Journal of
Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

 ISSN: 1690-4524 (Online)    DOI: 10.54808/JSCI


Connecting Social Science and Information Technology through an Interface-Centric Framework of Analysis
Mikael Sundström
Pages: 1-6
The gathering pace of IT innovation has, or ought to have had notable methodological repercussions for the social-science community (and beyond). Where yesterday the researcher could unhurriedly unlock the social-scientific significance of a chosen medium, secure in the knowledge that his or her work would have bearing for many years, by now there is every reason to confront a fear that the prodded IT implementation may in fact be gone or at least heavily altered by the time such comprehensive research is concluded. This paper will propose a complementing systematic “interface-centric” research model capable of interconnecting a non-finite variety of IT implementations and social science studies in a coherent way. The paper also outlines how users “downstream”, whether political actors or technology operators can use the proposed framework to more easily approach and weight academic input when evaluating complex IT effects.

Real-Time Virtual Instruments for Remote Sensor Monitoring Using Low Bandwidth Wireless Networks
Biruk Gebre, Liwen Guo, Nishit Patel, Kishore Pochiraju
Pages: 7-17
The development of a peer-to-peer virtual instrumentation system for remote acquisition, analysis and transmission of data on low bandwidth networks is described. The objective of this system is to collect high frequency/high bandwidth data from multiple sensors placed at remote locations and adaptively adjust the resolution of this data so that it can be transmitted on bandwidth limited networks to a central monitoring and command center. This is achieved by adaptively re-sampling (decimating) the data from the sensors at the remote location before transmission. The decimation is adjusted to the available bandwidth of the communications network which is characterized in real-time. As a result, the system allows users at the remote command center to view high bandwidth data (at a lower resolution) with user-aware and minimized latency. This technique is applied to an eight hydrophone data acquisition system that requires a 25.6 Mbps connection for the transmission of the full data set using a wireless connection with 1 – 3.5 Mbps variable bandwidth. This technique can be used for applications that require monitoring of high bandwidth data from remote sensors in research and education fields such as remote scientific instruments and visually driven control applications.

Automated Reasoning Across Tactical Stories to Derive Lessons Learned
J. Wesley Regian, Michael Denny, Bill Desmedt, Laurie Waisel
Pages: 18-21
The Military Analogical Reasoning System (MARS) is a performance support system and decision aid for commanders in Tactical Operations Centers. MARS enhances and supports the innate human ability for using stories to reason about tactical goals, plans, situations, and outcomes. The system operates by comparing many instances of stored tactical stories, determining which have analogous situations and lessons learned, and then returning a description of the lessons learned. The description of the lessons learned is at a level of abstraction that can be generalized to an appropriate range of tactical situations. The machine-understandable story representation is based on a military operations data model and associated tactical situation ontology. Thus each story can be thought of, and reasoned about, as an instance of an unfolding tactical situation. The analogical reasoning algorithm is based on Gentner's Structure Mapping Theory. Consider the following two stories. In the first, a U.S. platoon in Viet Nam diverts around a minefield and subsequently comes under ambush from a large hill overlooking their new position. In the second, a U.S. task force in Iraq diverts around a biochemical hazard and subsequently comes under ambush from the roof of an abandoned building. MARS recognizes these stories as analogical, and derives the following abstraction: When enemy-placed obstacles force us into an unplanned route, beware of ambush from elevation or concealment. In this paper we describe the MARS interface, military operations data model, tactical situation ontology, and analogical reasoning algorithm.

Collaborative Learning in the Remote Laboratory NetLab
Jan Machotka, Zorica Nedic, Özdemir Göl
Pages: 22-27
At the University of South Australia (UniSA) the practical component of engineering education is considered to be a vital factor in developing university graduate qualities [1]. Practical experiments performed in laboratory facilitate students’ abilities to apply their knowledge, work collaboratively, control equipment and analyse the measured data. The remote laboratory NetLab has been developed within the School of Electrical and Information Engineering (EIE). A fully functional system has been used by up to 200 onshore and offshore students to conduct remote experiments every year since 2003. This paper describes the remote laboratory and discusses how collaborative team oriented tasks can be conducted in the online environment. The functionality of NetLab is demonstrated by an example of a remote experiment.

Covert Binary Communications through the Application of Chaos Theory: Three Novel Approaches
Kyle J. Bradbury, Joseph P. Noonan
Pages: 28-33
Today, most covert communications systems use a spreadspectrum approach to ensure that transmissions remain clandestine. This paper expands beyond traditional spreadspectrum schemes and into chaos theory in communications by presenting a novel design for a covert noncoherent binary communication system that uses chaotic signals. Three techniques are developed, with varying performance. Each system uses two chaotic signals with antipodal attractors as the information carriers. Although the two chaotic signals used are continuously generated from random starting values without containing repetitious patterns, the receiver requires neither those initial values nor does it require synchronization with the transmitter. The chaotic signals used are both spreadspectrum in the frequency domain and undetectable using matched-filter receivers, thereby achieving a level of covertness. The signal-to-noise ratio performance is presented through simulated receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for a comparison to binary phase shift keying. This system provides a binary communication scheme which is not detectable by standard matched filtering techniques and has noise-like spectra, requiring a new receiver configuration and yielding security.

Inverted Pendulum Design with Hardware Fuzzy Logic Controller
Eric Minnaert, Brian Hemmelman, Dan Dolan
Pages: 34-39
An inverted pendulum robot has been designed and built using a fuzzy logic controller implemented in a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The Mamdani fuzzy controller has been implemented using integer numbers to simplify its construction and improve system throughput. An accelerometer and rate gyroscope are used along with a complementary filter to monitor the state of the robot. Using angular velocity and angle error the fuzzy controller can successfully balance the inverted pendulum robot.

Basile L. AGBA, Francois GAGNON, Ammar KOUKI
Pages: 40-48
Mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) are very difficult to design in terms of scenarios specification and propagation modeling. All these aspects must be taken into account when designing MANET. For cost-effective designing, powerful and accurate simulation tools are needed. Our first contribution in this paper is to provide a global approach process (GAP) in channel modeling combining scenarios and propagation in order to have a better analysis of the physical layer, and finally to improve performances of the whole network. The GAP is implemented in an integrated simulation tool, Ad-SMPro. Moreover, channel statistics, throughput and delay are some key points to be considered when studying a mobile wireless networks. A carefully analysis of mobility effects over second order channel statistics and system performances is made based on our optimized simulation tool, Ad-SMProl. The channel is modeled by large scale fading and small scale fading including Doppler spectrum due to the double mobility of the nodes. Level Cross Rate and Average Duration of Fade are simulated as function of double mobility degree, a defined to be the ratio of the nodes' speeds. These results are compared to the theoretical predictions. We demonstrate that, in mobile ad hoc networks, flat fading channels and frequency-selective fading channels are differently affected. In addition, Bit Error rate is analysed as function of the ratio of the average bit energy to thermal noise density. Other performances (such as throughput, delay and routing traffic) are analysed and conclusions related to the proposed simulation model and the mobility effects are drawn.

E-Government: Trends and Sophistication at the Local Level of Government
Tony Wohlers
Pages: 49-55
Innovations in information communication technologies have contributed to new forms of interaction between governments and citizens in the United States and other industrialized democracies. The adoption of these technologies at different levels of government has contributed to the emergence of electronic-government or e-government designed to communicate information, deliver services, and offer additional avenues designed to interact with and participate in government. Based on a detailed content analysis of government websites in conjunction with descriptive and multiple regression approaches, this study assesses and explains the level of egovernment sophistication at the local level of government across different States in the United States. The study argues that local e-government sophistication increases for municipalities governed by professional managers, endowed with more organizational resources, characterized by higher socioeconomic levels, increasing population size, and located in the west. While the findings support the hypothesis, the descriptive analysis also illustrates that local governments have not fully embraced the potentials of e-government.

Integrating e-Learning and Classroom Learning; Four Years of Asynchronous Learning to Improve Academic Competences
Bart Rienties, Maarten Van Wesel, Wim Gijselaers
Pages: 56-60
In an ever-changing world, competencies to process information efficiently are essential. However, several researchers indicate that graduates have limited abilities to solve complex problems in reality. In this paper, a possible solution to increase competences in effective searching, analysing and comparing information is provided. In a blended-learning environment, students had to share information before coming to class. The results of an analysis of four consecutive years of computersupported learning in a master-course indicate that students are willing to share information when conditions are favourable. In addition, a specific redesign of the task, control and social dimension let to increased knowledge sharing. Future research is necessary to assess whether this also has increased performance.

Comparative Infectomic Analysis and Molecular Characterization of CglE, the Invasin IbeA Homologous Protein, Which Contributes to the Pathogenesis of Meningitic E. Coli K1 Infection
Hong Cao, Lidan Chen, Jun Yang, Shuji Gong, Hao Zhou, Yong Jiang, Sheng-He Huang
Pages: 61-66
CglE is a putative dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLDH) that shares significant protein sequence homology (50% identity and 70% similarity) to the IbeA invasin contributing to the pathogenesis of E. coli meningitis. However, the biochemical, biological and pathogenic functions of CglE are unknown. In order to characterize the role of CglE in the pathogenesis of meningitic infections, infectomic, bioinformatics and molecular approaches were used to analyze and predict its structure and function. First, our comparative infectomic studies showed that CglE and IbeA are present in the genetic island GimA as a pair of homologous proteins that are encoded by two different operons, cgl (GimA2) and ibe (GimA4), at different locations. A similar pair of proteins is also present in Silicibacter sp which belongs to the most abundant and ecologically relevant marine bacterial groups. Meningitic E. coli K1 and Silicibacter sp have to survive under harsh environments (cerebrospinal fluid and ocean) with poor nutrition, suggesting that this pair of proteins is important for energy metabolism in the both microbes. Secondly, bioinformatic analysis indicated that CglE is a putative DLDH, which is the E3 component of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. A FAD-binding domain and homologous flavoprotein regions are present in CglE. DLDH has been identified as virulence factors contributing to the pathogenesis of hepatitis C virus and pneumococcal infections. The sequence of CglE is homology to that of IbeA, an invasion protein of meningitic E. coli, and the surface probability and hydrophilicity are very similar to each other. Thirdly, the expression, purification and biochemical analysis of CglE protein was further carried out to determine whether CglE shares similar functions as IbeA and whether it is a new class of DLDH. The cglE gene was amplified by PCR and subcloned into pET22b(+) then expressed in E. coli BL21(DE3) as a fusion protein with His6 tag at its C-terminus induced by IPTG. CglE fusion protein was purified. Like IbeA, CglE is able to bind to an IbeA-binding protein, vimentin. In further studies, we will examine whether CglE is a new class of DLDH and how it contributes to the pathogenesis of meningitic infections.

Distracted: Academic Performance Differences between Teen Users and Non-Users of MySpace and other Communication Technology
Tamyra A. Pierce, Roberto Vaca
Pages: 67-71
This study examined the differences in academic performance between teen users and non-users of various communication technologies. Participants included 517 high school students who completed a self-report survey. The results revealed that approximately ¾ of the teens had a MySpace account and a cell phone and more than ½ had an IM account. Results also showed that those who had a MySpace account, cell phone and IM had signifi cantly lower grades than those who did not. Results also revealed that teens who used their MySpace, cell phone and IM while doing their homework reported having lower grades than those who did not use the technology while doing their homework. In addition, those who put off doing their homework to spend time on MySpace also reported lower grades than those who did not put off doing their homework to spend time with MySpace. Finally, results showed that 28% text messaged during class from always to frequently, and 5% reported text messaging during an exam from always to frequently.

Using Discussions to Promote Critical Thinking in an Online Environment
Nega Debela, Berlin Fang
Pages: 72-77
This paper examines how the discussion tool is used to promote critical thinking in an online environment at Marshall University. The significance of critical thinking in higher education has been brought to attention at both national and local levels. The paper studies the use of discussions as an approach to promote critical thinking in a number of English as a Second Language (ESL) courses offered by Marshall University’s Graduate School of Education and Professional Development (GSEPD) program. At the end of the semester, a qualitative survey was developed to identify the effectiveness of such discussions, and the opportunities for improvement. The survey was sent to all students in these three classes. These students were all full time teachers in Elementary and Secondary schools in West Virginia. Out of 21 students, 15 of them have responded to the three questions asked in the survey. Almost all the respondents have found discussion helpful in enhancing learning and critical thinking. Most students support the involvement of an online instructor in the online discussion, and faculty members involved in these discussions function as helpers in the development of critical thinking skills.

Application of Technology in Project-Based Distance Learning
Ali Mehrabian, Karla Alvarado, Isabelina Nahmens
Pages: 78-82
Present technology and the accessibility of internet have made distance learning easier, more efficient, and more convenient for students. This technology allows instructors and students to communicate asynchronously, at times and locations of their own choosing, by exchanging printed or electronic information. The use of project-based approach is being recognized in the literature as a potential component of courses in the faculties of engineering, science, and technology. Instructors may have to restructure their course differently to accommodate and facilitate the effectiveness of distance learning. A project-based engineering course, traditionally taught in a classroom settings using live mode at the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has been transformed to a distance course taught using distance modes. In this case, pedagogical transitions and adjustments are required, in particular for obtaining an optimal balance between the course material and the project work. Project collaboration in groups requires communication, which is possible with extensive utilization of new information and communication technology, such as virtual meetings. This paper discusses the course transition from live to distance modes and touches on some issues as they relate to the effectiveness of this methodology and the lessons learned from its application within different context. More specifically, this discussion includes the benefit of implementing project-based work in the domain of the distance learning courses.

Using Tablet PCs in Social Work Practice Education
Diane M. Hodge
Pages: 83-87
Within social work practice courses, video recording has been used to record and evaluate the clinical practice skills of students. This process has been limited by labor-intensive, tapebased video equipment, non-digital means of organizing and assessing specific scenes and events within the video, and paper evaluation forms. As an interdisciplinary project, professors from professional disciplines (education, social work, and counseling) worked with information technology students from computer science to design and develop Table PC-based One- Note EVAs (Extended Video Application) that would provide a more effective way of evaluating clinical practice skills for professional program students. This case study presents how one interdisciplinary team was able to create an EVA for use with digital recordings of clinical practice skills so that these demonstrations could be recorded, organized, and evaluated more effectively. The issues of working through communication differences, design difficulties, and the additional steps toward implementation are explored. The lessons learned from working as an interdisciplinary team and the impact of Tablet PCs in social work practice courses is also presented.

New Forms of Electronic Tools in the Information and Communication, Used for Creating the European Higher Education Area and in e-Learning Development
Monika Krakowska
Pages: 88-93
The article is on the issues of using new ICT tools in the European educational area and carrying joint research works. The subject of the research were the forms of the traditional and electronic communication used within the virtual HERN organisation - Higher Education of Network Reforms – established by representatives of the academic circles as well as decision-makers. Special attention was paid to the e-forum. Also, the role of the moderator was analysed with reference to the e-forum. The author tried to determine the reason for low attendance during the e-argument. A method of analysis of documents and participating observation was applied. A technique of the questionnaire form and a method of case study were used to examine a group of HERN users. Results demonstrated that partners were becoming more involved in forms of face-to-face communication, such as conferences, than into forms of electronic communication. The most important barriers in the e-communication that have been determined included technical, linguistic and time-related problems.