Journal of
Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

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


A Prototype Embedded Microprocessor Interconnect for Distributed and Parallel Computing
Bryan Hughes, Brian Nutter, Per Andersen, Daniel Cooke
Pages: 1-6
Parallel computing is currently undergoing a transition from a niche use to widespread acceptance due to new, computationally intensive applications and multi-core processors. While parallel processing is an invaluable tool for increasing performance, more time and expertise are required to develop a parallel system than are required for sequential systems. This paper discusses a toolkit currently in development that will simplify both the hardware and software development of embedded distributed and parallel systems. The hardware interconnection mechanism uses the Serial Peripheral Interface as a physical medium and provides routing and management services for the system. The topics in this paper are primarily limited to the interconnection aspect of the toolkit.

A Study of Science Teachers Utilizing Visual Programming Techniques
Cheryl Denise Seals, L. Octavia Tripp
Pages: 7-12
This paper presents a study of learning in Stagecast Creator to discover more about novice programmer teachers, direct manipulation techniques and exploration of methods to create interactive lessons for their classrooms. The authors performed a longitudinal guided exploration of Stagecast Creator with two middle school science teachers. The results of these evaluations help to identify implications for educational simulations for novice programmer teachers and produce a set of initial system requirements.

Helping Students Test Programs That Have Graphical User Interfaces
Matthew Thornton, Stephen H. Edwards, Roy Patrick Tan
Pages: 13-18
Within computer science education, many educators are incorporating software testing activities into regular programming assignments. Tools like JUnit and its relatives make software testing tasks much easier, bringing them into the realm of even introductory students. At the same time, many introductory programming courses are now including graphical interfaces as part of student assignments to improve student interest and engagement. Unfortunately, writing software tests for programs that have significant graphical user interfaces is beyond the skills of typical students (and many educators). This paper presents initial work at combining educationally oriented and open-source tools to create an infrastructure for writing tests for Java programs that have graphical user interfaces. Critically, these tools are intended to be appropriate for introductory (CS1/CS2) student use, and to dovetail with current teaching approaches that incorporate software testing in programming assignments. We also include in our findings our proposed approach to evaluating our techniques.

Intelligent Guided E-Learning Systems for Early Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Alma Barranco-Mendoza, E. Christina Belcher, Kenneth A. Pudlas, Deryck R. Persaud
Pages: 19-23
There is a burgeoning need to consider new ways of providing early educational services for young and often newly diagnosed children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. Such children do not respond naturally to linear curricular delivery, normally utilized in inclusive classrooms that predominate public education, but rather need an educational model incorporating intra and interpersonal development skills. In addition, there is an urgent need for the ability of keeping track of and addressing uneven progress in specific areas; characteristic of learners with ASD. It is suggested that a new curricular model be designed that integrates the advantages of e-learning for data management and communication exchange with the inclusion classroom learning. A multi-disciplinary approach to the problem has lead to the proposal of an alternate model using an Intelligent Guided E-Learning System, which can be of benefit to such learners, their parents, and their teachers. This system utilizes a Knowledge Representation model that incorporates the complex multidisciplinary data related with ASD, along with curricular information as well as other Artificial Intelligence techniques that guide the curriculum in a simple and directed, yet evolving, manner such that the complexity increases as the learner with ASD’s understanding progresses.

Knowledge-enhancing Helix: An Approach for Developing Key Academic Skills at Universities. A Case Study
Nadja Boeller, Sonja Hierl, Josef Herget
Pages: 24-31
In an increasingly e-literate society, new and media technologies are proliferating and traditional teaching approaches are challenged to meet new requirements. Other aspects such as teamwork and knowledge exchange are also becoming more important. Collaborative working methods are more dominant in the networked business environment. The vocational training at universities is therefore continuously facing with new challenges. The objective of this paper is to show how the implementation of a holistic teaching approach including the idea of blended learning can be an effective way to train students in collaborative and academic working skills, methodological expertise, information literacy, as well as making students aware of new developments in media literacy. This approach follows our proposed concept DIAMOND (Didactical Approach for Media Competence Development) with a main focus on the implementation of the “knowledgeenhancing helix.” This pedagogical concept was developed corresponding the requirements for “good online learning.” The paper accordingly discusses the theoretical framework and presents a case study where the concept was implemented in practice.

Education Using ICT for Construction Management
Alfredo Soeiro
Pages: 32-35
A project carried through between institutions of higher education and construction companies was co-financed by the European Commission. The project lasted three years where the main objective was to develop the staff training in using and applying the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in construction management. The results of the project have been also used in a new course of the senior year in specialization area of construction of the Civil Engineering degree of the University of Porto. Some conclusions of the diverse experiences of the project partners are also presented indicating future developments in this area.

Linear Modeling, Simulation and Experimental Verification of a Pressure Regulator for CNG Injection Systems
Dirk Hübner, Harald Ortwig
Pages: 36-41
The number of motor vehicles powered by internal combustion engines keeps growing despite shrinking oil reserves. As a result, compressed natural gas (CNG) is gaining currency as an emerging combustion engine fuel. To this day, CNG systems – e.g., in passenger cars – are not fully integrated into the development process as conducted by vehicle or engine manufacturers. Instead, they are usually "adapted in" at a downstream stage by small, specialized companies. The present paper initially outlines the state of the art in advanced gas injection technologies. Especially the development towards sequential injection systems is described. A pressure regulator for CNG driven combustion engines is examined in detail, given its role as a highly sensitive and critical system component. Based on a precise theoretical analysis, a linear model of this pressure regulator is derived and subjected to dynamic simulation. The analytical approach is accompanied by an experimental investigation of the device. On a test rig developed at the Trier University of Applied Sciences, the static and dynamic features of the pressure regulator can be measured with the requisite precision. The comparison of measured and simulated data yields a validation of the dynamic simulation model. With the approaches developed it is now possible for the first time to model, simulate and optimize single- or multi-stage pressure regulators for CNG driven engines with less effort and higher accuracy.

Path Planning and Trajectory Control of Collaborative Mobile Robots Using Hybrid Control Architecture
Trevor Davies, Amor Jnifene
Pages: 42-48
This paper presents the development and implementation a hybrid control architecture to direct a collective of three X80 mobile robots to multiple user-defined waypoints. The Genetic Algorithm Path Planner created an optimized, reduction in the time to complete the task, path plan for each robot in the collective such that each waypoint was visited once without colliding with a priori obstacles. The deliberative Genetic Algorithm Path Planner was then coupled with a reactive Potential Field Trajectory Planner and kinematic based controller to create a hybrid control architecture allowing the mobile robot to navigate between multiple user-defined waypoints, while avoiding a priori obstacles and obstacles detected using the robots’ range sensors. The success of this hybrid control architecture was proven through simulation and experimentation using three of Dr. Robot’s ™ wireless X80 mobile robots.

A Methodology for Disaster Tolerance Utilizing the Concepts of Axiomatic Design
Diana M. Easton, Mitchell A. Thornton, V. S. Sukumaran Nair, Stephen A. Szygenda
Pages: 49-53
Axiomatic Design (AD) is a methodology that utilizes customer needs as input and produces functional requirements, design parameters, and process variables through the use of matrix methods. AD is based on two design axioms; the independence and the information axiom. These two design axioms and the AD approach in general seem to be well-suited for the design and analysis of large-scale computer and communication infrastructure systems. This paper describes the application of concepts from AD for utilization in disaster tolerant computing and communication systems.

Contextual Teaching and Learning for Practitioners
Clemente Charles Hudson, Vesta R. Whisler
Pages: 54-58
Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) is defined as a way to introduce content using a variety of activelearning techniques designed to help students connect what they already know to what they are expected to learn, and to construct new knowledge from the analysis and synthesis of this learning process. A theoretical basis for CTL is outlined, with a focus on Connection, Constructivist, and Active Learning theories. A summary of brain activity during the learning process illustrates the physiological changes and connections that occur during educational activities. Three types of learning scenarios (project-based, goal-based, and inquiry-oriented) are presented to illustrate how CTL can be applied by practitioners.

Enhanced Broadcasting and Code Assignment in Mobile Ad Hoc Networks
Jinfang Zhang, Zbigniew Dziong, Francois Gagnon, Michel Kadoch
Pages: 59-64
A CDMA-based mobile Ad Hoc networks face two main design challenges. One is to periodically update connectivity information, namely, neighboring nodes and the codes used by neighboring nodes. The other is to guarantee that there is no code collision in two hops’ distance. This paper proposes an enhanced time-spread broadcasting schedule for connectivity information update. Based on the connectivity information, a code assignment and potential code collision resolution scheme to solve hidden/exposed nodes problem is proposed. Simulation results demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed schemes.

CAS – A Journey Has Begun in Aotearoa New Zealand
Derek Smith
Pages: 65-70
This paper explores a journey through hand-held technology changes in mathematics teaching and learning and raises questions we as mathematics educators should be considering in the shorter and longer term. New Zealand is embarking on a Computer Algebraic Systems (CAS) Pilot Programme in secondary school mathematics. The Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority have selected secondary schools to be part of a pilot programme in the use of CAS technology in mathematics classes. The aim of the pilot programme is to improve teaching and learning of mathematics through the use of this technology. Six schools in 2005 used CAS technology with Year 9 (13-14 year olds) students and, an additional 16 schools joined the programme in 2006. The pilot is planned to continue with an increasing number of schools in subsequent years. By the time students in the pilot schools reach Years 11, 12 and 13, alternative external assessments using the CAS technology will be available. Professional development support and assistance in obtaining and using the technology will be provided to the pilot schools. The project’s emphasis in 2005 was on the Geometry and Algebra strands; the Statistics strand was added in 2006. By 2010 the first cohort of project programme students will have been through their secondary mathematics education via a CAS environment. New Zealand teachers have only a finite time to get into CAS technology and integrate it into their teaching practice. This paper discusses a research project based on a mathematics department professional development that is linked to the pilot.

Motorola Secure Software Development Model
Francis Mahendran, Margaret Nadworny
Pages: 71-77
In today’s world, the key to meeting the demand for improved security is to implement repeatable processes that reliably deliver measurably improved security. While many organizations have announced efforts to institutionalize a secure software development process, there is little or no industry acceptance for a common process improvement framework for secure software development. Motorola has taken the initiative to develop such a framework, and plans to share this with the Software Engineering Institute for possible inclusion into its Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI®). This paper will go into the details of how Motorola is addressing this issue. The model that is being developed is designed as an extension of the existing CMMI structure. The assumption is that the audience will have a basic understanding of the SEI CMM® / CMMI® process framework. The paper will not describe implementation details of a security process model or improvement framework, but will address WHAT security practices are required for a company with many organizations operating at different maturity levels. It is left to the implementing organization to answer the HOW, WHEN, WHO and WHERE aspects. The paper will discuss how the model is being implemented in the Motorola Software Group.

Disseminating Health Disparities Education Through Tele-Learning
LaSonya Knowles, Anissa Lewis, Denae King, Lovell Jones
Pages: 78-82
Twenty years of research demonstrate that there are wide disparities in health throughout America. Health disparities are differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist when specific population subgroups are compared. Health Disparities in America: Working Toward Social Justice is a course instructed every fall by Dr. Lovell Jones, director of The Center for Research on Minority Health (CRMH) at UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The CRMH has created a course that examines the social and societal factors that are fundamental in creating disparities in health. Students from 10 different academic programs and institutions participate in this course. The course is unique in the aspect that various, diverse speakers whom are experts in their field of study instruct each class. This health disparities course is conducted at one of three different academic institutions in the Houston area and broadcast via satellite to various academic institutions by means of teleeducation. Tele-education is defined as a mode of instruction utilizing different forms of media such as video, audio technology tools and computers. Video and audio technologies involve the transmission of interface between learners and instructors, either interactive or non-interactive. Tele-education technologies have an important role to play in addressing the dissemination of health disparities education. The purpose of this program is to determine the feasibility of tele-education as a mode of instruction to introduce the multi-disciplinary components of health disparities. Our findings suggest that tele-education is a useful tool in imparting health disparities education.

Automatic Evaluation System of English Prosody Based on Word Importance Factor
Motoyuki Suzuki, Tatsuki Konno, Akinori Ito, Shozo Makino
Pages: 83-90
Prosody plays an important role in speech communication between humans. Although several computer-assisted language learning (CALL) systems with utterance evaluation function have been developed, the accuracy of their prosody evaluation is still poor. In the present paper, we develop new methods by which to evaluate the rhythm and intonation of English sentences uttered by Japanese learners. The novel features of our study are as follows: (1) new prosodic features are added to traditional features, and (2) word importance factors are introduced in the calculation of intonation score. The word importance factor is automatically estimated using the ordinary least squares method and is optimized based on word clusters generated by a decision tree. Experiments conducted herein reveal the correlation coefficient (±1.0 denotes the best correlation) between the rhythm score given by native speakers and the system was -0.55. In contrast, a conventional feature (pause insertion error rate) gave a correlation coefficient of only -0.11. The correlation coefficient between the intonation scores given by native speakers and the system was only -0.29. However, the word importance factor with decision tree clustering improved the correlation coefficient to 0.45. In addition, we propose a method of integrating the rhythm score with the intonation score, which improved the correlation coefficient from 0.45 to 0.48 for evaluating intonation.