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Computers, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 14 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): One of the main problems in relation to road safety is the correct use of the seat belt, a device that saves thousands of lives every year. For this reason, the presented work shows an edutainment application designed to increase awareness on the use of the seat belt. For this goal, a VR-enhanced rollover system has been developed. The VR application is synchronized with a motorized rollover car simulator. The system has been tested for a month in Saudi Arabia with more than 500 users. We measured, before and after the rollover experience, the perception of risk of not using the seat belt. Results show that awareness regarding the use of seat belts increased very significantly after using the presented edutainment tool. View this paper
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Article
Processing Analysis of Swift Playgrounds in a Children’s Computational Thinking Course to Learn Programming
Computers 2021, 10(5), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050068 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 533
Abstract
Computational thinking courses can cultivate students’ ability to apply logic in the fields of mathematics and information science. The new 12-year Basic Education Curriculum Guidelines were implemented in Fall 2019 in Taiwan. Courses on computational thinking, problem solving, and programming are contained in [...] Read more.
Computational thinking courses can cultivate students’ ability to apply logic in the fields of mathematics and information science. The new 12-year Basic Education Curriculum Guidelines were implemented in Fall 2019 in Taiwan. Courses on computational thinking, problem solving, and programming are contained in the technology education field in junior and senior high schools. Swift Playgrounds is an innovative app for the iPad and Mac that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. No programming knowledge is required to use Swift Playgrounds, making it very suitable for beginners. This study was carried out by letting elementary school teachers and students participate in Swift Playgrounds computational thinking courses. By trying this app, teachers of different disciplines attempted to realize more learning situations. Students learned how to cope with functions and loop skills by playing with “Byte”, which is a character in Swift Playgrounds. There were three purposes for this study: first, designing a computational thinking course for the most basic part, “Hello! Byte”, in Swift Playgrounds; second, assigning elementary school teachers to assess the qualitative analysis of tasks in Swift Playgrounds; and third, assigning elementary school students to do the tasks and assign a difficulty index in Swift Playgrounds after learning with this app. The results show that most teachers considered this approach to be able to improve logical thinking and inferential capability after assessing, and most students considered functions and loops quite difficult after using the app. According to the students’ indices, about 86 percent of students considered that adding commands is easy, and about 37 percent of students considered that functions are easy. On the other hand, about 24 percent of students considered that applying the Slotted Stairways is difficult, and about 34 percent of students considered that using loops is hard. It is suggested that more instructions for the course or extendibility for classes is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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Article
Slice Function Placement Impact on the Performance of URLLC with Multi-Connectivity
Computers 2021, 10(5), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050067 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Network slicing has emerged as a promising technical solution to ensure the coexistence of various 5G services. While the 5G architecture evolution for supporting slicing has been exhaustively studied, the architectural option impacts on RAN resource allocation efficiency remain unclear. This article fills [...] Read more.
Network slicing has emerged as a promising technical solution to ensure the coexistence of various 5G services. While the 5G architecture evolution for supporting slicing has been exhaustively studied, the architectural option impacts on RAN resource allocation efficiency remain unclear. This article fills a gap in this area by evaluating the impact of architecture choices on the quality of service of different services in the new 5G ecosystem, focusing on ultra-reliable low-latency communication applications. We propose architectural options based on the placement of the entities responsible for implementing these functions. We then assess their impact on the radio resource allocation flexibility when slices span two radio access technologies with redundant coverage. Our numerical experiments showed that the slice management function placement plays a pivotal role in choosing an adequate radio resource allocation scheme for URLLC slices. Full article
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Article
Viewer’s Role and Viewer Interaction in Cinematic Virtual Reality
Computers 2021, 10(5), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050066 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR) is a form of immersive storytelling widely used to create engaging and enjoyable experiences. However, issues related to the Narrative Paradox and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can negatively affect the user experience. In this paper, we review the [...] Read more.
Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR) is a form of immersive storytelling widely used to create engaging and enjoyable experiences. However, issues related to the Narrative Paradox and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can negatively affect the user experience. In this paper, we review the literature about designing CVR content with the consideration of the viewer’s role in the story, the target scenario, and the level of viewer interaction, all aimed to resolve these issues. Based on our explorations, we propose a “Continuum of Interactivity” to explore appropriate spaces for creating CVR experiences to archive high levels of engagement and immersion. We also discuss two properties to consider when enabling interaction in CVR, the depth of impact and the visibility. We then propose the concept framework Adaptive Playback Control (APC), a machine-mediated narrative system with implicit user interaction and backstage authorial control. We focus on “swivel-chair” 360-degree video CVR with the aim of providing a framework of mediated CVR storytelling with interactivity. We target content creators who develop engaging CVR experiences for education, entertainment, and other applications without requiring professional knowledge in VR and immersive systems design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Seated Virtual Reality)
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Article
The Case of a Multiplication Skills Game: Teachers’ Viewpoint on MG’s Dashboard and OSLM Features
Computers 2021, 10(5), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050065 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 481
Abstract
Educational games and digital game-based learning (DGBL) provide pupils interactive, engaging, intelligent, and motivating learning environments. According to research, digital games can support students’ learning and enhance their motivation to learn. Given the central role teachers play in the learning process, their perceptions [...] Read more.
Educational games and digital game-based learning (DGBL) provide pupils interactive, engaging, intelligent, and motivating learning environments. According to research, digital games can support students’ learning and enhance their motivation to learn. Given the central role teachers play in the learning process, their perceptions of DGBL play a significant role in the usage and effectiveness of game-based learning. This paper presents the main findings of an online research on primary school teachers’ attitudes toward DGBL. Furthermore, the research investigates teachers’ opinions about the functionalities provided by the implemented Multiplication Game (MG) and the newly incorporated teacher dashboard. The MG is an assessment and skills improvement tool that integrates an adaptation mechanism that identifies student weaknesses on the multiplication tables and in its latest version also supports a strong social parameter. Students can be informed about their own progress as well as the progress of their peers in an effort to examine if social interaction or competition can increase players’ motivation, which is a subject that raised some concerns in the teaching community. The paper describes the functional options offered by the MG dashboard and documents the outcomes of an online survey conducted with the participation of 182 primary school teachers. The survey indicated the potential usefulness of MG and the benefits it can offer as a learning tool to improve pupil multiplication skills and help teachers identify individual pupil skills and difficulties and adapt their teaching accordingly. The analysis applied has found a correlation between teachers’ perceptions about MG and their view on using digital games in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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Article
Real-Time Performance and Response Latency Measurements of Linux Kernels on Single-Board Computers
Computers 2021, 10(5), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050064 - 16 May 2021
Viewed by 836
Abstract
This research performs real-time measurements of Linux kernels with real-time support provided by the PREEMPT_RT patch on embedded development devices such as BeagleBoard and Raspberry Pi. The experimental measurements of the Linux real-time performance on these devices are based on real-time software modules [...] Read more.
This research performs real-time measurements of Linux kernels with real-time support provided by the PREEMPT_RT patch on embedded development devices such as BeagleBoard and Raspberry Pi. The experimental measurements of the Linux real-time performance on these devices are based on real-time software modules developed specifically for the purposes of this research. Taking in consideration the constraints of the specific hardware platforms under investigation, new measurements software was developed. The measurement algorithms are designed upon response and periodic task models. Measurements investigate latencies of real-time applications at user and kernel space. An outcome of this research is that the proposed performance measurements approach and evaluation methodology could be applied and deployed on other Linux-based boards and platforms. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that the PREEMPT_RT patch overall improves the Linux kernel real-time performance compared to the standard one. The reduced worst-case latencies on such devices running Linux with real-time support could make them potentially more suitable for real-time applications as long as a latency value of about 160 μs, as an upper bound, is an acceptable safety margin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real-Time Systems in Emerging IoT-Embedded Applications)
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Article
Enhanced Round-Robin Algorithm in the Cloud Computing Environment for Optimal Task Scheduling
Computers 2021, 10(5), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050063 - 09 May 2021
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Recently, there has been significant growth in the popularity of cloud computing systems. One of the main issues in building cloud computing systems is task scheduling. It plays a critical role in achieving high-level performance and outstanding throughput by having the greatest benefit [...] Read more.
Recently, there has been significant growth in the popularity of cloud computing systems. One of the main issues in building cloud computing systems is task scheduling. It plays a critical role in achieving high-level performance and outstanding throughput by having the greatest benefit from the resources. Therefore, enhancing task scheduling algorithms will enhance the QoS, thus leading to more sustainability of cloud computing systems. This paper introduces a novel technique called the dynamic round-robin heuristic algorithm (DRRHA) by utilizing the round-robin algorithm and tuning its time quantum in a dynamic manner based on the mean of the time quantum. Moreover, we applied the remaining burst time of the task as a factor to decide the continuity of executing the task during the current round. The experimental results obtained using the CloudSim Plus tool showed that the DRRHA significantly outperformed the competition in terms of the average waiting time, turnaround time, and response time compared with several studied algorithms, including IRRVQ, dynamic time slice round-robin, improved RR, and SRDQ algorithms. Full article
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Article
Towards Inferring Influential Facebook Users
Computers 2021, 10(5), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050062 - 09 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 576
Abstract
Because of the complexity of the actors and the relationships between them, social networks are always represented by graphs. This structure makes it possible to analyze the effectiveness of the network for the social actors who are there. This work presents a social [...] Read more.
Because of the complexity of the actors and the relationships between them, social networks are always represented by graphs. This structure makes it possible to analyze the effectiveness of the network for the social actors who are there. This work presents a social network analysis approach that focused on processing Facebook pages and users who react to posts to infer influential people. In our study, we are particularly interested in studying the relationships between the posts of the page, and the reactions of fans (users) towards these posts. The topics covered include data crawling, graph modeling, and exploratory analysis using statistical tools and machine learning algorithms. We seek to detect influential people in the sense that the influence of a Facebook user lies in their ability to transmit and disseminate information. Once determined, these users have an impact on business for a specific brand. The proposed exploratory analysis has shown that the network structure and its properties have important implications for the outcome of interest. Full article
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Article
Systematic Design Approach for Functional Integration of Vehicular Wireless Power Transfers Modules
Computers 2021, 10(5), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050061 - 07 May 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
This paper presents a systematic design approach to the development of functionally integrated mechanical-electrical lightweight systems. The development of these systems requires the end-to-end consideration of all product domains involved, aspects of lightweight design and their mutual interdependencies. To manage this complexity, a [...] Read more.
This paper presents a systematic design approach to the development of functionally integrated mechanical-electrical lightweight systems. The development of these systems requires the end-to-end consideration of all product domains involved, aspects of lightweight design and their mutual interdependencies. To manage this complexity, a specialized approach is developed, which extends the V-model of VDI 2206 problem-specific and purpose-oriented. In line with the proposed approach, this work presents the conception and evaluation of three functionally integrated on-board receiver units of automotive wireless power transfer systems for electric vehicles. These concepts provide a significant reduction of the vertical dimensions, which significantly increases the applicability and transferability of wireless power transfer systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue System-Integrated Intelligence and Intelligent Systems 2020)
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Article
A Novel Two-Stage Heart Arrhythmia Ensemble Classifier
Computers 2021, 10(5), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050060 - 01 May 2021
Viewed by 602
Abstract
Atrial fibrillation (AF) and ventricular arrhythmia (Arr) are among the most common and fatal cardiac arrhythmias in the world. Electrocardiogram (ECG) data, collected as part of the UK Biobank, represents an opportunity for analysis and classification of these two diseases in the UK. [...] Read more.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) and ventricular arrhythmia (Arr) are among the most common and fatal cardiac arrhythmias in the world. Electrocardiogram (ECG) data, collected as part of the UK Biobank, represents an opportunity for analysis and classification of these two diseases in the UK. The main objective of our study is to investigate a two-stage model for the classification of individuals with AF and Arr in the UK Biobank dataset. The current literature addresses heart arrhythmia classification very extensively. However, the data used by most researchers lack enough instances of these common diseases. Moreover, by proposing the two-stage model and separation of normal and abnormal cases, we have improved the performance of the classifiers in detection of each specific disease. Our approach consists of two stages of classification. In the first stage, features of the ECG input are classified into two main classes: normal and abnormal. At the second stage, the features of the ECG are further categorised as abnormal and further classified into two diseases of AF and Arr. A diverse set of ECG features such as the QRS duration, PR interval and RR interval, as well as covariates such as sex, BMI, age and other factors, are used in the modelling process. For both stages, we use the XGBoost Classifier algorithm. The healthy population present in the data, has been undersampled to tackle the class imbalance present in the data. This technique has been applied and evaluated using an ECG dataset from the UKBioBank ECG taken at rest repository. The main results of our paper are as follows: The classification performance for the proposed approach has been measured using F1 score, Sensitivity (Recall) and Specificity (Precision). The results of the proposed system are 87.22%, 88.55% and 85.95%, for average F1 Score, average sensitivity and average specificity, respectively. Contribution and significance: The performance level indicates that automatic detection of AF and Arr in participants present in the UK Biobank is more precise and efficient if done in a two-stage manner. Automatic detection and classification of AF and Arr individuals this way would mean early diagnosis and prevention of more serious consequences later in their lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence for Health)
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Article
The Design of WASPEC: A Fully Personalised Moodle System Using Semantic Web Technologies
Computers 2021, 10(5), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050059 - 01 May 2021
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Personalisation in e-learning systems has become a major research area in recent times, as online learning is gradually evolving to become a major part of formal education. While there exist several learning management systems with a wide range of capabilities, one thing that [...] Read more.
Personalisation in e-learning systems has become a major research area in recent times, as online learning is gradually evolving to become a major part of formal education. While there exist several learning management systems with a wide range of capabilities, one thing that remains inefficient is a standard framework for sharing knowledge across different platforms and, also, the inability of such systems to provide personalisation to the learning process by default. A large number of systems that have been implemented to provide personalisation apply few parameters and are course-specific; thus, flexibility, reusability, and scalability are greatly reduced. In this paper, we propose a framework for personalised learning, Weighted Agent System for Personalised E-learning Curriculum (WASPEC) implemented with Moodle, which is independent of the learning management system and provides the possibility of incorporating multiple personalisation parameters. This is accomplished with the combined use of web services, semantic web ontologies, and pedagogical agents, providing dynamic personalisation in the background of the e-learning system. This also provides added advantages of the possibility of sharing knowledge with other systems and reusability. Full article
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Article
Colocation for SLAM-Tracked VR Headsets with Hand Tracking
Computers 2021, 10(5), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050058 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
In colocated multi-user Virtual Reality applications, relative user positions in the virtual environment need to match their relative positions in the physical tracking space. A mismatch between virtual and real relative user positions might lead to harmful events such as physical user collisions. [...] Read more.
In colocated multi-user Virtual Reality applications, relative user positions in the virtual environment need to match their relative positions in the physical tracking space. A mismatch between virtual and real relative user positions might lead to harmful events such as physical user collisions. This paper examines three calibration methods that enable colocated Virtual Reality scenarios for SLAM-tracked head-mounted displays without the need for an external tracking system. Two of these methods—fixed-point calibration and marked-based calibration—have been described in previous research; the third method that uses hand tracking capabilities of head-mounted displays is novel. We evaluated the accuracy of these three methods in an experimental procedure with two colocated Oculus Quest devices. The results of the evaluation show that our novel hand tracking-based calibration method provides better accuracy and consistency while at the same time being easy to execute. The paper further discusses the potential of all evaluated calibration methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Seated Virtual Reality)
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Article
Towards Developing a Framework to Analyze the Qualities of the University Websites
Computers 2021, 10(5), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050057 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 575
Abstract
The website of a university is considered to be a virtual gateway to provide primary resources to its stakeholders. It can play an indispensable role in disseminating information about a university to a variety of audience at a time. Thus, the quality of [...] Read more.
The website of a university is considered to be a virtual gateway to provide primary resources to its stakeholders. It can play an indispensable role in disseminating information about a university to a variety of audience at a time. Thus, the quality of an academic website requires special attention to fulfil the users’ need. This paper presents a multi-method approach of quality assessment of the academic websites, in the context of universities of Bangladesh. We developed an automated web-based tool that can evaluate any academic website based on three criteria, which are as follows: content of information, loading time and overall performance. Content of information contains many sub criteria, such as university vision and mission, faculty information, notice board and so on. This tool can also perform comparative analysis among several academic websites and generate a ranked list of these. To the best of our knowledge, this is the very first initiative to develop an automated tool for accessing academic website quality in context of Bangladesh. Beside this, we have conducted a questionnaire-based statistical evaluation among several universities to obtain the respective users’ feedback about their academic websites. Then, a ranked list is generated based on the survey result that is almost similar to the ranked list got from the University ranking systems. This validates the effectiveness of our developed tool in accessing academic website. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper in Computers)
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Article
Development of Life Skills Program for Primary School Students: Focus on Entry Programming
Computers 2021, 10(5), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050056 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
There are areas where the competencies obtained through computer coding activities substantially overlap with life skills components. Studies of these common competencies have suggested the possibility of including these contents in a life skills program. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to [...] Read more.
There are areas where the competencies obtained through computer coding activities substantially overlap with life skills components. Studies of these common competencies have suggested the possibility of including these contents in a life skills program. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a program through the Entry program that elementary school students could use online to improve their life skills, given the need to increase contactless online classes due to COVID-19. Eight elementary school teachers with 20 years of experience and two curriculum experts participated in the program’s development. For data collection, 360 data points were collected from eight elementary schools located in each Korean province, including urban and rural areas. SPSS 21.0 was used to analyze the data. Upon completing the 8-week program, the difference in life skills between groups was confirmed using variance analysis based on the number of implementation times, and post-hoc testing was conducted. The study’s results confirmed the difference between the groups conducted for two weeks (M = 3.22), four weeks (M = 3.25), and six weeks (M = 3.67), and the group conducted for eight weeks (M = 3.83). In other words, as the number of weeks of participation in the life skills program increased, there was a difference between groups. These findings suggest a life skills program could be included as part of Entry based computer coding activities for elementary school students through a backward curriculum. In conclusion, this study showed the possibility of using contactless online classes with free Entry-based websites to improve the life skills of elementary school students struggling at home due to COVID-19. It also showed that each elementary school teacher could operate the life skills programs as a contactless learning method using a free coding platform and manual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Present and Future of E-Learning Technologies)
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Article
A VR-Enhanced Rollover Car Simulator and Edutainment Application for Increasing Seat Belt Use Awareness
Computers 2021, 10(5), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10050055 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Most countries have active road safety policies that seek the objective of reducing deaths in traffic accidents. One of the main factors in this regard is the awareness of the safety measures, one of the most important being the correct usage of the [...] Read more.
Most countries have active road safety policies that seek the objective of reducing deaths in traffic accidents. One of the main factors in this regard is the awareness of the safety measures, one of the most important being the correct usage of the seat belt, a device that is known to save thousands of lives every year. The presented work shows a VR-enhanced edutainment application designed to increase awareness on the use of seat belts. For this goal, a motorized rollover system was developed that, synchronized with a VR application (shown in a head-mounted display for each user inside a real car), rolls over this car with up to four passengers inside. This way, users feel the sensations of a real overturn and therefore they realize the consequences and the results of not wearing a seat belt. The system was tested for a month in the context of a road safety exhibition in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, one of the leading countries in car accidents per capita. More than 500 users tested and assessed the usefulness of the system. We measured, before and after the rollover experience, the perception of risk of not using the seat belt. Results show that awareness regarding the use of seat belts increases very significantly after using the presented edutainment tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games)
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