31 May 2019

Research pick: Walkie-talkie? There’s an app for that! - "Voice transmission through WiFi"

Researchers in India have developed an application (app) for Android smart phones that allows two users to make voice calls to each other even if they have neither data nor internet connectivity provided that they can both access a local Wi-Fi network. The app is thus limited to the range of the wireless network, but effectively allows the phones to be used like “walkie-talkies” or an “intercom” system without having to connect to a cell-mast or even have be connected to the wider internet.
The app could be useful in remote areas in the developing world or in a military zone where internet access may be limited or entirely off-limits, but a local wireless network can be sustained from a single server at a central location or military base, for instance.

Writing the in the International Journal of Information Technology and Management, computer scientist Shalini Goel of Mahavir Swami Institute of Technology, in Delhi-NCR, India, and colleagues Vipul Garg, Deepak Garg, and Manshiv Kathait of the Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, also in Delhi, describe details of WiFi_Intercom. The app uses communications classes that allow a user to connect with other users through the Wi-Fi wireless standard protocol using a point to point system on the wireless local area network (WLAN). Voice communication can then be made between any Android-based wireless devices that have a microphone and speaker and can connect to the WLAN. The system offers full duplex conversation just as anyone has with a conventional phone call, as opposed to the walkie-talkie where only one person can speak at a time.

The next step will be to extend the app to encompass encryption and so take security up to the requisite level for most users, but particularly for those with sensitive conversations to make in such an environment, particularly for military use. The team will also develop ways to lower energy consumption and improve call clarity.

Goel, S., Garg, V., Garg, D. and Kathait, M. (2019) ‘Voice transmission through WiFi‘, Int. J. Information Technology and Management, Vol. 18, Nos. 2/3, pp.268-283.

30 May 2019

Research pick: Natural spectral lines - "Bio-inspired approaches for OFDM-based cognitive radio"

Certain ranges of frequency across the electromagnetic spectrum are reserved by regulators for particular applications: TV, digital radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc. Unregulated devices are precluded from broadcasting on these spread frequencies. However, much of the bandwidth is unused across vast swathes of the planet and could be used by other devices, but for those legal constraints.

Writing in the International Journal of Internet Protocol Technology, Naziha Ali Saoucha and Badr Benmammar of the LTT Laboratory of Telecommunication Tlemcen, in Algeria explain how they have taken a bio-inspired approach to an orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) radio system. The approach offers the user a high-quality service without interfering with other user systems. It exploits three algorithms inspired by nature: the firefly, bat, and cuckoo search. The team has simulated their approach and compared it to the real-life alternatives – the classical genetic algorithm and particle swarm optimisation – for link adaptation.

“Our proposed algorithms exhibit better performance in terms of convergence speed and solution quality with saving rates reaching over 98.93% and 46.60%, respectively,” the team reports. It allows secondary, users to operate in the holes between the spread of frequencies reserved by law for the primary users. The system could cope with 1024 sub-carriers. The approach could be useful in wireless healthcare applications, multimedia, and elsewhere.

Saoucha, N.A. and Benmammar, B. (2019) ‘Bio-inspired approaches for OFDM-based cognitive radio’, Int. J. Internet Protocol Technology, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.61–75.

29 May 2019

Research pick: Record-breaking chaotic data transmission - "1.25 Gbits/s-message experimental transmission utilising chaos-based fibre-optic secure communications over 143 km"

Engineers in China have used a chaos-based system to pipe data securely through a fibre-optic at a rate of 1.25. gigabits per second across a distance of 143 kilometres.

Hongxi Yin, Qingchun Zhao, Xiaolei Chen, Hehe Yue, and Nan Zhao of the Lab of Optical Communications and Photonic Technology, School of Information and Communication Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, and their colleagues Dongjiao Xu and Ying Chang of HAEPC Information and Telecommunication Company, in Zhengzhou describe details of the achievement in the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking. The team points out that their greatest success in this physical form of encryption was in the use of off-the-shelf components. They add that this keeps costs down significantly. Moreover, there is no need to use dispersion compensating fibre (DCF) or forward-error correction (FEC).

The researchers offer a rationale for the need to develop such high-speed, long-distance secure optical communications technology. High-speed secure message transmission and exchange is they suggest, an essential part of modern life at the individual, business, organisational, and governmental levels. “Modern information networks provide convenience for personal message transmission, national economic and technological development, national defence construction, battlefield communications and so on,” they explain. However, it also brings new problems, such as personal information, governments, enterprises, defence and other secure message leaks and attack. “These have been a serious threat to economic, technological development and social stability, and even national defence security,” the team writes.

The record-breaking physically encrypted transmission of 1.25 gigabits per second over 143 kilometres is a major advance. The team, however, points out that they can achieve double that data rate over a shorter range, 25 kilometres. It is only a matter of time and development before the longer distance can sustain the higher data rate.

Yin, H., Zhao, Q., Xu, D., Chen, X., Chang, Y., Yue, H. and Zhao, N. (2019) ‘1.25 Gbits/s-message experimental transmission utilising chaos-based fibre-optic secure communications over 143 km’, Int. J. High Performance Computing and Networking, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.42–51.

28 May 2019

Research pick: Warming ginger - "Networks regulated by ginger towards stomach and small intestine for its warming interior function"

Ginger is a widely used spice, particularly in the cuisine of East and South Asia. It is known to have some physiological effects and is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Writing in the International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design, Guang Zheng, Fei Hou, Jinghu Wang, and Nannan Wang of Lanzhou University, China, focus on one of the spice’s most well-known properties: its warming effect on the body.

The spice we know as ginger is derived from the root of the flowering plant Zingiber officinale. It feels hot to the mouth when you eat something containing this spice, but it also has an apparent warming effect on the stomach and the small intestine. However, a mechanism for this purported activity noted in TCM, specifically at the leve of protein regulating networks remains obscure, the team writes.

The researchers have now used literature and protein database searching of the two main active natural products in ginger, 6-gingerol and 6-shaogaol, and identified proteins targeted/regulated by these compounds. They were then able to piece together likely compound-protein and functional protein-protein interactions to build up a picture of the underlying regulating networks within the stomach and the small intestine that might respond to these ginger compounds.

The team has found through enrichment analysis of functional protein-protein interactions that in participating proteins there are five key metabolic processes that seem to be linked to the warming effect of ginger. The two main bio-active compounds present in ginger having a regulator effect on adenosine triphosphate (ATP), glycogen, glycerolipid, fatty acid, and coenzyme. The team suggests that such insights might add to the evidence base that supports the modernisation of TCM.

Zheng, G., Hou, F., Wang, J. and Wang, N. (2019) ‘Networks regulated by ginger towards stomach and small intestine for its warming interior function’, Int. J. Computational Biology and Drug Design, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.189–202.

24 May 2019

Special issue published: "Services Computing Technologies and Applications"

International Journal of Information Technology and Management 18(2/3) 2019

  • Parallel naïve Bayes regression model-based collaborative filtering recommendation algorithm and its realisation on Hadoop for big data
  • A fuzzy inference-based trust model estimation system for service selection in cloud computing
  • Identifying inter-organisational resource-service sequences based on similarity for collaborative tasks
  • An EMD-SVM model with error compensation for short-term wind speed forecasting
  • Facilitating social recommendation with collaborative topic regression and social trust
  • A collusion-resistant public auditing scheme for shared cloud data
  • Cost and green aware workload migration on geo-distributed datacentres
  • SGP: a social network sampling method based on graph partition
  • A semi-supervised approach of graph-based with local and global consistency
  • Diabetes index evaluation framework based on data mining technology: a genetic factor involved solution for predicting diabetes risk
  • Voice transmission through WiFi
  • Study on image feature recognition algorithm and its application in public security management
  • Needle in a haystack: an empirical study on mining tags from Flickr user comments
  • Threefold similarity analysis: a case study on crowdsourcing feeds

Special issue published: "Integrative Approaches and Machine Learning in Systems Biology"

International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design 12(2) 2019

  • Distance based knowledge retrieval through rule mining for complex biomarker recognition from tri-omics profiles
  • A comparative study of multiclass feature selection on RNAseq and microarray data
  • Simulating genetically heterozygous genomes in the tumour tissue according to its clonal evolution history
  • Managing data provenance for bioinformatics workflows using AProvBio
  • Identification of temporal network changes in short-course gene expression from C. elegans reveals structural volatility
  • Networks regulated by ginger towards stomach and small intestine for its warming interior function

Special issue published: "Digitalising Products: Development, Design and User Acceptance"

International Journal of Technology Management 80(1/2) 2019

  • Digitalising products: towards an integrated view of challenges in development, design and user acceptance
  • Digital-physical product development: a review and research agenda
  • Managerial attention alteration in integrated product-service development
  • A decision support model to assess technological paradigms
  • Professionals' use of ICT in hospitals: the interplay between institutional and rational factors
  • Absorptive capacity, technological innovation capability and innovation performance: an empirical study in Hong Kong
  • Technological capabilities, political connections and entry mode choices of EMNEs overseas R&D investments

Special issue published: "Intelligent Techniques for Ad Hoc and Wireless Sensor Networks" (free sample articles)

International Journal of Hybrid Intelligence 1(1) 2019 (all papers freely available as sample articles)

  • A new energy-preserving cloud offloading algorithm for smart mobile devices
  • A differential evolution-based routing algorithm for multi-path environment in mobile ad hoc network
  • Wireless sensor networks for extreme environments: remote sensing and space industry
  • Performance improvement of vehicular ad-hoc network with nature inspired biological computing algorithm
  • Energy efficient service differentiated QoS aware routing in cluster-based wireless sensor network

Research pick: Rooibos and exercise - "The efficacy of rooibos Aspalathus linearis as an ergogenic aid during exercise"

Can drinking tea made from leaves of the “rooibos” plant, Aspalathus linearis, improve physical performance during exercise? That was the question a team from South Africa set out to answer. They report their findings in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics.

Simeon Davies of the Department of Sport Management, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, in Cape Town, and colleagues there and in the university’s Oxidative Stress Research Centre explain how rooibos herbal tea, often referred to as bush tea in Southern Africa o redbush tea in the United Kingdom, has become a popular product, although well known in South Africa for generations. It has a taste not dissimilar to hibiscus tea but sometimes with what is often referred to as an earthy flavour. However, taste aside, there is always interest in the putative physiological activity of any traditional drink given the wide range of natural products, such as alkaloids and antioxidants, that might be present in such a drink.

Such a drink might counteract the formation of free radicals and other oxidizing species that form naturally in the body through metabolism and especially during exercise. Free radicals have their uses in the body’s defences but are largely problematic causing damage at the cellular and molecular level. During exercise, this might lead to pain and inflammation as well as premature muscle fatigue. So, might a drink containing relatively high levels of antioxidants be useful in the sport and exercise context?

Tests with 32 male volunteers and a fatiguing arm exercise test to exhaustion showed that the group drinking rooibos prior to the tests performed the exercise for longer without premature fatigue. This was compared to the group of volunteers who drank a “placebo tea”, a similar-tasting infusion with none of the antioxidants present in rooibos.

“It is tentatively suggested that a worker/person engaged in tasks of a repetitive nature requiring forceful actions may benefit from supplementing his/her diet with rooibos, a recognised antioxidant, because it may reduce the precursors to cellular oxidative damage, namely reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species,” the team says. They add that there was prior evidence that acute “dosing” with rooibos might be more beneficial than long-term use of this herbal tea.

Davies, S.E.H., Marnewick, J.L., West, S., Taliep, M.S., Rautenbach, F. and Gamieldien, R. (2019) ‘The efficacy of rooibos Aspalathus linearis as an ergogenic aid during exercise’, Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.88-102.

23 May 2019

Special issue: "Dis/Placing the Borders of North America"

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies 5(1/2) 2019

  • 'Come out and live on your land again': sovereignty, borders and the Unist'ot'en camp
  • Underground Railroads and coyote conductors: brokering clandestine passages, then and now
  • Pushing the US-Mexico border south: United States' immigration policing throughout the Americas
  • Borders for profit: transnational social exclusion and the production of the NAFTA border
  • Confronting myths: agricultural citizenship and temporary foreign worker programs
  • Seasonal agricultural workers and the habitus of mobile precarity
  • Contestations of the heart: Mexican migrant women and transnational loving from rural Ontario
Additional paper
  • Whose needs count in situations of forced displacement? Revaluing older people and addressing their exclusion from research and humanitarian programmes

Free sample articles newly available from International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology

The following sample articles from the International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology are now available here for free:
  • Agricultural products fumigation poses risk of food contamination in Abakaliki, southeastern Nigeria
  • Prospects and problems of using Jatropha cake as organic fertiliser among crop farmers in Oyo State, Nigeria
  • Enhancing sustainability amongst oil palm smallholders in Malaysia
  • Detecting buyer's role effects to achieve collaborative business relationships in the agriculture business, using electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Making rapid strides: sources and drivers of agricultural growth in Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Bringing collaborative inclusiveness to Indonesian agribusiness in West Java through online platform

Special issue published: "Finance-Growth Nexus and Supporting Policies in Emerging Economies"

International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies 12(2) 2019

  • Trade realignment position in ECOWAS with gravity model
  • Working capital management and its impacts on profitability: the case of small and medium food enterprises in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
  • Industrial competition and earnings quality in Indonesia
  • Financial strategy of small and medium businesses on the creative industry in Bandung, Indonesia
  • Competitive analysis of public urban transport
  • Scale economies in the Korean airline industry since the entry of low-cost carriers
  • Analyses on the determinants of elderly workers' plans to retire and desired retirement age
  • Does bureaucracy lead to economic development in ASEAN?
  • Domination among tour operators in Karst conservation area of Goa Pindul, Indonesia
  • Place branding as Bandung City's competitive advantage
  • Integrated media for public relations of promoting a local product to global markets: a case analysis on Thai food
  • Does online social presence lead to purchase intentions?
  • The impact of relationship marketing on customer value, satisfaction and loyalty: evidence from banking sector in Indonesia
  • The effects of skills and challenges, perceived risk, and flow experience on experience value and satisfaction - a study on adventure recreation in Taiwan

Research pick: 16 ways to weave in wellness - "Objects with symbolic meaning: 16 directions to inspire design for well-being"

The symbolism inherent in product design can have an impact not only on how the product is used but how it makes the user feel. For instance, a proud parent might cherish their offspring’s school medals, an erstwhile traveller might have warm nostalgia for their battered old rucksack, an heirloom might encapsulate one’s family history and so on. Symbolism can represent memories, shared experience, aspirations, attachment, love, grief and much more.

Indeed, writing in the Journal of Design Research, a team from The Netherlands suggests that there are sixteen design directions that might build on this and inspire deliberate design for personal wellbeing. Their concept is supported by earlier research from others that talks of six enhancing characteristics of products; positive relations with others, personal growth, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and self-acceptance.

The team explains their motivation: “While previous research has shown that symbolic meaning can contribute to a person’s well-being and elicit attachment to products, it is not yet known if (and if so, how) products can be designed with the deliberate intention to support consumers in attributing such symbolic meanings, particularly with the aim of having a well-being effect,” they write.

Of course, symbolic meaning is entirely subjective. One person’s cherish heirloom is another’s dusty old junk while a single red paperclip underpinned an impressive chain of bartering by one young man that achieved so level of fame and fortune. Of course, at the heart of any symbolism is authenticity. If one is to endow a product with particular design characteristics with a view to boosting well-being in the user of that product though those characteristics, then it has to be genuine. Kitsch inspirational aphorisms against a scenic sunset or another clichéd backdrop will look obviously fake to everyone but the least cynical and naïve.

The present work, however, investigates symbolism in durable consumer goods, such as household items. The team explains that they focused on consumer durables because people often interact with these products, often on a daily basis. Nevertheless, the same findings regarding symbolism can be applied to other products, even intangible goods or services.

Casais, M., Mugge, R. and Desmet, P. (2018) ‘Objects with symbolic meaning: 16 directions to inspire design for well-being’, J. Design Research, Vol. 16, Nos. 3/4, pp.247–281.

22 May 2019

Free sample articles newly available from International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology

The following sample articles from the International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology are now available here for free:
  • Numerical simulation of a temporary repository of radioactive material
  • Large-scale shell model calculations of the 25,26Mg, 27Al and 19F nucleus
  • An analytical nodal method for energy multi-group discrete ordinates transport calculations in two-dimensional rectangular geometry
  • Probabilistic fracture mechanics analysis of reactor pressure vessel with underclad and through-clad cracks under pressurised thermal shock transient
  • Radiation dose rate assessment around patients in PET/CT units
  • Threat modelling on nuclear and radioactive materials based on intelligent approach
  • Testing in sodium and qualification of the bearings used in inclined fuel transfer machine of prototype fast breeder reactor

Special section published: "IoT Supported Multimedia: Networks, Systems, and Applications"

International Journal of Internet Protocol Technology 12(2) 2019

  • A cloud-fog scalable video streaming architecture for multimedia internet of things devices
  • The performance and QoE analysis of B2-DASH algorithm
  • Bandwidth management framework for smart homes using SDN: ISP perspective
Regular papers
  • Bio-inspired approaches for OFDM-based cognitive radio
  • Modelling and analysis of real-time and reliability for WSN-based CPS

First issue: International Journal of Hybrid Intelligence (free sample issue available)

The International Journal of Hybrid Intelligence focuses on the role of the hybrid intelligence paradigm in the modern context of rapidly evolving technologies. Hybrid intelligent systems research aims to develop state-of-the-art devices for implementing efficient hybrid intelligent algorithms for pattern recognition, sensors and networks, social networks and computational intelligence. It also aims to foster the development of intelligent human-centric computer interfaces in areas including portfolio management, network security, ubiquitous computing and cloud computing. IJHI provides comprehensive and up-to-date coverage in this research field.

There is a free download of the papers from this first issue.

Research pick: Mowing the astroturfers - "Controlling astroturfing on the internet: a survey on detection techniques and research challenges"

A grassroots movement is one that emerges and evolves naturally, growing new support as it does so. “Astroturfing” is the opposite of that. It is a movement support for which is bought and paid for. It has the look of a grassroots movement, but a closer inspection reveals it to be fake. Now, writing in the International Journal of Web and Grid Services, Australian computer scientists have surveyed the techniques available to detect astroturfing on the internet. The term derives from the synthetic green grass – AstroTurf – often used in sports arenas and public areas as an alternative to living turf.

Syed Mahbub and colleagues at La Trobe University, in Melbourne, explain that astroturfing represents a significant threat in the business world, in politics, public health, and many other realms. Fake support for a controversial system, product, or service can persuade unwitting observers and stakeholders of merit, where no merit is due. This can have dire consequences for genuine political candidates in an election, for instance, or for sales of better rival products, and adoption of systems and services that are in reality better than the astroturfed ones. Political blogs, news portals, and review websites are carpeted with Astroturf to the detriment of everyone but the astroturfers and their associates.

At its most mundane, astroturfing might lead to someone buying a, perhaps inferior, green widget from company A in preference to the better blue widget from Company B. At the other extreme, one might see a politician achieve election success where support has been entirely faked and the electorate duped into disregarding the genuine candidate.

Researchers in social media, e-commerce, and politics, are looking to find detection methods for spotting astroturfing. Mahbub and colleagues point out that there are content analysis techniques, individual and group identification techniques, linguistic feature analysis, authorship attribution techniques, and machine learning all being used with varying degrees of success to detect astroturfing.

“Astroturfing, in the present world, is a global phenomenon,” the team writes. “The magnitude of its effect is significantly threatening the integrity and consistency of information we receive from the internet. Thus, the prevention and detection of astroturfing demand more attention from the research community.” Their research paper offers researchers a taxonomy of those detection techniques that might help in the development of better approaches to the detection of this insidious problem.

Mahbub, S., Pardede, E., Kayes, A.S.M. and Rahayu, W. (2019) ‘Controlling astroturfing on the internet: a survey on detection techniques and research challenges’, Int. J. Web and Grid Services, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.139–158.

21 May 2019

Special issue published: "Advancements in High-Level Parallel Programming Models for Edge/Fog/in-Situ Computing"

International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing 10(3) 2019

  • HPSM: a programming framework to exploit multi-CPU and multi-GPU systems simultaneously
  • An efficient pathfinding system in FPGA for edge/fog computing
  • A network coding protocol for wireless sensor fog computing
  • A dataflow runtime environment and static scheduler for edge, fog and in-situ computing
  • An optimised dataflow engine for GPGPU stream processing
Additional papers
  • Enriching folksonomy for online videos
  • A web platform for oral exam of programming class
  • Involving users in energy conservation: a case study in scientific clouds
  • Distributed and multi-core version of k-means algorithm

Free sample articles newly available from International Journal of Migration and Border Studies

The following sample articles from the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies are now available here for free:
  • Borderzones and the politics of irregularisation: the Interim Federal Health Program and Toronto's everyday places of healthcare
  • Capital is key: a case for migrants' cultural capital
  • Proliferating borders and precarious queers: migrant justice organising beyond LGBT inclusion
  • Immigrants or children? The expulsion of unaccompanied minors from two California towns
  • A visible geography of invisible journeys: Central American migration and the politics of survival
  • The ambiguous architecture of precarity: temporary protection, everyday living and migrant journeys of Syrian refugees
  • The Mexico-Canada border: extraterritorial border control and the production of 'economic refugees'
  • Luxury limbo: temporal techniques of border control and the humanitarianisation of waiting

New Editor for International Journal of Microstructure and Materials Properties

Prof. ZhengMing Sun from Southeast University in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Microstructure and Materials Properties.

Press release: "Switching on electric vehicles has health benefits"

Could the health benefits and reduced costs to healthcare systems be enough to justify subsidizing charging infrastructure to allow society to switch from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles faster than current trends predict?

Writing in the International Journal of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Mitchell House and David Wright of the University of Ottawa, Canada, suggest that the migration from polluting vehicles that burn fossil fuels to electric vehicles, ideally using electricity generated sustainably could significantly reduce the incidence of cardiopulmonary illness due to air pollution. This would lead not only to less employee absence from work through illness but also lead to broad improvements in quality and length of life.

The team’s paper compares the financial costs of building electric vehicle charging infrastructure using empirical data with health costs to see if there is a net benefit. They have found that in the majority of plausible scenarios of balanced growth, when the number of vehicles rises and so does the number of charging stations, there is a positive net benefit to society.

“Since health benefits accrue to governments, businesses, and individuals, these results justify the use of government incentives for charging station deployment and this paper quantifies the impact of different levels of incentive,” the team concludes.

The team explains that the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) (an organization supported by 16 governments) has a target of 20 million electric vehicles by the year 2020. This was based on a notional growth rate of 75% per year defined in 2016. At that time, EV sales amounted to more than half a million (550000) worldwide in 2015, which represented growth of 70% on 2014. Electric vehicle sales have continued to grow, with 2017 and 2018 experiencing 61% and 64% year-over-year growth respectively.

Their results suggest that a 75% growth rate for electric vehicle uptake is not unrealistic. Moreover, in the face of anthropogenic climate change and the detrimental effects of health on pollution, some observers see the transition to electric vehicles as being a matter of serious urgency. This has to take into consideration the electricity generating mix from which the vehicles derive their power. If electricity is mostly supplied from power stations generating electricity by burning fossil fuels, including coal, gas, and oil, then many of the benefits are lost. This is particularly true in terms of climate impact at the global level but also in terms of sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate pollution. This has been witnessed in China, India, and Russia, as electricity demand has risen rapidly.

This latest study points out that governments have not been keen to support charging infrastructure due to a variety of industry players being involved and their responsibility to carry some of the cost. This would include electric utility companies who would profit directly from charging vehicles, out-of-town shopping centers that could attract more customers with charging points in their car parks, the manufacturers of vehicles and a new generation of “gas station” operators.

“The savings that can be achieved by 2021 are higher than the cost of installing charging station infrastructure over a wide range of scenarios,” the team writes. “These net benefits apply both to balanced growth in charging stations (in which the number of charging stations is proportional to the number of EVs) and also to rapid build out (in which charging stations are built over 2-4 years in order to achieve government EV targets for 2020 and 2025).” Ultimately, it is the reduced financial burden of a healthier populace that offsets the costs.

House, M.L. and Wright, D.J. (2019) ‘Using the health benefits of electric vehicles to justify charging infrastructure incentives’, Int. J. Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.85-105.

17 May 2019

Research pick: Counting the crowd - "Crowd detection and counting using a static and dynamic platform: state of the art"

Visual surveillance of crowds is an important part of event management as well as policing. Now, a team from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have looked at the various tools that have become available in recent years for automatically assessing the number of people in a crowd and determining the dynamics and movement of that crowd. Writing in the International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics, the team finds several gaps in the current state-of-the-art technology and points developers to how those gaps might be filled.

Huma Chaudhry and Mohd Shafry Mohd Rahim of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Tanzila Saba of Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, and Amjad Rehman of Al Yamamah University, also in Riyadh, point out that computer vision research has moved towards crowd control and management in recent years with a view to addressing issues of security and safety when large numbers of people are gathered in one place. The fundamental problem that has to be addressed is how to manage multiple data streams from closed-circuit television (CCTV) and other sources that monitor crowd dynamics at events, in busy towns and cities and elsewhere. There a limit to how visual assessment of CCTV and so automated, computerised solutions are needed.

The team highlights some major events where there have been numerous casualties. Sometimes casualties at some events might be fewer than 100 people, but larger events might see thousands of casualties over a prolonged period. Automated crowd assessment could open up new ways t understand crowd dynamics and reduce those numbers. Some of the same insights from aerial crowd surveillance and other methods might also help in disaster relief activities where large numbers of people might be present in a given location.

Chaudhry, H., Rahim, M.S.M., Saba, T. and Rehman, A. (2019) ‘Crowd detection and counting using a static and dynamic platform: state of the art’, Int. J. Computational Vision and Robotics, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.228–259.

16 May 2019

Research pick: "Have you got the right personality for Facebook?"

How do personality traits affect one’s use of the online social networking site, Facebook? That is the question researchers from Greece hope to answer in a paper in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising. The team surveyed 367 university students and analysed their answers concerning Facebook with the backdrop of different personality traits: extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness.

The team report that “agreeable individuals use Facebook to express their orientation to other people rather than to themselves,” whereas “extroverts use Facebook as a relationship building mechanism”. They add that neurotic people strive to bring out the best of themselves. Oddly, the personality traits of openness and conscientiousness do not seem to affect significantly Facebook use.

The bottom line is that extraversion is the main driver for Facebook use. Extroverts are heavy users and have more friends and interact with them and others at a higher rate. But, neurotic people also use it heavily to create a comprehensive and detailed profile of themselves to present to the public. There are limitations to the research in that those surveyed were students and some of them may well be aware of research into personality types and their use of social media, whereas the lay public would perhaps be less aware of such research. The obvious next step is to survey a wider group of people to reduce any inherent bias in the results.

Hatzithomas, L., Misirlis, N., Boutsouki, C. and Vlachopoulou, M. (2019) ‘Understanding the role of personality traits on Facebook intensity’, Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp.99–119.

15 May 2019

Special issue published: "People Create Your Innovative Technology – How Do You Manage Them"

International Journal of Technology Management 79(3/4) 2019

  • Walking the innovation tightrope: maintaining balance with an ambidextrous organisation
  • Integrative leadership for technology innovation
  • How individuals perform customer knowledge absorption practices - a contextual approach to open innovation
  • Crafting better team climate: the benefits of using creative methods during team initiation
  • Organisational justice, emotional exhaustion, and turnover intention among Korean IT professionals: moderating roles of job characteristics and social support
  • Freedom-form organisations, innovation and quality of work life: towards a new model of interaction

First issue: International Journal of Agriculture Innovation, Technology and Globalisation (free sample issue available)

The International Journal of Agriculture Innovation, Technology and Globalisation provides a dynamic forum through which researchers can share agricultural research and thus aid innovation in education, business, community, environment and government. IJAITG proactively promotes the utilisation of technology in combination with business models to facilitate agriculture innovation in line with community entrepreneurship, which further helps accelerate agricultural development alongside industrial upgrading.

There is a free download of the papers from this first issue.

Newly announced journal: International Journal of Knowledge Science and Engineering

Knowledge has become an increasingly crucial resource that needs to be effectively managed and applied. Knowledge science and engineering is a rapidly growing multi- and interdisciplinary field that uses advanced computing to intelligently understand and solve complex problems in various emerging applications. The International Journal of Knowledge Science and Engineering promotes and stimulates research in this field, and explores the state of the art in all aspects of knowledge science and engineering, highlighting theories, techniques and methods of knowledge computing for various intelligent systems.

Research pick: Mortality and climate - "Exploring the link between climate variability and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Climate variability, which might arise through global warming or other factors has been shown to have an impact on mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa, according to research published in the International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development.

Baishali Bakshi of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, in St Paul, Minnesota, USA, Raphael Nawrotzki of Deutsche Evaluierungsinstitut der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (DEval) in Bonn, Germany, Joshua Donato of Houston Engineering, Inc. In Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Luisa Silva Lelis of Universidade de Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil, explain how the persistence of high mortality rates in this region are stifling development and sustainable development in particular.

They have look at climate variables over the last half a century and more to see if climate patterns correlated with mortality rates. Any insights in this regard might then be returned to policymakers, healthcare, and education to find ways to ameliorate the effects and perhaps lower mortality rates and thence allow sustainable development to proceed without this intrinsic hindrance.

The team looked at elevated mortality in rural Kenya, Mali, and Malawi during the period 2008 to 2009 and then analysed this against climate variability at this time against a long-term climate normal period, 1961-1990. The results were quite enlightening: Cold snaps led to increased mortality in Kenya but reduced mortality in Mali and Malawi, the team reports. Too much rain, as well as droughts, was also associated with increased mortality in Kenya and Malawi. Moreover, adverse climatic conditions increased mortality where HIV/AIDS was prevalence but led to lower mortality in malaria-stricken areas.

“Programs for reducing climate-related mortality through early warning systems, agricultural extension services, and improved access to health infrastructure will help more fully realise sustainable development goals of mortality reduction for sub-Saharan Africa,” the team concludes.

Bakshi, B., Nawrotzki, R.J., Donato, J.R. and Lelis, L.S. (2019) ‘Exploring the link between climate variability and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa‘, Int. J. Environment and Sustainable Development, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp.206-237.

14 May 2019

Inderscience journals to invite expanded papers from International Conference On Enhancement and Innovations in Exploring Engineering 2019 for potential publication

Extended versions of papers presented at the International Conference On Enhancement and Innovations in Exploring Engineering (ICEIEE-2019) (12 July 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) will be invited for review and potential publication by the following journals:

Free sample articles newly available from International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing

The following sample articles from the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing are now available here for free:
  • Role of the behavioural analysis in the product repair and replacement process: the preliminaries
  • CDMF-RELSUS concept: reliable products are sustainable products - influences on product design, manufacturing and use phase
  • A disassembly process model for end-of-life activities of manufactured products
  • Sustainability analysis of rapid prototyping: material/resource and process perspectives
  • A case study on a sustainable alternative to the landfill disposal of spent foundry sand

Research pick: Pay-what-you-want restaurants - "A pay-what-you-want pricing model for restaurants"

Haggling will be familiar to anyone who has visited a market during the last few thousand years! If a deal is to be done between hawker and customer, then the price has to be right. A modern twist on this is that the seller has no input and the customer simply pays what they want for the goods; although there has always been free access to some things where a donation is welcomed. It is rare that this approach becomes the predominant pricing model although there have been numerous experiments, such as pay-what-you-want for digital goods online, including music from famous artists.

Now, Vinaysingh Chawan of the Indian Institute of Management Indore, writing in the International Journal of Services and Operations Management explains that the pay-what-you-want pricing model whether for digital goods, services, or entrance to a museum or exhibition is perhaps counterintuitive. This is especially so given that the buyer may opt to pay nothing and so the seller makes no financial gain from the transaction. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, the PWYW model does have its supporters and many companies give their customers the option.

It turns out that the vast majority of people will take the view that this “honesty box” type approach deserves to be rewarded and will pay what they perceive as a fair price. Few pay nothing at all. Some people might even pay more than the price the seller hoped for and this can offset the loss due to those who pay nothing. The seller has to assume a majority of fair-minded customers and few freeloaders.

Chawan has investigated with PWYW works for the restaurant industry. If the menu gives a fair suggested price rather than an obligatory price, then it seems customers will pay a fair price. There is always the option of setting an absolute minimum which precludes freeloading and allows the restaurateur to at least cover costs, perhaps with a small profit margin. Indeed, when a minimum is set and a guide price is given, profits commonly end up being higher than when the restaurateur sets absolute pricing. There is much research to be done before this paradigm becomes widespread if not universal.

Chawan, V. (2019) ‘A pay-what-you-want pricing model for restaurants‘, Int. J. Services and Operations Management, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp.431-449.

10 May 2019

Free open access article available: "Metaphors and analogies through smart materials to mitigate age-related differences in the understanding of technology"

The following paper, "Metaphors and analogies through smart materials to mitigate age-related differences in the understanding of technology" (International Journal of Journal of Design Research 16(3/4) 2018) is freely available for download as an open access article.

It can be downloaded via the full-text link available here.

Research pick: Finding fake reviews - "Detecting fake reviews via dynamic multimode network"

Many online shoppers will take a look at the reviews for the product or service they’re about to purchase. The majority will presumably trust that the e-commerce site will only be posting genuine reviews of any given product, posted by other customers. However, as several recent high-profile cases have shown this is not always the case. Unfortunately, e-commerce sites are littered with fake reviews. These can persuade innocent shoppers to make a purchase and anticipate a certain level of quality to which the product or service they receive ultimately does not reach.

Even the most respected of sites can succumb to fake reviews because it is very difficult to automate detection despite the many protections that some operators of such sites have implemented to do so. Now, writing in the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking, a team from China has demonstrated how a dynamic multimode network might be employed to efficiently detect fake reviews.

There are four fundamental concepts that might be examined to detect fake reviews, explain Jun Zhao and Hong Wang of the School of Information Science and Engineering, at Shandong Normal University, China. These are the quality of the merchandise, the honesty of the review, the trustworthiness of the reviewer, and the reliability of the e-commerce site. However, even taken together these cannot discern whether an unscrupulous merchant has employed third parties to post favourable but fake reviews of their products and services. In order to more subtly detect fake reviews, the team’s dynamic approach utilizes three algorithms to uncover the nuances common to fake reviews.

Zhao, J. and Wang, H. (2019) ‘Detecting fake reviews via dynamic multimode network‘, Int. J. High Performance Computing and Networking, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.408-416.

9 May 2019

Inderscience journals to invite expanded papers from International Conference on Knowledge and Policy for Sustainable Development: Global Lessons and Local Challenges for potential publication

Extended versions of papers presented at the International Conference on Knowledge and Policy for Sustainable Development: Global Lessons and Local Challenges (25-27 September 2019, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India) will be invited for review and potential publication by the following journals:

Free open access article available: "Objects with symbolic meaning: 16 directions to inspire design for well-being"

The following paper, "Objects with symbolic meaning: 16 directions to inspire design for well-being" (Journal of Design Research 16(3/4) 2018) is freely available for download as an open access article.

It can be downloaded via the full-text link available here.

International Journal of Islamic Marketing and Branding to invite expanded papers from International Language and Tourism Conference 2019 for potential publication

Extended versions of papers presented at the International Language and Tourism Conference 2019 (ILTC 2019) (18-19 October 2019, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Malaysia) will be invited for review and potential publication by the International Journal of Islamic Marketing and Branding.

Research pick: Honeypots could attract the lawyers too - "What’s in your honeypot: a privacy compliance perspective"

In the context of information technology, IT, a “honeypot” is an attractive online destination usually established to attract malicious third parties who then, assuming they have reached a valuable resource unwittingly reveal details about themselves in order to access what they perceive is within the honeypot. A honeypot might also be referred to as a honeytrap.

However, writing in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security, US researchers caution that the use of a honeypot to gather personal or private data albeit of a malicious third party, or hacker, may well be in breach of local and perhaps even federal laws in some situations. Use of a honeypot may also leave the operator open to issues of legal liability because of the deception that is the honeypot by definition.

Also, by opening a honeypot on a system it might attract hackers who then find a way to access the genuine parts of the network or other system and so compromise that legitimate content in some way, exposing the honeypot operator to liability for damages caused.

Having recognized the putative legal implications of operating a honeypot, the team offers recommendations for how to detect and deceive malicious third parties who may be attempting to fraudulently access the actual online resource without compromising the operator. Moreover, by taking a properly legally compliant approach to a honeypot, the evidence accrued from third parties might then ultimately become useful and admissible in the prosecution of that third party.

Brown, A.J. and Andel, T.R. (2019) ‘What’s in your honeypot: a privacy compliance perspective’, Int. J. Information and Computer Security, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.289–309.

8 May 2019

Special issue published: "New Approaches for Innovative Business in the Era of Internet Marketing and Advertising"

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising 13(2) 2019

  • Understanding the role of personality traits on Facebook intensity
  • The role of cloud computing and citizens relationship management in digital government transformation
  • Attitudes of college students towards online advertisement in social networking sites: a structural equation modelling approach
  • E-marketing and BPA coordination on business strategy
  • Tracking content marketing performance using web analytics: tools, metrics, and data privacy implications
  • The effect of online video advertising design on online shopping goals: an experiment based on gender (case study: DigiKala Company)

International Journal of Modelling in Operations Management to invite expanded papers from International Conference on Computing Communication & Informatics for potential publication

Extended versions of papers presented at the International Conference on Computing Communication & Informatics (ICCCI-2019) (13-15 September 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) will be invited for review and potential publication by the International Journal of Modelling in Operations Management.

Special issue published: "Smart Manufacturing Systems: Theories, Advances and Applications"

International Journal of Service and Computing Oriented Manufacturing 3(4) 2018

  • Multiple-model description and generalised algorithm of ship-building wharf scheduling
  • Agent-based modelling of urban land-use development: modelling and simulating households and economic activities location choice
  • Risk management and design of mitigation plans through discrete events simulation and genetic algorithms in offshore wind processes
  • Numerical and experimental comparisons of pressed blades for large Francis turbine runners manufactured with a reconfigurable pressing setup and a conventional setup
  • An operating simulation tool for modelling and managing a job shop system

Research pick: Finding the freelance cheats - "The emergence of academic ghost writers from India in the international contract cheating industry"

“The modern contract cheating industry allows students and ghostwriters to connect to each other over the internet, often using through an essay mill, agency website or other third-party service,” explains Thomas Lancaster Department of Computing, Imperial College London, UK, in the International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management.

He adds that such contract cheating sees students recruiting a third party to create original work on their behalf and then submitting that work, an essay or another assignment, in order to gain the requisite academic credit. This is an ethically questionable practice that compromises the validity of any course from the lower to the upper echelons of education and makes a mockery of the value of work carried out honestly by other students.

Little research has been done so far to learn more about the ghostwriters, where they are, and how they operate. Lancaster has now investigated the ghostwriters working in this cheating industry and specifically those working in India. His study is based on openly available data from freelancing websites that operate as so-called “essay mills”. The information that can be gleaned from these sites reveals details of the projects ghostwriters have completed and the marketing techniques the ghostwriters themselves use to garner new customers for their services. Lancaster found that there are many prolific writers on one major freelancing website. These writers turn around one or more essays each day. Much of this work is entirely original and of reasonably high quality. By contrast, some of the ghostwriters provide low-quality essays with much of the content plagiarized from other sources.

“It is hoped that understanding the ghostwriters will aid instructors in taking preventative measures against contract cheating,” Lancaster explains. Indeed, he suggests that preventative approaches to avoid validating students that have used ghostwriters would be to monitor ongoing engagement with the course and other assignments and assessments. It would be relatively trivial to examine different pieces of work side by side to see whether writing style differed significantly to show that a third party may have completed an assignment. Moreover, for the lower-quality essays, there are many tools to detect plagiarized text.

Lancaster, T. (2019) ‘The emergence of academic ghost writers from India in the international contract cheating industry’, Int. J. Indian Culture and Business Management, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp.349–367.

7 May 2019

Special issue published: "Research in Virtual Reality"

International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics 9(3) 2019

  • Crowd detection and counting using a static and dynamic platform: state of the art
  • Real time vision-based hand gesture recognition using depth sensor and a stochastic context free grammar
  • Adaptive multi-threshold based de-noising filter for medical image applications
  • 3D image reconstruction from different image formats using marching cubes technique
  • Effective scene change detection in complex environments

Special issue on: "Pervasive Computing for Smart Life"

International Journal of Embedded Systems 11(3) 2019

  • An improved human physiological simulation model for healthcare applications
  • A novel chain-based routing protocol, BranChain, in wireless sensor networks
  • An improved incomplete AP clustering algorithm based on K nearest neighbours
  • A PID-FEC mechanism using cross-layer approach for video transmission over multi-hop wireless networks
  • An iterative shrinkage threshold method for radar angular super-resolution
  • The power big data-based energy analysis for intelligent community in smart grid
  • The attack efficiency of PageRank and HITS algorithms on complex networks
  • Comprehensive vulnerability assessment and optimisation method of power communication network
Additional papers
  • Can finger knuckle patterns help strengthen the e-banking security?
  • Interactive map matching and its visualisation: techniques and system
  • IBBO-LSSVM-based network anomaly intrusion detection
  • Efficient authentication scheme for vehicular ad-hoc networks with batch verification using bilinear pairings
  • A new efficient privacy-preserving data publish-subscribe scheme
  • Lattice-based identity-based ring signature without trapdoors

Research pick: Bypassing popular passwords - "CSPS: catchy short passwords making offline and online attacks impossible"

Every year computer security companies share their findings regarding passwords and data breaches. Again and again, they warn computer users to use complex passwords and not to use the same passwords for different accounts. And, yet, data breaches and other sources show that too many people use the same simple passwords repeatedly and that some of those passwords are ludicrously simple, the word “password” or the number “123456” really isn’t a password at all given even the least-sophisticated hacking and cracking software available to malicious third parties these days.

Inertia is one important problem: it is difficult to get users, set in their ways, to change their old, easily remembered passwords to complex, difficult to remember codes. It is even harder to get such users to use password managers or multifactor authentication, which would add another layer of security to their logins.

Now, writing in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security, Jaryn Shen and Qingkai Zeng of the State Key Laboratory for Novel Software Technology, and Department of Computer Science and Technology, at Nanjing University, China, have proposed a new paradigm for password protection. Their approach addresses online and offline attacks to passwords without increasing the effort required of a user to choose and memorise their passwords.

“Passwords are the first security barrier for online web services. As long as attackers steal and crack users’ passwords, they gain and control users’ personal information. It is not just an invasion of privacy. It can also lead to more serious consequences such as data damages, economic loss and criminal activities,” the team writes.

Their approach involves having a login system based on two servers instead of one. The user has a short, memorable password to access their longer, computer-generated “hashed” passwords on another server, the key to “de-hashing” those longer passwords are stored on the second server, but the actual password is stored on the user’s device too and so the memorable password acts as a token for two-factor authentication. The approach means that attackers with even the most sophisticated hacking tools cannot apply an offline dictionary and brute-force attacks effectively.

Shen, J. and Zeng, Q. (2019) ‘CSPS: catchy short passwords making offline and online attacks impossible’, Int. J. Information and Computer Security, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.255–274

3 May 2019

Research pick: Internet of Power - "An intelligent system to connect or disconnect home appliances and monitoring energy levels using IoT"

Researchers in India are developing an “intelligent” system that can monitor energy usage of Internet of Things devices in the home and connect or disconnect them appropriately as needed. The system uses a Hall effect sensor to monitor the current flowing to a device.

In work described in the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning, the team presents a new approach to IoT control with software and hardware. An IoT device can monitor energy levels while the intelligent system is connected via Wi-Fi to allow control from a remote site, specifically using an internet-connected smartphone. Such a system would be a boon to those with various forms of disability who might thus take back control of their home and its appliances, such as lights, fans, heaters, and other enabled devices, where before many gadgets were wholly inaccessible or required another person to be present to help.

Experiments with the prototype circuit board offer a proof of principle where two connected devices, a standalone PC fan as a surrogate for a domestic fan and an LED as a substitute for a houselight were used in the tests.

Nalajala, P., Godavarthi, B. and Prabhakar Reddy, G. (2019) ‘An intelligent system to connect or disconnect home appliances and monitoring energy levels using IoT’, Int. J. Technology Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.209–222.

2 May 2019

Special issue published: "Triple Helix Dynamics for Innovation and Regional Growth"

Global Business and Economics Review 21(3/4) 2019

  • Towards combining the triple helix concept with competence-based approach of educational management theory
  • Analysis of the researcher's motivators to collaborate with firms as drivers of the triple helix dynamics
  • Innovation centres as anchor spaces of the 'knowledge city'
  • National, regional or industrial explanation for firms' deaths in the European Union since 2010 until 2014 - a shift-share application
  • University spin-offs and triple helix dynamics in regional innovation ecosystems: a comparison of technology intensive start-ups in Sweden
  • The new triple-helix policy of Lombardy region: evidence from nine innovation clusters
  • Effectiveness of regional biotechnology clusters to support innovation activities: case of biotech cluster in Russia
  • Supporting the regional development in the knowledge economy: the adoption of a system dynamic approach in Ghana
  • Role of the triple helix in the ecosystems for tech start-ups in India: a gap analysis
  • New and growing firms' entrepreneurs' perceptions and their discriminant power in EDL countries
  • Agricultural entrepreneurship and the financial crisis
  • Strategies and obstacles for marketing innovation activities

Best Reviewer Awards announced by International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology

Prof. Saeid Eslamian, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology, is pleased to announce the winners of the following Best Reviewer Awards:

Prof. Bachir Achour
University of Biskra
Research Laboratory in Subterranean and Surface Hydraulics (LARHYSS)
Hydraulic and Civil Engineering Department


Assistant Prof. Mohammad Javad Zareian
Ministry of Energy
Department of Water Resources Research

New Editor for International Journal of International Journal of Virtual Technology and Multimedia

Prof. Charles Xiaoxue Wang from Florida Gulf Coast University in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Virtual Technology and Multimedia.

Research pick: Predator and prey in cyber stasis - "Legitimate firms or hackers – who is winning the global cyber war?"

In the world of cybersecurity, just as in nature, there are predators and there is prey. The predators are the hunters, the ones that seek out the weak and the vulnerable on which to prey, that applies whether we are talking cat and mouse or hacker and computer system.

Writing in the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning, a team from the USA suggests that the waxing and waning, the ebb and flow of cyber attack on the Internet of Things and other systems reflects the natural rise and fall of predator and prey numbers. When predators attack more frequently and with more sophisticated weaponry, the prey ultimately adapts to cope and so the predator must also evolve to have sharper teeth and longer claws to persist in the next round of attack and so on.

If predator becomes too sophisticated, then all prey will be devoured and there will be nothing left on which the predators might feast. Conversely, if prey somehow evolved the ultimate defenses, then the predators would ultimately die out. Given then for the whole of natural and computer history predators and prey have existed in a bitter harmony, it is suggested that either route is likely to be taken. Predator and prey might outwit each other in cycles, but ultimately they will both persist in what is essentially stasis.

In a world where there are always malicious people, the predators, prey must be perpetually vigilant, which means companies and individuals using information and computing technology must constantly be on the lookout for predator attack and take defensive action as soon as they can to preclude their demise.

Gary, R.F., Marinakis, Y., Majadillas, M.A., White, R. and Walsh, S.T. (2019) ‘Legitimate firms or hackers – who is winning the global cyber war?’, Int. J. Technology Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.297–314.

1 May 2019

Research pick: “The Smoke” – Assessing air-quality forecasting for London

An assessment of local and regional air-quality forecasts for London, UK is reported in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution. In their evaluation, Amy Stidworthy, Mark Jackson, Kate Johnson, David Carruthers, and Jenny Stocker, of Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants Ltd., explain how levels of nitrogen oxides, ozone, and sooty particulates (PM2.5 and PM10), can be predicted quite accurately but the origin and how the various pollutants are dispersed must be taken into account in forecasts to ensure accuracy.

Atmospheric dispersions models are critical to accurate, long-range predictions of air quality. Such forecasts inform the public and others of how pollution levels are shifting over the coming days and can be used to advise people with reduced lung function and other medical conditions sensitive to high pollution levels on whether or not to avoid certain areas at certain times or even to stay indoors entirely.

The researchers add that “Forecasting systems must account for long-range transport of pollutants in addition to local emissions, chemical processes and urban morphology; thus it is common practice to couple local air dispersion models with regional models to account for pollutant emissions, transport and chemistry at a range of scales.” As such, their evaluation of the commonly used system of London’s airTEXT, which uses CAMS regional ensemble air quality forecast data, and the ADMS-Urban dispersal model to make accurate predictions is important both for ensuring that guidance is appropriate.

The team showed that this system performs better than the regional-scale CAMS forecasts for all pollutants considered, with the exception of PM2.5. However, there were no major air-quality incidents during the study period so the absolute predictive power could not be determined. Prediction of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels was much better in urban areas with this system as one might expect given that the main source is road traffic. Ozone levels are a secondary pollutant and so levels depend heavily on dispersal.

The team adds that “conservative” and “cautious” alerts should be considered and data points on the threshold might be removed to avoid bias and so improve accuracy still further, although this would only be sensible with very long data sets covering a significant time period.

Stidworthy, A., Jackson, M., Johnson, K., Carruthers, D. and Stocker, J. (2018) ‘Evaluation of local and regional air quality forecasts for London’, Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 64, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.178–191.