• A methodology for contextual recommendation using artificial neural networks

      Mustafa, Ghulam (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      Recommender systems are an advanced form of software applications, more specifically decision-support systems, that efficiently assist the users in finding items of their interest. Recommender systems have been applied to many domains from music to e-commerce, movies to software services delivery and tourism to news by exploiting available information to predict and provide recommendations to end user. The suggestions generated by recommender systems tend to narrow down the list of items which a user may overlook due to the huge variety of similar items or users’ lack of experience in the particular domain of interest. While the performance of traditional recommender systems, which rely on relatively simpler information such as content and users’ filters, is widely accepted, their predictive capability perfomrs poorly when local context of the user and situated actions have significant role in the final decision. Therefore, acceptance and incorporation of context of the user as a significant feature and development of recommender systems utilising the premise becomes an active area of research requiring further investigation of the underlying algorithms and methodology. This thesis focuses on categorisation of contextual and non-contextual features within the domain of context-aware recommender system and their respective evaluation. Further, application of the Multilayer Perceptron Model (MLP) for generating predictions and ratings from the contextual and non-contextual features for contextual recommendations is presented with support from relevant literature and empirical evaluation. An evaluation of specifically employing artificial neural networks (ANNs) in the proposed methodology is also presented. The work emphasizes on both algorithms and methodology with three points of consideration: contextual features and ratings of particular items/movies are exploited in several representations to improve the accuracy of recommendation process using artificial neural networks (ANNs), context features are combined with user-features to further improve the accuracy of a context-aware recommender system and lastly, a combination of the item/movie features are investigated within the recommendation process. The proposed approach is evaluated on the LDOS-CoMoDa dataset and the results are compared with state-of-the-art approaches from relevant published literature.
    • The mid-ordovician oolitic ironstones of North Wales

      Trythall, Robert J.B. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1988-10)
      Oolitic ironstones occur within the Lower Palaeozoic Welsh Basin as isolated deposits found over a wide geographical area. There are two phases of ironstone deposition, a minor Upper Arenig phase and a Mid-Ordovician (Upper Llanvirn to basal Caradoc) phase. Both correlate with eustatic falls of sea level which exposed the Irish Sea Landmass lying immediately to the northwest. This exposure resulted in deep chemical weathering and generation of lateritic soils. Erosion of this material formed the source for the oolitic' ironstones in the Welsh Basin. The ironstones formed above stratigraphic hiatuses on sediment starved shallow water shoals, formed by synsedimentary faulting. These shoals were the favourable sites for the formation of berthierine peloids, which formed the nuclei for ooids. Additionally, they were also the site for the accumulation of berthierine mud, which was closely linked with the development of ferruginous algal mats. Bacterial reduction of organic material associated with ironstones, supplied the necessary reducing conditions for the formation and preservation of berthierine from a kaolinite/iron oxide precursor. Ooids formed by rolling over the muddy surface and mechanically accreting berthierine. Subsequent tidal current reworking of this sediment resulted in the formation of the characteristic lithological features of the ironstones, representing a shallowing-up sequence. Progressive current winnowing led to the formation of a sequence with an upward increasing ooid content and decreasing mud content. The upper facies of the ironstones is an ooid bar deposit worked by tidal currents. Cessation of current reworking allowed faunal colonisation of the bar with significant bioturbation of the sediment, destroying primary sedimentary structures. The presence of some grain-ironstones indicate the original sedimentary state of the upper facies. Tectonic instability during deposition, by synsedimentary faulting, resulted in the formation of disturbed ironstones, and debris flows within the ironstone sequences. Many features of the ironstones are diagenetic in origin, especially the formation of phosphate nodules within the ironstone sequence. These formed just below the sediment/sea water interface, and some nodules were reworked into overlying beds. The source was phosphorus released from adsorption on clays and iron oxides, and also released from organic material. Later siderite development in the ironstones is indicated by the presence of primary cements in grain-ironstones and secondary alterations in pack-ironstones. The generation of diagenetic siderite was dependant upon the amount of organic material within the ironstones, bacterial reduction of which resulted in the formation of bicarbonate and ferrous ions. Sane ironstones were subsequently altered during the Caradoc phase of volcanic activity. The formation of magnetite and stilpnomelane within the ironstones were caused by metasanatic activity associated with dolerite sills and microgranite intrusions. Siderite alteration and base metal sulphides resulted fram late stage hydrothermal activity by some microgranites. Contact metarrorphism by granophyric intrusions led to the extensive replacement of the ironstones by pyrite. Regional metarrorphism resulted in the progressive change of berthierine to chamosite and increased lattice ordering of chamosite.
    • Mining Twitter for crisis management: realtime floods detection in the Arabian Peninsula

      Alabbas, Waleed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-04)
      In recent years, large amounts of data have been made available on microblog platforms such as Twitter, however, it is difficult to filter and extract information and knowledge from such data because of the high volume, including noisy data. On Twitter, the general public are able to report real-world events such as floods in real time, and act as social sensors. Consequently, it is beneficial to have a method that can detect flood events automatically in real time to help governmental authorities, such as crisis management authorities, to detect the event and make decisions during the early stages of the event. This thesis proposes a real time flood detection system by mining Arabic Tweets using machine learning and data mining techniques. The proposed system comprises five main components: data collection, pre-processing, flooding event extract, location inferring, location named entity link, and flooding event visualisation. An effective method of flood detection from Arabic tweets is presented and evaluated by using supervised learning techniques. Furthermore, this work presents a location named entity inferring method based on the Learning to Search method, the results show that the proposed method outperformed the existing systems with significantly higher accuracy in tasks of inferring flood locations from tweets which are written in colloquial Arabic. For the location named entity link, a method has been designed by utilising Google API services as a knowledge base to extract accurate geocode coordinates that are associated with location named entities mentioned in tweets. The results show that the proposed location link method locate 56.8% of tweets with a distance range of 0 – 10 km from the actual location. Further analysis has shown that the accuracy in locating tweets in an actual city and region are 78.9% and 84.2% respectively.
    • The modelling of career options and Continuing Professional Development

      Scannell, Michael Francis (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1998-01)
      The aim of the research was to generate a model of the interactions between career options and the concept of continuing professional development. Professional development has, in many professions and organisations, become synonymous with managerial development, but the developmental needs of individuals who wish to remain in a professional role may differ from the developmental needs of individuals in a management role. Teachers were chosen as the professional group to be tested. Fifty-four teachers, all volunteers, from six secondary schools were separately interviewed under a structured format, and were also invited to complete a number of questionnaires. From analysis of the interviews and questionnaires a model of teachers' career options was produced which identified three main categories of teachers: senior managers (headteachers or deputy headteachers); aspirants to a senior manager's role; and classroom teachers. The analysis also identified a number of main factors, and sub-factors, that affected the obtaining of one of the three categories and each of the factors was developed through a targeted literature search and through analysis of the structured interviews. An additional number of factors that related only to classroom teachers were also analysed in a similar manner. Also investigated are how teachers plan their career, and the value of continuing professional development. The model of career options was then tested on members of two similar professions -midwives and nurses. Completion of the research resulted in a proposed model of career options and recommendations for continuing professional development for each option. Together the model and recommendations represent an original contribution to knowledge.
    • Models and optimisation methods for interference coordination in self-organising cellular networks

      Lopez-Perez, David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-04-01)
      We are at that moment of network evolution when we have realised that our telecommunication systems should mimic features of human kind, e.g., the ability to understand the medium and take advantage of its changes. Looking towards the future, the mobile industry envisions the use of fully automatised cells able to self-organise all their parameters and procedures. A fully self-organised network is the one that is able to avoid human involvement and react to the fluctuations of network, traffic and channel through the automatic/autonomous nature of its functioning. Nowadays, the mobile community is far from this fully self-organised kind of network, but they are taken the first steps to achieve this target in the near future. This thesis hopes to contribute to the automatisation of cellular networks, providing models and tools to understand the behaviour of these networks, and algorithms and optimisation approaches to enhance their performance. This work focuses on the next generation of cellular networks, in more detail, in the DownLink (DL) of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) based networks. Within this type of cellular system, attention is paid to interference mitigation in self-organising macrocell scenarios and femtocell deployments. Moreover, this thesis investigates the interference issues that arise when these two cell types are jointly deployed, complementing each other in what is currently known as a two-tier network. This thesis also provides new practical approaches to the inter-cell interference problem in both macro cell and femtocell OFDMA systems as well as in two-tier networks by means of the design of a novel framework and the use of mathematical optimisation. Special attention is paid to the formulation of optimisation problems and the development of well-performing solving methods (accurate and fast).
    • Molecular genetic and genomic characterization of an emerging mycotoxigenic pathogen Fusarium proliferatum

      Almiman, Bandar F. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-02)
      This aim of this research was to elucidate the genotypic diversity of the mycotoxigenic species Fusarium proliferatum associated with diverse hosts and distributed in wide geographic locations to gain new insights into the biology of this emerging pathogen. This study developed a novel molecular genetic marker FG1056. Multilocus typing of F. proliferatum isolates (52) using F. verticillioides (2) and F. oxysporum (3) as references was carried out with FG1056 and a set of known genetic markers (ITS, TEF1, CAL and FUM1). This distinguished up to 10 genetic groups, 2 clusters and 23 haplotypes among the F. proliferatum isolates. FG1056 marker showed the highest number of SNPs (169), informative sites (89) and haplotypes (23) relative to other markers used and was comparable to the multi locus typing. Varying patterns of relationships were observed between isolates represented in the genetic groups and their host and geographic origin. Considerable biological variability was recorded among the F. proliferatum isolates in morphology, growth, sporulation and most notably fumonisin production (up to 140-fold differences) with reference to variable temperature, water activity and duration. De novo genome assemblies with the size ranging from 43.96 - 50 Mb have been developed for four diverse F. proliferatum isolates. In silico analysis led to the identification of 12,980 genes common to all isolates and up to 134 genes potentially unique to an isolate. Using these resources, FUM gene cluster (~45.3 Kb) was identified for the first time in F. proliferatum. Order and orientation of the 16 FUM genes and the complete flanking genes (MSF1 and ZCB1 at 5’; ANK1 and GAT1 at 3’) have been determined. This study has provided new insights into the genetic and biological diversity of F. proliferatum and also developed new genetic and genomic resources, which will serve as a solid platform for further research particularly to understand the regulation of fumonisins production in the laboratory and in the field.
    • Mothering by the book : constructions of mature student mothers’ identities in the context of mothering and study practices and Mother/Child relationships

      Visick, Amanda (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      This project investigates the development of mature student mothers’ identities in the dual contexts of constructions of the women’s at-home study practices and of their ‘responsibilities’ for their children’s development. Interviews were conducted with 23 women – all ‘new university’ students – and with their schoolaged children. I used discourse analysis focussing on language as performative and constitutive in order to understand positioning of, and by the women. I also drew upon critical developmental psychological theory and the concepts of discourse, intersubjectivity and dialogicality as epistemological resources in order to understand the women’s and children’s accounts. The methodology yielded a diversity of constructions of the women, these drawing upon a variety of discourses. The first empirical chapter addresses constructions of mature student mothers, the second, constructions of child development and the third, constructions of ‘influence’. The organisation of the empirical chapters reflects not only the importance I accorded to particular themes, but also the idea that separating mothers’ concerns and those of their children can be less fruitful in examinations of identity construction than addressing these together. The key issues that are a thread connecting the empirical chapters are time (requiring ‘balancing’ of social positions); change (in mothering practices and confidence); perceived ‘influence’ on children’s development, and relationships (including the ways in which identities are constructed in the ‘space in the middle’). Participants addressed these issues in different ways with some women positioning not spending ‘quality’ time with their children as meeting children’s developmental needs (addressed in Chapter Seven). Other important themes were mothering constructed as mundane and undervalued (in Chapter Five), children’s constructions of ‘roles’ as helpers (in Chapter Six) and perceived intersubjectivity in mother/child interactions (examined in Chapter Seven). In the concluding chapter I discuss the implications of the findings in terms of the contribution of the research to theoretical debates about motherhood, mothering and child development. I also reflect on my position as a mature student mother, examining my involvement in the research process and finally, suggest applications for the findings reported in the thesis.
    • Moving experience: an investigation of embodied knowledge and technology for reading flow in improvisation

      Douse, Louise Emma (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-11)
      The thesis is concerned with the exploration of the notion of ‘flow’ from both a psychological and dance analysis perspective in order to extend the meaning of flow and move beyond a partiality of understanding. The main aim of the thesis recognises the need to understand, identify and interpret an analysis of the moments of flow perceivable in a dancer’s body during improvisatory practice, through technologically innovative means. The research is undertaken via both philosophical and practical enquiry. It addresses phenomenology in order to resolve the mind/body debate and is applied to research in flow in psychology by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, and flow in movement analysis by Rudolf Laban and Warren Lamb. The significance of this endeavour can be seen in the reconsideration of the relation between mind and body, and art and science which informs the methodology for the research (Part One). The three main outcomes of the research are related to each of the three subsequent parts. The first research outcome is the articulation of a transdisciplinary approach to understanding flow and was developed by expanding on the current definitions of flow through an innovative transdisciplinary methodology (Part Two). Research outcome two addresses the intersubjective nature of flow, which was identified within improvisation. From this two methods were constructed for the collection and interpretation of the experience of the dancer. Firstly, through reflective practice as defined by Donald Schön. And secondly, an argument was provided for the use of motion capture as an embodied tool which extends the dancers embodied cognitive capabilities in the moment of improvisation (Part Three). The final research outcome was thus theorised that such embodied empathic intersubjectivity does not require a direct identification of the other’s body but could be achieved through technologically mediated objects in the world (Part Four). Subsequently, the findings from the research could support further research within a number of fields including dance education, dance practice and dance therapy, psychology, neuroscience, gaming and interactive arts.
    • Moving stories: creating a dialogical space for reflexive storytelling about family

      Böhme, Helen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
      This inquiry is set in and against the backdrop of my personal and professional experience as a family member, as a social worker in adoption, as a relationship therapist in independent practice, and as a family therapist in a licenced fertility clinic. Over the years, I have practised from within a number of different therapeutic approaches and I have come to value a collaborative way of working that positions the people with whom I am working as the narrator of their own lives. My position as therapist then is to co-create the conditions in the therapeutic arena for people to tell and reflect on stories about their lived experience in families. The invitation to tell stories about family, the storytelling itself, the witnessing and the process of sense-making enables reflexive and collaborative conversation that is designed to extend people’s stories about the possibilities of what a family can be like and become. In this thesis I offer stories about family from my personal and professional lives. These are mostly constructed as conversational narratives and are intended to mirror what I am calling the collaborative, co-creative and reflexive etho-methodology of narrative social constructionist therapeutic conversation. I discuss how the stories we tell about our lives are generative of narratives which influence the meanings of our past, current and future relationships. I discuss how storytelling is not only a description of relational matters but also opens relational possibilities. This study focuses on the creating of dialogical and reflexive space for generative storytelling. I show how we weave our personal lives from skeins of imagination, memories and stories provided by our family history, the time in which we live and the culture that we live in. I discuss the ethical implications of storytelling practices from within the living moment of them occurring - in professional practice, in everyday life, in research writing and in terms of making this material publicly available. In both this research study and my professional practice, I combine social constructionist and narrative theory with an ethnographical methodology. The influence of social construction on narrative practice proposes that we and our ideas about relationships are co-created and re-created within relationships. The professional practice and the research processes are driven by an onto-epistemological ethos where becoming and learning are understood as intertwined, emergent and mutually shaping. As a method of inquiry autoethnography acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality and the researchers influence on the research. I often say to people with whom I am working therapeutically that we are engaged in a kind of collaborative research process. In my professional practice, reflexive conversations and reflexive writing open up possibilities for people to change the relationship with their own history. The writing stories from my own life as part of my research practice has mirrored what I do in my everyday professional practice with similar outcomes.
    • A multi-positional and pragmatic reflexive approach to organizational consultancy

      Juhl, Andreas Granhof (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      This thesis researches how the consultant can participate in the creation of successful processes in organizations using multiple theoretical and practical traditions and a pragmatic reflexivity. The research shows how the consultant can do this using a heuristic model developed in the thesis called the consultancy room consisting of three dimensions: distinctions of position, distinctions of system, and distinctions of time. The thesis shows 6 different and distinct positions that the consultant can use in practice: the OD, systemic, solution-focused, appreciative, narrative and strategic position. To show their practical usefulness multiple examples of developing teams are described. The research shows that positions are firstly to be understood as theories that the consultant knows from experience and literature and brings to the organization and secondly the research also shows how such positions are created and coordinated with the customer before and during the consultancy process. The thesis further shows how the consultant can work with multiple distinctions of system. Three prototypical distinctions of system are introduced: the individual, the group, and the organization as part of the consultancy room to help the consultant increase his orientational abilities in practice. And a further distinction between the conversational and the linguistic system is made to help the consultant reflect in and on practice. The conversational system addresses the design of the process by reflecting with the customer about who should talk to whom in order to develop the situation. The linguistic system addresses how the system in focus is being talked about. The thesis shows how the different positions look at and give different possibilities for action in relation to the different distinctions of system. Finally the thesis shows how the consultant can work with multiple distinctions of time. Three prototypical distinctions of time are introduced: the moment, the meeting, and the process as part of the consultancy room to help the consultant navigate in practice. Again the different positions give different ideas of how to act in the moment and how to design meetings and longer processes. The research is done using the researchers own practice as data. A pragmatic research method is created and based in particular on the work of John Dewey (Dewey 1916 1938, Brinkmann 2006) and Gregory Bateson (Bateson 1972 1984)looking at similarities and differences between multiple examples from the researchers practice.
    • A multidimensional inquiry into Chinese outbound tourism to Western Europe: the visitation of Chinese millennial students to the Netherlands.

      De Vrieze-McBean, Ethel Rose (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-06-26)
      This research focuses on the multidimensionality of Chinese outbound tourism to Western Europe and particularly highlights the visitation of Chinese millennial students to the Netherlands. The contributions made to knowledge construction are first of all, to establish a propaedeutic research agenda for which this current research serves as a framework. Simultaneously, seven discernable dimensions have been identified as archetypal to the Chinese tourist, especially regarding their key interests and behaviour when visiting Western European destinations. These being competitive, demographic, economic, technological, cultural, natural and political. Within this construct, the researcher drew from Urry’s ‘The Tourist’s Gaze’, and Pearce et al., reconstruction of this, in their article in Tourism Recreation Research on “Puzzles in Understanding Chinese Tourist Behaviour: Towards a Triple-C Gaze”, to create the Quadruple-C Gaze in depicting the Chinese millennial tourist’s behaviour. (Quadruple-C is in reference to Confucianism, Capitalism, Communism, and Consumerism). The latter is a proposition for the establishment of a propaedeutic research agenda, which is derived from this study. In exercising an interpretative research methodology, the researcher attempted to gain a comprehensive understanding of the key interests of Chinese millennial tourists to the Netherlands and juxtapose them to Chinese millennial students as tourists to the Netherlands. At the same time, an investigation was carried out into the implications of these visits for the Dutch tourism industry as well as the Dutch higher education board. Semi-structured interviews were conducted among experts from the Dutch tourism industry as well as from the Dutch higher education board and experts from Dutch universities. Likewise, focus groups meetings were held among five different groups of Chinese millennial students from universities in the Netherlands as well as students from a university in China. Data was also generated from discourse analysis. The outcome of the thematic analysis performed resulted in seven pronounced themes, which are: the cultural values of Chinese millennial travellers; their motivations for visiting the Netherlands; the Netherlands and its higher educational institutes; Chinese millennial students in the Netherlands; the travel interests and behaviours of Chinese millennial students in/through Europe; the Chinese millennial students and their surroundings; and the implications of Chinese millennial students on their exhibited behaviour and on the Netherlands. A future propaedeutic research agenda is therefore proposed that examines “The Quadruple-C Gaze of Chinese outbound tourism and its relevance in defining the key interests and behaviour of the Chinese millennial tourists from second-and-third-tier VIII A Multidimensional Inquiry into Chinese Outbound Tourism to Western Europe: The Visitation of Chinese Millennial Students to The Netherlands cities in China”. In carrying out such a study, three relatively innovative methodologies are suggested: Complexity Theory, which is a set of concepts that attempts to explain a complex phenomenon not explainable by traditional or mechanic theories. The second is via Visual Analysis, which applies graphic prompts to assess the motivational considerations that guide visitors from different cultural backgrounds to select their travel destination(s). And thirdly, by way of Netnography - a current research method that uses online conversations as data. By applying one or more of the above-mentioned methodologies, a fresh insight will be gained into the quadruple-C gaze of Chinese millennial tourists from second and third-tier cities from Mainland China. Finally, when approaching China as a prospective source market for Chinese millennial tourists/students, both Dutch tourism providers and the Dutch higher education need to adopt a holistic approach to understanding the multi-dimensions postulated in this inquiry.
    • Multidimensional perfectionism and motivation in sport : potential mediating and moderating variables

      Hill, Andrew P. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      Recent research has found that self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism have distinct consequences for athletes. The purpose of the thesis was to extend this research by further examining their motivational consequences for athletes and identifying the psychological mechanisms that explain their divergent consequences. The first two studies suggested that the positive relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and athlete burnout was mediated by the tendency to engage in validation-seeking and utilise avoidant coping, whereas the inverse relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and athlete burnout was mediated by the tendency to utilise problem-focused coping and eschew avoidant coping. Because these initial studies provided little evidence to suggest that self-oriented perfectionism has negative psychological consequences for athletes, the nature of self-oriented perfectionism and its consequences were examined more closely in two subsequent studies. A comparative study examining similarities and differences in the correlates of selforiented perfectionism and conscientious achievement striving found that while both include a commitment to high standards, self-oriented perfectionism also includes a concern over mistakes, fear of failure and negative reactions to imperfection. An experimental study examining the response of student-athletes II higher in this dimension of perfectionism to successive failures further suggested that, in comparison to those with lower levels of self-oriented perfectionism, those with higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism experienced a more pronounced increase in threat following an initial failure and reported withdrawing effort from the subsequent performance. The final two studies suggest that the divergent consequences of these two dimensions of perfectionism may also be explained by differences in the controllability of sources of self-worth and evaluative standards. In addition, in some instances, perceptions of the achievement climate may influence the self-criticism experienced by perfectionists. Collectively, this series of studies suggest that socially prescribed perfectionism will invariably lead to motivational and psychological difficulties for athletes. In contrast, such difficulties may not be inevitable for those with higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism; however, it may render athletes vulnerable to psychological difficulties when personal standards are not meet.
    • Multilevel regression modelling of melanoma incidence

      Brown, Antony Clark (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2007-12)
      This thesis is concerned with developing and implementing a method for modelling and projecting cancer incidence data. The burden of cancer is an increasing problem for society and therefore, the ability to analyse and predict trends in large scale populations is vital. These predictions based on incidence and mortality data collected by cancer registries, can be used for estimation of current and future rates, which is helpful for public health planning. A large body of work already exists on the use of various modelling strategies, methods and fitting techniques. A multilevel method of preparing the data is proposed, fitted to historical data using regression modelling, to predict future rates of incidence for a given population. The proposed model starts with a model for the total incidence of the population, with each successive level stratifying the data into progressively more specific groupings, based on age. Each grouping is partitioned into subgroups, and each subgroup is expressed as a proportion of the parent group. Models are fitted to each of the proportional age-groups, and a combination of these models produces a model that predicts incidence for a specific age. A simple, efficient implementation of the modelling procedure is described, including key algorithms and measures of performance. The method is applied to data from populations that have very different melanoma incidence (the USA and Australia). The proportional structure reveals that the proportional age trends present in both populations are remarkably similar, indicating that there are links between causative factors in both populations. The method is applied fully to data from a variety of populations, and compared with results from existing models. The method is shown to be able to produce results that are reliable and stable, and are generally significantly more accurate than those of other models.
    • Nano handling and measurement of biological cells in culture

      Hou, Yu (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015)
      This thesis systematically investigates the nano handling and measurement techniques for biological cells in culture and studies the techniques to realize innovative and multi-functional applications in biomedicine. Among them, the technique based on AFM is able to visualize and quantify the dynamics of organic cells in culture on the nano scale. Especially, the cellular shear adhesion force on the various locations of biological cells was firstly accurately measured in the research of the cell-substrate interaction in terms of biophysical perspective. The innovative findings are conductive to study the cell-cell adhesion, the cell-matrix adhesion which is related to the cell morphology structure, function, deformation ability and adhesion of cells and better understand the cellular dynamic behaviors. Herein, a new liquid-AFM probe unit and an increment PID control algorithm were implemented suitable for scanning the cell samples under the air conditions and the liquid environments. The influence between the surface of sample and the probe, and the damage of probe during the sample scanning were reduced. The proposed system is useful for the nano handling and measurement of living cells. Besides, Besides, to overcome the limitations of liquid-AFMs, the multiple optical tweezers were developed to integrate with the liquid-AFM. The technique based on laser interference is able to characterize the optical trap stiffness and the escape velocity, especially to realize the capture and sorting of multiple cells by a polarization-controlled periodic laser interference. It can trap and move hundreds of cells without physical contact, and has broad application prospects in cytology. Herein, a new experimental method integrated with the positioning analysis in the Z direction was used to improve the fluid force method for the calibration and characterize the mechanical forces exerted on optical traps and living cells. Moreover, a sensitive and highly efficient polarization-controlled three-beam interference set-up was developed for the capture and sorting of multiple cells. By controlling the polarization angles of the beams, various intensity distributions and different sizes of dots were obtained. Subsequently, we have experimentally observed multiple optical tweezers and the sorting of cells with different polarization angles, which are in accordance with the theoretical analysis.
    • Narrative self-inquiry to capture transformation in mental health nursing practice

      Foster, Lei; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-06)
      The aim of the study is to identify and map the process of transformation of the practice of a mental health nurse from everyday practice to desirable practice (that is, the realisation of mental health Recovery) through self-inquiry into a series of narratives derived from that practice. Recovery is desirable in terms of clinical governance and is also desirable practice for mental health nurses as a standard to which they should practice. A series of reflexive narratives signposted the transformative journey and also captured the lived experience of transformation. Experiences from practice were captured as spontaneous stories. Guided reflection obtained insights from these stories, and the insights derived from the stories were subsequently reflexively deepened by inquiring into them. In time the cues in the model of guided reflection became internalized to the extent that practitioner narratives arose that already embedded insights. Self-inquiry into these practitioner narratives indicated the nature and the felt affect of constraints met within practice. The affect of these constraints upon the individual practitioner and upon the ability of the individual practitioner to achieve desirable practice is indicated by self-inquiry into them. The result of the study was the realisation that transformation is unable to take place without the individual practitioner being fully aware of who one is, in order that s/he may effect transformation and change. Whilst self-inquiry into the narratives indicated the constraints upon the individual practitioner, the psychological unpreparedness also indicated by that self-inquiry indicated why that the tension between the reality of practice and desirable practice could not be adequately explored. The thesis takes the form of a narrative about writing narratives. The narratives illustrate the norms and values that affect individual practice both vertically (that is, from the organisation and the government), and horizontally (that is, from colleagues and managers), and how an individual practitioner experiences these as obstructive to delivering the service they desire. There have been no narratives written by practitioners about the journey to realise Recovery in their practice; and the structure of the narratives as performances is unique to this subject of thesis by a mental health nurse.
    • New techniques and framework for sentiment analysis and tuning of CRM structure in the context of Arabic language

      AL-Rubaiee, Hamed Saad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-01)
      Knowing customers’ opinions regarding services received has always been important for businesses. It has been acknowledged that both Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help companies take informed decisions to improve their performance in the decision-making process. However, real-word applications are not so straightforward. A company may face hard decisions over the differences between the opinions predicted by CRM and actual opinions collected in CEM via social media platforms. Until recently, how to integrate the unstructured feedback from CEM directly into CRM, especially for the Arabic language, was still an open question. Furthermore, an accurate labelling of unstructured feedback is essential for the quality of CEM. Finally, CRM needs to be tuned and revised based on the feedback from social media to realise its full potential. However, the tuning mechanism for CEM of different levels has not yet been clarified. Facing these challenges, in this thesis, key techniques and a framework are presented to integrate Arabic sentiment analysis into CRM. First, as text pre-processing and classification are considered crucial to sentiment classification, an investigation is carried out to find the optimal techniques for the pre-processing and classification of Arabic sentiment analysis. Recommendations for using sentiment analysis classification in MSA as well as Saudi dialects are proposed. Second, to deal with the complexities of the Arabic language and to help operators identify possible conflicts in their original labelling, this study proposes techniques to improve the labelling process of Arabic sentiment analysis with the introduction of neural classes and relabelling. Finally, a framework for adjusting CRM via CEM for both the structure of the CRM system (on the sentence level) and the inaccuracy of the criteria or weights employed in the CRM system (on the aspect level) are proposed. To ensure the robustness and the repeatability of the proposed techniques and framework, the results of the study are further validated with real-word applications from different domains.
    • Nigerian modernism(s) 1900-1960 and the cultural ramifications of the found object in art

      Akpang, Clement Emeka (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-07)
      This thesis explored the phenomenon of Modernism in Twentieth Century Nigerian art and the cultural ramifications of the Found Object in European and African art. Adopting the analytical tools of postcolonial theory and Modernism, modern Nigerian art was subjected to stylistic, conceptual and contextual analysis. The avant-gardist context of the form was explored for two reasons; first in an attempt to distinguish the approaches of named artists and secondly, to address the Eurocentric exclusion of the ‘Other’ in Modernist discourse. The works of Nigerian modernists - Aina Onabolu, Ben Enwonwu and Uche Okeke whose practices flourished from 1900 - 1960, were interrogated and findings from detailed artists case studies proved that during the period of European Modernism, a parallel bifurcated Modernism (1900-1930 / 1930 -1960) occurred in Nigeria characterised by the interlacing of modern art with nationalist political advocacies to subvert colonialism, imperialism and European cultural imposition. This radical formulation of modern Nigerian art, constituted a unique parallel but distinct avant-gardism to Euro-American Modernism, thus proving that Modernism is a pluralistic phenomenon. To valorise the argument that Modernism had multiple avant-garde centres, this thesis analysed the variations in philosophies, ideologies and formalism of the works of Nigerian Modernists and contrasted them from Euro-American avant-gardes. The resultant cultural and contextual differences proved the plurality of Modernism not accounted for in Western art history. Furthermore, by adopting comparative analysis of the Found Object in European and African art, this thesis proved that, the appropriation of mundane objects in art differ from culture to culture, in context, philosophies and ramifications. This finding contributes to knowledge by addressing the ambiguity in Found Object art discourse and problematic attempts to subsume this genre into a mainstream framework. The uncovering/theorisation of this parallel bifurcated Nigerian Modernism, contributes to expanding understanding of Modernism as a pluralistic phenomenon thus, contributing to debates for the recognition of the different Modernisms which cultures outside Europe gave rise to. The recognition and situation of Nigerian avant-gardism and modernism and interpretation of the Found Object as being culturally specific will subsequently contribute to the reconstruction of modernist discourse and Nigerian/African art histories.
    • Normalising computer assisted language learning in the context of primary education in England

      Pazio, Monika (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-07)
      The thesis examines the concept of normalisation of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), i.e. complete, effective integration of technology, in the context of primary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) in England. While normalisation research is conducted predominantly in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context, understanding normalisation in the primary mainstream education in England is important due to the contrast between teachers’ lack of readiness to deliver languages as part of the National Curriculum, and technology penetration in the classrooms. This thesis therefore, taking a sociocultural perspective of Activity Theory, attempts to redefine normalisation to include context specific characteristics, identify what factors contribute to and impede normalisation, and assess where primary CALL is on route to normalisation. An ethnographic approach was deemed to be most suitable to gain deep understanding of normalisation. Prolonged immersion in a primary school and the thematic analysis of observations, interviews, field notes and audio recordings revealed that factors impeding normalisation of primary CALL revolve around the following areas: attitudes, logistics, training and support and pedagogy. The issues related to the subject itself, e.g. negative attitudes toward the subject, lack of skills, impact on the achievement of normalisation to larger extent than issues related to technology. Hence in the primary context, normalisation needs to be considered from the point of view of normalisation of MFL and then the technology that is embedded into MFL. The analysis of the data allowed the researcher to create a model which serves as a form of audit of factors that need to be considered when thinking of successful technology integration into languages. Such guidance is needed for the primary MFL context having reoccurring issues, but is also relevant to primary EFL contexts in Europe where similar problems related to teaching of the subject are reported.
    • A novel approach to providing secure data storage using multi cloud computing

      Alqahtani, Hassan Saad (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019)
      The cloud computing is a new technology that has been presented in the market un recent years. However, it suffered several security breaches, and has some open issues, in terms of security. Due to that, the literature was investigated to highlight the cloud computing security issues, it was found that about 50% of cloud computing security issues are associated with data storage, applied cryptography, and applied authentication. On the other hand, multiple-cloud paradigms have been developed as efficient solutions in order to overcome some single cloud paradigm obstacles and limitations, and enhance the efficiency of ICT cloud-based solutions. Developing an approach that is stable and capable of delivering a very high level security and availability cannot be achieved by relying on a high layer of the delivered system (the software), the lower layer (the infrastructure) must be involved in order to achieve that level of service. This study aims to improve the security of the delivered cloud storage service via multiple-cloud computing and to develop an approach for providing a secure data storage system that could be installed, configured, and easily consumed through the appropriate multiple-cloud model. The developed approached is supposed to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the protected data; besides that, it will support disaster recovery and auditing for the system. This study aims to reduce the complexity and required knowledge levels associated with consuming a multiple-cloud computing paradigm and enhance the flexibility. In order to validate and verify the developed approach, a prototype was developed and tested, the testing phase consists of three core experiments, the outcomes of these three experiments were analysed, presented, and discussed. From the collected feedback, we could conclude that the developed prototype performance is as expected and developed prototype has been validated and verified.
    • Novel approaches to container loading: from heuristics to hybrid tabu search

      Liu, Jiamin (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2008-04)
      This work investigates new approaches to the container loading problem which address the issue of how to load three-dimensional, rectangular items (e.g. boxes) into the container in such a way that maximum utilisation is made of the container space. This problem occurs in several industry sectors where the loading approach places cargo effectively into aeroplanes, ships, trailers or trucks in order to save considerable cost. In carrying out this work, the investigation starts by developing a new heuristic approach to the two-dimensional bin packing problem, which has lower complexity than container loading in the aspects of constraints and geometry. A novel approach, including the heuristic strategies and handling method for remaining areas, is developed that can produce good results when testing with benchmark and real world data. Based on the research for two-dimensional bin packing, a novel heuristic approach is developed to deal with the container loading problem with some practical constraints. The heuristic approach to container loading also includes heuristic strategies and the handling of remaining spaces. The heuristic strategies construct effective loading arrangements where combinations of identical or different box types are loaded in blocks. The handling method for remaining spaces further improves the loading arrangements through the representation, partitioning and merging of remaining spaces. The heuristic approach obtains better volume utilisation and the highest stability compared with other published heuristic approaches. However, it does not achieve as high a volume utilisation as metaheuristic approaches, e.g. genetic algorithms and tabu search.To improve volume utilisation, a new hybrid heuristic approach to the container loading problem is further developed based on the tabu search technique which covers the encoding, evaluation criterion and configuration of neighbourhood and candidate solutions. The heuristic strategies as well as the handling method for remaining spaces developed in the heuristic approach are used in this new hybrid tabu search approach. It is shown that the hybrid approach has better volume utilisation than the published approaches under the condition that all loaded boxes with one hundred per cent support from below. In addition, the experimental results show that both the heuristic and hybrid tabu search approaches can also be applied to the multiple container loading problem.