Journal of
Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

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


How the Use of Second Life Affects E-Learners’ Perceptions of Social Interaction in Online Courses
Samah Mansour, Leslie Bennett, Carolyn Rude-Parkins
Pages: 1-6
Educators, researchers, and online courses designers are increasingly investigating the use of 3-D shared virtual worlds for online education. This paper discusses the importance of social interaction in e-learning. We present the idea of using Second Life, a 3-D shared virtual world, in online courses. The researchers investigated the impact of using Second Life as a learning environment and a communication medium in online courses. We measured the extent to which the completion of a learning task and the communication in Second Life can enhance the elearners’ perceptions of social interaction via a self-report questionnaire. A prototype application called The Village of Belknap was developed by the Delphi Center of Teaching and Learning at the University of Louisville. The study compared the perception of social interaction of e-learners who participated in Second Life sessions with the perception of social interaction of e-learners who did not participate in the Second Life sessions. The results indicated that the use of Second Life has a positive impact on experiencing a high perception of social interaction in online courses.

Interactive Assignments for Online Students
Pam Lowry
Pages: 7-10
Students can experience first hand through interactive assignments what is involved in teaching an online course. Most students develop a whole new appreciation for the student learning process. Faculty are beginning to realize that online instruction is more than a series of readings posted to a course management system. This paper summarizes the faculty member’s instructional strategies involved when creating student interaction assignments. The paper also summarizes the assignments, discussion board, and trends in education from the student’s perspective. In summary, it concludes with the faculty’s overall perspective concerning these assignments and how the assignments could be more effective for the student.

Multi-disciplinary System Engineering and the Compatibility Modeling Language (U)CML
Markus Brandstatter, Carolin Eckl
Pages: 11-16
Over time, technical systems such as automobiles or spacecraft have grown more complex due to the incorporation of increasingly more and different components. The integration of these components, which are frequently designed and constructed within separate departments and companies may lead to malfunctioning systems as their interplay cannot be tested within the earlier phases of development. This paper introduces compatibility management as one solution to the problems of late component integration. Compatibility management is carried out on a common crossdomain model of the system and therefore allows to test compatibility early on. We show how compatibility management can be embedded into the phased development of ECSS-M-30A and present the (Unified) Compatibility Modeling Language ((U)CML), which is used for the underlying cross-domain model. A case study demonstrates the application of (U)CML in the development of a small satellite and explains different degrees of compatibility.

Scaling Exponent Determined by a Bio-Signal Computation for the Healthy and Diseased Heartbeat
Toru Yazawa, Katsunori Tanaka, Atsushi Kato, Tomoo Katsuyama
Pages: 17-22
We analyzed heartbeat-intervals by using our own program of detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). “Alternans” is an arrhythmia exhibiting alternating amplitude or alternating interval from heartbeat to heartbeat, which was first described in 1872 by Traube. Recently, alternans was finally recognized as the harbinger of a cardiac disease because physicians noticed that an ischemic heart exhibits alternans. To quantify irregularity of the heartbeat including alternans, we used the DFA and revealed that the alternans rhythm lowers the scaling exponent. We conclude that the scaling exponent calculated by the DFA reflects a risk for the “failing” heart. The scaling exponents could determine whether the subjects are under sick or healthy conditions on the basis of cardiac physiology.

A University-based Forensics Training Center as a Regional Outreach, Education, and Research activity
Rayford B. Vaughn, David A. Dampier
Pages: 23-28
This paper describes a university-based Forensics Training Center (FTC) established by a Department of Justice grant for the purpose of improving the ability of state and local law enforcement in the Southeastern part of the United States to address the rising incidence of computer based crime. The FTC effort is described along with supporting evidence of its need. The program is not only a service activity, but also contributes to the Mississippi State University (MSU) security program pedagogy, and research effort.

Associative Learning for Cognitive Development of Partner Robot through Interaction with People
Naoyuki Kubota
Pages: 29-34
This paper discusses associative learning of a partner robots through interaction with people. Human interaction based on gestures is very important to realize the natural communication. The meaning of gestures can be understood through the actual interaction with a human and the imitation of a human. Therefore, we propose a method for associative learning based on imitation and conversation to realize the natural communication. Steady-state genetic algorithms are applied for detecting human face and objects in image processing. Spiking neural networks are applied for memorizing spatio-temporal patterns of human hand motions, and relationship among perceptual information. Furthermore, we conduct several experiments of the partner robot on the interaction based on imitation and conversation with people. The experimental results show that the proposed method can refine the relationship among the perceptual information, and can reflect the updated relationship to the natural communication with a human.

Augmentation of Explicit Spatial Configurations by Knowledge-Based Inference on Geometric Fields
Dan Tappan
Pages: 35-40
A spatial configuration of a rudimentary, static, realworld scene with known objects (animals) and properties (positions and orientations) contains a wealth of syntactic and semantic spatial information that can contribute to a computational understanding far beyond what its quantitative details alone convey. This work presents an approach that (1) quantitatively represents what a configuration explicitly states, (2) integrates this information with implicit, commonsense background knowledge of its objects and properties, (3) infers additional, contextually appropriate, commonsense spatial information from and about their interrelationships, and (4) augments the original representation with this combined information. A semantic network represents explicit, quantitative information in a configuration. An inheritance-based knowledge base of relevant concepts supplies implicit, qualitative background knowledge to support semantic interpretation. Together, these structures provide a simple, nondeductive, constraint-based, geometric logical formalism to infer substantial implicit knowledge for intrinsic and deictic frames of spatial reference.

Problems and Projects Based Approach For Analog Electronic Circuits’ Course
Vahé Nerguizian, Mustapha Rafaf
Pages: 41-45
New educational methods and approaches are recently introduced and implemented at several North American and European universities using Problems and Projects Based Approach (PPBA). The PPBA employs a teaching technique based mostly on competences/skills rather than only on knowledge. This method has been implemented and proven by several pedagogical instructors and authors at several educational institutions. This approach is used at different disciplines such as medicine, biology, engineering and many others. It has the advantage to improve the student’s skills and the knowledge retention rate, and reflects the 21st century industrial/company needs and demands. Before implementing this approach to a course, a good resources preparation and planning is needed upfront by the responsible or instructor of the course to achieve the course and students related objectives. This paper presents the preparation, the generated documentation and the implementation of a pilot project utilizing PPBA education for a second year undergraduate electronic course over a complete semester, and for two different class groups (morning and evening groups). The outcome of this project (achieved goals, observed difficulties and lessons learned) is presented based on different tools such as students ‘in class’ communication and feedback, different course evaluation forms and the professor/instructor feedback. Resources, challenges, difficulties and recommendations are also assessed and presented. The impact, the effect and the results (during and at the end of the academic fall session) of the PPBA on students and instructor are discussed, validated, managed and communicated to help other instructor in taking appropriate approach decisions with respect to this new educational approach compared to the classical one.

New Algorithm For Calculating Wavelet Transforms
Piotr Lipinski, Mykhaylo Yatsymirskyy
Pages: 46-50
In this article we introduce a new algorithm for computing Discrete Wavelet Transforms (DWT). The algorithm aims at reducing the number of multiplications, required to compute a DWT. The algorithm is general and can be used to compute a variety of wavelet transform (Daubechies and CDF). Here we focus on CDF 9/7 filters, which are used in JPEG2000 compression standard. We show that the algorithm outperforms convolution-based and lifting-based algorithms in terms of number of multiplications.

Computer-based Monitoring for Decision Support Systems and Disaster Preparedness in Buildings
Alan Vinh
Pages: 51-56
The operation of modern buildings can support a vast amount of static and real-time data. Static information such as building schematics is vital for security and rescue purposes. There is a need for building managers and for first responders to be notified of designated building alerts in real-time so that actions can be performed promptly. The capability to monitor building devices and to keep the first responder community updated with the latest building information during emergency situations, as well as the ability to remotely control certain building devices and processes, can be realized today. This paper describes the various challenges encountered in the research area of building interoperability and proposes methods and insights for developing a standards framework to enable communication between building information systems and first responder information systems. Having a standards framework in place will assist in the development and deployment of commercial products in support of building interoperability.

Collaborative Trends in Higher Education
Parwaiz Karamat, Krassie Petrova
Pages: 57-62
The emerging information and communications technologies (ICT) have the potential to strengthen education and make universities more responsive to the needs of their students. The emergence and the proliferation of models for online and flexible learning initiated a process of convergence between the traditionally distinct and separate distance education and faceto- face education as universities are becoming increasingly enabled to collaborate and develop innovative teaching initiatives. This paper explores some of the ways in which institutions can use technological progress to their best advantage and how they can improve the horizontal bonds between them by adapting and implementing Internet based technologies based on the premise that as distance no longer determines the cost of communicating electronically, common interests and experience, and shared pursuits rather than proximity bind stakeholders together. Finally the ways in which the role of the teacher is changing from that of a subject expert to that of a facilitator and counsellor who uses the World Wide Web and high-speed/ high-capacity networks as a vehicle to perform are considered with a focus on how the improved new technologies can be used to support the common interests, experience and academic objectives in different institutions, and to contribute to the creation of a global learning environment.

Modeling and Solving the Train Pathing Problem
Yusin Lee, Chuen-Yih Chen
Pages: 63-68
In a railroad system, train pathing is concerned with the assignment of trains to links and tracks, and train timetabling allocates time slots to trains. In this paper, we present an optimization heuristic to solve the train pathing and timetabling problem. This heuristic allows the dwell time of trains in a station or link to be dependent on the assigned tracks. It also allows the minimum clearance time between the trains to depend on their relative status. The heuristic generates a number of alternative paths for each train service in the initialization phase. Then it uses a neighborhood search approach to find good feasible combinations of these paths. A linear program is developed to evaluate the quality of each combination that is encountered. Numerical examples are provided.

Modeling and Simulation of Electromutagenic Processes for Multiscale Modification of Concrete
Jinko Kanno, Nicholas Richardson, James Phillips, Kunal Kupwade-Patil, Daniela S. Mainardi, Henry E. Cardenas
Pages: 69-74
Concrete contains numerous pores that allow degradation when chloride ions migrate through these paths and make contact with the steel reinforcement in a structure. Chlorides come mainly from the sea or de-icing salts. To keep the reinforcement from being exposed to chlorides, it is possible to electrokinetically force nanoparticles into the pores, blocking access. This procedure is called electrokinetic nanoparticle treatment. When the particles used are reactive in nature, the process becomes both structural and chemical in nature. We use the term electromutagenic processing to describe such extensive electrochemical remodeling. Filling the pores in a block of concrete with solid materials or nanoparticles tends to improve the strength significantly. In this paper, results obtained from modeling and simulation were aimed at multi-scale porosity reduction of concrete. Since nanoparticles and pores were modeled with spheres and cylinders having different sizes, the results were compared with traditional sphere packing problems in mathematics. There were significant differences observed related to the sizes of spheres and allowable boundary conditions. From traditional sphere packing analysis the highest porosity reduction anticipated was 74%. In contrast, the highest pore reduction obtained in this work was approximately 50%, which matched results from actual electrokinetic nanoparticle treatments. This work also compared the analytical and simulation methods used for several sizes of nanoparticles and pores.

Generation and Application of Virtual Dynamic Learning Environments
Esther Zaretsky
Pages: 75-81
The generation of virtual dynamic learning environments by mental imagery improved physical education of student teachers. Up-to-date studies showed that training computerized simulations improved spatial abilities, especially visualization of the body’s movements in space, and enhanced academic achievements. The main program of the research concentrated on creating teaching units focusing on a variety of physical skills through computerized dynamic presentations. The findings showed that as the student teachers practiced the creation of simulations through the PowerPoint Software, it became clear to them how the computer is related to physical activities. Consequently their presentations became highly animated, and applied to the natural environment. The student teachers applied their presentations in their practical classroom and reported about their pupils’ progress in physical skills. Moreover the motivation of the student teachers and pupils to both modes of learning, manipulating virtually and physically, was enhanced.

System Response Analysis and Model Order Reduction, Using Conventional Method, Bond Graph Technique and Genetic Programming
Lubna Moin, Vali Uddin, Shahid Ali
Pages: 82-88
This research paper basically explores and compares the different modeling and analysis techniques and than it also explores the model order reduction approach and significance. The traditional modeling and simulation techniques for dynamic systems are generally adequate for single-domain systems only, but the Bond Graph technique provides new strategies for reliable solutions of multi-domain system. They are also used for analyzing linear and non linear dynamic production system, artificial intelligence, image processing, robotics and industrial automation. This paper describes a unique technique of generating the Genetic design from the tree structured transfer function obtained from Bond Graph. This research work combines bond graphs for model representation with Genetic programming for exploring different ideas on design space tree structured transfer function result from replacing typical bond graph element with their impedance equivalent specifying impedance lows for Bond Graph multiport. This tree structured form thus obtained from Bond Graph is applied for generating the Genetic Tree. Application studies will identify key issues and importance for advancing this approach towards becoming on effective and efficient design tool for synthesizing design for Electrical system. In the first phase, the system is modeled using Bond Graph technique. Its system response and transfer function with conventional and Bond Graph method is analyzed and then a approach towards model order reduction is observed. The suggested algorithm and other known modern model order reduction techniques are applied to a 11th order high pass filter [1], with different approach. The model order reduction technique developed in this paper has least reduction errors and secondly the final model retains structural information. The system response and the stability analysis of the system transfer function taken by conventional and by Bond Graph method is compared and analyzed. The approach towards the Genetic Tree formation from the Bond Graph is also developed. The model order reduction using Genetic Tree is in progress.