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This New Articles Channel contents the latest articles published in Inderscience's distinguished academic, scientific and professional journals.



 



Turkey's shale gas potential and comparison of its success factors with the US and European developments
Recent shale gas developments has been transforming the USA with repercussions on world economy in general; as well as having a great impact on the formation of short and mid-term global energy future. It is even dubbed as the unexpected energy revolution of the 21st century. The fact that the USA has so far had an outstanding success in shale gas development deserves close attention and therefore, the study of how the same fact could be applicable and replicable in other shale resourceful countries and to what extent the factors leading to this success are utilisable in other countries is very relevant. In this respect, Europe and Turkey are also known to have some considerable shale resources. Due to high dependence on gas imports, the issue gains even more significance for Turkey. In light of the above considerations, such a comparison between the USA and Europe-Turkey, with regards to shale gas developments, might be interesting and necessary. In this paper, it is aimed to analyse the US shale revolution and more importantly to make a comparison between the US and European implementations so far and especially Turkish potential and prospects in that regard.



Using experience curve to project net hydroelectricity generation: in comparison to EIAs projection
The US Energy Intensity Administration in its 2013 International Energy Outlook has projected net hydroelectricity generation for the year of 2020, 2030 and 2040 for selected ten countries. In order to demonstrate the use of an alternative projection methodology, we use a simple experience curve to project hydroelectricity intensity, which in turn is used to estimate future net hydroelectricity generation for the same year of 2020, 2030 and 2040. Our own projection results are higher for five countries and lower for remaining five countries, when compared to the EIA' projections. However, for China, the largest producing country, our projection is significantly higher by 77%. Alternative projections made by other sources on China, however, appear to support our own projection. Implications from our findings will be discussed.



Analysis of OPEC performance regarding oil production and declaration of amount of reserves
Crude oil reserves and production play an important role in the world economy; it seems all OPEC members can perform artificial oil quantity to market through oil reserve tools. This study indicates that the mentioned behaviour could create wrong data in the market and also increase the exposure in market. Part of oil crises in terms of oil market is related to such a behaviour. Without the pressure of cooperating with OPEC, the government of an oil exporting country would face the standard problem of how to manage an exhaustible resource: i.e., choosing between current and future production. This paper concluded that announcement of OPEC members' oil reserves has a concurrence which may be in conflict with the actual volume of reserves.



Renewable energy power generation: a policy review pertaining to wind energy in India
Energy used to be produced mostly from fossil fuels until the near past, and the use of these fuels has created many environmental problems. For this reason, renewable energy resources have become important for energy production. Worldwide, about 86.4% of energy is produced by fossil fuels. Renewable energy has become an important agenda of India's energy planning process especially since climate change has taken centre stage in the domestic and international policy arena. To demonstrate its commitment to renewable energy, the government has set aggressive targets for renewables and several incentives and policy initiatives at the central and state levels have been put in place both for grid connected and off-grid renewable energy. An increasing tendency to use renewable energy resources in the world has revealed a need to study the current position of wind energy also and particularly the policies to increase the usage of wind energy. Wind energy provides a cost-effective and scalable alternative to conventional energies. The focus of this paper is on evaluating the effectiveness of policies with respect to deployment of renewable energy sources and in particular wind energy in India.



Potential and feasibility study of standalone solar PV/wind/biogas and biodiesel hybrid electric supply system in Ethiopia
The main focus of this study is renewable energy resource assessment and feasibility study to generate electricity for the rural community from solar PV, wind turbine, biogas and biodiesel generator. To model and analyse the feasibility of the hybrid system HOMER was chosen. Grid comparison against the hybrid system was done for cost benefit analysis. The optimisation result of the simulation demonstrates that the best optimal hybrid system consists of solar photo voltaic, wind turbine, biogas generator, biodiesel generator, converter and battery under load following system control strategy. This system has initial capital cost of $335,468, net present cost of $837,915, levelised cost of energy of $0.239/kWh. The total capital cost of grid extension was determined as $147,752, and its operation and maintenance cost is 267$/km/yr.



Performance evaluation of solar dryer with a biomass stove to meet Indonesian National Standard of ginger simplisia
In Indonesia, ginger simplisia's (dried form) quality standards is regulated in SNI 01-7087-2005. The conventional drying method, direct open sun drying, has several weaknesses. It could reduce the quality of products that do not meet standards. Relating with these problems, one of the improvement efforts that can be done is by using the solar dryer technology. In this study, design and prototype of the mixed passive solar dryer has been made. Then, the solar dryer was tested to evaluate its performance. Tests were done through simulation and direct (prototype) tests. Based on the results of simulation and prototype tests, the performance of solar dryer designed was quite satisfactory (temperature ranges between 40-60°C). ANOVA and t-tests showed that there were no differences in temperature between each racks in each heat sources. In addition, based on the validation test there were no significant differences between the measurement results of the simulation and prototype tests.



Kinematics of a steering tyre with adjustable caster
This paper presents the kinematics of a steerable tyre with a variable caster. It serves as a first step towards developing the theory of variable caster steering in which wheel camber is controlled by the variable caster. The homogeneous transformation was utilised as a tool to develop the kinematics. The wheel camber, extracted from the kinematics, was expressed as a function of steering angle and suspension parameters in general case. The movement of the ground-contact point along the tyre perimeter was also taken into account. The kinematics was developed without small-angle-approximation. Therefore, the kinematic model is applicable to the case of the variable caster. A practical mechanism for the variable caster was also suggested to introduce the idea of the task. The required kinematics of such suspensions is derived from the general case to provide a visual understanding. The kinematics was then validated by a multi-body model built in ADAMS software.



Dual-mode switched control of suspension with consideration of actuator dynamics
This work developed a dual-mode switched active control suspension to improve ride comfort and enhance anti-roll performance. First, a 4-DOF roll-plane half-car model, with consideration of the non-linear characteristics of hydraulic actuator, was employed for the study. On the basis of the backstepping algorithm, the controller was designed with two states corresponding to ride comfort control and anti-roll control. Accordingly, the controller can switch between the active suspension system (ASS) mode and the active hydraulically interconnected suspension (AHIS) mode. Subsequently, a trajectory planning function for the body roll angle was adopted to ensure a smooth switching process and desired value tracking. To estimate the critical states required for the control algorithm, the authors applied state observation based on the unscented Kalman filter (UKF). Then, simulation and road testing were undertaken to evaluate the performance of the UKF-based observation. Finally, numerical simulations, including step input and the fishhook test, were carried out to illustrate the effectiveness of the presented approach.



Evaluation of adaptive carbon fibre-reinforced door beams
An expandable, carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) door beam was designed, built and experimentally evaluated to improve side impact performance and reduce mass in passenger vehicles. Pressurisation and expansion of the beam was achieved using gas generator technology. The impact performance of the beam was evaluated by means of a sub system test method, mimicking vehicle-to-pole side impact. The sub system test method comprised a 3-point, bending load case, with a spring loaded sliding boundary condition at one end of the beam, while the other end was rigidly fixed. The beam was impacted by a 60 kg cylindrical impactor at 6 m/s. For the expanded and pressurised beam peak deflection was 193 mm. For the folded unpressurised beam peak deflection was 216 mm. To achieve the same impact performance with the expandable CFRP beam, as with a state of the art aluminium door beam, mass reductions seem plausible.



Lidar-based road terrain recognition for passenger vehicles
The road terrain type is important information about a passenger vehicle's surroundings. It suggests an appropriate control algorithm and driving strategy. In this paper, a Lidar sensor is employed to reconstruct the road surface and extract features for terrain classification. The experiment vehicle was driven on four specific road terrains at a variety of speeds. The speed dependency and the effect of using principal component analysis were investigated. The simulation experimental results show that this Lidar sensor-based approach is feasible and robust for passenger vehicles in a range of outdoor scenarios.



Perceptions of an automotive load space in a virtual environment
A study was conducted to investigate the accuracy of perceptions of a car load space in a cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE). A total of 46 participants rated load space width, height, depth, usability and overall capacity after viewing either a virtual Range Rover Evoque in the CAVE or the real car. Participants were also asked to estimate how many 100 mm3 blocks could fit in the load space in width, depth or height. The only significant difference was in usability, which was rated higher in the CAVE. There was no systematic over- or under-estimation of distances in the virtual environment. The results suggest that virtual environments can be used for car load space design, particularly for estimates of size, but further work is required to be confident that subjective ratings of virtual properties are equivalent to those of real vehicles.



Success factors of women owned micro and small enterprises in India
The role of women in economic growth is underestimated, primarily due to myopic view of looking at their endeavours. The current paper envisages exploring the factors that contribute to the success of women entrepreneurs especially in the context of micro and small enterprises. The paper is empirical in nature using survey method with the help of structured questionnaire. The data has been analysed using multiple regression analysis. As an outcome of data analysis five factors emerge as predictors of success of women entrepreneurs, viz. social environment, technology support, family support, gender segregation and education. Most astonishing finding was that the role of government in their success was not accepted by these women. The government has to relook its policies, especially in terms of their accessibility and reach. The social environment has emerged as the most significant predictor of women entrepreneur's success, hence NGOs and social bodies have to enhance the process.



The support paradox in community enterprise experiments in the Netherlands
In many European countries, community-based entrepreneurship is increasingly considered as a means to initiate small-scale urban regeneration. However, residents in deprived neighbourhoods are often viewed to lack key entrepreneurial skills. Most research on community entrepreneurship support is based on cross-sectional studies and overly focussed on government support. This paper extends current knowledge by reporting a unique national experiment in the Netherlands with community enterprises receiving support from a private foundation. The paper aims to investigate how active citizens perceive the benefits and drawbacks of this support. Using a unique longitudinal approach, the paper analyses transcriptions of repeated semi-structured interviews (panel design) from community enterprises in several neighbourhoods. While positive feedback is found, the study provides strong evidence for a 'support paradox': the support that was intended to overcome a number of entry barriers and difficulties on the road to community entrepreneurship has significantly hampered progress among several community enterprises.



Entrepreneurship, risk perception and firm performance
Risk attitudes of entrepreneurs are well-established drivers of business performance. Most empirical studies in this field only take into account risk propensity, leaving out the complementary concept of risk perception. Using data on 611 entrepreneurs from Tanzania, we show that risk perception is positively associated with business performance. In addition, we classify the entrepreneurs in four different groups based on their risk profile. The results show that the worst performing entrepreneurs are those with low risk perception and high risk propensity.



Mechanisms of intergenerational knowledge transfer among Indonesian family SMEs
This qualitative study explores the mechanisms of intergenerational knowledge transfer in family small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia. The samples were selected via theoretical sampling from 14 companies, totalling 23 participants. The results show that the process of transferring knowledge from the predecessor to the successor in family SMEs in Indonesia is gradual, from easy to difficult. The learning process stages are based on the successor's level of understanding. The successor is given responsibilities in the beginning; these increase as the successor matures. This study identified the presence of two stages in the process of knowledge transfer: awareness development and implementation. The first stage can be further classified into two subcategories: awareness development with passive involvement and awareness development with active involvement. The second stage is facilitated by gradual role adjustment between the predecessor and the successor.



Human capital, financial strategy and small firm performance: a study of Canadian entrepreneurs
This study investigates the relationship between human capital, financial strategy, and small firm performance in Canadian firms, analysing primary data collected through telephone surveys from 187 start-up owners. The results show that bank connections, entrepreneurial experience, internal financing sources, and investment motivations are positively correlated with the performance of small ventures; bank connections, entrepreneurial experience, personal financial sources, and risk diversification have a positive correlation with the net profit margin; while bank connections and the financial investment of immediate family members show a positive correlation with both return on investment and cash flow. The study enriches the literature concerning the factors affecting small firms' performance, exploring, both synthetically and analytically, the complex relationships between human, social and financial capital.



Entrepreneurial drivers and performance: an exploratory study of urban minority and women entrepreneurs
This study examines the relationship between entrepreneur demographics (education, experience), characteristics (personality traits, motivation) and entrepreneurial success in the context of urban minority and women entrepreneurship. Based on a survey of 68 minority and women entrepreneurs from Baltimore, a large city in the USA, the research investigates whether there are significant differences between successful and less successful entrepreneurs in terms of personality traits, motivation, and education and experience levels. Success was measured in terms of average net profit and average sales growth over three years. The findings suggest that entrepreneurs who had more education and experience had higher growth in sales and net profits. Further, successful entrepreneurs were more persistent and enthusiastic, had better sense of achievement, and were more cautious in taking risks.



The role of foreign-owned businesses in the revitalisation of historic centres in three Catalan towns
Some derelict historical neighbourhoods in Barcelona, in Lleida and in Tortosa experienced the foreclosures of many native-owned small businesses in the early 1990s. The same areas witnessed a rather sudden upsurge of foreign immigrant-owned businesses since the late 1990s. Using scarce but valuable unpublished retail censuses data of the historic centres of the three towns, this paper contends that foreign entrepreneurs do contribute to urban regeneration there, through the creation of new small retail and service businesses. The paper concentrates on el Raval, a neighbourhood in the historical centre of Barcelona, where recently created foreign-owned businesses were keeping up with retail and services in the midst of the Spanish economic crisis. These types of businesses are not panacea, since many could still break out of its limited mode. Yet urban planners from the Government of Catalonia and from local governments could rely more on the stamina of foreign entrepreneurs.



Quality tools for a successful strategic management
Quality is conformity with the specifications, it is degree of satisfaction provided to the consumer during use. Poor quality not only generates costs but also limits the mentality of collaborators when they have no incentive to improve or correct certain activity. It is impossible to progress without change, and those who can not change themselves do not change anything. Throughout the execution of any work or analysis, tools of quality are used to optimise time, resolve unforeseen, minimise deviations, enhance professional organisation, detect new ideas and opportunities, and develop leadership spirit of people and teams. Currently, knowhow to work with tools such as 5 S's, 5 W and 2 H, 6σ, SWOT analysis, benchmarking, brainstorming, control charts, Ishikawa diagram, FMEA, Pareto chart, process mapping, multi vote, the 5 whys, poka yoke, QFD, pair of table and team charter are essential for success and recognition in both academia and industry.



Total span of farm work flow using Petri net with resource sharing
The aim of this work is to present the graphical model of farm work flow (FWF) problem with multi resources sharing, in which each operation may need more than one kind of resources. Using the Petri net concept with resource shared places we describe the farming process mathematically and graphically, and simulate the farming activation and resources assignment. The marking that is one of the properties of Petri nets facilitates mastering the farming progress and the status of the farmland and resources. Here, we apply a new concept deadlock-free Petri net model with resource sharing for minimising the total span of FWF, which is essential in agricultural production systems.



Correctness of artefact-centric business process models
The verification of business process models is an important step in the design phase of process-aware information systems. Currently, in the area of artefact-centric process model verification, the focus has been on the static formal analysis of process executions. However, seldom have they considered the correctness of artefact-centric business process models themselves from both structural and behavioural perspectives. In this paper, we fill this gap by introducing the concept of correctness for artefact-centric business process models from both structural and behavioural aspects. In artefact-centric modelling approach, a business process is modelled as the interaction of the involved artefact lifecycles. Therefore, the correctness of the associated artefact lifecycle models is the foundation of the correctness of an artefact-centric process model. Both structural soundness and behavioural soundness of artefact lifecycle models are proposed and the corresponding verification approaches are proposed, based on which the correctness of an artefact-centric business process model can be identified. Our work contributes to the identification of correctness issues in artefact-centric business process models in the early design or modelling phase.



Motivating front level employees in the services organisation: theoretical analysis and implications
The front line employees are the keys to any services organisation and keeping them motivated is a decisive success factor of a well-functioned service delivery model. This study aims to decipher the front level employee motivation policies of IBIS Hotel (Excel Docklands London Branch) and its impact on the service delivery process. The study finds after the discussions with the managers of IBIS hotel and analysis of the collected data that it does not follow any structured policy to empower the employees through motivation rather they empower the employees based on their level of knowledge and expertise. Financial benefits motivate the employees mostly but this research found that only 32% employees are satisfied with the current financial and non-financial packages. Moreover, 68% employees of IBIS hotel support the fact that financial incentives help to motivate mostly whereas 32% agree with the non-financial incentives as a source of motivation. These findings do not contradict the conventional and modern theory of motivation.



Links between strategic goals, information technology and customer satisfaction during business process reengineering
The purpose of this study is to determine underlying constructs that predict customer satisfaction during business process reengineering, with focus on organisation strategic goals and information technology as key enabler. Literature review leads to development of a structural equation model (SEM) illustrating links between strategic goals, information technology compounded of behaviour/performance of the utilised IT solution, customer perceived ease of use and attitude, as well as customer satisfaction. The model was tested using survey data from a sample of 236 students who used a new service as result of the process reengineering project. The strategic goals were significantly correlated with both utilised IT solutions and customer satisfaction, while IT solutions had direct effect on customer perceived ease of use and attitude towards the introduced change and utilised technology. Customer attitude also influenced customer satisfaction, while customer perceived ease of use of the IT solution failed to predict their satisfaction.



Method of grouping units of organisation by using fuzzy design structure matrix
One of the reasons for complexity seen in organisations is the increased communication levels among individuals. By forming groups with similar tasks, a general framework is developed for designing organisations. In the present article, by using design structure matrix (DSM), appropriate groups were developed inside organisational planning unit to show interactions among tasks of each typical group and the levels of inter-dependency among them. DSM has been already used for optimisation of products or scheduling projects, but in the present study, we applied this technique as a suitable tool for modelling and planning of inter-related tasks. The results of method of grouping include improving organisational structure, decreasing the complexity, and increased speed of organisational processes. Also, in the organisation, working groups cause the increased function, the improved inter-tasks of members, the increased innovation, creativity and flexibility. All the mentioned factors lead into intraorganisational effectiveness considering current complex environment.



Research on the impact of dynamic performance of Metro gear transmission system caused by track spectrum excitation
In order to explore the influence of track irregularity on the gear transmission system of urban rail transit vehicles, we built the Metro helical gears model of the bend-torsion-axes, which considered the time-varying meshing stiffness, gear meshing error, backlash nonlinearity etc. Besides, the track spectrum excitation was considered in the system for the first time, used the variable step forth order Runge-Kutta algorithm solve the model, obtained the gear system dynamic response diagrams, analysed the system stability and dynamic transfer error (DTE) of the gear system under the track spectrum excitation with the dynamic model and the ADAMS simulation. The result show that the single periodic motion of the system is changed into the quasi periodic motion with the influence of track spectrum excitation, and the DTE was increased. The paper lays a theoretical foundation for the research of the Metro gear transmission system. [Received 16 July 2016; Revised 27 October 2016; Accepted 16 November 2016]



Mechanism study on gear tooth surface texture in power honing process
Gear driving occupies an indispensable position in the field of mechanical transmission of the modern industry, better texture and mechanics characteristics of gear surface contribute to better meshing quality. Gear honing has been wildly used as gear finishing process because of its better gear surface texture and higher surface residual stress than gear grinding in recent years, especially for the development of power honing with internal gearing. In this paper, the gear surface model of the bull-gear in gear box was built based on the involute helicoid theory, and then the points of gear surface were converted to the honing wheel by using the space coordinate transform theory and matrix resolution method, the tooth surface model of the honing wheel was calculated based on the honing parameters and the conjugate contact principle of internal meshing. Through analysing the relative motion velocity vector of contact lines, the formation mechanism of gear surface texture was reflected clearly with different axis-crossing angles. The results of this research have important theoretical and instructional significance for the honing process. [Received 22 July 2016; Accepted 16 November 2016]



Emergency personnel and magnetic resonance imaging: is there a risk from clothing and working materials?
The use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems is on the rise and the number of installed systems is constantly increasing. This raises the possibility for emergency personnel to get in contact with these systems. This study examines the effects of magnetic force on selected working materials and clothes of firefighters and paramedics. This study was conducted as a field study, utilising a 1.5 tesla MRI system. The highest force of attraction can be researched on helmets (30 newton), boots (90 newton) and gloves (17 newton). Moreover, working material can be influenced by eddy currents. Considering the results of this study, boots and helmets must be considered as a risk in MRI examination rooms. Additional trainings for firefighters and paramedics should consider the danger of ferromagnetic objects close to MRI systems and that specific material can become a threat. More research is needed to investigate more material of emergency personnel.



Topology optimisation of transtibial prosthesis socket using finite element analysis
The objective of this work is to identify optimum pressure distribution of the prosthetic socket under specific load using finite element analysis (FEA). In addition, this study includes the topology optimisation of the socket using Altair's OptiStruct software. The socket needs to be flexible, but strong, to permit normal gait movement, but not twist/bend under pressure. Plaster of Paris (PoP) sockets of different clinical cases and below knee (BK) amputees having different stump geometries have been considered in this paper. The CAD model is developed by using point cloud data and meshing approach used for creating a volume mesh. The quantification of location, intensity and distribution of stress-strain on the socket leads to improved socket design. The proposed method redesigns the socket to improve patient comfort using FEA along with reverse engineering techniques. Further, the patients would feel comfortable with lightweight due to customised prosthetic sockets. The results of the study are in sync with the available literature.



Segmentation of retinal blood vessels in colour fundus images using ANFIS classifier
Diabetic Retinopathy is an irreversible retinal disorder in the diabetic patients where the blood vessels are injured due to the hyper pressure or flow of the blood through the vessels in retina. The blood vessels originate from the centre of the optic disc and spreads over the entire region of retina. Vision loss in diabetic patients can be prevented at an earlier stage if blood vessels are screened initially. Hence, detection of retinal blood vessels is significant for DR detection. In this paper, the computer-aided automatic detection and segmentation of retinal blood vessel is proposed by extracting the features based on orientation analysis of gradient vector field, morphological and gray level and Gabor features and are then classified using ANFIS classifier. The results show that the proposed method achieves sensitivity of 92.66%, 81.23% specificity of 98.53%, 98.70% and accuracy of 98.45%, 95.20% on DRIVE and STARE dataset.



A variational framework for low-dose sinogram restoration
Pre-processing the noisy sinogram before reconstruction is an effective and efficient way to solve the low-dose X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) problem. The objective of this paper is to develop a low-dose CT image reconstruction method based on statistical sonogram smoothing approach. The proposed method is casted into a variational framework and the solution of the method is based on minimisation of energy functional. The solution of the method consists of two terms viz. data fidelity term and a regularisation term. The data fidelity term is obtained by minimising the negative log likelihood of the signal dependent Gaussian probability distribution which depicts the noise distribution in low dose X-ray CT. The second term i.e. regularisation term is a non-linear CONvolutional Virtual Electric Field Anisotropic Diffusion (CONVEF-AD) based filter which is an extension of Perona-Malik (P-M) anisotropic diffusion filter. The main task of regularisation function is to address the issue of ill-posedness of the solution for the first term. The proposed method is capable of dealing with both signal dependent and signal independent Gaussian noise i.e. mixed noise. For experimentation purpose, two different sinograms, generated from test phantom images are used. The performance of the proposed method is compared with that of existing methods. The obtained results show that the proposed method outperforms many recent approaches and is capable of removing the mixed noise in low dose X-ray CT.



The ground reaction forces in the stance phase of gait: a longitudinal study on pregnancy and post-partum
The physiological and morphological changes during pregnancy could lead to changes in characteristics of the ground reaction forces (GRFs) in the stance phase of gait. Sixteen healthy pregnant women during the second and third trimester and post-partum were recruited. A force plate was used to measure the GRFs, and spatiotemporal parameters of gait were analysed through three-dimensional motion system. The results showed that the stride length and velocity decreased during the third trimester compared with post-partum. The vertical and anterior-posterior components of GRFs were obviously higher in the third trimester than post-partum. This study shows that pregnant females make adjustments in loading character to keep balance during pregnancy.



Association of diabetic retinopathy with systemic organ diseases: a review (cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases)
The association of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) with various systemic organ diseases were reviewed in this paper. This imparted much importance, since many of the systemic organs diseases and problems could be predicted well in advance and treated accordingly. With the low cost fundus photograph itself, the future organ failure and diseases could be avoided. In this review paper, the association of DR with the systemic organs namely heart as cardio vascular diseases were discussed. Also, the other diseases like hypertension, cerebrovascular diseases and their relation with DR were reviewed. This paper discussed about the world popular cohort study and its impact with different people from different parts of the world in the vast literature. In the cardiovascular area, Japanese complications study, association of DR and abnormal cardiac structure and function, association of DR with coronary atherosclerosis were discussed with the study methods and their statistical analysis. In the hypertension area, relation of retinal arteriolar narrowing with BP, hypertensions were discussed for different cohort study. The discussion was carried along with the study methods and statistical analysis. In cerebrovascular diseases and stroke, retinal vessel diameters, cerebral diseases and their associations were reviewed under Rotterdam study. Also, retinal microvascular abnormalities and subclinical cerebral infarction were discussed along with study population methods and statistical analysis.



Characteristics study of dermoscopic images
The dermoscopic images of skin lesions implicitly express the lesion characteristics. The study of salient features of the dermoscopic images would be highly helpful in the categorisation of skin lesions. The critical task is to assort the skin lesion as cancerous (melanoma) and non-cancerous (non-melanoma). Before salient features extraction, the lesion has to be carved up from the healthy skin region. It is required that the lesion has to be segmented accurately and automatically to facilitate delineation of the skin lesions in the form of key features. In this paper, an attempt has been made to form the feature vector of the segmented image which can be used for effectively classifying the dermoscopic image as melanoma or not.



Distributed approach of load balancing in dynamic grid computing environment
Workload management and resource management are two key aspects in grid computing to provide the better services to grid environment users. Grid computing involves a number of challenges like heterogeneous nature of resources, large number of computing elements, independency of computing resources, different processing capacities of the nodes, different load conditions, overloading of jobs at computing nodes and underutilised resources, etc. In this paper, a distributed grid and dynamic load balancing algorithm is proposed using the forest-based model of the grid structure. The problem of heterogeneity of the resources (the individual node is independent from the physical architecture of a grid) has also been taken into account. In the proposed approach all the computing nodes are connected with a group manager in a group and request to group manager for resource allocation. The group manger is responsible for balancing the workload within the group. In case of non-availability of the resources within the group, the group manger communicates with the other adjacent groups. It has been shown that proposed algorithm firstly balance the load at local level and then goes to the grid level, which results in reduced response time and communication cost.



Enhancement to performance of MPLS network through hierarchical MPLS
Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network is used to remove the overhead of routing table lookup at each router. Within the MPLS network, the routing table lookup is done at the edge routers which match the routing table values with the label table values and attach a label for the MPLS network. But, on comparative analysis, it is being found out that for the smaller and larger networks the time taken in MPLS network becomes more. In this paper, we propose a hierarchical MPLS network algorithm to reduce the time taken by the packets to reach from source to destination in a large MPLS network. It also deals with the small MPLS network and suggests solution for the same.



A study on a secure single sign-on for user authentication information privacy in distributed computing environment
Difficulties exist in managing password tapping in communication and each server in the existing password authentication scheme. The concept of single sign-on (SSO), which allows one to use linked computing resources and services following only a single authentication, as in general web-based services, was introduced in the distributed computing environment. The major security vulnerabilities for SSO authentication systems are authentication and replay attack. When a user's authentication information is intercepted by an attacker, a normal session can be acquired through a simple replay attack. Accordingly, various studies are being carried out, domestically and internationally, on SSO authentication techniques. For example, some studies use various digital signature methods such as the symmetric key-based algorithm, the RSA signature algorithm, and the Schnorr signature algorithm. Accordingly, this paper proposes a token-based, and NIZK verification-based SSO authentication techniques that provide privacy for user authentication information.



SLA conscious VM migration for host consolidation in cloud framework
Cloud computing has emerged as an alternate infrastructure, computation and service platform. Several user jobs and applications concurrently compete for cloud resources. Cloud environment exploits virtualisation to instantiate virtual machine (VM) for subscribers. VMs are like producers and consumers in cloud environment. VMs consume computational, storage and network resources in cloud on behalf of jobs and tasks. Jobs of subscribers are represented as VM or VMs. In this view, VMs are producers. Another concern in clouds remains energy efficiency. This paper presents a novel SLA aware VM selection scheme. Proposed selection scheme has been compared with minimum migration time, linear regression, maximum utilisation and threshold-based selection schemes. Simulations-based analysis established that proposed approach (SLA consciousness) outperforms other selection schemes using various allocation strategies. During simulation some real world workload traces from PlanetLab has been used.



Receiver initiated fast sequential collision resolution in 802.11 WLAN
Future wireless local area networks (WLANs) have potential bit rates of the order of hundreds of Mbps. However, the current IEEE 802.11 medium access control (MAC) protocol does not scale well to high bit rate WLANs. By using collision detection in wireless networks, the time spent on collision can be reduced, thus improving system throughput. In this paper, we propose an enhancement that uses a tone transmitted on a small time slot (called contention slot) which enables receiver initiated collision detection to the transmitters. In this proposed protocol, the receiver detects the collision when multiple data packets are received and it transmits a jamming signal to all the transmitting stations so that they can immediately stop their ongoing transmissions. In addition to collision detection, we propose a sequential collision resolution mechanism where preferential access is given to all the colliding packets to reduce unfairness and to increase system throughput.



Mathematical modelling of energy wastage in absence of levelling and sectoring in wireless sensor networks
In this paper, we quantitatively reason the energy savings achieved by the levelling and sectoring protocol. Due to the energy constraints on the sensor nodes (in terms of supply of energy), energy awareness has become crucial in networking protocol stack. The understanding of routing protocols along with energy awareness in a network would help in energy optimisation with efficient routing. We provide analytical modelling of the energy wastage in the absence of levelling and sectoring protocol by considering network in the form of binary tree, nested tree and Q-ary tree. The simulation results reflect the energy wastage in the absence of levelling and sectoring-based hybrid protocol.



Diverse approaches to cloud brokering: innovations and issues
In the cloud computing concept, users can use computing resources according to their needs and requirements. The cloud approach helps users to reduce the cost of IT infrastructure. To provide services, different cloud service providers build their own computing platform differently due to the lack of a common standard. Selecting the cloud provider from among these heterogeneous cloud environments is really challenging for users. Several brokering mechanisms have been proposed as an intermediate solution in the past few years. Cloud brokering helps users to select a cloud provider according to their needs and specific requirements. In this paper, we present the ongoing research and innovations pertaining to the cloud brokering mechanism by various researchers. We also investigate various approaches, future challenges and other obstacles to all the proposed brokering solutions. The main contribution of this paper is that it provides the first review concerning cloud brokering architecture, which will provide a better understanding of cloud brokering and identify the important research directions of this increasingly important area. Another contribution is that it depicts a unified cloud brokering architecture that can contribute to future research.



Antimony oxide nanostructures synthesised in water and their possible use in packaging of mineral water
Herein, we report a safe, low cost and reproducible approach for the synthesis of antimony oxide (Sb2O3) nanostructures. The organics free approach is based on a simple reaction of antimony powder and de-ionised water at ~270°C without harmful additives. By the morphological investigations using FE-SEM, it was observed that the grown products are nanostructures having well defined faces in the submicron range. The EDS and XRD patterns confirmed the composition and crystallinity of the grown samples. Possible involved mechanism for the growth of Sb2O3 nanostructures has been proposed. The aim of the study is to provide the feasibility of the simple route for the preparation of Sb2O3 nanostructures without additives and their possible use in packaging of water.



Simple method for surface modification of iron oxide nanoparticles with silica and gold
Iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles have special properties such as stability, biocompatibility and high magnetic saturation that are used for bioapplications. To avoid aggregation of magnetic nanoparticles, their surface must be modified by coating materials. In this paper, we focused on synthesis of iron oxide (IO) nanoparticles with co-precipitation method and coating them with PVP, SiO2 and Au. The FT-IR, XRD, TEM, SEM and EDX show the surface modifications.



Fabrication of optical fibre pencil shaped tips for nano objective imaging using home made tapering technique
A method is developed to produce chemically etched optical fibre tips for small and nano objective imaging with valuable properties such as large transmission and no lateral light leaks. Tips are coated with a dielectric material like Al, Cr, etc., that is refraction-index approximately matched to silica. First small objective imaging of latex nanospheres with the smallest optical aperture tips confirms their ability to reach subwavelength optical resolution. In addition, thanks to their high transmission and collection efficiencies as well as their natural achromatism. Probing optical properties of materials and optical characterisation of molecular defects at the nanometre scale has been inaccessible until recently owing to the diffraction limit of light. With the invention of nanometric fibre optic tip by the help of chemical etching and tapering technique, resolution at the 50 ± 100 nm level using visible or near infrared light is now practical. The unique capability of fibre optic probe to simultaneously measure surface topography and local optoelectronic properties, thereby eliminating the need to perform cross correlation analysis on results obtained using different techniques, is particularly useful in this area. The noticeable improvement of tapering technique was observed here.



Synthesis of hydroxyapatite nano powders by rapid gel combustion
In this study, we have executed a very detailed literature research on the synthesis of hydroxyapatite (HA), {Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2} nano powders. HA is a very important bioceramic material with excellent biocompatibility and bone bonding ability used in the medical field as bone substitute materials, because of its structural and compositional similarity to that of the mineral phase of hard tissue in human beings. HA nano powders (n-HAPs) in soft agglomerate form were synthesised by 'Rapid Gel Combustion' process. Synthesised n-HAPs were characterised by SEM, XRD and FTIR. The n-HAPs have white colour, spherical morphology consisting of micro and nano pores, crystallite size of 42.74 nm, very high specific surface area of 74.06 m2.g−1, Ca/P molar ratio of 1.65 and crystalline structure with characteristic HA peaks (JCPDF 9-432) without any secondary phases. FTIR spectra demonstrated the characteristic peaks of absorbed water, hydroxyl and Ca-phosphate.



Synthesis and characterisation of nano powders for production of zirconia toughened alumina bioceramic implant materials
Zirconia toughened alumina (ZTA) is a very important bio ceramic implant material with excellent biocompatibility as an inert bone substitute material for orthopedic applications and also for dental implants. In this study, alumina (Al2O3) and yttria stabilised zirconia (YSZ) nano powders in soft agglomerate form were synthesised by co-precipitation method. Aluminium nitrate {Al(NO3)3•9H2O}, zirconium oxynitrate {ZrO(NO3)2•xH2O} and yttrium nitrate hexahydrate {Y(NO3)36H2O} were dissolved in distilled water. NaOH solution was added as precipitant. The solution was turned into gel by mixing on hot plate magnetic stirrer at ambient temperature. In this way, Al2O3 and YSZ nano powders were synthesised together to produce the ZTA bioceramic implant material. The crystal structure, morphology and other physical properties of synthesised nano powders were investigated and characterised by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The composition ratio of ZrO2/Al2O3 and co-precipitation conditions had significant effect on the synthesised powder morphology and particle size and distribution in final product. The powders have a different morphology like formless and spherical and have the particle size distribution in the range of 100-900 nm. The final products have a very high relative sinter density about 91%, a small particle size of < 2 µm and homogeneity of particle and porosity distribution in microstructure.



Detection of creatinine on triangular silver nanoplates surface using surface-enhanced Raman scattering sensor
In this study, we attempt to detect various concentrations of creatinine molecules on the triangular silver nanoplate films surface using a self-build surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensor. The SERS sensor system consists of a butterfly laser diode, Inphotonic Raman fibre, Ocean Optics spectrophotometer and sensor chamber to contain the creatinine sample. Triangular-shaped silver nanoplate films were prepared on quartz surface by self-assembly technique. Detection of creatinine was done by irradiating creatinine on the triangular nanoplates surface using 785 nm of the laser light. It was found that the enhancement of the creatinine Raman peaks is linear with the creatinine concentrations. The lowest creatinine concentration that was detected by this SERS sensor is 0.005 M.



Export intensity of clothing manufacturers: the mediating role of entrepreneurial orientation
This article explores the interplay between firms' specific capabilities and their export intensity. Drawing on the resource-based view, the article offers insights into the mediating role of entrepreneurial orientation in the relationship between manufacturing capability and export intensity from an African perspective. A structural equation model for 45 surveyed export manufacturers is analysed to uncover the phenomenon at hand. The empirical evidence underpins the previous scholarly work which considers firms' internal capabilities as the dominant explanation of firms' success in international markets. More specifically, statistical testing results reveal that the effect of manufacturing capability on export intensity is mediated by entrepreneurial orientation. In essence, firms' operational processes provide entrepreneurially oriented managers with the mental map that enables them to find the most appropriate opportunities in the export markets.



Vector autoregression approach for pricing to market of Indian exporting firms
This paper applies panel vector autoregression (VAR) techniques to analyse the pricing to market (PTM) behaviour of India's exporting firms during the 2002 to 2016 period. Quarterly data by sector and region, drawn from CII surveys, are employed to study the dynamic relationship between pricing policies of exporting firms, their cost competitiveness and demand conditions. A partial equilibrium imperfect competition model provides the structure according to which the orthogonality of structural shocks is derived. Impulse-response analysis helps assessing the reaction of export-domestic price margins to unanticipated changes in cost competitiveness and demand levels. These factors appear to exert non-negligible effects even though they turn to be very low persistent. For the period 2014 to 2016, a typical PTM behaviour emerges, while during the most recent years favourable foreign demand conditions allowed exporting India's firms to increase their export-domestic price margin in face of a strong deterioration of their cost competitiveness.



How Nordic companies in Nigeria respond to host-country risks: a network theory approach
Kidnappings by Boko Haram, the destruction caused by the Niger-Delta militancy, and attacks by Omo Onile do not paint Nigeria as a welcoming host country for your next international project. However, despite these turbulences, international business in Nigeria is thriving. This paper investigates how project marketers deal with the country's uncertainties. Through multiple case study, it analyses the risk management behaviours of Nordic companies operating in this key African market. Drawing from the network theory, we analyse the nature of the host-country risks. We then show that international project managers harness local networks to identify, evaluate and manage risks, as well as link different risks to specific strategic responses. This paper contributes to the project management literature by expanding the existing risk management typologies to the context of international projects, and elaborates on the risks prevalent in the emerging developing economies. We disclose the role of technological leadership and organisational leadership in influencing the Nigerian business environment rather than solely avoiding the corruption-prone projects. We show that exerting leadership is possible by maintaining corporate culture governed by the rules of the home country, even when the company localises its operations through employing host-country natives. This combined approach mitigates the negative risk of the psychic distance, while assuring the transparency of company operations.



Unethical activities of innovation roles in SME export initiation
This study investigates unethical activities undertaken by innovation roles involved in the export initiation of small and medium enterprises. Past research has revealed that unethical activities occur in market innovation, such as in exports. However, little work has been done to measure the unethical behaviours of innovation roles in exporting. A semi-structured interview approach was used to collect longitudinal CIT data from those involved in export initiation in 13 Australian SMEs. Analysis using an a priori codebook based on the literature was utilised to identify unethical activities. The results indicate that unethical activities involving decision-makers performing their innovation roles were found in more than half of the cases. This study confirms that unethical incidents occur between importers and exporters, as well as between decision-makers within the exporting firm. The source and direction of unethical activities by innovation roles in export initiation may assist in explaining regular and sporadic export phenomena.