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- Improving incubators in India
Business incubators can provide the requisite infrastructure, mentoring, and nurturing environment to allow startup companies to grow and thrive. At least that is the theory. Writing in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning, a team from India has investigated whether this is indeed the case.
Monika Dhochak of the Goa Institute of Management and Satya Ranjan Acharya and S.B. Sareen of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India in Ahmedabad, have looked at 29 such business incubators created under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) model.
"In today's competitive business world, business reinvention model based on disruptive innovation and technology has become the new source of sustainable competitive advantage," the team writes. "India being a developing and competitive economy aspires to realise the sustainable development through innovative startups," they add.
The team points out that business incubators offer four clear benefits to startups: First, they provide access to debt and equity capital to launch and sustain growth. Secondly, they allow links to be formed with investors through contacts. Thirdly, they create in-house equity and debt funds to seed a deal and to fill financing gaps. Finally, an incubator can create relationships with other entities and service providers that might otherwise be inaccessible.
In the context of the Indian incubators, there are limitations, such as inadequate computing facilities and a lack of mentoring in some areas. These issues could be overcome now that they are known, the team suggests. Virtual incubation and soft services might also be worth investigating further. "Offering such support could contribute significantly to the sustenance and growth graduated companies on one hand and offer a new revenue stream to the incubator on the other hand," the team concludes.
Dhochak, M., Acharya, S.R. and Sareen, S.B. (2019) 'Assessing the effectiveness of business incubators', Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp.177–194.
- Setting sail in San Francisco
Windpower has been with us for millennia. Our ancestors used it to power vessels to sail the River Nile around 3400 BCE and the seven seas ever since. Now. A modern tack sees US scientists developing a "wingsail" to assist with the propulsion of an otherwise diesel-powered vessel that might be used as a ferry. They outline their plans in the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management.
Timothy Lipman and Jeffrey Lidicker of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, explain how a carbon-fibre, computer-controlled wingsail could be mounted on a 14-metre trimaran test vessel, which was then sailed through San Francisco Bay over a three-month test period.
The project demonstrated that for the test vessel sailing at seven knots on a given ferry route, wind of between 10 and 20 knots was sufficient to save between 25 and 40% of the fuel that would otherwise be burned running the vessel's engines; also assuming no seriously adverse effects of currents. This the team says not only makes sense economically but also could be useful in reducing carbon emissions and pollution from such vessels. The real-world benefits might be somewhat different given that the Bay ferryboat services operate at 17 or more knots, but the proof of concept is encouraging and could provide the basis for further investigations and optimisation of the system for ferries.
Lipman, T.E. and Lidicker, J. (2019) 'Wind-assist marine demonstration for ferries: prospects for saving diesel fuel with wind power', Int. J. Environmental Technology and Management, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp.68–83.
- Early sepsis detection with infrared
Sepsis is a major risk factor for patient death among those in intensive care not suffering from heart problems. In fact, it is the eleventh cause of death overall in the USA. It arises when infection causes a breakdown in the immune system leading to a major inflammatory response. Research published in the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics suggests that infrared thermography could be used for the early detection of sepsis. Early detection is key to treating this condition and reducing the sepsis mortality rate.
Hasanain Al-Sadr, Mihail Popescu, and James Keller of the University of Missouri Columbia, USA, explain that abnormal patterns of body temperature can reveal the earliest stages of sepsis. "We suggest using thermography as a non-invasive tool capable of continuously measuring body temperature patterns and detecting abnormalities," the team writes. The add that of the odd patterns is temperature difference between body extremities and the patient's core temperature.
The team has now developed an automatic system that can calculate core versus extremity temperature differences based on a frontal and lateral infrared thermogram of the face. The measurements are determined for the inner and outer ear and tracking the tip of the nose by monitoring the position of the inner corner of a patient's eyes in the images. The statistical methods the researchers used can work successfully to detect sepsis almost irrespective of the angle of the head relative to the imager and if there are different backgrounds. The system works well in real-time, the team reports.
Al-Sadr, H., Popescu, M. and Keller, J.M. (2019) 'Early sepsis recognition based on infrared thermography', Int. J. Data Mining and Bioinformatics, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp.301-327.
- Fertility and prion disease
A high degree of uncertainty surrounds the issue of the prion disease risk associated with fertility drugs derived from urine, gonadotropins. Writing in the International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, a team from Canada hopes to address this issue. At the time of writing, the transmission of prion disease via this route is entirely theoretical as there have been no reported cases of incidence.
Neil Cashman of the Department of Neurology at the University of British Columbia, and colleagues at the University of Ottawa, Health Canada, the University of British Columbia, and at Bristol University in the UK, write that the international panel of experts ultimately concludes that the risk is very low although the use of bovine serum instead of urine lowers this small risk by 1200 times.
The team points out that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a human neurodegenerative disorder that is currently incurable and invariably fatal. CJD is a prion disease transmitted by errant proteins and is closely related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (commonly known as mad cow disease), scrapie in sheep, and a range of other diseases that affect the mammalian brain and all of which have a specific prion associated with their development. Fundamentally, prion diseases are thought to be caused by the misfolding of an otherwise benign and ubiquitous protein in cells into a distinct pathological form that essentially self-replicates by inducing the benign form to transform into the pathological conformation.
The team concludes that "While a formal assessment of the likelihood of prion disease transmission through the use of urine-derived fertility drugs is impossible due to a current lack of relevant scientific data." Nevertheless, now that the theoretical possibility of prion transmission has been raised in this context, scientists and healthcare workers in the area of fertility treatment must be vigilant for any cases that might arise.
Cashman, N.R., Tyshenko, M.G., Cheung, R., Aspinall, W., Wong, M. and Krewski, D. (2019) 'Prion disease risk uncertainties associated with urine-derived and recombinant fertility drugs', Int. J. Risk Assessment and Management, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp.109–127.
- What price Bitcoin?
Spyros Papathanasiou and Dimitrios Balios of the Department of Economics at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, working with Nikolaos Papamatthaiou of EPAS OAED in Lamia, anticipate that Bitcoin will ultimately be used in everyday life. At present, there are subtleties that may be obvious to experts but entirely overlooked by the public. Their survey of experts and laypeople suggest that the public sees Bitcoin as mainly a means to carry out secure transactions and payments. This is in marked contrast to expert opinion where Bitcoin is seen primarily as an investment vehicle.
Digital currencies began to have a serious impact on world economies as the US financial crisis of 2007 deepened and spread to the rest of the world resulting in serious recession, bankruptcies, and bailouts the following year and through the following decade. Indeed, a public increasingly disgruntled with political measures to remedy the recession, such as austere budgets, and the multi-billion bailouts of financial institutions might also be to blame for the rise of populism in politics. Regardless, the reliance on anonymous, decentralized monetary systems coincides with this need to increasingly protect oneself and one's assets and resources even at the expense of others makes a cryptic currency an obvious, to the experts, way forward for investing. It is essentially off-limits to prying governmental or commercial eyes and also beyond the reach of conventional tax authorities.
Cryptocurrencies represented a negligible fraction of global wealth for a period after their invention, their net value is now perhaps several hundred billion dollars, if not more. The researchers describe the most well-known of these cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, as offering "the promise of a better financial system with anonymous transactions that are free from banks and government intervention." They add that "Bitcoin may be the greatest change to the current economic environment in relation to our perception about money, investments, means of transactions and payments."
Papathanasiou, S., Papamatthaiou, N. and Balios, D.P. (2019) 'Bitcoin as an alternative digital currency: exploring the publics' perception vs. experts', Int. J. Financial Engineering and Risk Management, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.146–171.
- Hackers get stuck in an evolving honeypot
Malware, malicious software, is on the rise, whether in the form of Trojans, worms, and viruses, bot-net systems, denial of service tools, and hacking programs. Antivirus, firewall, and intrusion detection systems are all essential components of the protections a systems operator might put in place on their users' computers and the network they operate. Unfortunately, these are passive rather than active protections and so there are limitations to how well they can protect digital resources especially given the dynamic and evolving nature of attacks on seemingly robust systems.
Writing in the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking, researchers in China offer a somewhat novel paradigm – an evolving protection system that mimics the dynamics between predator and prey in the natural world.
Leyi Shi, Yuwen Cui, Xu Han, Honglong Chen, and Deli Liu of the China University of Petroleum (East China) in Qingdao, present a novel concept of a mimicry honeypot. This, they suggest, can bewilder adversaries (hackers and malware exploits) by evolving protective systems as network circumstances change when under attack. The team says that in tests their mimicry honeypot performs better than a conventional decoy system that might be in place on a network to attract and so distract malware and hackers away from the actual target. Fundamentally, the evolving honeypot adapts and so is never revealed as a honeypot, or honey-trap, to the attackers.
Shi, L., Cui, Y., Han, X., Chen, H. and Liu, D. (2019) 'Mimicry honeypot: an evolutionary decoy system', Int. J. High Performance Computing and Networking, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.157–164.
- Antibiotics through machine learning
Machine learning techniques can be used to search for new drugs for one of the most insidious causes of stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems, the bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori.
Ulcers are like open sores in the wall lining the stomach into which stomach acid can eat. These so-called peptic ulcers can be very painful and are a major risk factor for stomach cancer. In the late 1980s, Australian scientists demonstrated that the corkscrew-shaped H. pylori. This was the subject of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine as it overturned decades of received wisdom regarding the nature of ulcers. It suggested that a multi-billion dollar drug industry based on acid inhibitors and other such agents was no longer needed as a course of antibiotics might suffice. This later proved to be the case in treating ulcers caused by H. pylori.
Unfortunately, bacteria quickly evolve resistance to antibiotics, so there is always a need to find new ones that can keep us one step ahead of the infectious pathogens. Now, work published in the International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications, points the way to a new approach to finding antibiotics to treat conditions associated with H. pylori infection.
The approach taken by Surekha Patil and Shivakumar Madagi of the Department of Bioinformatics at Karnataka State Women's University, Jnanashakti Campus in Karnataka, India, could truncate the drug discovery pipeline significantly in this area of medicinal chemistry. The researchers discuss which algorithms work best to screen a database of small molecules against the target proteins associated with the bacterium. Specifically, the enzyme peptide deformylase is the focus of the work. As candidates emerge from the computer, those that have the most promise can be screened in the laboratory against the target, before further testing against H. pylori in laboratory animals and then humans.
Patil, S. and Madagi, S.B. (2019) 'Application of machine learning techniques towards classification of drug molecules specific to peptide deformylase against Helicobacter pylori', Int. J. Bioinformatics Research and Applications, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.221–242.
- Screening for prostate cancer drugs
Researchers in India have taken a computational approach to investigate a protein that could become a novel target for new drugs to prostate cancer therapy. Uzma Khanam, Puniti Mathur, and Bhawna Rathi of Amity University and Balwant Kishan Malik of Sharda University, explain how the target, a protein known as caveolin-1, acts as a scaffold within certain types of cell membranes. The protein interacts with proteins involved in cell signalling and can regulate their activity.
Importantly, it was already known that caveolin-1 levels are elevated in the blood serum of men with prostate cancer. Indeed, this protein is secreted to promote blood vessel growth, angiogenesis, as well as cell proliferation. It also blocks the natural programmed cell death, apoptosis, which allows tumours to grow unfettered.
The team has used a computerized model of the protein to allow them to see how small molecules, putative pharmaceuticals, might fit into pockets in the protein, how they might "dock" with the protein, in other words. This kind of computer simulation of docking behaviour has wrought many novel drugs for a wide range of diseases in the past.
The team explains how they used molecular docking, structural base molecular modelling and molecular dynamics simulations to search for compounds that would inhibit the protein. They used a predictive model to screen against a large database of compounds. Their study has gleaned several potential lead compounds that dock with the active site of the protein. Blocking the protein might block its activity and prevent blood vessel growth and cell proliferation in a tumour within the prostate gland. The team suggests that the biochemical characteristics of these compounds with the protein should now be the focus of laboratory work in the search for new drugs to treat prostate cancer.
Khanam, U., Malik, B.K., Mathur, P. and Rathi, B. (2019) 'Human caveolin-1 a potent inhibitor for prostate cancer therapy: a computational approach', Int. J. Computational Biology and Drug Design, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.203-218.
- Staying cool in India
The concept of "cool" is an ephemeral one. Coolness might be defined as an aesthetic of attitude, behaviour, comportment, appearance, and style, but to define it as such might not in itself be seen as cool. Instead, it is conceived as a cultural term, largely of the youth vernacular to suggest something or someone is worthy of admiration. One esoteric popular culture icon, app, meme, or celebrity, might be perceived as cool while to those in the know, another is seen as uncool.
Nowhere is the concept more simultaneously important and insignificant than in youth culture where fashions, trends, fame, and even fortune can wax and wane in the wake of cool.
Research published in the International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, discusses the concept of cool and compares and contrasts what is seen as cool among Indian youth and their counterparts in the notional "West". Ekta Duggal and Harsh Verma of the University of Delhi, point out that sociological research has focused on Western cool but there is scant data on Indian cool. They hope to redress this balance to some extent.
Their analysis produces a quite overwhelming conclusion: That while Western cool seems among young people seems to be about counter-culture and rebellious characteristics as well as unbridled hedonism, and commercial consumption, Indian youth do not perceive such characteristics as cool. Quite the opposite, it is usually seen as cool among Indian youth to be seen to be sensitive to the environment and people. Although these too are increasingly considered cool among some sectors of youth even in the West.
The team suggests that marketers and businesses in India are at risk of failure if they conflate western and Indian cool by assuming that the values are the same.
Duggal, E. and Verma, H.V. (2019) 'Indian cool: concept and contrast with western cool', Int. J. Indian Culture and Business Management, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp.67-80.
- Leaner, cleaner diesel engines
Diesel engines are widely used in transport the world over. Regulatory and legal efforts are afoot to reduce their use in some countries because of concerns about pollution. However, they are likely to remain a mainstay of heavy goods transport for many years to come because their efficiency and power general outstrip petrol engines and electric vehicles in some contexts.
Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, researchers from Turkey are investigating how the efficiency of diesel engines might be boosted by simple changes to the way the engines operate. Kubilay Bayramoglu, Semih Yilmaz, and Kerim Deniz Kaya of Dokuz Eylul University, Tinaztepe Campus, in Izmir, have carried out a numerical investigation of valve lifts effects on performance and emissions in diesel engines. Their work is carried out in the context of transport being the source of approximately one-third of the carbon emissions the world over and as such plays an important part in global warming and thus climate change.
The team has specifically examined the effect of changing intake valve lift distances on combustion characteristics and so efficiency and emissions, in a four-stroke single-cylinder diesel engine. The team's analysis of the data with the commercially available ANSYS-Forte software, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for combustion system analysis and ANSYS-Chemkin for reaction kinetics of combustion, showed the changes in carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions as well as so-called NOx emissions (nitrogen monoxide and dioxide) and how crank angle changes these.
The analyses showed that gross indicated power, indicated main effective pressure, and combustion efficiency all increase when valve lift is extended, the team reports.
Bayramoglu, K., Yilmaz, S. and Kaya, K.D. (2019) 'Numerical investigation of valve lifts effects on performance and emissions in diesel engine', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 18, Nos. 3/4, pp.287-303.
New Editor for International Journal of Aerospace System Science and Engineering
Prof. Prof. Hamid Reza Karimi from Politecnico di Milano in Italy has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Aerospace System Science and Engineering.
New Editor for International Journal of Power Electronics
Dr. Dinesh Kumar from Danfoss Drives A/S in Denmark has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Power Electronics.
International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms is becoming an Open Access-only journal
We are pleased to announce that the International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms is becoming an Open Access-only journal.
All accepted articles submitted from May 2019 onwards will be Open Access, and will require a fee payment of US $1600.
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.
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.