174 research outputs found

    Studies on Real-Valued Negative Selection Algorithms for Self-Nonself Discrimination

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    The artificial immune system (AIS) is an emerging research field of computational intelligence that is inspired by the principle of biological immune systems. With the adaptive learning ability and a self-organization and robustness nature, the immunology based AIS algorithms have successfully been applied to solve many engineering problems in recent years, such as computer network security analysis, fault detection, and data mining. The real-valued negative selection algorithm (RNSA) is a computational model of the self/non-self discrimination process performed by the T-cells in natural immune systems. In this research, three different real-valued negative selection algorithms (i.e., the detectors with fixed radius, the V-detector with variable radius, and the proliferating detectors) are studied and their applications in data classification and bioinformatics are investigated. A comprehensive study on various parameters that are related with the performance of RNSA, such as the dimensionality of input vectors, the estimation of detector coverage, and most importantly the selection of an appropriate distance metric, is conducted and the figure of merit (FOM) of each algorithm is evaluated using real-world datasets. As a comparison, a model based on artificial neural network is also included to further demonstrate the effectiveness and advantages of RNSA for specific applications

    Without uniform indicators, firms are unable to deal with work health issues

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    Repetitive strain, stress and burnout go largely unreported, write Cory Searcy, Shane Dixon and Patrick Neuman

    PREVENTING OCCUPATIONAL INJURY: AN EXAMINATION OF TWO PARTICIPATORY WORKPLACE HEALTH PROGRAMS

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    Attempting to enhance their productivity or improve working conditions, many businesses have adopted organizational change programs that involve a participatory component. To attain a comprehensive understanding of these change programs we need to investigate the influence of social factors such as power, the impact of local and global contexts, and the role that agency plays in these programs. Further, because organizational programs do not unfold linearly and the contexts in which they are embedded continually evolve, it is crucial to employ an approach that allows studying organizational programs over time. Attending to these considerations enables the production of narratives of organizational change that are congruous with the dynamism of organizational life. This dissertation explores the dynamics of an organizational program in a particular type of occupational health and safety program, which emphasizes employee involvement: participatory ergonomics (PE). Participatory ergonomics, intended to reduce workers’ exposures to work-related musculoskeletal disorders, draws on the input of small groups of labour and management representatives called ergonomic change teams (ECTs) to address exposure to hazards that may lead to musculoskeletal disorders. The dissertation’s examination of an organizational change program consists of an analysis of PE programs in two workplaces: a courier depot and a manufacturing plant. The dissertation’s investigation of the PE programs is based primarily on observations, which were gathered longitudinally as the ECTs endeavoured to make ergonomic changes, and fifty-five semi-structured interviews, which were carried out with ECT members and other key informants who were not members of the ECTs. Data collection occurred during 48 months in the manufacturing setting; in the courier company, collection took place during a 30-month period. The dissertation’s analysis is informed by negotiated order and critical theory lenses. Negotiated order considers social order as an ongoing process and draws attention to the activities of individuals and groups, and the manner in which they influence the dynamics of social life. In regard to organizational programs, it rejects the idea that they unfold independently of actors’ efforts; rather, it considers them as products of individuals’ attempts to establish and maintain the necessary agreements to ensure their operation. Critical theory, as it pertains to occupational health, identifies the constraints that shape working conditions and links these with the uneven distribution of power in the workplace and production imperatives. The dissertation addresses the following general research questions: What actions were undertaken by individuals to ensure the PE programs functioned and continued? How did the organizational and societal context enable or constrain the pursuit of PE program activities? The presentation of the findings begins with an account of the problem-solving processes used in both of the settings, an overview of the types of knowledge that were used, and a description of the actors’ access to knowledge. In each setting, design parameters, production pressures, the nature of the knowledge required to design solutions, and the differential distribution of that knowledge among workplace personnel influenced (a) the effectiveness of the ECTs’ solution building activities, (b) the design process, and (c) the nature and degree of participation by the teams’ worker members. The dissertation then proceeds to an examination of the implementation process. It explores how this process is affected by the organizational context, in particular the ECTs’ limited authority as agents of change, and shows that the minimal authority they possessed prompted the ECTs to select an array of strategies to accomplish their work. These strategies often took the forms of persuasion, persistence, and enlisting the assistance of other personnel. Extending the discussion of implementation, the dissertation then focuses on the division of labour within the ECTs as they carried out their activities. In both settings, implementation activities were unevenly distributed among the ECTs’ membership; they were predominantly carried out by managerial personnel. Both the programs’ functioning and the participation of worker representatives were influenced by the interplay among three main factors: the type of activities that needed to be carried out, workplace hierarchy, and stance, or participants’ views about their ability to act effectively. The discussion of the PE programs then proceeds to an examination of whether the programs were supplied with the resources required to continue over time. The outcomes differed: in Courier Co. the program was discontinued, whereas in Furniture Co. it was maintained. The discussions investigate how PE program continuation was affected by the program supporters’ activities and shaped by conditions both internal and external to the organization. Foremost among these conditions were management’s view of health and safety and the occupational health and safety regulatory framework. The dissertation’s examination of the PE programs over time provides evidence that the functioning and the degree of worker involvement in participatory occupational health programs are conditioned by structural and interactional elements. The programs were shaped by an uneven distribution of power, limits on access to knowledge and scarce resources, and actors’ divergent interests and their capacities to act in accord with these interests. The final chapter of the dissertation reviews the key findings and examines common themes that arose across the workplaces. The dissertation concludes with observations on several topics: the challenges of evaluating program outcomes in settings such as occupational health and safety; the lessons that participatory ergonomics practitioners can take from the study’s findings; and suggestions for possible avenues of future research

    Sustaining Management Commitment to Workplace Health Programs:. The Case of Participatory Ergonomics

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    This article investigates management commitment to workplace health and safety through an analysis of the implementation of participatory ergonomic (PE) interventions in three worksites. The PE programs were established to address the burden of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Drawing upon interview and observational data, the analysis examines the evolution of managerial support for PE programs over time and in the context of pressures internal and external to the worksites. Ergonomic Change Teams in all three sites experienced problems establishing authority to act as change agents and in accessing employee time to carry out their activities. Resolution of these problems was heavily contingent on the commitment of senior management, and the efforts of individual management personnel to intervene in support of the PE program. Our findings highlight that “management” is not a monolithic entity and managerial structures are often marked by divisions in priorities, including health and safety.Les travaux sur la santé et la sécurité dans les établissements mettent l’accent sur l’importance de l’implication de la direction. Une approche en matière de santé et de sécurité au travail qui devient de plus en plus acceptée est l’ergonomie participative (EP), qui cherche à réduire l’exposition des travailleurs à des troubles musculosquelettiques. Les débats en ergonomie participative font de façon constante ressortir l’importance d’un engagement de la part de la direction (Haims et Carayon, 1998).Des travaux ont rassemblé les éléments d’un cas convaincant au sujet de l’appui de la direction pour réussir des interventions en santé et sécurité au travail, mais on connaît peu d’analyses du processus qui conduit à l’engagement de la direction et à son maintien. Le fait de se demander ce qu’est la nature des relations entre des influences d’ordre structurel, tels que les impératifs de la production, et les activités de la direction peuvent améliorer notre compréhension du support de la direction.Cet essai analyse l’engagement de la direction en matière de santé et de sécurité au travail par le biais d’une évaluation de la mise en oeuvre d’un programme d’ergonomie participative dans trois établissements : un constructeur automobile, un fabricant de meubles et un service de messagerie. Les interventions débutèrent avec la formation d’une équipe de facilitateurs en ergonomie participative dans chaque établissement, qui regroupait des travailleurs horaires, des représentants de la direction et un facilitateur en ergonomie, ce dernier étant un membre de l’équipe de recherche universitaire. L’analyse se centre sur l’évolution de l’appui de la direction au programme d’ergonomie participative sur une période de temps, comme il se déploie dans un contexte de pressions à l’emplacement du travail, tant à l’interne qu’à l’externe, surtout celles liées à la production.Les interventions sont évaluées à l’aide d’une approche cas multiple et les données des études de cas sont tirées des entrevues effectuées sur le terrain et des notes prises. Dans chaque emplacement, les notes venant du terrain furent enregistrées sur les lieux du travail et au cours des rencontres de l’équipe. Les notes prises sur le terrain fournissaient un compte-rendu des activités sur le site et les reconstructions d’échanges informels entre les chercheurs sur le terrain et différents membres du personnel, incluant des travailleurs horaires, des cadres intermédiaires et supérieurs. Dans chaque emplacement, des entrevues ont été conduites avec environ une vingtaine de personnes, incluant des membres de l’équipe d’intervention, également de la direction supérieure locale et des travailleurs différents de ceux membres de l’équipe d’intervention.Les notes prises sur le terrain et les entrevues transcrites furent traitées à l’aide d’un logiciel d’analyse de type qualitatif. Pour chaque ensemble de données, un schéma de codification préliminaire a été mis au point et par la suite révisé en ne retenant que les lectures multiples du matériel recueilli. Les sections basées sur les codes ont été retirées et ensuite évaluées pour procéder à l’analyse.L’analyse est ancrée dans une perspective de processus politique en matière de changement technologique et organisationnel (McLoughlin et Badham, 2005; Thomas, 1994). Cette approche fournit une façon d’envisager l’évolution dans le temps des programmes organisationnels, une manière qui se préoccupe des dimensions structurelles et interactionnelles de la vie en société. Dans l’analyse qui suit de l’évolution des programmes d’ergonomie participative, cette perspective est retenue en vue d’évaluer comment ces programmes se déroulent dans un contexte marqué au coin des activités et des intérêts divergents des acteurs, qui commandent des degrés divers d’autorité, dans un milieu caractérisé par des forces internes telles que des pressions venant de la production et par des forces externes.Cette vision considère les formations sociales comme des programmes organisationnels tels qu’ils sont façonnés par les actions de ceux de l’intérieur aussi bien par l’effet des contextes organisationnels et sociaux plus larges. La perspective d’un processus politique conçoit également l’évolution des programmes organisationnels comme un ensemble de décisions prises par des groupes divers dans le temps, et non simplement comme une décision de retenir un programme en particulier. De plus, divers groupes au sein d’une organisation ont des intérêts divergents et une autorité pour actualiser ces intérêts, qui en retour exercent une influence sur la mise en oeuvre. L’approche du processus politique met également l’accent sur l’importance des conditions internes et externes aux lieux de travail, ce qui complique et parfois même empêche l’exercice chez les individus de leurs aptitudes à donner une direction au développement de programmes organisationnels.Nos conclusions indiquent que les équipes d’ergonomie dans les trois établissements ont rencontré des problèmes d’attribution de l’autorité de procéder à titre d’agents de changement au sein du lieu de travail et des problèmes d’évaluation du temps des salariés à réaliser leurs agendas. Ces problèmes étaient intimement reliés : l’absence d’autorité entraînait une inaptitude à obtenir l’engagement du temps des salariés, dans certains cas le temps d’assister aux rencontres des équipes de changement et, dans d’autres, d’effectuer des changements de nature ergonomique. Dans tous ces exemples de problèmes rencontrés eu égard au temps, la direction ne réussissait pas à fournir le personnel que les équipes de changement nécessitaient. Pendant qu’un évènement de nature locale affectait la façon dont le programme de caractère ergonomique se déroulait dans chaque lieu de travail, des difficultés d’obtenir l’autorité et le temps de faire des changements ont entravé le succès des interventions dans les trois emplacements.Nos conclusions mettent en évidence le fait que la direction des établissements ne forme pas un bloc monolithique et que les structures de direction sont souvent marquées par des divisions au plan des priorités et des intérêts. Dans tous les emplacements, la direction supérieure appuyait le lancement des interventions, mais c’était les cadres et les superviseurs qui généralement s’intéressaient aux enjeux pratiques inhérents au maintien de la bonne marche de la production une fois l’intervention en cheminement. Étant donné le caractère des pressions qu’ils devaient supporter, le fait d’obtenir leur appui présentait un défi continu. De plus, au passage d’un emplacement à l’autre, la direction supérieure différait quant au maintien de son engagement initial au cours du déroulement des programmes en ergonomie et plus particulièrement, lorsqu’un programme rencontrait une certaine résistance, elle apportait son renfort par une intervention efficace.Le problème principal que rencontraient les interventions résidait dans le fait que les programmes de santé et de sécurité au travail se voyaient accorder une importance secondaire en étant subordonnés aux objectifs de la production. Un enjeu important ici était la position retranchée de la direction eu égard à la prévention des accidents d’ordre musculosquelettique. D’une manière plus particulière, des conflits se présentaient quant aux ressources affectées à la santé et à la sécurité, sur l’organisation et le rythme du travail, tenant compte de la priorité accordée au maintien ou à l’accroissement de la productivité aux dépends d’un investissement dans les enjeux de sécurité de nature ergonomique.En poursuivant un cadre de référence de l’ordre d’un processus politique, cet essai évalue la manière dont un programme organisationnel dans son évolution s’éloigne de sa conception initiale et, à l’intérieur de ce processus, la manière dont les positions de la direction en matière de santé et de sécurité deviennent volatiles et sensibles aux pressions, tant à l’interne qu’à l’externe, dans un emplacement donné. Nos conclusions mettent en évidence l’obligation pour la direction, au moment de la conceptualisation d’un programme, de tenir compte de l’hétérogénéité propre à un niveau (direction supérieure et cadre moyen), de l’objet de la responsabilité (que ce soit la production, la santé ou la sécurité au travail) au sein même d’une entreprise. De plus, des différences au sein des organisations quant à l’accès aux ressources et aux avantages acquis de la direction et des travailleurs ont un impact sur le déroulement d’un programme. Une implication importante qui en découle est à l’effet que des ententes d’appui à une intervention au moment de son lancement ne peuvent être envisagées comme stables dans le temps.Este artículo investiga el compromiso de la gerencia respecto a la salud y seguridad ocupacional mediante un análisis de la implementación de las intervenciones de ergonomía participativa (EP) en tres centros de trabajo. Basado en entrevistas y datos de observación, el análisis investiga la evolución del apoyo de la gerencia a los programas EP a través del tiempo y en el contexto de presiones internas y externas al centro de trabajo. Los equipos de cambio ergonómico en los tres lugares experimentaron problemas en cuanto a establecer la autoridad para actuar como agentes del cambio y en cuanto a la liberación de tiempo de los empleados para llevar a cabo sus actividades. La resolución de estos problemas dependió en gran medida del compromiso de la alta gerencia y de los esfuerzos individuales del personal de gerencia para intervenir en ayuda a los programas EP. Nuestros resultados hacen resaltar que la gerencia no es una entidad monolítica y que las estructuras de gestión son frecuentemente marcadas por divisiones respecto a las prioridades, incluyendo la salud y la seguridad

    Reliability and validity of neurobehavioral function on the Psychology Experimental Building Language test battery in young adults

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    Background. The Psychology Experiment Building Language (PEBL) software consists of over one-hundred computerized tests based on classic and novel cognitive neuropsychology and behavioral neurology measures. Although the PEBL tests are becoming more widely utilized, there is currently very limited information about the psychometric properties of these measures. Methods. Study I examined inter-relationships among nine PEBL tests including indices of motor-function (Pursuit Rotor and Dexterity), attention (Test of Attentional Vigilance and Time-Wall), working memory (Digit Span Forward), and executive-function (PEBL Trail Making Test, Berg/Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Iowa Gambling Test, and Mental Rotation) in a normative sample (N = 189, ages 18–22). Study II evaluated test–retest reliability with a two-week interest interval between administrations in a separate sample (N = 79, ages 18–22). Results. Moderate intra-test, but low inter-test, correlations were observed and ceiling/floor effects were uncommon. Sex differences were identified on the Pursuit Rotor (Cohen’s d = 0.89) and Mental Rotation (d = 0.31) tests. The correlation between the test and retest was high for tests of motor learning (Pursuit Rotor time on target r = .86) and attention (Test of Attentional Vigilance response time r = .79), intermediate for memory (digit span r = .63) but lower for the executive function indices (Wisconsin/Berg Card Sorting Test perseverative errors = .45, Tower of London moves = .15). Significant practice effects were identified on several indices of executive function. Conclusions. These results are broadly supportive of the reliability and validity of individual PEBL tests in this sample. These findings indicate that the freely downloadable, open-source PEBL battery (http://pebl.sourceforge.net) is a versatile research tool to study individual differences in neurocognitive performance

    Seed quality and the true price of native seed for mine site restoration

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    Native seed underpins the success of most terrestrial restoration efforts globally; however, the fragility of the native seed supply chain presents a key challenge to achieving global restoration goals. With the current heightened global focus on ecological restoration, seed supply chains are under unprecedented pressure worldwide. New and practical solutions are required to help the native seed industry move toward more sustainable and reliable supply, and in turn, facilitate more cost-effective, successful, seed-based restoration. Here we focus on species used in biodiverse mine site restoration in two regions of Western Australia as a test case for evaluating two key elements of the seed supply chain: seed quality and price. The study assessed seed quality in 185 species, then combined these results with seed price to determine the actual cost of pure live seeds (PLS) used in restoration. Average seed quality, expressed as a weight percentage of PLS, is 55%. The average price for a native seed batch across 129 species is 1,093Australiandollars(AUD)/kg,andwhenadjustedforviabilityandpurityis1,093 Australian dollars (AUD)/kg, and when adjusted for viability and purity is 2,600 (AUD)/ kg of PLS. We suggest replacing the traditional approach of pricing seed per unit weight (/kg)withanewmethodthatwouldreflectseedqualityandunitnumber;priceperthousandpureliveseeds(/kg) with a new method that would reflect seed quality and unit number; price per thousand pure live seeds ( TPLS). We posit that this new way of pricing native seeds would increase transparency and information flow in the marketing of native seeds, which will, in turn, enable seed users to more reliably plan for, and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of seed-based restoration projects

    The Grizzly, November 17, 2011

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    Professor Named Huffington Post Contributor • November Focuses on Sophomores • UCDC Offers Multiple Performances This Week • Bearitones, B\u27Nats Premiere Let\u27s Du Et!? • Students Compete at Simon Business School • Senior Interns at Sacred Heart • MCS Department Welcomes Professor Kirstie Hettinga • Opinion: Good Writers are an Endangered Species • Men\u27s Indoor Track and Field has Conference Championship Aspirations • Martell Wins Defensive Player of the Year Award • Success is a Tradition for Racich\u27s Wrestling Program • Field Hockey Headed Back to Final Fourhttps://digitalcommons.ursinus.edu/grizzlynews/1847/thumbnail.jp

    Complex exon-intron marking by histone modifications is not determined solely by nucleosome distribution

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    It has recently been shown that nucleosome distribution, histone modifications and RNA polymerase II (Pol II) occupancy show preferential association with exons (“exon-intron marking”), linking chromatin structure and function to co-transcriptional splicing in a variety of eukaryotes. Previous ChIP-sequencing studies suggested that these marking patterns reflect the nucleosomal landscape. By analyzing ChIP-chip datasets across the human genome in three cell types, we have found that this marking system is far more complex than previously observed. We show here that a range of histone modifications and Pol II are preferentially associated with exons. However, there is noticeable cell-type specificity in the degree of exon marking by histone modifications and, surprisingly, this is also reflected in some histone modifications patterns showing biases towards introns. Exon-intron marking is laid down in the absence of transcription on silent genes, with some marking biases changing or becoming reversed for genes expressed at different levels. Furthermore, the relationship of this marking system with splicing is not simple, with only some histone modifications reflecting exon usage/inclusion, while others mirror patterns of exon exclusion. By examining nucleosomal distributions in all three cell types, we demonstrate that these histone modification patterns cannot solely be accounted for by differences in nucleosome levels between exons and introns. In addition, because of inherent differences between ChIP-chip array and ChIP-sequencing approaches, these platforms report different nucleosome distribution patterns across the human genome. Our findings confound existing views and point to active cellular mechanisms which dynamically regulate histone modification levels and account for exon-intron marking. We believe that these histone modification patterns provide links between chromatin accessibility, Pol II movement and co-transcriptional splicing

    Automated Speckle Interferometry of Known Binaries

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    Astronomers have been measuring the separations and position angles between the two components of binary stars since William Herschel began his observations in 1781. In 1970, Anton Labeyrie pioneered a method, speckle interferometry, that overcomes the usual resolution limits induced by atmospheric turbulence by taking hundreds or thousands of short exposures and reducing them in Fourier space. Our 2022 automation of speckle interferometry allowed us to use a fully robotic 1.0-meter PlaneWave Instruments telescope, located at the El Sauce Observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile, to obtain observations of many known binaries with established orbits. The long-term objective of these observations is to establish the precision, accuracy, and limitations of this telescope's automated speckle interferometry measurements. This paper provides an early overview of the Known Binaries Project and provide example results on a small-separation (0.27") binary, WDS 12274-2843 B 228
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