Special Issue "Soft Computing for Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Socorro Garcia Cascales
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electronics, Computer Technology and Projects, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Spain
Interests: Project Management; Multi-Criteria Decision-Making; Renewable Energy; Soft Computing
Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Molise, Italy
Interests: Renewable energy; Multi-criteria; Fuzzy set; Sustainability; Technology assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Sustainability is a concept that integrates at least three dimensions: environmental, economic, and social. Energy systems are usually evaluated as key contributors for sustainable development, and thus the methodology used for their evaluation needs to address many indicators—some are quantitative, while others are qualitative. The real scenarios in this context are associated with uncertainty and vagueness, and Soft Computing can handle this ambiguity and supply solutions to complex real-life questions. Soft Computing can be understood as a set of methodologies and techniques such as fuzzy logic, expert systems, artificial neural networks, fuzzy neural networks, and genetic algorithms that—when working together and not in isolation—can help both the industry and policymakers to make the best decisions correctly. It is therefore a challenge to choose the best methodologies to accomplish this task. The aim of this Special Issue is to show recent and novel applications of Soft Computing in the field of sustainability assessment.

Dr. Maria Socorro Garcia Cascales
Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soft computing
  • approximate reasoning
  • multi-criteria decision making (MCDM)
  • fuzzy sets
  • genetic algorithms
  • neural network
  • fuzzy neural network
  • expert systems
  • machine learning
  • pattern recognition
  • sustainable development
  • sustainability evaluation
  • methods for sustainability assessment
  • sustainable industrial systems
  • life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • life cycle cost (LCC)
  • life cycle sustainability
  • life cycle thinking
  • sustainable project management
  • sustainable projects

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Fuzzy Evaluation of Change Management Processes in the Context of Enterprise Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226310 - 10 Nov 2019
Abstract
Enterprise sustainability can only be ensured by taking into account the dynamics of the environment, which requires effective implementation of changes. Organizational change management is seen as the interaction of the groups of processes: direct implementation and the processes of managerial influence on [...] Read more.
Enterprise sustainability can only be ensured by taking into account the dynamics of the environment, which requires effective implementation of changes. Organizational change management is seen as the interaction of the groups of processes: direct implementation and the processes of managerial influence on their implementation. The article seeks to develop a framework for evaluation of change management processes based on the fuzzy logics. The expert analysis was carried out to develop fuzzy rules based on the linguistic terms (high, medium, and low). The database of rules for assigning an enterprise to the appropriate level of organizational change management has been developed (243 rules). The proposed model was applied to the case of Ukrainian agricultural machinery companies. The results allowed identifying the bottlenecks for the companies under analysis in seeking sustainable change management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Time Variant Multi-Objective Interval-Valued Transportation Problem in Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6161; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216161 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Sustainable development is treated as the achievement of continued economic development without detriment to environmental and natural resources. Now-a-days, in a competitive market scenario, most of us are willing to pay less and to gain more in quickly without considering negative externalities for [...] Read more.
Sustainable development is treated as the achievement of continued economic development without detriment to environmental and natural resources. Now-a-days, in a competitive market scenario, most of us are willing to pay less and to gain more in quickly without considering negative externalities for the environment and quality of life for future generations. Recalling this fact, this paper explores the study of time variant multi-objective transportation problem (MOTP) with consideration of minimizing pollution. Time of transportation is of utmost importance in reality; based on this consideration, we formulate a MOTP, where we optimize transportation time as well as the cost function. The parameters of MOTP are interval-valued, so this form of MOTP is termed as a multi-objective interval transportation problem (MOITP). A procedure is taken into consideration for converting MOITP into deterministic form and then for solving it. Goal programming is applied to solve the converted transportation problem. A case study is conducted to justify the methodology by utilizing the environmental impact. At last, conclusions and future research directions are included regarding our study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Aligning the Criteria of Green Economy (GE) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Implement Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4615; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174615 - 25 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Global economic trends have shown the progression of social inequalities and environmental deterioration in the grey economy. New economic practices and policies need to be developed in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs). A green economy (GE) has a correlative role [...] Read more.
Global economic trends have shown the progression of social inequalities and environmental deterioration in the grey economy. New economic practices and policies need to be developed in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs). A green economy (GE) has a correlative role with the implementation of sustainable development (SD), which could revive the grey economy, human well-being, and social equity, as well as substantially decrease environmental risks and ecological scarcities. This study aims to develop a hybrid methodological and mathematical approach to prioritize the most effective variables from classified GE and SDGs criteria (23 criteria) to implement SD. This study has deliberated over the Decision making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) technique for considering interconnections among numerous criteria to collect the most effective variables (12 criteria) based on three pillars (3Ps) of SD. Likewise, the analytic network process (ANP) technique ranked these effective variables by considering their network relations based on three indicators. Lastly, integration was used to finalize and prioritize the most effective variables based on their weight from the ANP technique. This study will highlight the green economy with exclusive environmental issues and sustainable growth as the greatest effective variables among GE and SDGs criteria for SD implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness of Online Digital Media Advertising as A Strategic Tool for Building Brand Sustainability: Evidence from FMCGs and Services Sectors of Pakistan
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3436; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123436 - 21 Jun 2019
Abstract
The purpose of the undertaken study is to examine the effectiveness of online digital media advertising as a strategic tool for building brand sustainability. For this purpose, we investigate the impact of different channels of online media, such as email marketing, mobile phone [...] Read more.
The purpose of the undertaken study is to examine the effectiveness of online digital media advertising as a strategic tool for building brand sustainability. For this purpose, we investigate the impact of different channels of online media, such as email marketing, mobile phone marketing, search engine optimization and companies’ websites, and social media marketing for the effectiveness of online digital media advertising. Moreover, the researchers have introduced eight mediating variables and six moderating variables to examine the impact between exogenous variables and online digital media advertising (endogenous). The researchers have taken 910 responses through a modified questionnaire and employed quantitative research methods, such as the structural equation modeling, exploratory factor and confirmatory factor analyses, and Hayes process approach for examining the mediation and moderation amongst the variables. The results of direct impact have demonstrated that all of the channels of digital media advertising have a positive and significant influence on the effectiveness of online digital media that creates brand sustainability for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and services sectors of Pakistan. The outcomes of hypotheses pertaining to the mediating and moderating effects of different variables have shown the significant influence between exogenous variables and endogenous variable. The results of the undertaken study are beneficial for the existing literature that provides the basic foil for future research studies. Moreover, the results have significant industrial implications for the marketers and digital media managers that they can devise effective media and marketing strategies to maintain optimum market share and competitive advantages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Application of Sustainability Principles for Harsh Environment Exploration by Autonomous Robot
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2518; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092518 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Currently, the European Union (EU) is focusing on a large-scale campaign dedicated to developing a competitive circular economy and expanding the single digital market. One of the main goals of this campaign is the implementation of the sustainability principles in the development and [...] Read more.
Currently, the European Union (EU) is focusing on a large-scale campaign dedicated to developing a competitive circular economy and expanding the single digital market. One of the main goals of this campaign is the implementation of the sustainability principles in the development and deployment cycle of the new generation technologies. This paper focuses on the fast-growing field of autonomous mobile robots and the harsh environment exploration problem. Currently, most state-of-the-art navigation methods are utilising the idea of evaluating candidate observation locations by combining different task-related criteria. However, these map building solutions are often designed for operating in near-perfect environments, neglecting such factors as the danger to the robot. In this paper, a new strategy that aims to address the safety and re-usability of the autonomous mobile agent by implementing the economic sustainability principles is proposed. A novel multi-criteria decision-making method of Weighted Aggregated Sum Product Assessment—Single-Valued Neutrosophic Sets, namely WASPAS-SVNS, and the weight selection method of Step-Wise Weights Assessment Ratio Analysis (SWARA) are applied to model a dynamic decision-making system. The experimental evaluation of the proposed strategy shows that increased survivability of the autonomous agent can be observed. Compared to the greedy baseline strategy, the proposed method forms the movement path which orients the autonomous agent away from dangerous obstacles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
A Hybrid GA with Variable Quay Crane Assignment for Solving Berth Allocation Problem and Quay Crane Assignment Problem Simultaneously
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2018; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072018 - 04 Apr 2019
Abstract
Container terminals help countries to sustain their economic development. Improving the operational efficiency in a container terminal is important. In past research, genetic algorithms (GAs) have been widely used to cope with seaside operational problems, including the berth allocation problem (BAP) and quay [...] Read more.
Container terminals help countries to sustain their economic development. Improving the operational efficiency in a container terminal is important. In past research, genetic algorithms (GAs) have been widely used to cope with seaside operational problems, including the berth allocation problem (BAP) and quay crane assignment problem (QCAP) individually or simultaneously. However, most GA approaches in past studies were dedicated to generate time-invariant QC assignment that does not adjust QCs assigned to a ship. This may underutilize available QC capacity. In this research, three hybrid GAs (HGAs) have been proposed to deal with the dynamic and discrete BAP (DDBAP) and the dynamic QCAP (DQCAP) simultaneously. The three HGAs supports variable QC assignment in which QCs assigned to a ship can be further adjusted. The three HGAs employ the same crossover operator but a different mutation operator and a two-stage procedure is used. In the first stage, these HGAs can generate a BAP solution and a QCAP solution that is time-invariant. The time-invariant QC assignment solution is then further transformed into a variable one in the second stage. Experiments have been conducted to investigate the effects of the three HGA and the results showed that these HGAs outperformed traditional GAs in terms of fitness value. In particular, the HGA3 with Thoros mutation operator had the best performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Net Carbon Exchange in Rotation Crops in the Temperate Climate of Central Lithuania
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071966 - 02 Apr 2019
Abstract
Intelligent agricultural solutions require data on the environmental impacts of agriculture. In order for operationalize decision-making for sustainable agriculture, one needs to establish the corresponding datasets and protocols. Increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere force the choice of growing crops aimed [...] Read more.
Intelligent agricultural solutions require data on the environmental impacts of agriculture. In order for operationalize decision-making for sustainable agriculture, one needs to establish the corresponding datasets and protocols. Increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere force the choice of growing crops aimed at mitigating climate change. For this reason, investigations of seasonal carbon exchange were carried out in 2013–2016 at the Training Farm of the Vytautas Magnus University (former Aleksandras Stulginskis University), Lithuania. This paper compares the carbon exchange rate for different crops, viz., maize, ley, winter wheat, spring rapeseed and barley under conventional farming. This study focuses on the carbon exchange rate. We measure the emitted and absorbed CO2 fluxes by applying the closed chamber method. The biomass measurement and leaf area index (LAI) calculations at different plant growth stages are used to evaluate carbon exchange in different agroecosystems. The differences in photosynthetically assimilated CO2 rates were significantly impacted by the leaf area index (p = 0.04) during the plant vegetation period. The significantly (p = 0.02–0.05) strong correlation (r = 0.6–0.7) exists between soil respiration and LAI. Soil respiration composed only 21% of the agroecosystem carbon exchange. Plant respiration ranged between 0.034 and 3.613 µmol m−2 s−1 during the vegetation period composed of a negligible ratio (mean 16%) of carbon exchange. Generally, respiration emissions were obviously recovered by the gross primary production (GPP) of crops. Therefore, the ecosystems were acting as an atmospheric CO2 sink. Barley accumulated the lowest mean GPP 12.77 µmol m−2 s−1. The highest mean GPP was determined for ley (14.28 µmol m−2 s−1) and maize (15.68 µmol m−2 s−1) due to the biggest LAI and particular bio-characteristics. Due to the highest NEP, the ley (12.66 µmol m−2 s−1) and maize (12.76 µmol m−2 s−1) agroecosystems sank the highest C from the atmosphere and, thus, they might be considered the most sustainable items between crops. Consequently, the appropriate choice of crops and their area in crop rotations may reduce CO2 emissions and their impact on the environment and climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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