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Computers, Volume 10, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 11 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The adoption of model-driven engineering (MDE) is still rare. Empirical data about the quality of generated code can persuade the industry that the adoption of MDE brings added value. This paper reports the assessment of the quality of the code outputted by xGenerator: a Java platform for the development of enterprise web applications, which implements the MDE paradigm. Two papers by Aniche and his colleagues were selected to carry out the measurements. The former study concerns the metrics for MVC web applications, while the latter presents a catalog of six smells. Both studies fix the metric thresholds by taking into account the MVC software architecture. The results of the empirical assessment, carried out on a real-life project, proved that the quality of the code is high. View this paper
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Open AccessReview
Automated Machine Learning for Healthcare and Clinical Notes Analysis
Computers 2021, 10(2), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020024 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 836
Abstract
Machine learning (ML) has been slowly entering every aspect of our lives and its positive impact has been astonishing. To accelerate embedding ML in more applications and incorporating it in real-world scenarios, automated machine learning (AutoML) is emerging. The main purpose of AutoML [...] Read more.
Machine learning (ML) has been slowly entering every aspect of our lives and its positive impact has been astonishing. To accelerate embedding ML in more applications and incorporating it in real-world scenarios, automated machine learning (AutoML) is emerging. The main purpose of AutoML is to provide seamless integration of ML in various industries, which will facilitate better outcomes in everyday tasks. In healthcare, AutoML has been already applied to easier settings with structured data such as tabular lab data. However, there is still a need for applying AutoML for interpreting medical text, which is being generated at a tremendous rate. For this to happen, a promising method is AutoML for clinical notes analysis, which is an unexplored research area representing a gap in ML research. The main objective of this paper is to fill this gap and provide a comprehensive survey and analytical study towards AutoML for clinical notes. To that end, we first introduce the AutoML technology and review its various tools and techniques. We then survey the literature of AutoML in the healthcare industry and discuss the developments specific to clinical settings, as well as those using general AutoML tools for healthcare applications. With this background, we then discuss challenges of working with clinical notes and highlight the benefits of developing AutoML for medical notes processing. Next, we survey relevant ML research for clinical notes and analyze the literature and the field of AutoML in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, we propose future research directions and shed light on the challenges and opportunities this emerging field holds. With this, we aim to assist the community with the implementation of an AutoML platform for medical notes, which if realized can revolutionize patient outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence for Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Providing Consistent State to Distributed Storage System
Computers 2021, 10(2), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020023 - 15 Feb 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
In cloud storage systems, users must be able to shut down the application when not in use and restart it from the last consistent state when required. BlobSeer is a data storage application, specially designed for distributed systems, that was built as an [...] Read more.
In cloud storage systems, users must be able to shut down the application when not in use and restart it from the last consistent state when required. BlobSeer is a data storage application, specially designed for distributed systems, that was built as an alternative solution for the existing popular open-source storage system-Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). In a cloud model, all the components need to stop and restart from a consistent state when the user requires it. One of the limitations of BlobSeer DFS is the possibility of data loss when the system restarts. As such, it is important to provide a consistent start and stop state to BlobSeer components when used in a Cloud environment to prevent any data loss. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of BlobSeer providing a consistent state distributed data storage system with the integration of checkpointing restart functionality. To demonstrate the availability of a consistent state, we set up a cluster with multiple machines and deploy BlobSeer entities with checkpointing functionality on various machines. We consider uncoordinated checkpoint algorithms for their associated benefits over other alternatives while integrating the functionality to various BlobSeer components such as the Version Manager (VM) and the Data Provider. The experimental results show that with the integration of the checkpointing functionality, a consistent state can be ensured for a distributed storage system even when the system restarts, preventing any possible data loss after the system has encountered various system errors and failures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integration of Cloud Computing and IoT)
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Open AccessArticle
Symptom Tracking and Experimentation Platform for Covid-19 or Similar Infections
Computers 2021, 10(2), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020022 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Remote symptom tracking is critical for the prevention of Covid-19 spread. The qualified medical staff working in the call centers of primary health care units have to take critical decisions often based on vague information about the patient condition. The congestion and the [...] Read more.
Remote symptom tracking is critical for the prevention of Covid-19 spread. The qualified medical staff working in the call centers of primary health care units have to take critical decisions often based on vague information about the patient condition. The congestion and the medical protocols that are constantly changing often lead to incorrect decisions. The proposed platform allows the remote assessment of symptoms and can be useful for patients, health institutes and researchers. It consists of mobile desktop applications and medical sensors connected to cloud infrastructure. The unique features offered by the proposed solution are: (a) dynamic adaptation of Medical Protocols (MP) is supported (for the definition of alert rules, sensor sampling strategy and questionnaire structure) covering different medical cases (pre- or post-hospitalization, vulnerable population, etc.), (b) anonymous medical data can be statistically processed in the context of the research about an infection such as Covid-19, (c) reliable diagnosis is supported since several factors are taken into consideration, (d) the platform can be used to drastically reduce the congestion in various healthcare units. For the demonstration of (b), new classification methods based on similarity metrics have been tested for cough sound classification with an accuracy in the order of 90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real-Time Systems in Emerging IoT-Embedded Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Deep Feature Fusion of Fingerprint and Online Signature for Multimodal Biometrics
Computers 2021, 10(2), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020021 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
The extensive research in the field of multimodal biometrics by the research community and the advent of modern technology has compelled the use of multimodal biometrics in real life applications. Biometric systems that are based on a single modality have many constraints like [...] Read more.
The extensive research in the field of multimodal biometrics by the research community and the advent of modern technology has compelled the use of multimodal biometrics in real life applications. Biometric systems that are based on a single modality have many constraints like noise, less universality, intra class variations and spoof attacks. On the other hand, multimodal biometric systems are gaining greater attention because of their high accuracy, increased reliability and enhanced security. This research paper proposes and develops a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based model for the feature level fusion of fingerprint and online signature. Two types of feature level fusion schemes for the fingerprint and online signature have been implemented in this paper. The first scheme named early fusion combines the features of fingerprints and online signatures before the fully connected layers, while the second fusion scheme named late fusion combines the features after fully connected layers. To train and test the proposed model, a new multimodal dataset consisting of 1400 samples of fingerprints and 1400 samples of online signatures from 280 subjects was collected. To train the proposed model more effectively, the size of the training data was further increased using augmentation techniques. The experimental results show an accuracy of 99.10% achieved with early feature fusion scheme, while 98.35% was achieved with late feature fusion scheme. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Empirical Assessment of the Quality of MVC Web Applications Returned by xGenerator
Computers 2021, 10(2), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020020 - 04 Feb 2021
Viewed by 569
Abstract
Many scholars have reported that the adoption of Model Driven Engineering (MDE) in the industry is still marginal. Real-life case studies, completed with convincing empirical data about the quality of the developed source code, is an effective way to persuade the industry that [...] Read more.
Many scholars have reported that the adoption of Model Driven Engineering (MDE) in the industry is still marginal. Real-life case studies, completed with convincing empirical data about the quality of the developed source code, is an effective way to persuade the industry that the adoption of MDE brings an actual added value. This paper reports about the assessment of the quality of the code outputted by xGenerator: a Java technology platform for the development of enterprise Web applications, which implements the MDE paradigm. Two recent papers from Aniche and his colleagues were selected to carry out the measurements. The former study is about metrics and thresholds for MVC Web applications, while the latter presents a catalog of six smells tailored to MVC Web applications. A big merit of both of these proposals is that they fix the metric thresholds by taking into account the MVC software architecture. The results of the empirical assessment, carried out on a real-life project, proved that the quality of the code is high. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of a Phase Change on the Temperature Evolution during the Deposition Stage in Fused Filament Fabrication
Computers 2021, 10(2), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020019 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Additive Manufacturing Techniques such as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) produce 3D parts with complex geometries directly from a computer model without the need of using molds and tools, by gradually depositing material(s), usually in layers. Due to the rapid growth of these techniques, [...] Read more.
Additive Manufacturing Techniques such as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) produce 3D parts with complex geometries directly from a computer model without the need of using molds and tools, by gradually depositing material(s), usually in layers. Due to the rapid growth of these techniques, researchers have been increasingly interested in the availability of strategies, models or data that may assist process optimization. In fact, 3D printed parts often exhibit limited mechanical performance, which is usually the result of poor bonding between adjacent filaments. In turn, the latter is influenced by the temperature field history during deposition. This study aims at evaluating the influence of the phase change from the melt to the solid state undergone by semi-crystalline polymers such as Polylactic Acid (PLA), on the heat transfer during the deposition stage. The energy equation considering solidification is solved analytically and then inserted into a MatLab® code to model cooling in FFF. The deposition and cooling of simple geometries is studied first, in order to assess the differences in cooling of amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) was taken as representing an amorphous material. Then, the deposition and cooling of a realistic 3D part is investigated, and the influence of the build orientation is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICCSA 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Network Analysis of Local Gene Regulators in Arabidopsis thaliana under Spaceflight Stress
Computers 2021, 10(2), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020018 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Spaceflight microgravity affects normal plant growth in several ways. The transcriptional dataset of the plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana grown in the international space station is mined using graph-theoretic network analysis approaches to identify significant gene transcriptions in microgravity essential for the plant’s [...] Read more.
Spaceflight microgravity affects normal plant growth in several ways. The transcriptional dataset of the plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana grown in the international space station is mined using graph-theoretic network analysis approaches to identify significant gene transcriptions in microgravity essential for the plant’s survival and growth in altered environments. The photosynthesis process is critical for the survival of the plants in spaceflight under different environmentally stressful conditions such as lower levels of gravity, lesser oxygen availability, low atmospheric pressure, and the presence of cosmic radiation. Lasso regression method is used for gene regulatory network inferencing from gene expressions of four different ecotypes of Arabidopsis in spaceflight microgravity related to the photosynthetic process. The individual behavior of hub-genes and stress response genes in the photosynthetic process and their impact on the whole network is analyzed. Logistic regression on centrality measures computed from the networks, including average shortest path, betweenness centrality, closeness centrality, and eccentricity, and the HITS algorithm is used to rank genes and identify interactor or target genes from the networks. Through the hub and authority gene interactions, several biological processes associated with photosynthesis and carbon fixation genes are identified. The altered conditions in spaceflight have made all the ecotypes of Arabidopsis sensitive to dehydration-and-salt stress. The oxidative and heat-shock stress-response genes regulate the photosynthesis genes that are involved in the oxidation-reduction process in spaceflight microgravity, enabling the plant to adapt successfully to the spaceflight environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hardware–Software Co-Design for Decimal Multiplication
Computers 2021, 10(2), 17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020017 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Decimal arithmetic using software is slow for very large-scale applications. On the other hand, when hardware is employed, extra area overhead is required. A balanced strategy can overcome both issues. Our proposed methods are compliant with the IEEE 754-2008 standard for decimal floating-point [...] Read more.
Decimal arithmetic using software is slow for very large-scale applications. On the other hand, when hardware is employed, extra area overhead is required. A balanced strategy can overcome both issues. Our proposed methods are compliant with the IEEE 754-2008 standard for decimal floating-point arithmetic and combinations of software and hardware. In our methods, software with some area-efficient decimal component (hardware) is used to design the multiplication process. Analysis in a RISC-V-based integrated co-design evaluation framework reveals that the proposed methods provide several Pareto points for decimal multiplication solutions. The total execution process is sped up by 1.43× to 2.37× compared with a full software solution. In addition, 7–97% less hardware is required compared with an area-efficient full hardware solution. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Agent-Based Programming for Multi-Agent Systems
Computers 2021, 10(2), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020016 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 773
Abstract
Intelligent and autonomous agents is a subarea of symbolic artificial intelligence where these agents decide, either reactively or proactively, upon a course of action by reasoning about the information that is available about the world (including the environment, the agent itself, and other [...] Read more.
Intelligent and autonomous agents is a subarea of symbolic artificial intelligence where these agents decide, either reactively or proactively, upon a course of action by reasoning about the information that is available about the world (including the environment, the agent itself, and other agents). It encompasses a multitude of techniques, such as negotiation protocols, agent simulation, multi-agent argumentation, multi-agent planning, and many others. In this paper, we focus on agent programming and we provide a systematic review of the literature in agent-based programming for multi-agent systems. In particular, we discuss both veteran (still maintained) and novel agent programming languages, their extensions, work on comparing some of these languages, and applications found in the literature that make use of agent programming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper in Computers)
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Open AccessArticle
A Compromise Programming for Multi-Objective Task Assignment Problem
Computers 2021, 10(2), 15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020015 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 640
Abstract
The problem of scheduling is an area that has attracted a lot of attention from researchers for many years. Its goal is to optimize resources in the system. The lecturer’s assigning task is an example of the timetabling problem, a class of scheduling. [...] Read more.
The problem of scheduling is an area that has attracted a lot of attention from researchers for many years. Its goal is to optimize resources in the system. The lecturer’s assigning task is an example of the timetabling problem, a class of scheduling. This study introduces a mathematical model to assign constrained tasks (the time and required skills) to university lecturers. Our model is capable of generating a calendar that maximizes faculty expectations. The formulated problem is in the form of a multi-objective problem that requires the trade-off between two or more conflicting objectives to indicate the optimal solution. We use the compromise programming approach to the multi-objective problem to solve this. We then proposed the new version of the Genetic Algorithm to solve the introduced model. Finally, we tested the model and algorithm with real scheduling data, including 139 sections of 17 subjects to 27 lecturers in 10 timeslots. Finally, a web application supports the decision-maker to visualize and manipulate the obtained results. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Computers in 2020
Computers 2021, 10(2), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10020014 - 22 Jan 2021
Viewed by 480
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Computers maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
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