4,051 research outputs found

    Forecasting Player Behavioral Data and Simulating in-Game Events

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    Understanding player behavior is fundamental in game data science. Video games evolve as players interact with the game, so being able to foresee player experience would help to ensure a successful game development. In particular, game developers need to evaluate beforehand the impact of in-game events. Simulation optimization of these events is crucial to increase player engagement and maximize monetization. We present an experimental analysis of several methods to forecast game-related variables, with two main aims: to obtain accurate predictions of in-app purchases and playtime in an operational production environment, and to perform simulations of in-game events in order to maximize sales and playtime. Our ultimate purpose is to take a step towards the data-driven development of games. The results suggest that, even though the performance of traditional approaches such as ARIMA is still better, the outcomes of state-of-the-art techniques like deep learning are promising. Deep learning comes up as a well-suited general model that could be used to forecast a variety of time series with different dynamic behaviors

    Delay-adjusted age- and sex-specific case fatality rates for COVID-19 in South Korea: Evolution in the estimated risk of mortality throughout the epidemic

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    Objectives: The aim of this study was to estimate delay-adjusted case fatality rates (CFRs) for COVID-19 in South Korea, and evaluate how these estimates have evolved over time throughout the epidemic. Methods: Public data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) were used to estimate age- and sex-specific CFRs for COVID-19 in South Korea up to June 12, 2020. We applied statistical methods previously developed to adjust for the delay between diagnosis and death, and presented both delay-adjusted and crude (unadjusted) CFRs throughout the epidemic. Results: The overall estimated delay-adjusted CFR was 2.39% (3.05% for males and 1.92% for females). Within each age strata where deaths were reported, males were found to have significantly higher CFRs than females. The estimated CFRs increased substantially from age 60 years in males and from 70 years in females. Both the delay-adjusted and crude CFRs were found to have evolved substantially, particularly early in the epidemic, converging only from mid-April 2020. Conclusions: The CFRs for South Korea provide an estimate of mortality risk in a setting where case ascertainment is likely to be more complete. The evolution in CFRs throughout the epidemic highlights the need for caution when interpreting CFRs calculated at a given time point

    Assessing the quality of the ecological component of English Environmental Statements

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    Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a key tool to help ensure sustainable built development in more than 200 countries worldwide. Ecology is frequently a component of EIA and early reviews of Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) chapters identified scope for improvement at almost every stage of the EcIA process, regardless of country. However, there have been no reviews of UK EcIA chapters since 2000, despite important changes in biodiversity and planning legislation, policy and guidance. In addition, no UK EcIA chapter reviews have attempted to assign a grade or score to EcIA chapters (as has been done for reviews of US, Finnish and Indian EcIA chapters). Furthermore, no EcIA chapter reviews have attempted to use a scoring system to identify which variables determine EcIA chapter information content, beyond straightforward comparisons of EcIA chapters before and after the introduction of guidelines. A variant of the Biodiversity Assessment Index (BAI) was used to assign scores between zero and one to EcIA chapters based on a series of 47 questions drawn from EU legislation and professional guidance. 112 EcIA chapters for proposed developments that were subsequently granted planning permission in England were assessed. The mean BAI score was less than 0.5, indicating the presence of considerable information gaps in the majority of EcIA chapters. Of 13 predictor variables identified as having the potential to affect EcIA chapter quality, 10 were identified as significantly related to the BAI scores. A backward stepwise Generalized Linear Model identified the use of professional guidance, the ecological consultancy type and the length of the EcIA chapter as having the greatest combined explanatory power. As a result, several recommendations are made to help improve future EcIA chapter content, including formal EcIA chapter review, publicising the professional guidance to consultants, the provision of training and the introduction of an accreditation scheme for consultants involved in EcIA

    Comparative Morphology of the Penis and Clitoris in Four Species of Moles (Talpidae).

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    The penile and clitoral anatomy of four species of Talpid moles (broad-footed, star-nosed, hairy-tailed, and Japanese shrew moles) were investigated to define penile and clitoral anatomy and to examine the relationship of the clitoral anatomy with the presence or absence of ovotestes. The ovotestis contains ovarian tissue and glandular tissue resembling fetal testicular tissue and can produce androgens. The ovotestis is present in star-nosed and hairy-tailed moles, but not in broad-footed and Japanese shrew moles. Using histology, three-dimensional reconstruction, and morphometric analysis, sexual dimorphism was examined with regard to a nine feature masculine trait score that included perineal appendage length (prepuce), anogenital distance, and presence/absence of bone. The presence/absence of ovotestes was discordant in all four mole species for sex differentiation features. For many sex differentiation features, discordance with ovotestes was observed in at least one mole species. The degree of concordance with ovotestes was highest for hairy-tailed moles and lowest for broad-footed moles. In relationship to phylogenetic clade, sex differentiation features also did not correlate with the similarity/divergence of the features and presence/absence of ovotestes. Hairy-tailed and Japanese shrew moles reside in separated clades, but they exhibit a high degree of congruence. Broad-footed and hairy-tailed moles reside within the same clade but had one of the lowest correlations in features and presence/absence of ovotestes. Thus, phylogenetic affinity and the presence/absence of ovotestes are poor predictors for most sex differentiation features within mole external genitalia

    Transfer parameters for ICRP's Reference Animals and Plants in a terrestrial Mediterranean ecosystem

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    A system for the radiological protection of the environment (or wildlife) based on Reference Animals and Plants (RAPs) has been suggested by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). To assess whole-body activity concentrations for RAPs and the resultant internal dose rates, transfer parameters are required. However, transfer values specifically for the taxonomic families defined for the RAPs are often sparse and furthermore can be extremely site dependent. There is also a considerable geographical bias within available transfer data, with few data for Mediterranean ecosystems. In the present work, stable element concentrations (I, Li, Be, B, Na, Mg, Al, P, S, K. Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Mo, Ag, Cd, Cs, Ba, Tl, Pb and U) in terrestrial RAPs, and the corresponding whole-body concentration ratios, CRwo, were determined in two different Mediterranean ecosystems: a Pinewood and a Dehesa (grassland with disperse tree cover). The RAPs considered in the Pinewood ecosystem were Pine Tree and Wild Grass; whereas in the Dehesa ecosystem those considered were Deer, Rat, Earthworm, Bee, Frog, Duck and Wild Grass. The CRwo values estimated from these data are compared to those reported in international compilations and databases

    Search algorithms as a framework for the optimization of drug combinations

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    Combination therapies are often needed for effective clinical outcomes in the management of complex diseases, but presently they are generally based on empirical clinical experience. Here we suggest a novel application of search algorithms, originally developed for digital communication, modified to optimize combinations of therapeutic interventions. In biological experiments measuring the restoration of the decline with age in heart function and exercise capacity in Drosophila melanogaster, we found that search algorithms correctly identified optimal combinations of four drugs with only one third of the tests performed in a fully factorial search. In experiments identifying combinations of three doses of up to six drugs for selective killing of human cancer cells, search algorithms resulted in a highly significant enrichment of selective combinations compared with random searches. In simulations using a network model of cell death, we found that the search algorithms identified the optimal combinations of 6-9 interventions in 80-90% of tests, compared with 15-30% for an equivalent random search. These findings suggest that modified search algorithms from information theory have the potential to enhance the discovery of novel therapeutic drug combinations. This report also helps to frame a biomedical problem that will benefit from an interdisciplinary effort and suggests a general strategy for its solution.Comment: 36 pages, 10 figures, revised versio

    Early adolescent disclosure and parental knowledge regarding online activities: Social anxiety and parental rule-setting as moderators

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    Early adolescents spend a lot of time online, yet little is currently known about the links between parental rule-setting, adolescent disclosure about online activities, and whether social anxiety may interfere with these processes. Using a longitudinal sample of 526 adolescents (269 girls; Mage = 14.00) and their parents (79% mothers, Mage = 43.66), the results from the current study showed low correspondence between parental knowledge, adolescent disclosure, as well as parents’ and adolescents’ ratings of parental legitimacy to set boundaries about online activities. High social anxiety interacted with high adolescent-rated parental rule-setting in predicting the least disclosure about chatting with strangers and posting online content over time. Also, high social anxiety interacted with low parent-rated control to predict more adolescent disclosure about chatting with strangers and money spent online over time. Thus, social anxiety and parental rule-setting moderated the links between disclosure and knowledge for some early adolescent online activities. Our results conflict with the value typically placed on parental rule-setting in online contexts, at least for socially anxious adolescents

    A review of RCTs in four medical journals to assess the use of imputation to overcome missing data in quality of life outcomes

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    Background: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are perceived as the gold-standard method for evaluating healthcare interventions, and increasingly include quality of life (QoL) measures. The observed results are susceptible to bias if a substantial proportion of outcome data are missing. The review aimed to determine whether imputation was used to deal with missing QoL outcomes. Methods: A random selection of 285 RCTs published during 2005/6 in the British Medical Journal, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of American Medical Association were identified. Results: QoL outcomes were reported in 61 (21%) trials. Six (10%) reported having no missing data, 20 (33%) reported ≤ 10% missing, eleven (18%) 11%–20% missing, and eleven (18%) reported >20% missing. Missingness was unclear in 13 (21%). Missing data were imputed in 19 (31%) of the 61 trials. Imputation was part of the primary analysis in 13 trials, but a sensitivity analysis in six. Last value carried forward was used in 12 trials and multiple imputation in two. Following imputation, the most common analysis method was analysis of covariance (10 trials). Conclusion: The majority of studies did not impute missing data and carried out a complete-case analysis. For those studies that did impute missing data, researchers tended to prefer simpler methods of imputation, despite more sophisticated methods being available.The Health Services Research Unit is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorate. Shona Fielding is also currently funded by the Chief Scientist Office on a Research Training Fellowship (CZF/1/31)
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