perform the oral history work was the virtual reconstruction of the interior of the theaters that were presented to the interviewees through the Virtual Reality glasses. The voices of people between 60 and 103 years old were used to generate a transmission of knowledge to the new generations about the importance of theaters as essential places for the city, as spaces generating social relations and knowledge of other cultures. Oral stories about events, the historical and social context of the city, were mixed with archive images and animations of the architectural transformations of these places. Oral stories about events, the historical and social context of the city, were mixed with archive images and animations of the architectural transformations of these places, with the purpose of compiling a collective discourse around cultural activities, heritage, and memory of Medellin.
Abstract: The linguistic and conceptual systems exhibit a tight relationship considering that words are access sites to conceptual structure. However, linguistic and conceptual structures seem to combine into a sort of homogeneous system which makes the distinction between them fuzzy. The article explores the possibility of positing a type of schematic linguistic content that is unique to the linguistic system. This linguistic content comes in the form of lexical concepts and linguistic parameters. These notions will shed some light on the parametric linguistic knowledge that might be encoded in and externalized via language. This in turn, could be the feature about language that differentiates it from the closely related conceptual system.
Abstract: An ammonium based ionic liquid (methyltrioctylammonium chloride) [N8 8 8 1] [Cl] was investigated as an extraction potential solvent for volatile organic solvents (in this regard, solutes), which includes alkenes, alkanes, ketones, alkynes, aromatic hydrocarbons, tetrahydrofuran (THF), alcohols, thiophene, water and acetonitrile based on the experimental activity coefficients at infinite THF measurements were conducted by the use of gas-liquid chromatography at four different temperatures (313.15 to 343.15) K. Experimental data of activity coefficients obtained across the examined temperatures were used in order to calculate the physicochemical properties at infinite dilution such as partial molar excess enthalpy, Gibbs free energy and entropy term. Capacity and selectivity data for selected petrochemical extraction problems (heptane/thiophene, heptane/benzene, cyclohaxane/cyclohexene, hexane/toluene, hexane/hexene) were computed from activity coefficients data and compared to the literature values with other ionic liquids. Evaluation of activity coefficients at infinite dilution expands the knowledge and provides a good understanding related to the interactions between the ionic liquid and the investigated compounds.
Abstract: Participation in games and sports in the contemporary times has become more competing with the developed scientific knowledge, skills and methods, along with the equipment and applied research in the field. In spite of India being a large country having vast resources and potential, its performance in the world of sports on the whole needs sincere attention for better achievements. Beside numerous factors responsible for the dismal performance of a sportsperson, the physique and body composition, including the size, shape and form are known to play a significant role. The present investigation was undertaken to study the specific morphological characteristics of Indian female Track and Field athletes. A total of 300 athletes were randomly selected as sample for the purpose of the study from the six events having 50 athletes in each event including 100m., 400m., Shot Put, Discus Throw, Long Jump and High Jump. The study included body weight, body fat percentage, lean body weight, endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy as variables. The data were computed statistically by using Mean, Standard Deviation and Analysis of Variance. The post-hoc analysis was conducted where the F-ratio was found to be significant at .05 level. The study concluded that there is a significant difference with regard to the selected variables among the Indian female athletes of different track and field events.
Abstract: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made information access easier and affordable. Academic research has also benefited from this, with online journals and academic resource readily available by the click of a button. However, there are limited ways of assessing and controlling the quality of the academic research mostly in public institution. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a significant number of universities and young population. The quality of knowledge created by academic researchers, however, needs to be evaluated due to the high number of predatory journals published by academia. The purpose of this qualitative study is to look at the knowledge creation, acquisition, and assimilation process by academic researchers in public universities in Nigeria. Qualitative research will be carried out using in-depth interviews and observations. Academic researchers will be interviewed and absorptive capacity theory will be used as the theoretical framework to guide the research. The findings from this study should help understand the impact of ICT on the knowledge creation process in academic research and to understand how ICT can affect the quality of knowledge produced by researchers. The findings from this study should help add value to the existing body of knowledge on the quality of academic research, especially in Africa where there is limited availability of quality academic research. As this study is limited to Nigerian universities, the outcome may not be generalized to other developing countries.
Abstract: There has been a growing emphasis in elevating the teachers’ proficiency and competencies through continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities. In this era of a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) world, teachers are expected to be collaborative designers, critical thinkers and creative builders. However, many of the CPD structures are still revolving in the model of transmission, which stands in contradiction to the cultivation of future-ready teachers for the innovative world of emerging technologies. This article puts forward the framing of CPD through a Principle-Based, Technological-Driven Knowledge Building Approach grounded in the essence of andragogy and progressive learning theories where growth is best exemplified through an authentic immersion in a social/community experience-based setting. Putting this Knowledge Building Professional Development Model (KBPDM) in operation via a Professional Learning Team (PLT) situated in a Secondary School in Singapore, research findings reveal that the intervention has led to a fundamental change in the learning paradigm of the teachers, henceforth equipping and empowering them successfully in their pedagogical design and practices for a 21st century classroom experience. This article concludes with the possibility in leveraging the Learning Analytics to deepen the CPD experiences for educators.
Abstract: The purchase impulsiveness is preceded by a lack of self-control: consequently, it is legitimate to believe that a consumer with a low level of self-control can result in a higher probability of cognitive dissonance. Moreover, the process of purchase is influenced by the pre-existing affective state in a considerable way. With reference to on-line purchases, digital behavior cannot be merely ascribed to the rational sphere, given the speed and ease of transactions and the hedonistic dimension of purchases. To our knowledge, this research is among the first cases of verification of the effect of moderation exerted by the positive affective state in the on-line impulse purchase of products with a high expressive value such as a smartphone on the occurrence of cognitive dissonance. To this aim, a moderation analysis was conducted on a sample of 212 impulsive millennials buyers. Three scales were adopted to measure the constructs of interest: IBTS for impulsivity, PANAS for the affective state, Sweeney for cognitive dissonance. The analysis revealed that positive affective state does not affect the onset of cognitive dissonance.
Abstract: Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy that originated in the medical field and has also been used extensively in other knowledge disciplines with recognized advantages and limitations. PBL has been used in various undergraduate engineering programs with mixed outcomes. The current fourth industrial revolution (digital era or Industry 4.0) has made it essential for many science and engineering students to receive effective training in advanced courses such as industrial automation and robotics. This paper presents a case study at Assumption University of Thailand, where a PBL-like approach was used to teach some aspects of automation and robotics to selected groups of undergraduate engineering students. These students were given some basic level training in automation prior to participating in a subsequent training session in order to solve technical problems with increased complexity. The participating students’ evaluation of the training sessions in terms of learning effectiveness, skills enhancement, and incremental knowledge following the problem-solving session was captured through a follow-up survey consisting of 14 questions and a 5-point scoring system. From the most recent training event, an overall 70% of the respondents indicated that their skill levels were enhanced to a much greater level than they had had before the training, whereas 60.4% of the respondents from the same event indicated that their incremental knowledge following the session was much greater than what they had prior to the training. The instructor-facilitator involved in the training events suggested that this method of learning was more suitable for senior/advanced level students than those at the freshmen level as certain skills to effectively participate in such problem-solving sessions are acquired over a period of time, and not instantly.