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  • Using the Internet of Things for water security – A cluster of internet-enabled devices, including a water-flow sensor, pH sensor, ultrasonic sensor and "PIC" microcontroller, can be used together as a watchdog system for water quality, thanks to work by a team in India who describe details of the system in International Journal of Environment and Waste Management.

    R. Jothikumar of Shadan College of Engineering and Technology, in Hyderabad, G. SivaShanmugam of VIT in Tamil Nadu, and S. Susi Department of Shadan Women's College of Engineering and Technology, also in Hyderabad, explain the growing pressures on water with rising global population, climate change, and increasing pollution. They point out that an Internet of Things (IoT) approach to water quality control could be the answer to many of the problems we face concerning drinking-water supply and ensuring people have security of this vital resource.

    The simple and low-cost system being developed by the team makes water quality assessment and water security widely available without the need for sophisticated technical knowledge. It can facilitate planned water management as well as allowing sources to be assigned to particular outlets depending on demand without compromising the quality of supply for any users. The team also points out that implemented across the globe such an approach would allow monitoring of ponds, lakes, and rivers, as well as water utility facilities and so, might allow us to manage waterways and water sources better for wildlife and ecosystems.

    Jothikumar, R., SivaShanmugam, G. and Susi, S. (2019) 'Watch dog system for water management', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp.396–404.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2019.103644

  • Educational institutions such as universities have for years battled against the rise of "Shadow" Information Technology, software and hardware that their users, whether student or educator, might bring to the establishment and us in conjunction with or instead of on-site equipment controlled by the IT department at the institution.

    This shadowy world is a double-edged sword for the institution. On one hand, it means that staff and students can use the equipment and software with which they are familiar to fulfill their respective roles, but on the other, the institution's IT department has no control on such hardware and software which might represent a security and/or safety risk to other users and the services the IT department provides.

    Owen Hall of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, USA, writing in the International Journal of Information Systems and Management, explains the quandary facing educational establishments and offers a hybrid view that allows user and establishment to utilize Shadow IT, such as personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones and associated software and applications without compromising safety and security. Indeed, such an ameliorating approach might ultimately benefit the institution by reducing the overall burden on IT resources provided the risks are acknowledged and taken into consideration in allowing users to work in the shadows, as it were.

    He concludes that constant vigilance and awareness are key to success with such a hybrid approach to IT use but conversely represent the greatest challenge. Moreover, it is critical to educate end-users to the putative problems of their using shadow IT and to demonstrate how resources provided by the university information systems organization might be just as useful to them in their endeavours within the academic world.

    Hall Jr., O.P. (2019) 'The growing impact of Shadow IT on higher education', Int. J. Information Systems and Management, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.1–16.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJISAM.2019.103603

  • Research published in the International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling shows how integrated simulations can be used to optimize a pharmaceutical production line in a way that conventional mathematical modeling cannot.

    Ahmad Taher Azar of Prince Sultan University, in Riyadh, KSA, and colleagues built their simulation using data and information from a working production line and then utilized the simulation to generate putative inputs and outputs for a range of production scenarios to show how they might be optimized for different resources and products. "This is the first study in which an integrated simulation DEA is used for the performance optimisation of a pharmaceutical unit," the team writes.

    The simulations showed six bottlenecks that reduce efficiency and slow production. These were brought into the simulated, verified and validated simulations so that they might be expunged from particular production scenarios. The simulations could then be combined in such a way to generate the optimal setup for any of more than 40 scenarios that the engineering team on a production line might face. Critically, any one of the many factors can affect overall efficiency and so a holistic approach has to be taken to reduce overheads and ensure the most efficient and effective approach.

    Habibifar, N., Hamid, M., Bastan, M. and Azar, A.T. (2019) 'Performance optimisation of a pharmaceutical production line by integrated simulation and data envelopment analysis', Int. J. Simulation and Process Modelling, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.360–376.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSPM.2019.103587

  • As tastes and trade change, so the proactive marketing department must reinvent its brands and what they might refer to as their "offering". Writing in the International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, a research team from Australia discusses how the once entirely desirable wines of the Hunter Valley region have now become part of a bigger gastronomic landscape to keep pace with trends and continue to sell their wines and other produce.

    Sidsel Grimstad and Jennifer Waterhouse of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales and John Burgess of RMIT University in Melbourne, Victoria explain how resilience and transformation have been applied to create "a little bit of La Dolce Vita" in the region.

    Hunter Valley is a small national producer but is, the researchers suggest, a strong custodian of the region's wine identity. "The importance of having regional identity 'custodians' such as the old wine families that ensure that the landscape maintains the rural aesthetic, creates embedded institutions that benefit both old and new entrants," the team writes. They add that "new entrants may be considered a risk, they also provide a continuous stream of creative solutions and investments, leading to continuous improvement of quality and luxury provision of wine and gastronomy sensory experiences."

    The team's case study shows that wine-tourism in the Hunter Valley region is strong and more resilient because it has regenerated itself into a gastronomic landscape where lifestyle, food, wine, and tourism complement each other, the team says. "Through this, the Hunter Valley manages to maintain its lead among the top Australian destinations for both national and international wine and food tourists," they conclude.

    Grimstad, S., Waterhouse, J. and Burgess, J. (2019) ''Creating a little bit of La Dolce Vita'. Explaining resilience and transformation in the Hunter Valley wine region, NSW, Australia', Int. J. Globalisation and Small Business, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp.359–380.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2019.103589

  • Ulla Hakala and Birgitta of the Sandberg Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland, and Marta Zurawik of Wigan, UK, have investigated electronic word-of-mouth, so-called e-WOM in the context of a relatively new recreational sport, Nordic walking. They hoped to reveal how positive and negative emotions affect e-WOM. Their hypothesis underpinning the study suggests that there is limited knowledge of emotional sharing concerning novel recreational activities.

    At the moment, the team explains, there is limited knowledge on emotional sharing concerning novel recreational activities, ones that some – whether participant or observer – might perceive as embarrassing in some way. They have analysed the online discussion surrounding Nordic walking in different countries and found that there are positive and negative views about the activity as one might expect.

    "Our understanding of the contagion of emotions in social encounters is limited and the effect of discrete emotions on changes in physical activity behaviour remains largely unexplored," the team writes. Their work sets out to explore the emotional response to novel recreational activities and to set a context for the study of eWOM with respect to such activities. They suggest that their work is "the beginning of a journey to explore the social sharing of emotions and the role of social media in sharing opinions and experiences on engagement in novel physical activities."

    Zurawik, M., Hakala, U. and Sandberg, B. (2019) 'Positive and negative emotional spirals in e-WOM of new recreational sports: a case study on Nordic walking', Int. J. Leisure and Tourism Marketing, Vol. 6, Nos. 3/4, pp.254–278.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJLTM.2019.103564

  • The concept of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking came to the fore as part of the movement that led to the freeing up of digital information although it gained considerable notoriety when it was hijacked for the purposes of illicit and illegal file sharing. However, it remains an important concept in distributing upload and download bandwidth among users with large files to distribute and P2p networking is used by many different tools with perfectly legitimate applications.

    Writing in the International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems, a team from India points out that for efficient use of a P2P network it is best if users that are a short hop from each other in terms of internet connectivity are clustered together. This can reduce the total burden on system resources and bandwidth by precluding the sending of packets of data across non-optimal transfer distances. The team of S. Vimal at the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, in Chennai, and S.K. Srivatsa of MIT at Anna University also in Chennai, India, have shown how a clustered P2P network that utilizes a file-replication algorithm can boost efficiency still further.

    The team describes their approach as a "nearness and interested cluster (NIC) super peer network. The interests and categorized "sub-interests" of peers are used to cluster them according to the most likely of digital commodities that they might be anticipated to share.

    Vimal, S. and Srivatsa, S.K. (2019) 'A file sharing system in peer-to-peer network by a nearness-sensible method', Int. J. Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.293–299.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJRIS.2019.103510

  • Siwar Khemakhem, Mouna Rekik, and Lotfi Krichen of the Control and Energy Management Laboratory at the National Engineering School of Sfax, in Tunisia, are investigating the potential of home energy management based on plug-in electric vehicle power control in a residential smart grid.

    Writing in the International Journal of Digital Signals and Smart Systems, the team explains how the advent of electric vehicles has shifted the pressure to some extent from power supply based filling a tank with a liquid or gas fuel at a station to generally charging one's vehicle from home. As more and more drivers switch to electric vehicles there is a need to make the supply of power smarter. The team has now proposed an optimal charge/discharge power management algorithm that can be used in residential areas and takes into account smart grid technology.

    "The purpose of this control strategy is to ensure the energy flow exchanging between plugin electric vehicles and smart home to improve the energy efficiency and to achieve a flattened power load curve," the team writes. Their algorithm finds the optimal approach to charging for off-peak and home-to-vehicle power supply. It also looks at how to cope when charging is needed during peak electricity demand periods. Simulation of the algorithm shows that it is capable of smoothing the power load curve and making the smart grid stable and secure by switching between four operating modes where discharging electricity from the vehicle's batteries occurs when demand is high but charging is boosted during off-peak times.

    Khemakhem, S., Rekik, M. and Krichen, L. (2019) 'Home energy management based on plug-in electric vehicle power control in a residential smart grid', Int. J. Digital Signals and Smart Systems, Vol. 3, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.173–186.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJDSSS.2019.103369

  • Bauhaus artist, Paul Klee (1879-1940) had a unique abstract style nodding, by turns to Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Now, computer scientists from China and the USA are working together to create an algorithm that can mimic the style of the Swiss-born artist. Their research adds to the oeuvre that is known as generative art.

    Writing in the International Journal of Arts and Technology, Hanqing Zhao of Tianjin University, and Kang Zhang of The University of Texas at Dallas discuss how they have used their personal assessment and computer analysis to study Klee's Pedagogical Sketchbook created in his later years. Having analysed the colour and composition of Klee's paintings, the team has used a computer to generate with randomly adjusted parameters of compositions and palette, two generative artworks in the style of Klee.

    The team explains that the scalable framework they have developed offers a novel paradigm for the generation of abstract images. The team suggests that generative art of this type can have its place as an art form in its own right. Moreover, by providing a non-invasive way to analyse and then describe original artistic works it might be a useful tool for those studying traditional, albeit modern or abstract, paintings.

    "Other researchers could extend this framework on other abstract paintings' styles," the team writes. "We hope that our work inspires both artists and computer scientists for further research on new media art and design."

    Zhao, H. and Zhang, K. (2019) 'Modelling and generating abstract images of Paul Klee style', Int. J. Arts and Technology, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.380–392.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2019.103490

  • What is the key to happiness? More to the point, is there a universal skeleton key that city dwellers could use to unlock happiness? Writing in the aptly named International Journal of Happiness and Development, a Canadian team finds the answers.

    When it comes to happiness, it is difficult to predict what might make a person feel that way, regardless of the received wisdom with regards to wealth, health, and other factors. Indeed, Kenneth Cramer of the Department of Psychology at the University of Windsor in Windsor Ontario and Rebecca Pschibul of Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, suggest that higher creativity, optimism, longevity, and lower hostility and self-centredness, are good markers of happiness. But, they wonder whether such factors are universal. As such, they have carried out a study of several large urban centres around the world to find out.

    The team looked at various elements of city life including economics, culture and education, income, safety, living conditions, city administration, health, city pride, and the self-reported level of happiness. It seemed that each urban centre had a different overall makeup in terms of these antecedents to happiness. Apparently, there is no universal key. In general, health was the greatest common predictor of happiness (especially among men) with pride in one's city second on the list, and, perhaps surprisingly, household income.

    Ultimately, the team did not find a skeleton key to unlock happiness, there is, they explain "little support for the invariance (generalisability) hypothesis". They point out that rather than attempting to find a one size fits all solution across the globe, much within reach is a greater understanding of the relevant elements that could be used to promote greater quality of urban life in specific regions.

    Cramer, K.M. and Pschibul, R. (2019) 'Finding the skeleton key to happiness: evaluating model invariance of subjective well-being in a comparison of large urban centres worldwide', Int. J. Happiness and Development, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp.257–278
    DOI: 10.1504/IJHD.2019.103402

  • Writing in the International Journal of Learning and Change, researchers explain how more than a million unauthorised immigrants and refugees entered Europe in 2015. Unfortunately, there are many delays facing those with a legitimate claim to seeking asylum. Many people are also rejected for a wide variety of reasons and various factors have encouraged many migrants to bypass the legal routes. They enter Europe and travel through it illicitly in land vehicles being smuggled across borders and into and through their chosen European country often without being noticed. This often ends tragically for many of those seeking a new life in another country as we have seen very recently in the news.

    Aidas Vasilis Vasiliauskas and Ieva Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė of the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Virgilija Vasilienė-Vasiliauskienė and Margarita Marija Lietuvnikė of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University have looked at the economic costs of illegal immigration on European road freight transport companies operating in the corridor between France and the United Kingdom.

    "Taking into consideration that road freight transport is the main mode of transport ensuring the functioning of logistics system in Europe, the consequences may surely be serious: disruption in the processes of supply, production and distribution, cargo delays or failures to arrive, interrupted factory operations, losing cooperation with clients," the team writes. There is an ever-pressing need for the private and public sectors to work together to find a way to address the problem of illegal migrants. Solutions could save lives as well as reduce the detrimental effects on companies and their employees involved in freight between France and the UK.

    Vasiliauskas, A.V., Vasilienė-Vasiliauskienė, V., Lietuvnikė, M.M. and Meidutė-Kavaliauskienė, I. (2019) 'Risks of illegal migration and associated damage to transport companies. The case of the corridor France – UK', Int. J. Learning and Change, Vol.11 No.3, pp.289-304
    DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2019.10023025

News

Editor in Chief of International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making becomes Honorary Doctor for University of Western Macedonia

Prof. Constantin Zopounidis, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making, has recently been appointed as Honorary Doctor at the University of Western Macedonia's School of Economics. Further details are available here.

International Journal of Banking, Accounting and Finance increases issues

The International Journal of Banking, Accounting and Finance has announced that it will be increasing issues from two to four from 2020 onwards.

New Editor for International Journal of Multivariate Data Analysis

Associate Prof. Pietro Amenta from the University of Sannio in Italy has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Multivariate Data Analysis.

New Editors for International Journal of Technoentrepreneurship

Prof. Hermenegildo Gil Gómez from Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain has been appointed as the new Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Technoentrepreneurship. He will be joined by a new Executive Editor, Prof. Domingo Enrique Ribeiro-Soriano of Universitat de València.

New Editor for International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems

Prof. Jair Minoro Abe from Paulista University in Brazil has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems.