16 April 2018

Research Picks – 15 Apr 2018

Economic theory of the past suggested that individuals make decisions under emergency and risk situations following expected utility theory. However, research now suggests that this is not a realistic interpretation of human behaviour. Experiment shows that people act with reciprocity, paying other back in kind, whether in a positive or negative sense. A new study from Greece which had undergraduates playing two games of game theory – ultimatum and dictator – produced reliable conclusions about the two kinds of economic people. Ultimately, the study reveals that people have reciprocal behaviour even if this sometimes drives in irrational behaviour according to the economic theory. In other words, when being given an unfair offer, individuals will respond negatively even if the actual offer would maximize utility.
Avgeris, A., Kontogeorgos, A. and Sergaki, P. (2017) ‘Reciprocity in trades: an experimental game approach’, Int. J. Sustainable Agricultural Management and Informatics, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp.298–313.

Homogenising healthcare data
Wearable devices and mobile apps for healthcare activity monitoring are becoming increasingly widespread and yet there is no all-encompassing model of their use, according to scientists in South Korea. They point out that one of the problems is that the proliferation of such devices means there are huge and very disparate data streams to contend with at the individual and at the database end. They have now developed a model for sensors and activity monitors that removes the heterogeneity of all this big data and fuses the different types of data stream into reorganized personal healthcare activity logs that can then be used to visualize them in a more meaningful way. This will benefit personal medicine at the patient and the healthcare provider level, the team hopes.
Seo, D., Yoo, B. and Ko, H. (2018) ‘Information fusion of heterogeneous sensors for enriched personal healthcare activity logging’, Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp.256–269

Cancel that echo
Researchers in India have focused on a ubiquitous problem in the world of acoustic echo in communication. Until now adaptive filters can be used to cancel echo but none of these work perfectly and some lead to signal degradation. The team has found a way to break down a large filter into smaller sub-filters that work more effectively. Their algorithm will thus circumvent some of the echo problems that arise because of a variety technical factors that are beyond the user’s control such as poor room acoustics, low-quality handsets, marginal microphones, the use of lengthy untwisted wiring, and bridge-taps.
Barik, A., Mohanty, M.N. and Das, K. (2018) ‘Convergence analysis of adaptive MSFs used for acoustic echo cancellation’, Int. J. Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp.196–207.

Risky cyber business
Larger companies will have resources available to them to address the risks associated with their online activities. However, smaller companies often do not. A small business owner may find themselves managing their business as well as attempting to protect their internet connection, website, and digital assets. At best, often a family member, friend, or hired-hand may take on the “cybersecurity” role, but without those large-scale corporate resources, they may well remain vulnerable to malware, hackers, and denial of service attacks and other issues. A survey of several hundred small businesses by scientists in the USA suggests that this is a widespread problem. Small business owners seem to lack even the most basic of tools and skills to handle cybersecurity and often ignore best practice advice when it comes to using different strong passwords for each of their systems and accounts, for instance. There is a growing need for easy access to advice on policies, procedures, and training to help small companies to secure their information resources.
Berry, C.T. and Berry, R.L. (2018) ‘An initial assessment of small business risk management approaches for cyber security threats’, Int. J. Business Continuity and Risk Management, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp.1–10.

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