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Computers, Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2017)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Computers in 2016
Computers 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/computers6010002
Received: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
The editors of Computers would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle BangA: An Efficient and Flexible Generalization-Based Algorithm for Privacy Preserving Data Publication
Computers 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/computers6010001
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 16 November 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 4 January 2017
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Abstract
Privacy-Preserving Data Publishing (PPDP) has become a critical issue for companies and organizations that would release their data. k-Anonymization was proposed as a first generalization model to guarantee against identity disclosure of individual records in a data set. Point access methods (PAMs)
[...] Read more.
Privacy-Preserving Data Publishing (PPDP) has become a critical issue for companies and organizations that would release their data. k-Anonymization was proposed as a first generalization model to guarantee against identity disclosure of individual records in a data set. Point access methods (PAMs) are not well studied for the problem of data anonymization. In this article, we propose yet another approximation algorithm for anonymization, coined BangA, that combines useful features from Point Access Methods (PAMs) and clustering. Hence, it achieves fast computation and scalability as a PAM, and very high quality thanks to its density-based clustering step. Extensive experiments show the efficiency and effectiveness of our approach. Furthermore, we provide guidelines for extending BangA to achieve a relaxed form of differential privacy which provides stronger privacy guarantees as compared to traditional privacy definitions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Static Human Detection and Scenario Recognition via Wearable Thermal Sensing System
Computers 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/computers6010003
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
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Abstract
Conventional wearable sensors are mainly used to detect the physiological and activity information of individuals who wear them, but fail to perceive the information of the surrounding environment. This paper presents a wearable thermal sensing system to detect and perceive the information of
[...] Read more.
Conventional wearable sensors are mainly used to detect the physiological and activity information of individuals who wear them, but fail to perceive the information of the surrounding environment. This paper presents a wearable thermal sensing system to detect and perceive the information of surrounding human subjects. The proposed system is developed based on a pyroelectric infrared sensor. Such a sensor system aims to provide surrounding information to blind people and people with weak visual capability to help them adapt to the environment and avoid collision. In order to achieve this goal, a low-cost, low-data-throughput binary sampling and analyzing scheme is proposed. We also developed a conditioning sensing circuit with a low-noise signal amplifier and programmable system on chip (PSoC) to adjust the amplification gain. Three statistical features in information space are extracted to recognize static humans and human scenarios in indoor environments. The results demonstrate that the proposed wearable thermal sensing system and binary statistical analysis method are efficient in static human detection and human scenario perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory, Design and Prototyping of Wearable Electronics and Computing)
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Open AccessArticle Grouped Bees Algorithm: A Grouped Version of the Bees Algorithm
Computers 2017, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/computers6010005
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 12 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
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Abstract
In many non-deterministic search algorithms, particularly those analogous to complex biological systems, there are a number of inherent difficulties, and the Bees Algorithm (BA) is no exception. The BA is a population-based metaheuristic search algorithm inspired by bees seeking nectar/pollen. Basic versions and
[...] Read more.
In many non-deterministic search algorithms, particularly those analogous to complex biological systems, there are a number of inherent difficulties, and the Bees Algorithm (BA) is no exception. The BA is a population-based metaheuristic search algorithm inspired by bees seeking nectar/pollen. Basic versions and variations of the BA have their own drawbacks. Some of these drawbacks are a large number of parameters to be set, lack of methodology for parameter setting and computational complexity. This paper describes a Grouped version of the Bees Algorithm (GBA) addressing these issues. Unlike its conventional version, in this algorithm bees are grouped to search different sites with different neighbourhood sizes rather than just discovering two types of sites, namely elite and selected. Following a description of the GBA, the results gained for 12 well-known benchmark functions are presented and compared with those of the basic BA, enhanced BA, standard BA and modified BA to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed algorithm. Compared to the conventional implementations of the BA, the proposed version requires setting of fewer parameters, while producing the optimum solutions much more quickly. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Comparative Experimental Design and Performance Analysis of Snort-Based Intrusion Detection System in Practical Computer Networks
Computers 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/computers6010006
Received: 27 November 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 7 February 2017
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Abstract
As one of the most reliable technologies, network intrusion detection system (NIDS) allows the monitoring of incoming and outgoing traffic to identify unauthorised usage and mishandling of attackers in computer network systems. To this extent, this paper investigates the experimental performance of Snort-based
[...] Read more.
As one of the most reliable technologies, network intrusion detection system (NIDS) allows the monitoring of incoming and outgoing traffic to identify unauthorised usage and mishandling of attackers in computer network systems. To this extent, this paper investigates the experimental performance of Snort-based NIDS (S-NIDS) in a practical network with the latest technology in various network scenarios including high data speed and/or heavy traffic and/or large packet size. An effective testbed is designed based on Snort using different muti-core processors, e.g., i5 and i7, with different operating systems, e.g., Windows 7, Windows Server and Linux. Furthermore, considering an enterprise network consisting of multiple virtual local area networks (VLANs), a centralised parallel S-NIDS (CPS-NIDS) is proposed with the support of a centralised database server to deal with high data speed and heavy traffic. Experimental evaluation is carried out for each network configuration to evaluate the performance of the S-NIDS in different network scenarios as well as validating the effectiveness of the proposed CPS-NIDS. In particular, by analysing packet analysis efficiency, an improved performance of up to 10% is shown to be achieved with Linux over other operating systems, while up to 8% of improved performance can be achieved with i7 over i5 processors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Efficiency of Prompts Based on Learner Characteristics
Computers 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/computers6010007
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Personalized prompting research has shown the significant learning benefit of prompting. The current paper outlines and examines a personalized prompting approach aimed at eliminating performance differences on the basis of a number of learner characteristics (capturing learning strategies and traits). The learner characteristics
[...] Read more.
Personalized prompting research has shown the significant learning benefit of prompting. The current paper outlines and examines a personalized prompting approach aimed at eliminating performance differences on the basis of a number of learner characteristics (capturing learning strategies and traits). The learner characteristics of interest were the need for cognition, work effort, computer self-efficacy, the use of surface learning, and the learner’s confidence in their learning. The approach was tested in two e-modules, using similar assessment forms (experimental n = 413; control group n = 243). Several prompts which corresponded to the learner characteristics were implemented, including an explanation prompt, a motivation prompt, a strategy prompt, and an assessment prompt. All learning characteristics were significant correlates of at least one of the outcome measures (test performance, errors, and omissions). However, only the assessment prompt increased test performance. On this basis, and drawing upon the testing effect, this prompt may be a particularly promising option to increase performance in e-learning and similar personalized systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Affect- and Personality-based Personalized Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Traffic Priority-Aware Adaptive Slot Allocation for Medium Access Control Protocol in Wireless Body Area Network
Computers 2017, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/computers6010009
Received: 1 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Biomedical sensors (BMSs) monitor the heterogeneous vital signs of patients. They have diverse Quality of Service (QoS) requirements including reduced collision, delay, loss, and energy consumption in the transmission of data, which are non-constrained, delay-constrained, reliabilityconstrained, and critical. In this context, this paper
[...] Read more.
Biomedical sensors (BMSs) monitor the heterogeneous vital signs of patients. They have diverse Quality of Service (QoS) requirements including reduced collision, delay, loss, and energy consumption in the transmission of data, which are non-constrained, delay-constrained, reliabilityconstrained, and critical. In this context, this paper proposes a traffic priority-aware adaptive slot allocation-based medium access control (TraySL-MAC) protocol. Firstly, a reduced contention adaptive slot allocation algorithm is presented to minimize contention rounds. Secondly, a low threshold vital signs criticality-based adaptive slot allocation algorithm is developed for high priority data. Thirdly, a high threshold vital signs criticality-based adaptive slot allocation algorithm is designed for low priority data. Simulations are performed to comparatively evaluate the performance of the proposed protocol with state-of-the-art MAC protocols. From the analysis of the results, it is evident that the proposed protocol is beneficial in terms of lower packet delivery delay and energy consumption, and higher throughput in realistic biomedical environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory, Design and Prototyping of Wearable Electronics and Computing)
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Open AccessArticle Discrete Event Simulation Method as a Tool for Improvement of Manufacturing Systems
Computers 2017, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/computers6010010
Received: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
The problem of production flow in manufacturing systems is analyzed. The machines can be operated by workers or by robots, since breakdowns and human factors destabilize the production processes that robots are preferred to perform. The problem is how to determine the real
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The problem of production flow in manufacturing systems is analyzed. The machines can be operated by workers or by robots, since breakdowns and human factors destabilize the production processes that robots are preferred to perform. The problem is how to determine the real difference in work efficiency between humans and robots. We present an analysis of the production efficiency and reliability of the press shop lines operated by human operators or industrial robots. This is a problem from the field of Operations Research for which the Discrete Event Simulation (DES) method has been used. Three models have been developed, including the manufacturing line before and after robotization, taking into account stochastic parameters of availability and reliability of the machines, operators, and robots. We apply the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) indicator to present how the availability, reliability, and quality parameters influence the performance of the workstations, especially in the short run and in the long run. In addition, the stability of the simulation model was analyzed. This approach enables a better representation of real manufacturing processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exploring a New Security Framework for Remote Patient Monitoring Devices
Computers 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/computers6010011
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Security has been an issue of contention in healthcare. The lack of familiarity and poor implementation of security in healthcare leave the patients’ data vulnerable to attackers. The main issue is assessing how we can provide security in an RPM infrastructure. The findings
[...] Read more.
Security has been an issue of contention in healthcare. The lack of familiarity and poor implementation of security in healthcare leave the patients’ data vulnerable to attackers. The main issue is assessing how we can provide security in an RPM infrastructure. The findings in literature show there is little empirical evidence on proper implementation of security. Therefore, there is an urgent need in addressing cybersecurity issues in medical devices. Through the review of relevant literature in remote patient monitoring and use of a Microsoft threat modelling tool, we identify and explore current vulnerabilities and threats in IEEE 11073 standard devices to propose a new security framework for remote patient monitoring devices. Additionally, current RPM devices have a limitation on the number of people who can share a single device, therefore, we propose the use of NFC for identification in Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) devices for multi-user environments where we have multiple people sharing a single device to reduce errors associated with incorrect user identification. We finally show how several techniques have been used to build the proposed framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Body-Borne Computers as Extensions of Self
Computers 2017, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/computers6010012
Received: 31 December 2016 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
The opportunities for wearable technologies go well beyond always-available information displays or health sensing devices. The concept of the cyborg introduced by Clynes and Kline, along with works in various fields of research and the arts, offers a vision of what technology integrated
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The opportunities for wearable technologies go well beyond always-available information displays or health sensing devices. The concept of the cyborg introduced by Clynes and Kline, along with works in various fields of research and the arts, offers a vision of what technology integrated with the body can offer. This paper identifies different categories of research aimed at augmenting humans. The paper specifically focuses on three areas of augmentation of the human body and its sensorimotor capabilities: physical morphology, skin display, and somatosensory extension. We discuss how such digital extensions relate to the malleable nature of our self-image. We argue that body-borne devices are no longer simply functional apparatus, but offer a direct interplay with the mind. Finally, we also showcase some of our own projects in this area and shed light on future challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory, Design and Prototyping of Wearable Electronics and Computing)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Wearable Food Intake Monitoring Technologies: A Comprehensive Review
Computers 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/computers6010004
Received: 23 September 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
Wearable devices monitoring food intake through passive sensing is slowly emerging to complement self-reporting of users’ caloric intake and eating behaviors. Though the ultimate goal for the passive sensing of eating is to become a reliable gold standard in dietary assessment, it is
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Wearable devices monitoring food intake through passive sensing is slowly emerging to complement self-reporting of users’ caloric intake and eating behaviors. Though the ultimate goal for the passive sensing of eating is to become a reliable gold standard in dietary assessment, it is currently showing promise as a means of validating self-report measures. Continuous food-intake monitoring allows for the validation and refusal of users’ reported data in order to obtain more reliable user information, resulting in more effective health intervention services. Recognizing the importance and strength of wearable sensors in food intake monitoring, there has been a variety of approaches proposed and studied in recent years. While existing technologies show promise, many challenges and opportunities discussed in this survey, still remain. This paper presents a meticulous review of the latest sensing platforms and data analytic approaches to solve the challenges of food-intake monitoring, ranging from ear-based chewing and swallowing detection systems that capture eating gestures to wearable cameras that identify food types and caloric content through image processing techniques. This paper focuses on the comparison of different technologies and approaches that relate to user comfort, body location, and applications for medical research. We identify and summarize the forthcoming opportunities and challenges in wearable food intake monitoring technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory, Design and Prototyping of Wearable Electronics and Computing)
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Open AccessReview A Survey of Soft-Error Mitigation Techniques for Non-Volatile Memories
Computers 2017, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/computers6010008
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 20 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
Non-volatile memories (NVMs) offer superior density and energy characteristics compared to the conventional memories; however, NVMs suffer from severe reliability issues that can easily eclipse their energy efficiency advantages. In this paper, we survey architectural techniques for improving the soft-error reliability of NVMs,
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Non-volatile memories (NVMs) offer superior density and energy characteristics compared to the conventional memories; however, NVMs suffer from severe reliability issues that can easily eclipse their energy efficiency advantages. In this paper, we survey architectural techniques for improving the soft-error reliability of NVMs, specifically PCM (phase change memory) and STT-RAM (spin transfer torque RAM). We focus on soft-errors, such as resistance drift and write disturbance, in PCM and read disturbance and write failures in STT-RAM. By classifying the research works based on key parameters, we highlight their similarities and distinctions. We hope that this survey will underline the crucial importance of addressing NVM reliability for ensuring their system integration and will be useful for researchers, computer architects and processor designers. Full article
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