Proceedings of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Annual Conference 2014. Mobile devices such as phones and tablets are now ubiquitous and have become important tools in our daily lives. Our activities and behaviours are becoming increasingly coupled to these new devices with their ever improving sensor technologies. With current devices, mobility patterns and physical activity levels are particularly amenable to inference and analysis by leveraging the integration of GPS, accelerometers, and other sensors. Coupled with feedback through display screens, speakers, and vibration, mobile technology has reached a level of sophistication that it now presents as an attractive platform for assistive technology research and health-related applications. [...] The general goals of the MobiSense project are: 1) to collect mobility data in a simple to use manner; 2) to provide easily accessible summaries and analysis of daily behaviours; and 3) to enable further research and development by providing a sandbox environment for rapid prototyping and experimentation. The specific objectives of the research reported here are to leverage mobile data collection technology and centralized analysis to detail a wheelchair user's daily activity; thus, we developed a system based on Android phones, cloud computing and storage services, and custom web services., Conference paper, Published.
A central question in evolutionary biology concerns the transition between discrete numbers of units (e.g. vertebrate digits, arthropod segments). How do particular numbers of units, robust and characteristic for one species, evolve into another number for another species? Intermediate phases with a diversity of forms have long been theorized, but these leave little fossil or genomic data. We use evolutionary computations (EC) of a gene regulatory network (GRN) model to investigate how embryonic development is altered to create new forms. The trajectories are epochal and non-smooth, in accord with both the observed stability of species and the evolvability between forms., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning, Toronto, ON, June 1-3, 2009. This paper proposes a framework for analysing cryptographic protocols by expressing message passing and possible attacks as a situation calculus theory. While cryptographic protocols are usually quite short, they are nonetheless notoriously difficult to analyse, and are subject to subtle and nonintuitive attacks. Our thesis is that in previous approaches for expressing protocols, underlying domain assumptions and capabilities of agents are left implicit. We propose a declarative specification of such assumptions and capabilities in the situation calculus. A protocol is then compiled into a sequence of actions to be executed by the principals. A successful attack is an executable plan by an intruder that compromises the stated goal of the plan. We argue that not only is a full declarative specification necessary, it is also much more flexible than previous approaches, permitting among other things interleaved runs of different protocols and participants with varying abilities., Conference paper, Published.
Concrete structures are almost certain to contain cracks due to different physiochemical mechanisms. The formation of cracks is sure to affect its durability by altering ion and fluid transport properties. This includes the incursion of CO2 into the structure. There presently exists no consensus on how to model the effects of structural cracking on carbonation progress within concrete structures. This paper first examines the concept of effective diffusion based on simultaneous diffusion of CO2 through sound and cracked concrete and then considers a series diffusion concept where CO2 diffuses first into the crack, and then outwards into the sound concrete. It is concluded that the effective diffusion concept is not valid for structurally cracked concrete. Instead, research efforts should be concentrated on developing a two–phase series diffusion model., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
Building enclosures are subjected to a random climatic loading on the exterior surface and a relatively stable indoor condition on the interior. These loadings result in a transport of heat, air, and moisture across the building enclosure. In this paper, the drying and wetting of sheathing board in two exterior walls, more specifically 2×6 in.2 wood-frame conventional (no strapping between sheathing membrane and cladding) and a rain-screen wall system (with vertical strapping), are investigated through an experimental field study. The experiment is carried out at British Columbia Institute of Technology field exposure test facility, where the test walls are exposed to the coastal climate (Vancouver weather) on the exterior and controlled indoor temperature and relative humidity conditions in the interior. The field experimental results indicate significant moisture accumulation on the exterior sheathing boards (plywood) during the Winter period. During the 9-month monitoring period from March 13 to Dec. 6, 2009, the plywood underwent a process of drying and wetting. In both the conventional and rain-screen wall systems, the plywood dried to a comparable moisture level during the Summer before the wetting process started. For the wall systems considered in this study, the plywood in the rain-screen wall has a tendency of faster drying and wetting in the Spring and Fall seasons, respectively, in comparison to the plywood in the conventional wall, which is attributed to the presence of an air gap in the rain-screen wall between the sheathing membrane and the cladding. A similar trend is observed during the monitoring period from December 7 to June 15, 2010., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Manuscript received January 14, 2010; accepted for publication August 14, 2010; published online October 2010.
In an effort to develop therapies for promoting neurological recovery after spinal cord injury, much work has been done to identify the cellular and molecular factors that control axonal regeneration within the injured central nervous system. This review summarizes the current understanding of a number of the elements within the spinal cord environment that inhibit axonal growth and outlines the factors that influence the neuron’s ability to regenerate its axon after injury. Recent insights in these areas have identified important molecular pathways that are potential targets for therapeutic intervention, raising hope for victims of spinal cord injury., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
This research study aims to identify design strategies, instructional models and technological tools (e.g., educational games) that can be used to motivate high school girls to pursue computer science (CS) education. Part of this study, an educational game CodeBlock intended to teach basic programming, was designed and implemented for HoloLens devices. This study evaluates to what extent participating in a coding workshop consisting of a set of coding exercises and the CodeBlock game play could increase the interest of high school girls in CS. The workshop is conducted by undergraduate students who were involved in the design and implementation of the game, which has an additional benefit of exposing young girls to technologies implemented by post-secondary students, thus increasing the chances they will pursue post-secondary education in CS related fields., Not peer reviewed, Conference proceedings
Proceedings of IEEE Electrical Power And Energy Conference, London, Ontario, Oct. 2012. This paper proposes a multi-agent based control system for real-time and adaptive Volt/VAR Optimization (VVO) and Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) in Smart Substations. The design and implementation of the proposed distributed control system using agent technology is discussed in the paper. Furthermore, the architecture, tasks and limits of each Intelligent Agent (IA) as a component of a multi-agent system (MAS) have been explained. A number of control functions are simulated and the results are presented in the paper. The results obtained demonstrate the potential of MAS for improving the efficiency of the system., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of the Fourth International Building Physics Conference: Energy Efficiency and New Approaches: 15 June 2009, Istanbul, Turkey.
The performance of a building envelope component is usually assessed based on the moisture analysis of individual components (such as cladding, sheathing board and/or drywall) for their drying potentials and likelihood of occurrence of problems associated with high moisture accumulation. In the current building envelope simulation practice, the indoor and outdoor boundary conditions are predefined in the context of the local weather data. The indoor boundary conditions are usually assumed to be constant throughout the simulation period, or two sets of values for the summer and winter periods are assumed. Although the outdoor boundary condition (weather data) is independent of the hygrothermal condition of the envelope, the indoor condition is highly influenced by the building enclosure and occupants? activities. Consequently, simplistic assumptions of indoor humidity profiles, which ignore the dynamic coupling of the indoor environment and building enclosure and represented with a set of empirical values, may lead to inaccurate conclusion about the moisture performance of the building enclosure. In this paper, the effects of indoor humidity profiles that are assumed during moisture performance evaluation of exterior building envelope component are analyzed. The indoor humidity profiles, which are considered in the study, are based on measured and simulated data of a real house. Indoor humidity models including a whole building hygrothermal model are used to generate four indoor humidity profiles. The hygrothermal dynamic responses of the building envelope component with respect to the various cases of indoor humidity assumptions are simulated and analyzed. The simulation results suggest that it is important to have more accurate indoor boundary conditions data, which are based on measurement or whole building hygrothermal modelling, to satisfactorily asses the moisture performance of a building enclosure and potential occupants health problems related to mould growth., Peer reviewed article, Published.
The field of Evolutionary Computation (EC) has been inspired by ideas from the classical theory of biological evolution, with, in particular, the components of a population from which reproductive parents are chosen, a reproductive protocol, a method for altering the genetic information of offspring, and a means for testing the fitness of offspring in order to include them in the population. In turn, impressive progress in EC - understanding the reasons for efficiencies in evolutionary searches - has begun to influence scientific work in the field of molecular evolution and in the modeling of biological evolution (Stemmer, 1994a,b; van Nimwegen et al. 1997; 1999; Crutchfield & van Nimwegen, 2001). In this chapter, we will discuss how developments in EC, particularly in the area of crossover operators for Genetic Algorithms (GA), provide new understanding of evolutionary search efficiencies, and the impacts this can have for biological molecular evolution, including directed evolution in the test tube. GA approaches have five particular elements: encoding (the ‘chromosome’); a population; a method for selecting parents and making a child chromosome from the parents' chromosomes; a method for altering the child’s chromosomes (mutation and crossover/recombination); criteria for fitness; and rules, based on fitness, by which offspring are included into the population (and parents retained). We will discuss our work and others’ on each of these aspects, but our focus is on the substantial efficiencies that can be found in the alteration of the child chromosome step. For this, we take inspiration from real biological reproduction mechanisms., Book chapter, Published.
Specification of the anteroposterior (head-to-tail) axis in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the best understood examples of embryonic pattern formation, at the genetic level. A network of some 14 segmentation genes controls protein expression in narrow domains which are the first manifestation of the segments of the insect body. Work in the New York lab has led to a databank of more than 3300 confocal microscope images, quantifying protein expression for the segmentation genes, over a series of times during which protein pattern is developing (http://flyex.ams.sunysb.edu/FlyEx/). Quantification of the variability in expression evident in this data (both between embryos and within single embryos) allows us to determine error propagation in segmentation signalling. The maternal signal to the egg is highly variable, with noise levels more than several times those seen for expression of downstream genes. This implies that error suppression is active in the embryonic patterning mechanism. Error suppression is not possible with the favoured mechanism of local concentration gradient reading for positional specification. We discuss possible patterning mechanisms which do reliably filter input noise., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
In recent years, Smart Grid technologies such as Advanced Metering, Pervasive Control, Automation and Distribution Management have created numerous control and optimization opportunities and challenges for smart distribution networks. Availability of Co-Gen loads and/or Electric Vehicles (EVs) enable these technologies to inject reactive power into the grid by changing their inverter’s operating mode without considerable impact on their active power operation. This feature has created considerable opportunity for distribution network planners to explore if EVs could be used in the distribution network as reliable VAR suppliers. It may be possible for network operators to employ some EVs as VAR suppliers for future distribution grids. This paper proposes an innovative Smart Grid-based Volt-VAR Optimization (VVO) engine, capable of minimizing system power loss cost as well as the operating cost of switched Capacitor Banks, while optimizing the system voltage using an improved Genetic Algorithm (GA) with two levels of mutation and two levels of crossover. The paper studies the impact of EVs with different charging and penetration levels on VVO in different operating scenarios. Furthermore, the paper demonstrates how a typical VVO engine could benefit from V2G’s reactive power support. In order to assess V2G impacts on VVO and test the applicability of the proposed VVO, revised IEEE-123 Node Test Feeder in presence of various load types is used as case study., Article, Published. Received 24 May 2014, Revised 23 July 2015, Accepted 29 July 2015, Available online 8 August 2015.