References of "Dissertations and theses"
     in
Bookmark and Share    
Full Text
See detailIntegration of omics data for biotechnology-relevant microbial communities
Herold, Malte UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Naturally occurring and artificial bacterial communities play an import role in many biotechnological processes. To elucidate bacterial interactions that are important for potential optimized ... [more ▼]

Naturally occurring and artificial bacterial communities play an import role in many biotechnological processes. To elucidate bacterial interactions that are important for potential optimized biotechnological applications, high-throughput measurements of biomolecules, metagenomics, metratranscriptomics,metaproteomics, and meta-metabolomics provide a detailed snapshot of mixed microbial consortia. Integration of multiple layers of omics data allows to reconstruct structure and function of complex microbial communities and is demonstrated for two different model systems. The first chapter focuses on synthetic communities consisting of strains representing key species found in biomining operations and acid mine drainage and that are of economical interest for copper production. A high-quality closed reference genome for L. ferriphilum was obtained by DNA sequencing and was subsequently used to integrate functional omics data, i.e. transcriptomic and proteomic profiling. The combination of genomics, genome annotation, and functional omics data allowed an in-depth characterization of L. ferriphilum in culture medium and in the presence of the iron sulfide mineral chalcopyrite, an economically relevant copper ore. Subsequently, analyses were performed for co-cultures of up to three organisms highlighting specific interaction mechanisms. The cultures without L. ferriphilum showed higher copper solubilisation rates, as the highly efficient iron oxidiser might raise the redox potential above the optimal range. For in situ studies, reference-based analyses are of limited use, e.g. due to a lack in reference genomes of culturable isolates. Hence, the second chapter focuses on an approach to study mixed microbial communities independent of prior knowledge and available reference genomes. A timeseries of oleaginous floating sludge samples that spans over one and a half years was analysed by integrating metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, metaproteomic, and meta-metabolomic data. This allowed the reconstruction of population level genomes and the characterization of the niches of the respective populations. The functional potential was assessed, as well as expression profiles over time, yielding a detailed view on lifestyle strategies and the potential impact of abiotic factors. Understanding the niche ecology of the predominant lipid accumulators in the system could lead towards optimized biofuel production. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 64 (8 UL)
Full Text
See detailFirst-Principles Modeling of Molecular Crystals: Crystal Structure Prediction and Vibrational Properties
Hoja, Johannes UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Understanding the structure and stability, as well as response properties of molecular crystals at certain thermodynamic conditions is crucial for the engineering of new molecular materials and the design ... [more ▼]

Understanding the structure and stability, as well as response properties of molecular crystals at certain thermodynamic conditions is crucial for the engineering of new molecular materials and the design of pharmaceuticals. A reliable description of the polymorphic energy landscape of a molecular crystal would provide an extensive insight into the development of drugs in terms of the existence and the likelihood of late-appearing polymorphs. Furthermore, accurate modeling of low-frequency vibrational spectra would be important for the characterization of molecular crystal polymorphs. However, an accurate description of molecular crystals is very challenging since many properties highly depend on the crystal-packing arrangement of the involved molecules and the temperature. The difficulties for computational predictions of molecular crystal polymorphs lie in the high dimensionality of crystallographic and conformational space, and the need for very accurate relative free energies. It was shown that accurate lattice energies can be obtained by using density-functional theory (DFT) calculations supplemented by a high-level model for long-range van der Waals (vdW) dispersion interactions, such as the many-body dispersion (MBD) model. Therefore, this thesis utilizes throughout vdW-inclusive DFT using the MBD and the related pairwise Tkatchenko-Scheffler (TS) dispersion model and the importance of dispersion interactions is highlighted for several properties. A hierarchical stability-ranking approach based on the DFT+MBD framework for the final stage of a molecular crystal structure prediction procedure is presented and analyzed. This approach provides excellent stability rankings over the diverse set of molecular crystals studied in the latest blind test of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre. The results suggest that accounting for many-body dispersion effects and vibrational free energies can be crucial for the description of relative stabilities, especially for highly polymorphic systems. The presented approach enables the calculation of reliable structures and thermodynamic stabilities for pharmaceutically relevant systems, contributing to a better understanding of complex polymorphic energy landscapes. Furthermore, many first-principles calculations are performed by using fully optimized structures and free energies obtained within the harmonic approximation, neglecting the thermal expansion of the studied molecular crystal and further anharmonic effects. Therefore, this thesis illustrates that the majority of the thermal expansion of molecular crystals can be captured with the used methods by applying the quasi-harmonic approximation. In addition, we estimate further anharmonic effects on the vibrational frequencies by utilizing Morse oscillators. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 25 (3 UL)
See detailEntrepreneurial Teams, New Venture Direction and Growth: Evidence from Luxembourg
Tryba Geb. Fricke, Anne Karin UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

New ventures can be an important driver of economic growth and technological progress. Yet, many new ventures fail and do not overcome the challenges of the early entrepreneurial phase. Extant research ... [more ▼]

New ventures can be an important driver of economic growth and technological progress. Yet, many new ventures fail and do not overcome the challenges of the early entrepreneurial phase. Extant research has acknowledged that the people who jointly start and manage a new venture have a key impact on its subsequent success and development. However, a discrepancy exists in how the interplay of their characteristics, cognition, and actions ultimately shape the way a new venture evolves. Therefore the primary purpose of this thesis is to contribute to this research stream by exploring the multifaceted role of entrepreneurial teams for new venture direction and growth. This is done with the aid of three research papers relying on a multiple case study and a specifically designed dataset from Luxembourg. The first paper illuminates how the shared pre-start-up transition moments of entrepreneurial team members influence the joint decision logic in the initial venture phase. Focusing on the composition of entrepreneurial teams, the second paper illustrates early activities that allow new ventures to leverage the diverse educational backgrounds of their team members to achieve financial growth. Lastly, the third paper explores aspects of leadership in new ventures and uncovers how agreement on an early shared vision affects subsequent changes in the entrepreneurial team, taking into account members’ relational ties. This thesis makes important contributions to research in entrepreneurship and strategic management, adding to a more fine-grained view on the micro-foundations and outcomes of entrepreneurial action. Also, it has practical implications for entrepreneurs, their mentors and investors, entrepreneurship education and policymakers. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 44 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailZebrafish models of Dravet syndrome: discovery of antiseizure drug leads and analysis of behavioural comorbidities
Jacmin, Maxime UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Dravet syndrome (DS) is one of the most frequent genetic epilepsies, with an incidence of 1/30,000. Most DS patients are pharmacoresistant, in that they do not respond adequately to currently available ... [more ▼]

Dravet syndrome (DS) is one of the most frequent genetic epilepsies, with an incidence of 1/30,000. Most DS patients are pharmacoresistant, in that they do not respond adequately to currently available anticonvulsant drugs (ASDs). Beside the seizure occurrence in these patients, many DS patients also suffer from cognitive impairment that can be aggravated by some of the seizure medications prescribed. Preclinical models such as mouse models of Dravet syndrome have been developed and described to exhibit cognitive deficits similar to those of DS patients, but are only suitable for the evaluation of small number of compounds, thereby limiting their utility for drug discovery. An animal model with higher screening throughput would therefore be of value for drug discovery efforts focused on seizure reduction and decrease of the comorbidities associated with DS. Recent studies on zebrafish have demonstrated its ability to be a promising in vivo model for DS. Two different zebrafish DS models - one based on a loss-of-function mutation in the zebrafish ortholog of SCN1A, the other based on an antisense knockdown of this gene - exhibit seizure-like behaviour and epileptiform discharges that are exacerbated by hyperthermia. The mutant line was also described to display greater anxiety levels. In this Doctoral thesis project, we are investigating these zebrafish DS models with regard to (1) their seizure occurrence and potential reduction following exposure to several anticonvulsant drug candidates, and (2), their cognitive functions in order to determine possible similarities with cognitive impairment in human DS patients. Our results indicate these zebrafish DS models to exhibit memory impairment and higher anxiety levels. These findings provide an initial insight into the resemblance between human patients and zebrafish in terms of comorbidities. Finally, we also identified several novel anticonvulsant compounds and drug candidates with antiseizure activity in these zebrafish DS models. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 45 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailPrivacy-preserving Recommender Systems Facilitated By The Machine Learning Approach
Wang, Jun UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Recommender systems, which play a critical role in e-business services, are closely linked to our daily life. For example, companies such as Youtube and Amazon are always trying to secure their profit by ... [more ▼]

Recommender systems, which play a critical role in e-business services, are closely linked to our daily life. For example, companies such as Youtube and Amazon are always trying to secure their profit by estimating personalized user preferences and recommending the most relevant items (e.g., products, news, etc.) to each user from a large number of candidates. State-of-the-art recommender systems are often built on top of collaborative filtering techniques, of which the accuracy performance relies on precisely modeling user-item interactions by analyzing massive user historical data, such as browsing history, purchasing records, locations and so on. Generally, more data can lead to more accurate estimations and more commercial strategies, as such, service providers have incentives to collect and use more user data. On the one hand, recommender systems bring more income to service providers and more convenience to users; on the other hand, the user data can be abused, arising immediate privacy risks to the public. Therefore, how to preserve privacy while enjoying recommendation services becomes an increasingly important topic to both the research community and commercial practitioners. The privacy concerns can be disparate when constructing recommender systems or providing recommendation services under different scenarios. One scenario is that, a service provider wishes to protect its data privacy from the inference attack, a technique aims to infer more information (e.g., whether a record is in or not) about a database, by analyzing statistical outputs; the other scenario is that, multiple users agree to jointly perform a recommendation task, but none of them is willing to share their private data with any other users. Security primitives, such as homomorphic encryption, secure multiparty computation, and differential privacy, are immediate candidates to address privacy concerns. A typical approach to build efficient and accurate privacy-preserving solutions is to improve the security primitives, and then apply them to existing recommendation algorithms. However, this approach often yields a solution far from the satisfactory-of-practice, as most users have a low tolerance to the latency-increase or accuracy-drop, regarding recommendation services. The PhD program explores machine learning aided approaches to build efficient privacy-preserving solutions for recommender systems. The results of each proposed solution demonstrate that machine learning can be a strong assistant for privacy-preserving, rather than only a troublemaker. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 87 (17 UL)
Full Text
See detailTransport and thermodynamics in driven quantum systems
Haughian, Patrick UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis studies the nonequilibrium properties of quantum dots with regard to electrical conduction as well as thermodynamics. The work documented here shows how these properties behave under the ... [more ▼]

This thesis studies the nonequilibrium properties of quantum dots with regard to electrical conduction as well as thermodynamics. The work documented here shows how these properties behave under the influence of time-dependent drive protocols, pursuing two main lines of inquiry. The first concerns the interplay between nanomechanics and drive: In nanomechanical systems with strong coupling between the charge and vibrational sectors, conductance is strongly suppressed, an effect known as Franck-Condon blockade. Using a model Hamiltonian for a molecular quantum dot coupled to a pair of leads, it is shown here that this blockade can be exponentially lifted by resonantly driving the dot. Moreover, a multi-drive protocol is proposed for such a system to facilitate charge pumping that enjoys the same exponential amplification. The second line of inquiry moves beyond charge transport, examining the thermodynamics of a driven quantum dot coupled to a lead. Taking a Green's function approach, it is found that the laws of thermodynamics can be formulated for arbitrary dot-lead coupling strength in the presence of dot and coupling drive, as long as the drive protocol only exhibits mild non-adiabaticity. Finally, the effects of initial states are studied in this situation, proving that the integrated work production in the long-time limit conforms to the second law of thermodynamics for a wide class of initial states and arbitrary drive and coupling strength. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 48 (16 UL)
Full Text
See detailWine as an Investment
Sun, Huizhu UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

During the last two decades, the wine auction market experienced non-monotonic dynamics and provided abnormal returns. When fine wine prices started to rise in the mid-1980s, wine investing transcended ... [more ▼]

During the last two decades, the wine auction market experienced non-monotonic dynamics and provided abnormal returns. When fine wine prices started to rise in the mid-1980s, wine investing transcended from a pastime into a serious investment transforming wine into a widespread investment activity. As an alternative asset, fine wine attracts increased attention among individual and institutional investors in recent years, particularly during the financial crisis due to its diversification potential. Economists also began evaluating wine as a new alternative asset class. In this thesis, we review the wine auction markets, study the price dynamics, and answer some fundamental questions. To build solid conclusions, we developed the largest French wine auction database encompassing the last 20 years. We summary our main contributions as follows. First, we review and explain the growth in recent global wine auction markets. Second, we construct price indices with hedonic regression models to observe market movements. Third, we investigate wine investment’s diversification potential. Wine in an optimal portfolio can improve the risk-return characteristics; however, the augmentation depends significantly on the market segmentation to which the investor applies it. Fourth, we analyze the wine price bubbles and collapses detection using a newly developed econometric approach. We elucidate strong evidence of two bubbles in the Bordeaux and Burgundy wine auction markets, whereas Rhône wine price behaved in a similar, but less significant, trend as Bordeaux and Burgundy wine markets. Finally, we examine the price determinants with a particular focus on the expert effect on this experienced good. We illuminate expert influence remains economically and statistically significant throughout the sample period. Using event study methodology, we disentangle the expert effect from other price variations and assert the market significantly reflects expert’s big re-ratings in the short term, yet the effect diminishes over time. However, this re-rating effect holds insignificant for modest changes. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 72 (5 UL)
Full Text
See detailLegitimate expectations in Luxembourg tax law - A study of administrative circulars and tax rulings issued by the Luxembourg tax authorities
Chaouche, Fatima UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis analyzes the status of tax circulars and tax rulings in domestic law. More precisely, by first studying the status of each of these administrative interpretative acts, I then investigate their ... [more ▼]

This thesis analyzes the status of tax circulars and tax rulings in domestic law. More precisely, by first studying the status of each of these administrative interpretative acts, I then investigate their enforceability before domestic courts and enquire to what extent unlawful circulars and contra legem rulings can be relied upon by virtue of the principle of legitimate expectations. After extracting a series of shortcomings in the protection of taxpayers who rely on such administrative interpretative acts, I then, articulate from a normative perspective, what I claim to be the appropriate level of protection for contra legem circulars and advance decisions in the Luxembourg legal order. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 67 (11 UL)
See detailBildungswerte und Schulentfremdung: Institutions- und Kompositionseffekte in den Bildungskontexten Luxemburgs und der Schweiz
Scharf, Jan UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Values and attitudes towards schooling – as the core concepts of this research – are increasingly recognized as important factors affecting educational achievement and attainment. Values of Education (VoE ... [more ▼]

Values and attitudes towards schooling – as the core concepts of this research – are increasingly recognized as important factors affecting educational achievement and attainment. Values of Education (VoE) are conceptualised along the five instrumental goals outlined in the social production function theory by Lindenberg (1991; Ormel et al., 1999). School alienation (SAL) is defined as negative attitudes towards academic domains of schooling, namely teachers and learning (Hascher & Hadjar, 2018: 179). Based on the assumption that SAL depicts a process intensified over the course of secondary education (Finn, 1989), this dissertation finds evidence for developmental trends between grade seven and grade eight comparatively across country settings and to show how educational contexts and the perceived VoE affect SAL. This sociological study provides an in-depth comparison of the stratified school systems of Luxembourg and of the Canton of Berne (Switzerland) based upon newly-collected panel data of the international research project School Alienation in Switzerland and Luxembourg (SASAL) (N = 465/508). Following the distinction of primary and secondary effects of social origin by Boudon (1974), these core concepts are discussed in the frames of Bourdieu’s (1982 [1979], 1992) habitus theory, emphasizing the transmission of cultural capital in families, and of rational choice approaches (e.g. Esser, 1999). Moreover, theoretical approaches on disparities structured by gender (e.g. Breen et al., 2010) and migration background (Kristen & Dollmann, 2010) as well as further axes of educational inequalities are considered to explain found differences in students’ educational values and attitudes towards schooling. The validation of the measurement instrument of VoE by means of factor analysis indicates four dimensions of VoE among school students in these contexts: stimulation as an intrinsic value, comfort and status related to standards of living and future career goals, behavioural confirmation in terms of expectations of significant others, and the social goal affection. Structural equation models demonstrate that the lower value of stimulation through education among boys mediates their higher level of SAL across country contexts. Yet, a higher value of comfort/status among students increases the development of negative attitudes. Whereas immigrant students’ higher behavioural confirmation in the Canton of Bern backs the immigrant optimism thesis (Kao & Tienda, 1995), immigrant students in Luxembourg reveal a general lower VoE and are more alienated from teachers. Contextual effects estimated in multilevel models explain the higher prevalence of alienation from learning in Luxembourgish classrooms. Within the stratified and segregated secondary schooling, students in the academic track are more alienated compared to students in technical secondary education. This result contradicts the differentiation–polarization theory (Van Houtte, 2006) in the context of Luxembourg. On the other hand, in Berne, alienation from learning does not differ between school tracks, but is overall lower in the less segregated, more permeable schools. Classroom composition effects, however, show no clear pattern. In line with prior research, alienation from learning is lower in Luxembourgish classrooms with a higher percentage of immigrant students. With regard to the consequences of SAL, the results show a negative impact of alienation from learning on school achievement in both country settings. Deriving implications, the findings provide some arguments in favour of comprehensive school models. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 27 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailConservation Laws in Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics: Stochastic Processes, Chemical Reaction Networks, and Information Processing
Rao, Riccardo UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Thermodynamics has a long history. It was established during the 19th century as a phenomenological theory grasping the principles underlying heat engines. In the 20th and 21st centuries its range of ... [more ▼]

Thermodynamics has a long history. It was established during the 19th century as a phenomenological theory grasping the principles underlying heat engines. In the 20th and 21st centuries its range of applicability was extended to nonequilibrium stochastic and chemical processes. However a systematic procedure to identify the thermodynamic forces at work in these systems was lacking. In this thesis, we provide one by making use of conservation laws. Of particular importance are the conservation laws which are broken when putting the system in contact with different reservoirs (thermostats or chemostats). These laws depend on the internal structure of the system and are specific to each system. We introduce a systematic procedure to identify them and show how they shape the entropy production (i.e. the dissipation) into fundamental contributions. Each of these provides precious insight on how to drive and control the system out of equilibrium. We first present our results at the level of phenomenological thermodynamics. We then show that they can be systematically derived for various dynamics: Markov jump processes used in stochastic thermodynamics, also including the chemical master equation, and deterministic chemical rate equations with and without diffusion, which are used to describe chemical reaction networks. Generalized nonequilibrium Landauer principles ensue form our theory. They predict that the minimal thermodynamic cost necessary to transform the system from an arbitrary nonequilibrium state to another can be expressed in terms of information metrics such as relative entropies between the equilibrium and nonequilibrium states of the system. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 50 (14 UL)
Full Text
See detailThe Significance of the Place of Performance in Commercial Contracts under the European Union Choice of Law Rules
Okoli, Chukwuma Samuel Adesina UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The central theme of this thesis is that the place of performance is of considerable significance as a connecting factor in international commercial contracts. This thesis challenges and questions the ... [more ▼]

The central theme of this thesis is that the place of performance is of considerable significance as a connecting factor in international commercial contracts. This thesis challenges and questions the approach of the European legislator, which does not explicitly give the place of performance special significance in the determination of the applicable law in the absence of choice for commercial contracts. This thesis proposes that the place of performance should be explicitly given special significance under a revised Article 4 of Rome I Regulation. Second, it is argued that the absolute significance given to the place of performance in determining foreign country overriding mandatory rules is a good reason why the place of performance should be explicitly given special significance under a revised Article 4 of Rome I Regulation. Third, inspired by the coherence between matters of European Union jurisdiction and choice of law in civil and commercial matters, it is argued that the place of performance which is given special significance under the European Union rules on the allocation of jurisdiction for commercial contracts is a good reason why the place of performance should be explicitly given special significance under a revised Article 4 of Rome I Regulation. This thesis then concludes by proposing a model revised Article 4 of Rome I Regulation that could be used as an international solution by legislators, judges, arbitrators, and other decision makers who wish to reform their choice of law rules in determining the applicable law in the absence of choice for international commercial contracts. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 54 (7 UL)
Full Text
See detailEvaluating Vulnerability Prediction Models
Jimenez, Matthieu UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Today almost every device depends on a piece of software. As a result, our life increasingly depends on some software form such as smartphone apps, laundry machines, web applications, computers ... [more ▼]

Today almost every device depends on a piece of software. As a result, our life increasingly depends on some software form such as smartphone apps, laundry machines, web applications, computers, transportation and many others, all of which rely on software. Inevitably, this dependence raises the issue of software vulnerabilities and their possible impact on our lifestyle. Over the years, researchers and industrialists suggested several approaches to detect such issues and vulnerabilities. A particular popular branch of such approaches, usually called Vulnerability Prediction Modelling (VPM) techniques, leverage prediction modelling techniques that flag suspicious (likely vulnerable) code components. These techniques rely on source code features as indicators of vulnerabilities to build the prediction models. However, the emerging question is how effective such methods are and how they can be used in practice. The present dissertation studies vulnerability prediction models and evaluates them on real and reliable playground. To this end, it suggests a toolset that automatically collects real vulnerable code instances, from major open source systems, suitable for applying VPM. These code instances are then used to analyze, replicate, compare and develop new VPMs. Specifically, the dissertation has 3 main axes: The first regards the analysis of vulnerabilities. Indeed, to build VPMs accurately, numerous data are required. However, by their nature, vulnerabilities are scarce and the information about them is spread over different sources (NVD, Git, Bug Trackers). Thus, the suggested toolset (develops an automatic way to build a large dataset) enables the reliable and relevant analysis of VPMs. The second axis focuses on the empirical comparison and analysis of existing Vulnerability Prediction Models. It thus develops and replicates existing VPMs. To this end, the thesis introduces a framework that builds, analyse and compares existing prediction models (using the already proposed sets of features) using the dataset developed on the first axis. The third axis explores the use of cross-entropy (metric used by natural language processing) as a potential feature for developing new VPMs. Cross-entropy, usually referred to as the naturalness of code, is a recent approach that measures the repetitiveness of code (relying on statistical models). Using cross-entropy, the thesis investigates different ways of building and using VPMs. Overall, this thesis provides a fully-fledge study on Vulnerability Prediction Models aiming at assessing and improving their performance. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 42 (18 UL)
Full Text
See detailREPRESENTING THE SOCIAL CHARACTER OF PLACES: ONTOLOGY MODELS OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
Calafiore, Alessia UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The thesis aimed at rendering machine understandable the social dimension of urban places to provide a new generation of urban analytics based on peoples’ socio- spatial behaviour. The main outcome has ... [more ▼]

The thesis aimed at rendering machine understandable the social dimension of urban places to provide a new generation of urban analytics based on peoples’ socio- spatial behaviour. The main outcome has been a formal framework, encoded in the form of Ontology Design Patterns, to represent the interaction between the architectural aspects of the city, its form, and the behaviour of city dwellers. Ontology models are based on place theories discussed by social and cultural geographers - such as Henri Lefevbre, Edward Soja and Doreen Massey - and experimented in a knowledge discovery pipeline by exploring geographic crowdsourced data coming from the TripAdvisor platform. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 20 (4 UL)
Full Text
See detailDeveloping oral language skills in language-minority children
Cordeiro Tomas, Rute Carina UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The aim of the research presented in this thesis is two-fold. Firstly, it explores the early oral language development in Portuguese-speaking language-minority children growing up in Luxembourg in the ... [more ▼]

The aim of the research presented in this thesis is two-fold. Firstly, it explores the early oral language development in Portuguese-speaking language-minority children growing up in Luxembourg in the kindergarten years. Secondly, it purports to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a 30-week oral language intervention programme designed to support the home language development in language-minority children, using a randomised controlled study design. The study specifically examines the hypothesis that skills acquired in a first language can transfer to a second language. The study adopts a longitudinal experimental design and includes a sample of 186 Portuguese-speaking kindergarten children in Luxembourg. Children were randomly allocated to a Portuguese oral language group (N = 93) or an active control group (N = 93). Participants were followed longitudinally and assessed on four occasions over a period of two years. The study also included two peer comparison groups: one classroom peer group from Luxembourg (N = 75) and one age-matched group of monolingual children from Portugal (N = 44). The first key research question addressed was: What are the early oral language skills in Portuguese and Luxembourgish within this group of bilingual language-minority children, and how do these skills develop during the kindergarten years? Results indicate that when compared to their peers in both languages, these children lagged behind. Despite manifesting language growth in Luxembourgish, the language-minority group continued to score below their classroom peers at the end of kindergarten. Findings further suggest that the home language skills of these children are not only less developed at school entry, but are also growing at a slower rate in contrast to the school language. Overall, results raise the possibility that Portuguese-speaking children in Luxembourg might be at risk of acquiring their second language at the expense of their first language. It is clear that these children are in need of targeted language support, not only in their school language but also their home language. The second major research question addressed was: Can an intervention focusing on language-minority children’s home language effectively support their home language development, and might this have knock on effects on second language learning? Results of the randomised controlled trial demonstrate that the newly developed oral language intervention MOLLY successfully improved children’s home language skills. Additionally, the results showed that supporting children in their home language facilitated second language learning. Effect sizes of important educational significance were found on both primary and secondary outcomes in Portuguese and in Luxembourgish. This thesis clearly reinforces that it is possible to effectively support language-minority children’s home language through rich and regular language support in a school setting, without hindering the development of the school language. Findings suggest that supporting children in their home language can facilitate second language learning. This study takes a step forward towards providing robust evidence on what the appropriate conditions are in supporting language-minority children’s language development. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 19 (7 UL)
Full Text
See detailA Dual-Grid Multiscale Approach to CFD-DEM Couplings for Multiphase Flow
Pozzetti, Gabriele UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis focuses on a novel dual-grid multiscale approach to CFD- DEM1 couplings, proposes its advantages in terms of numerical proper- ties and performance, and provides examples of engineering ... [more ▼]

This thesis focuses on a novel dual-grid multiscale approach to CFD- DEM1 couplings, proposes its advantages in terms of numerical proper- ties and performance, and provides examples of engineering applications that can benefit from it. In recent years, CFD-DEM couplings are be- coming a more and more adopted solution for the numerical simulation of particle-laden flows. In particular, couplings based on the volume av- eraging technique have become a standard for numerical simulations in chemical and process engineering. Furthermore, they are rapidly spread- ing to civil, geotechnical and mechanical applications due to their ability in dealing with arbitrarily complex mixtures of continuum and granular media. Despite the several advantages that these Eulerian-Lagrangian cou- plings provide, their rigorous application to complex scenarios is currently limited by two main factors. First, the computational traceability of the solutions can become problematic due to the lack of a general theory on the subject. In particular, grid-convergence studies for the solution of the continuous phases are often not feasible due to the averaging procedure that imposes limitations on the grid structure and refinement. Second, the parallel implementation of these numerical schemes holds important disadvantages in terms of memory consumption and inter-physics com- munication load. These disadvantages are significantly limiting the ex- tension of these approaches to large-scale scenarios. This thesis collects some of the most significant works published in the last years on a novel approach that allows solving the two above- mentioned problems, and, therefore, tackling more complex and expen- sive scenarios. I refer to this approach as dual-grid multiscale approach for CFD-DEM couplings. It consists in using two different computational grids, one for the coupling between continuum and discrete entities and one for the solution of the so-obtained continuum equations. The two grids, i.e. the two problems, are in this way resolved on two different scales. The first scale or “bulk” scale is chosen to optimize the averag- ing operation. At this length-scale, the discrete entities are considered as zero-dimensional, and interact with the fluid with local exchanges of momentum, mass, and energy. The second scale or “fluid-fine” scale is identified as the one at which a unique solution for the averaged equa- tions can be provided. In practice, this is chosen as the one at which the solution of the fluid equations becomes grid-independent. An inter-scale communication is adopted by interpolating fields from the fluid-fine scale to the bulk one and vice-versa. The theoretical description of the method is first provided with par- ticular reference to the DEM-VOF coupling. Even in its simplest version, the multiscale approach is shown to generate grid-convergent solutions and significantly higher accuracy than a standard CFD-DEM coupling. This shows how the new approach is able to overcome the first main limitation described above. Then, an optimized parallel implementation of the method is pro- posed to show how this multiscale approach can provide significant ben- efits also for what concerns the execution time. Technically, this is made possible by moving the communication cost of the coupling from the inter-physics communication that characterized the standard CFD-DEM couplings to an optimized inter-scale communication routine. This en- ables the method to overcome a major bottleneck of the parallel execution of CFD-DEM couplings and therefore the second main limitation of those schemes. Finally, the dual-grid multiscale method is applied to approach in- dustrially relevant problems that were till now out-of-reach for standard CFD-DEM couplings, proving how this technique can have direct real- case application and produce immediate benefits for practitioners willing to adopt it. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 30 (14 UL)
Full Text
See detailSemiautomatische Annotation von Orten in digitalisierten Altkarten
Höhn, Winfried UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Old maps are increasingly being digitised and included in digital libraries to provide access to these historically valuable documents to a wider audience. The need was identified to enrich the digital ... [more ▼]

Old maps are increasingly being digitised and included in digital libraries to provide access to these historically valuable documents to a wider audience. The need was identified to enrich the digital copies of the old maps with annotations that enable a quick search for relevant information and linking with other documents. Because such a manual annotation of old maps is a labour- and cost-intensive process and is therefore only carried out for particularly valuable documents, the large mass of old maps remains unexplored. With this motivation, the aim of this research project was to automatise to a great extent the process of object detection and annotation in the old maps. However, existing methods for automated information extraction from maps are designed for modern maps. They are usually limited to certain map types that have similar graphical characteristics. Alternatively there are tools for manual annotation of map data. Until now, annotation of old maps was only supported by tools that enabled manual extraction of map data and the digital storage of annotated information. The research objectives for this dissertation have been formulated based on the research frame given at the beginning of this work. The research objectives include automatic identification of place markers, automatic detection of text labels, their Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and an automatic linking with a modern map or a geographical database. In order to meet the research objectives, mainly methods of machine learning were used. Both classic machine learning methods and deep-learning-based methods have been extended to meet the requirements of the specific domain of old maps. Old maps of Luxembourg and the Franconian Circle were used as a data set. In order to find place markers automatically, a template matching variant was developed which is robust against interfering objects next to the place markers to be recognised. The method is also applicable in other areas with similar properties. Furthermore, both rule-based and statistical methods were tailored to the domain of the old maps with the purpose to find the position of the text labels. In order to make the identified texts readable, a new OCR engine was implemented that produces only a quarter of the character errors compared with a state-of-the-art OCR tool, while using the same training data. The georeferencing was examined for two types of map pairs: an old and a modern map, and two old maps. It was found that automatic georeferencing between two old maps can not only be used to find errors in manual annotations, but can also provide new historical insights, such as small changes in the copper plates from which the maps were printed (e.g. adding a small number of places that is not documented anywhere else). A referencing and annotation tool has been implemented to collect training and test data. This tool can also be used to test the automations and to correct automatically collected data. Overall, the present work makes a contribution in the areas of object recognition in graphics, scene text detection, OCR and georeferencing. It is shown which effort is needed to make individual parts or the entire area of old maps automatically readable and where the current limits of the automation are. Finally, this research shows the huge potential and the impact of such digital tools in the entire area of digital humanities. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 30 (8 UL)
Full Text
See detailResearch governance through public funding instruments: Institutional change of educational research in the European Union and England, 1984-2014
Marques, Marcelo UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Supranational and national public research funding instruments have been recognizing considerable attention from the political agenda in the last decades. Either as forms to target specific themes and ... [more ▼]

Supranational and national public research funding instruments have been recognizing considerable attention from the political agenda in the last decades. Either as forms to target specific themes and priorities for disciplinary fields or to better allocate public funding, they are essential instruments in the contemporary research governance. While most research literature has been focused on studying either the political choice related to the implementation and evolution of a specific research funding instrument or the impact of single forms on the behavior of organizations and individuals, less attention has been paid to the overall funding arrangements that have been shaping, not only higher education and research systems, but also disciplinary fields, as for the case of educational research. Using a multilevel standpoint, I study the creation and development of three of the most critical contemporary public research funding instruments in two different settings, the European Union and England, and their impact in the field of European and English educational research. At the European Union level, I analyze the creation and evolution of the European's Union Framework Programme (EUFP) (1984-2013), in particular from the moment educational research started to be funded (1994), and look at its impact in the cognitive development and structural organization of the European educational research. At the English level, I analyze the creation and evolution of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) (2000-2011) and the Research Assessment Exercise/Research Excellence Framework (RAE/REF) (1986-2014) and look at their impact in the political, disciplinary and organizational levels of educational research. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is twofold: to analyze the creation and evolution of the supranational and national public research funding instruments, directly or indirectly targeted to the field of educational research, and to analyze the impact of the research funding instruments at the political, disciplinary and organizational levels of European and English educational research. Due to the continued institutionalization of these public research funding instruments I expect to find a gradual transformative change in educational research. Theoretically anchored in the new-institutional thinking – historical, sociological and Scandinavian institutionalism - and in the political sociology of policy instruments and instrumentation approach, I conceptualize public research funding instruments as institutions with cultural-cognitive (ideas), normative (norms and values), and regulative (formal and informal rules) dimensions. Moreover, I apply the most recent contributions of the new-institutional thinking to the field of higher education and explore the concepts of nested organizational fields and the concept of the university as a strategic actor in order to understand the way research organizations engage and react to public research funding instruments. Methodologically, I use a mixed-method sequential explanatory research design. The first phase of the study aimed to understand the creation and development of the three funding instruments, taking into consideration the available data related to the instrument itself and the data related to educational research. In order to do this, I have used both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Qualitatively, I analyzed policy documents related to the EUFP, TLRP and RAE/REF and developed a content analysis from a sample of EUFP funded research projects for the field of educational research (N=99) and from a sample of TLRP funded research projects (N=54), in order to examine the creation and development of the funding instruments and their impact ar the European and English disciplinary level. Quantitatively, I use social network analysis and applied centrality measures to the participating research organizations in the European educational research (N=500) to explore the interconnections between research organizations in their regional, national, and organizational diversity across Europe. Furthermore, I locate the multidisciplinary field of educational research in the RAE/REF and analyze the submission behavior (staff, outputs, funding) of Schools of Education over time (N=239). The second phase of the study was dedicated to interviewing 22 experts in the field of English educational research. Overall, the results show a gradual transformative change in the cultural-cognitive and normative dimensions (EUFP, TLRP, RAE/REF), while maintaining continuous stability (EUFP, TLRP) in the regulative dimension of the public research funding instruments. In specific, I show how the ideas of knowledge-society, internationalization, and Europeanization (EUFP), evidence-based policy and practice (TLRP), and quality, excellence and impact (RAE/REF) have been gradually transforming the development of the research funding instruments. Additionally, I show how the funding instruments have enacted the norms and values of international collaboration, competition, relevance, capacity, usefulness, evaluation, and performativity to the field of European and English educational research. Because research funding instruments are incentive-based forms, their regulative and legislative basis is rather weak, displaying signs of continuous stability, except for the RAE/REF due to its continuous formalization, standardization, transparency, and growing concentration of funding policy, framed as a robust research evaluation system. When exploring the effects of the public research funding instruments I delve into the disciplinary and organizational levels to find a gradual transformative institutional change in the field of educational research mediated by both intended and unintended consequences of the policy instruments. At the European level, I find a strong relationship between the themes and priorities of the EUFP and the funded research projects in educational research, showing the role of the EUFP in the creation of the broader political project of the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area. Moreover, the social network analysis shows that while the size of the countries helps to explain the number of research organizations that participate in the EUFP, the capacity to become central and influential is linked connected to organizational factors. Indeed, universities from medium and small countries are relatively more influential, albeit with stratification manifest across the EUFPs. Exploring the position of the English Schools of Education, while England is the country with the largest number of participating research organizations, almost none of them are central or influential in the network, showing the role of England as an exporter of internationalization. At the English level, I show how the disciplinary dynamics of educational research interact and mediate the impact of the TLRP. For the case of the RAE/REF, I find decreases in the number of academic staff whose research was submitted for peer review assessment; the research article as the preferred publication format, and the rise of quantitative analysis and applied research. The policy instrument invoked a highly strategic behavior amongst the Schools of Education, with such reactivity demonstrated (1) by the increasing submission selectivity in the number of staff whose publications were submitted for peer review as a form of reverse engineering, and (2) by the rise of the research article as the preferred output as a self-fulfilling prophecy. In conclusion, I discuss how the institutionalization of the public research funding instruments represent a case of epistemic governance; contribute to the Matthew effect in science; confer actorhood to research organizations and trigger highly strategic forms of behavior and unintended consequences, resulting in a gradual transformative change of European and English educational research. Because they interact and are mediated by different levels, the study shows the multi-composite character of educational research governance. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 24 (8 UL)
Full Text
See detailModel and parameter identification through Bayesian inference in solid mechanics
Rappel, Hussein UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Predicting the behaviour of various engineering systems is commonly performed using mathematical models. These mathematical models include application-specific parameters that must be identified from ... [more ▼]

Predicting the behaviour of various engineering systems is commonly performed using mathematical models. These mathematical models include application-specific parameters that must be identified from measured data. The identification of model parameters usually comes with uncertainties due to model simplifications and errors in the experimental measurements. Quantifying these uncertainties can effectively improve the predictions as well as the performance of the engineering systems. Bayesian inference provides a probabilistic framework for quantifying these uncertainties in parameter identification problems. In a Bayesian framework, the user's initial knowledge, which is represented by a probability distribution, is updated by measurement data through Bayes' theorem. In the first two chapters of this thesis, Bayesian inference is developed for the identification of material parameters in elastoplasticity and viscoelasticity. The effect of the user's prior knowledge is systematically studied with respect to the number of measurements available. In addition, the influence of different types of experiments on the uncertainty is studied. Since all mathematical models are simplifications of reality, uncertainties of the model itself may also be incorporated. The third chapter of this thesis presents a Bayesian framework for parameter identification in elastoplasticity in which not only the uncertainty of the experimental output is included (i.e. stress measurements), but also the uncertainty of the model and the uncertainty of the experimental input (i.e. strain). Three different formulations for describing the model uncertainty are considered: (1) a random variable which is taken from a normal distribution with constant parameters, (2) a random variable which is taken from a normal distribution with an input-dependent mean, and (3) a Gaussian random process with a stationary covariance function. In the fourth chapter of this thesis, a Bayesian scheme is proposed to identify material parameter distributions, instead of material parameters. The application in this chapter are random fibre networks, in which the set of material parameters of each fibre is assumed to be a realisation from a material parameter distribution. The fibres behave either elastoplastically or in a perfectly brittle manner. The goal of the identification scheme is to avoid the experimentally demanding task of testing hundreds of constituents. Instead, only 20 fibres are considered. In addition to their material randomness, the macroscale behaviours of these fibre networks are also governed by their geometrical randomness. Another question aimed to be answered in this chapter is therefore is `how precise the material randomness needs to be identified, if the geometrical randomness will also influence the macroscale behaviour of these discrete networks'. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 74 (15 UL)
See detailSelf-Assessment in Elementary School with a Tablet-Computer-Based Tool: A Chance for Fairer Educational Assessment?
Villanyi, Denise UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Student self-assessment (SSA) is beneficial for students’ learning and achievement through processes of self-regulation. Furthermore, SSA is a valuable feedback for the teachers on students’ perceptions ... [more ▼]

Student self-assessment (SSA) is beneficial for students’ learning and achievement through processes of self-regulation. Furthermore, SSA is a valuable feedback for the teachers on students’ perceptions of their competencies. SSA can complete teachers’ view on and judgment about the students’ competencies and it can help teachers to adapt teaching and learning activities to better meet the needs of the students. Knowing that teachers’ assessments can be biased regarding students’ ethnic or immigration background, students’ SAs might be an important complementary source of information that increases fairness in educational assessment. Despite its proven benefits, the implementation of self-assessment (SA) in elementary school classrooms is limited, most probably due to the skepticism towards learners’ SA accuracy at all ages, but even more so when students are younger. The objective of the present dissertation was to capture students’ SAs of key academic competencies with an innovative tool—a tablet-computer-based SA-tool—, and to make it visible to teachers by giving them feedback on their students’ SAs. The dissertation is based on three empirical studies. In the first study, we investigated, whether third- and fourth-graders have the ability to assess key academic competencies (mathematics, German reading comprehension) with acceptable accuracy, when provided with an innovative tablet-computer-based tool that was designed respecting the requirements that facilitate SA for that age group. The second study concentrated on the domain of mathematics. We investigated how mathematics self-efficacy, the construct measured with the tool, relates to other competence beliefs such as mathematics self-concept and general academic self-concept and covariates (standardized tests in mathematics, reading comprehension, listening, comprehension; general academic and mathematics interest; general academic and mathematics anxiety; and gender). In the third study, we investigated whether feedbacks on students’ SAs and achievement test results (from Luxembourg school monitoring) are valuable information for teachers that they would triangulate with their own assessments. We hypothesized that the information captured via SSA and achievement test would trigger critical reflection in teachers, and offer them feedback on the appropriateness of their assessments (unbiased versus biased treatment) and thus make educational assessment fairer. The findings of the three studies contribute to answer the questions of how SA can be implemented in the classroom (Grades 3 and 4) in a way that it becomes meaningful to students and teachers, and whether SSA in the classroom is a chance for fairer educational assessment. Based on the results of Studies 1 and 2, we conclude that with an appropriate SA-tool, displaying self-efficacy items on task level on tablet-computer, third- and fourth-graders were able to assess key academic competencies with acceptable accuracy and thus to give valuable information to the teachers. Based on the results of Study 3, we conclude that teachers were able to triangulate the information from students’ SAs with their own assessments and with external achievement test results. Indeed, SSA in the classroom can be a chance for fairer educational assessment. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 39 (16 UL)
Full Text
See detailEngineering Smart Software Services for Intelligent Pervasive Systems
Sanchez Guinea, Alejandro UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Pervasive computing systems, envisioned as systems that blend with the physical environment to enhance the quality of life of its users, are rapidly becoming a not so distant reality. However, many ... [more ▼]

Pervasive computing systems, envisioned as systems that blend with the physical environment to enhance the quality of life of its users, are rapidly becoming a not so distant reality. However, many challenges must be addressed before realizing the goal of having such computing systems as part of our everyday life. One such challenge is related to the problem of how to develop in a systematic way the software that lies behind pervasive systems, operating them and allowing them to intelligently adapt both to users' changing needs and to variations in the environment. In spite of the important strides done in recent years concerning the engineering of software that places the actual, immediate needs and preferences of users in the center of attention, to the best of our knowledge no work has been devoted to the study of the engineering process for building software for pervasive systems. In this dissertation we focus on the engineering process to build smart software services for pervasive systems. Specifically, we first introduce as our first major contribution a model for the systematic construction of software for pervasive systems, which has been derived using analytical, evidence-based, and empirical methodologies. Then, on the basis of the proposed model, we investigate two essential mechanisms that provide support for the engineering of value-added software services for smart environments, namely the learning of users' daily routines and the continuous identification of users. For the case of learning users' daily routines, we propose what is our second main contribution: a novel approach that discovers periodic-frequent routines in event data from sensors and smart devices deployed at home. For the continuous identification of users we propose what is our third major contribution: a novel approach based on behavioral biometrics which is able to recognize identities without requiring any specific gesture, action, or activity from the users. The two approaches proposed have been extensively evaluated through studies in the lab, based on synthetic data, and in the wild, showing that they can be effectively applied to different scenarios and environments. In sum, the engineering model proposed in this dissertation is expected to serve as a basis to further the research and development efforts in key aspects that are necessary to build value-added smart software services that bring pervasive systems closer to the way they have been envisioned. Furthermore, the approaches proposed for learning users' daily routines and recognizing users' identities in smart environments are aimed at contributing to the investigation and development of the data analytics technology necessary for the smart adaptation and evolution of the software in pervasive systems to users' needs. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 70 (15 UL)
See detailSystems Biology Approaches for Identification of Molecular Mechanisms in Brain Disorders
Androsova, Ganna UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

One out of four people are affected by a brain disorder at some stage in their life. Depending on the symptoms and the underlying molecular mechanisms, brain disorders can be classified into neurological ... [more ▼]

One out of four people are affected by a brain disorder at some stage in their life. Depending on the symptoms and the underlying molecular mechanisms, brain disorders can be classified into neurological and cognitive disorders. Complex disorders typically have a multifactorial pathogenesis. Epilepsy and postoperative delirium (POD) exemplifying neurological and cognitive disorders are no exception. Research efforts contributed to the understanding of molecular mechanisms of these diseases by discovering associations between clinical and genomic information and disease phenotypes. These findings, although necessary, are not sufficient to reconstruct the complete map of system-level interactions. To achieve a system-level understanding of a biological system, one can integrate diverse data sources by a network-based approach. Network analysis methods characterise interactions within and between molecular systems and can identify candidate biomarkers in various biological contexts. Specifically, correlation networks can reveal condition-dependent molecular patterns whose functional enrichment points to the altered molecular mechanisms of the phenotype. A molecular signature of a phenotype can be determined by machine learning algorithms for supervised classification as a set of molecules accurately discriminating between disease and healthy state. The primary aim of this dissertation is to identify altered biological pathways and functionally relevant molecules of epileptogenesis and postoperative delirium. This cumulative dissertation is composed of six chapters. Chapter 1provides the background information on brain disorders and the systems biology methods to study their molecular mechanisms. Chapter 2 was motivated by the fact that current anti-epilepsy treatments focus on minimisation of the symptoms and epileptic seizures, while no definitive cure exists. The understanding of molecular events triggering the development of epilepsy (also called epileptogenesis) can yield therapies halting the onset of epilepsy. We identified proteomic alterations in the animal model of epileptogenesis by a network-based method and validated our results by external data set and immunohistochemical staining. The functional annotation of molecular expression patterns revealed biological pathways not yet described in the context of epileptogenesis. Next, we identified the gap in a comparative analysis of available antiepileptic drugs for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy due to hippocampal sclerosis. Chapter 3 retrospectively compares retention, efficacy and tolerability of antiepileptic drugs in the large epilepsy pharmacogenomics database. Chapter 4 is focused on the identification of molecular alterations in postoperative delirium. Overlaying postmortem brain expression data with locations of functional networks disturbed in POD, we identified several gene expression patterns with relevant biological enrichment. Moreover, same biological functions were altered in the blood of POD patients. Previously described POD markers such as acetylcholinesterase, alpha-synuclein and protein C appeared in the identified clusters. In Chapter 5, I focused on the identification of a molecular signature discriminating POD patients before they undergo surgery. Having ranked preoperative expression levels of mRNAs and miRNAs by their ability to detect patients with POD, I identified a set of discriminatory features that achieved high accuracy, sensitivity and specificity in the training set. The trained model had a good generalisability on the unseen data set but its performance decreased on the test set not matched by age and gender. The final Chapter 6 summarises the main outcomes of the presented studies and concludes with an outlook. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 49 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailStandardisierte unternehmensübergreifende Wertstrommethode (StreaM)
Oberhausen, Christof UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

In the course of globalization, complex corporate networks arise in which diverse players are involved in the value-added process. Particularly at the interfaces of the value chain, there are challenges ... [more ▼]

In the course of globalization, complex corporate networks arise in which diverse players are involved in the value-added process. Particularly at the interfaces of the value chain, there are challenges in terms of communication and cooperation, since so far no uniform procedure for the visualization, analysis and continuous improvement of product and information flows is used. These difficulties occur both within organizations and especially across company boundaries. In particular, no internationally recognized value stream standard exists at present, which is inter alia a result of a low cooperativeness of organizations due to a lack of trust, inadequate knowledge and insufficient incentives. The inconsistent use of Value Stream Management (VSM) affects many economic sectors worldwide. These inconsistent VSM approaches lead to inefficiencies, such as rework and coordination difficulties in the case of value stream audits, which represent an avoidable waste of time, natural and financial resources. In the scientific literature, a large number of fundamental VSM approaches, modifications and further developments are available that serve as a basis for the present work. The existing VSM approaches include provisions, e.g. in terms of symbols, data boxes, associated process variables and their calculation, which are each extensive, diverse and in some cases process-specific. In contrast, complex, globally distributed value chain structures require a holistic approach for the modeling of value streams. In the context of this dissertation, a VSM draft standard will be generated by means of a comparison of existing VSM approaches. Based on four different value stream levels, a multi-stage approach for the visualization, analysis and continuous improvement of cross-company product and information flows will be developed. The present thesis thus provides the methodological basis on the way towards an internationally recognized VSM standard and demonstrates in addition the potential of efficient and targeted application of VSM in value networks. On the one hand, standardizing the VSM method will enable an improved communication and cooperation along value chains in different economic sectors. On the other hand, the holistic approach helps to identify, show and implement improvement measures across company borders and ultimately leads to a reduction or ideally to the elimination of waste from an end customer perspective. The developed approach allows organizations worldwide to assess internal as well as cross-company value streams in a structured manner, to design them flexibly and to implement them effectively in practice. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 58 (14 UL)
Full Text
See detailReal-time Model Predictive Control for Aerial Manipulation
Dentler, Jan Eric UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The rapid development in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is driven by new applications in agriculture, logistics, inspection and smart manufacturing. The future keys in these domains are the ... [more ▼]

The rapid development in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is driven by new applications in agriculture, logistics, inspection and smart manufacturing. The future keys in these domains are the abilities to autonomously interact with the environment and with other robotic systems. This thesis is providing control engineering solutions to contribute to these key capabilities. The first step of this thesis is to develop an understanding of the dynamic behavior of UAVs. For this purpose, dynamic and kinematic models are presented to describe a UAV's motion. This includes a kinematic model which is suitable for off-the-shelf UAVs and combines full 360° heading operation with a low computational complexity. The presented models are subsequently used to develop a nonlinear model predictive control NMPC strategy. In this context, the performance of several NMPC solvers and inequality constraint handling techniques is evaluated. The real-time capability and NMPC performance are validated with real AR.Drone 2.0 and DJI M100 quadrotors. This includes collision avoidance and advanced tracking scenarios. The design work-flow for the related control objectives and constraints is presented accordingly. As a next step, this UAV NMPC strategy is extended for a UAV with attached robotic arm. For this purpose, the forward kinematics of the robotic arm are developed and combined with the kinematic model of the UAV. The resulting NMPC strategy is validated in a grasping scenario with a real aerial manipulator. The final step of this thesis is the NMPC of cooperating UAVs. The computational complexity of such scenarios conflicts directly with the fast UAV dynamics. In addition, control objectives and system topologies can dynamically change. To address these challenges, this thesis presents the DENMPC software framework. DENMPC provides a computationally efficient central NMPC strategy that allows changing the control scenario at runtime. This is finally stated in the control of a real cooperative aerial manipulation scenario. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 125 (15 UL)
Full Text
See detailA decision support system for energy saving in Waste Water Treatment Plants
Torregrossa, Dario UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs) are complex facilities, in which an efficient energy management can produce relevant benefits for the environment and the economy. Today, big data can be used for a ... [more ▼]

Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs) are complex facilities, in which an efficient energy management can produce relevant benefits for the environment and the economy. Today, big data can be used for a more efficient plant management, enabling high-frequency assessment and ultimately a more efficient use of resources. In order to achieve this, a computer-based support is necessary to analyse the enormous amount of data that WWTP sensors can produce. When this PhD project started, the literature review showed that, in the WWTP domain, the few available decision support systems (DSSs) were promising but still with large room for improvements; in fact, these tools were plant-specific, focussed mainly on process parameters and (most of them) working with low-frequency aggregated data (yearly data). This thesis instead proposes a cooperative decision support system called Shared Knowledge Decision Support System (SK-DSS). SK-DSS is plant generic, i.e. able to simultaneously work with many WWTPs and based on key performance indicators. SK-DSS analyses the processes occurring in the plants and provide case-based solutions. Moreover, this DSS provides a platform to enable the plant managers to exchange information and cooperate. This thesis proposes the model of SK-DSS, a web-application, and applications to improve the energy performance of pump, blowers and biogas. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 108 (13 UL)
Full Text
See detailAdvanced Symbol-level Precoding Schemes for Interference Exploitation in Multi-antenna Multi-user Wireless Communications
Spano, Danilo UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The utilization of multi-antenna transmitters relying on full frequency reuse has proven to be an effective strategy towards fulfilling the constantly increasing throughput requirements of wireless ... [more ▼]

The utilization of multi-antenna transmitters relying on full frequency reuse has proven to be an effective strategy towards fulfilling the constantly increasing throughput requirements of wireless communication systems. As a consequence, in the last two decades precoding has been a prolific research area, due to its ability to handle the interference arising among simultaneous transmissions addressed to different co-channel users. The conventional precoding strategies aim at mitigating the multi-user interference (MUI) by exploiting the knowledge of the channel state information (CSI). More recently, novel approaches have been proposed where the aim is not to eliminate the interference, but rather to control it so as to achieve a constructive interference effect at each receiver. In these schemes, referred to as symbol-level precoding (SLP), the data information (data symbols) is used together with the CSI in the precoding design, which can be addressed following several optimization strategies. In the context of SLP, the work carried out in this thesis is mainly focused on developing more advanced optimization strategies suitable to non-linear systems, where the per-antenna high-power amplifiers introduce an amplitude and phase distortion on the transmitted signals. More specifically, the main objective is to exploit the potential of SLP not only to achieve the constructive interference at the receivers, but also to control the per-antenna instantaneous transmit power, improving the power dynamics of the transmitted waveforms. In fact, a reduction of the power variation of the signals, both in the spatial dimension (across the different antennas) and in the temporal dimension, is particularly important for mitigating the non-linear effects. After a detailed review of the state of the art of SLP, the first part of the thesis is focused on improving the power dynamics of the transmitted signals in the spatial dimension, by reducing the instantaneous power imbalances across the different antennas. First, a SLP per-antenna power minimization scheme is presented, followed by a related max-min fair formulation with per-antenna power constraints. These approaches allow to reduce the power peaks of the signals across the antennas. Next, more advanced SLP schemes are formulated and solved, with the objective of further improving the spatial dynamics of the signals. Specifically, a first approach performs a peak power minimization under a lower bound constraint on the per-antenna transmit power, while a second strategy minimizes the spatial peak-to-average power ratio. The second part of this thesis is devoted to developing a novel SLP method, referred to as spatio-temporal SLP, where the temporal variation of the transmit power is also considered in the SLP optimization. This new model allows to minimize the peak-to-average power ratio of the transmitted waveforms both in the spatial and in the temporal dimensions, thus further improving the robustness of the signals to non-linear effects. Then, this thesis takes one step further, by exploiting the developed spatio-temporal SLP model in a different context. In particular, a spatio-temporal SLP scheme is proposed which enables faster-than-Nyquist (FTN) signaling over multi-user systems, by constructively handling at the transmitter side not only the MUI but also the inter-symbol interference (ISI). This strategy allows to benefit from the increased throughput provided by FTN signaling without imposing additional complexity at the user terminals. Extensive numerical results are presented throughout the thesis, in order to assess the performance of the proposed schemes with respect to the state of the art in SLP. The thesis concludes summarizing the main research findings and identifying the open problems, which will constitute the basis for the future work. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 82 (17 UL)
See detailCOMPUTATIONAL PREDICTION OF BIOCHEMICAL COMPENSATORY MECHANISMS IN SUBJECTS AT RISK OF DEVELOPING PARKINSON’S DISEASE.
El Assal, Diana Charles UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised by the degeneration of substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons. These neurons have a highly complex axonal arborisation and a high energy demand, so ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised by the degeneration of substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons. These neurons have a highly complex axonal arborisation and a high energy demand, so any reduction in ATP synthesis could lead to an imbalance between demand and supply, thereby impeding normal neuronal bioenergetic requirements. The notion of energy metabolism inevitably implicates mitochondria, the cells’ main powerhouses, linking glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation. In the brain, there are two types of mitochondria, with synaptic mitochondria localised to neuronal synapses and somal mitochondria localised to glial or neuronal somata. It has long been known that synaptic and somal mitochondria differ in their localisation, substrate utilisation, and enzymatic activities. For example, after biogenesis in and transport from the soma, synaptic mitochondria become highly dependent upon oxidative phosphorylation and exhibit increased vulnerability to dysfunction in PD, as opposed to somal mitochondria. Since the description of the disease by the London apothecary James Parkinson in 1817 and after more than two hundred years of descriptive research, we envisaged that quantitative computational modelling of PD will allow a cumulative, formal synthesis of the results of this research to occur. Clearly not all at-risk subjects actually develop PD, the open question is why? Are there biochemical compensatory mechanisms that protect some at-risk individuals from developing PD? We addressed this question using constraint-based computational modelling of dopaminergic neuronal metabolism, because we hypothesised that the existence of metabolic compensatory mechanisms can be predicted using comprehensive models of healthy, albeit at risk, and diseased dopaminergic neurons. A systems biochemistry approach was applied to identify the metabolic pathways used by neural models for energy generation. The mitochondrial component of an existing manual reconstruction of human metabolism (Recon 3D) was extended with manual curation of the biochemical literature and specialised using omics data from PD patients and controls, to generate reconstructions of synaptic, somal, and astrocytic metabolism. Following the imposition of experimentally-derived constraints, these reconstructions were converted into stoichiometrically- and flux-consistent constraint-based computational models. These models predict that PD is accompanied by a failure of the nigrostriatal glycolytic pathway and that in silico perturbations to non-trivial reaction rates may be able to rescue this bioenergetic phenotype. This is consistent with independent experimental reports where the enhancement of glycolysis was shown to provide neuroprotection in PD. This is the first application of biochemical network modelling used for the prediction of novel putative metabolic targets: a step closer towards the treatment of idiopathic PD. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 50 (11 UL)
Full Text
See detailDisambiguation of Researcher Careers: Shifting the Perspective from Documents to Authors
Doherr, Thorsten UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The thesis describes an algorithm that disambiguates the namespaces of inventors and researchers, spawned by their patents and publications, into career paths. A probabilistic theory to assess the risk of ... [more ▼]

The thesis describes an algorithm that disambiguates the namespaces of inventors and researchers, spawned by their patents and publications, into career paths. A probabilistic theory to assess the risk of erroneously linking documents of namesakes, different individuals with a mutual name, into one career bypasses the need for training datasets, thereby avoiding a namesake bias caused by the inherent underestimation of namesakes in training/benchmark data. The economic relevance of identified careers is illustrated by two applications. The first one outlines the impact of inter-regional inventor mobility in Italy on the total factor productivity of the sending and receiving regions. We show that an inflow of high skilled labor has a significant positive effect on TFP, while outflow decreases it. We further separate mobility in firm-internal relocation and job switches to find a more pronounced effect for the latter mobility. The second application observes the reaction of German university researchers to an exogenous change in federal law pertaining the property rights of their inventions equivalent to the Bayh Dole Act. Being able to trace their careers along with the careers of an unaffected control group allows us to evaluate the efficacy of technology transfer offices replacing the former informal activities of the university professors in regard of academic entrepreneurship. We find that an overall decrease of university patenting neutralizes any institutionalized efforts of spurring entrepreneurship at the expense of informal faculty-firm networks as channels for knowledge transfer. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 59 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailRisk Monitoring and Intrusion Detection for Industrial Control Systems
Muller, Steve UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure such as electricity, gas, and water distribution, or power plants, are more and more considered to be a relevant and realistic threat to the European society ... [more ▼]

Cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure such as electricity, gas, and water distribution, or power plants, are more and more considered to be a relevant and realistic threat to the European society. Whereas mature solutions like anti-malware applications, intrusion detection systems (IDS) and even intrusion prevention or self-healing systems have been designed for classic computer systems, these techniques have only been partially adapted to the world of Industrial Control Systems (ICS). As a consequence, organisations and nations fall back upon risk management to understand the risks that they are facing. Today's trend is to combine risk management with real-time monitoring to enable prompt reactions in case of attacks. This thesis aims at providing techniques that assist security managers in migrating from a static risk analysis to a real-time and dynamic risk monitoring platform. Risk monitoring encompasses three steps, each being addressed in detail in this thesis: the collection of risk-related information, the reporting of security events, and finally the inclusion of this real-time information into a risk analysis. The first step consists in designing agents that detect incidents in the system. In this thesis, an intrusion detection system is developed to this end, which focuses on an advanced persistent threat (APT) that particularly targets critical infrastructures. The second step copes with the translation of the obtained technical information in more abstract notions of risk, which can then be used in the context of a risk analysis. In the final step, the information collected from the various sources is correlated so as to obtain the risk faced by the entire system. Since industrial environments are characterised by many interdependencies, a dependency model is elaborated which takes dependencies into account when the risk is estimated. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 74 (9 UL)
See detailEssays on M&As and Innovation
Fernandez de Arroyabe Arranz, Marta UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Detailed reference viewed: 31 (5 UL)
Full Text
See detailWorkplace bullying: Validation of a measurement and the role of competition, passive avoidant leadership style, psychological contract violation and basic need frustration.
Sischka, Philipp UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Workplace bullying, mobbing or harassment describe a situation where an employee is the target of systematic mistreatment by other organizational members (i.e., colleagues, supervisors, subordinates) that ... [more ▼]

Workplace bullying, mobbing or harassment describe a situation where an employee is the target of systematic mistreatment by other organizational members (i.e., colleagues, supervisors, subordinates) that may cause severe social, psychological and psychosomatic problems in the targeted employee. Since the appearance of the book “The harassed worker” by Brodsky (1976) and initial studies by Heinz Leymann (1986, 1990), workplace bullying research has developed into a huge and still massively growing research area that is conducted all over the globe. Especially, when related concepts are considered, a vast amount of studies have researched prevalence, risk factors, consequences, and, very recently, psychological mechanisms of workplace bullying exposure. A literature review revealed that existing workplace bullying exposure self-report inventories exhibit some weaknesses. Therefore, the first study (Chapter 2) aimed to develop a new short scale, the Luxembourg Workplace Mobbing Scale (LWMS) in three different language versions (i.e., Luxembourgish, French, German). Furthermore, it investigated the psychometric properties and the validity of this scale and examined if the three language versions exhibit measurement invariance. The LWMS revealed good psychometric properties in terms of its internal consistency and its factor structure. Furthermore, metric and partial scalar invariance across the three language versions could be established. Initial validation tests revealed high criterion validity of the LWMS. In line with recent workplace bullying exposure research, the LWMS was meaningfully linked with other working factors and measures of psychological health. The second study (Chapter 3) aimed to test the LWMS’s factor structure and measurement invariance across possible risk groups of bullying exposure (i.e., gender, age, and occupational groups). Moreover, based on recent theories and findings on workplace bullying the study aimed to further elucidate the LWMS’s nomological net with relevant psychological (i.e., psychological well-being, work engagement, sleeping hours, suicidal thoughts) and physiological health measures (i.e., physiological health problems, alcohol and smoking consumption, body mass index) as well as with important organizational criteria (i.e., work performance, turnover intention, absenteeism) and with self-labeling victim status. Evaluation of different measurement invariance models confirm metric and (partial) scalar invariance across all compared groups. Neither age, gender, nor the most frequent areas of occupation in Luxembourg represent important risk factors for workplace bullying exposure. Regarding criterion validity, with the exceptions of alcohol and smoking consumption, all proposed psychological and physiological health measures as well as organizational criteria are meaningfully associated with the LWMS. In summary, the LWMS is especially useful, when the identification of workplace bullying exposure risk groups or cross-cultural research is of concern. The third study (Chapter 4) aimed to test specific organizational risk factors of the occurrence of workplace bullying. Specifically, competition and passive avoidant leadership style were tested as risk factors of workplace bullying (exposure and perpetration) assessed with two assessment methods (behavioral experience and self-labeling method). Consistent with theoretical reasoning and prior research, results demonstrated that competition as well as passive avoidant leadership style are important risk factors of workplace bullying exposure. Moreover, results showed that the same effects showed up for perpetration. Even more interesting, passive avoidant leadership style acted as a moderator on the effect of competition on workplace bullying exposure. In line with theory, competition is stronger related to workplace bullying exposure, when passive avoidant leadership is high. Thus, passive avoidant leadership style can be considered a disruptive factor reinforcing the negative association with competition. Regarding workplace bullying perpetration the same moderation effect was only found for the self-labeled assessment method. The fourth study (Chapter 5) aimed to identify different psychological mechanisms (i.e., psychological contract violation and frustration of basic needs) that link being target of workplace bullying and health, attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. Furthermore, their relative impact and importance on different outcomes were highlighted. Psychological contract violation was an important mediator for decreased job satisfaction and higher turnover intentions, whereas frustration of autonomy mediated the effect between workplace bullying exposure and increased levels of burnout, frustration of competence mediated the effect of bullying exposure on decreased work performance and frustration of relatedness was strongly associated with decreased well-being and vigor. Results showed that feelings of psychological contract violation and frustration of basic needs accounted for unique variation in many outcome variables, pointing to the individual contribution of both psychological mechanisms. The present thesis deepens our understanding of the organizational circumstances under which workplace bullying is more likely and the psychological mechanisms that link the bullying exposure with several outcomes. These results can guide possible prevention and intervention strategies. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 64 (13 UL)
Full Text
See detailA multifold approach to address the security issues of stateful forwarding mechanisms in Information-Centric Networks.
Signorello, Salvatore UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Today's Internet dominant usage trends motivate research on more content-oriented future network architectures. Among the emerging future Internet proposals, the promising Information-Centric Networking ... [more ▼]

Today's Internet dominant usage trends motivate research on more content-oriented future network architectures. Among the emerging future Internet proposals, the promising Information-Centric Networking (ICN) research paradigm aims to redesign the Internet's core protocols to promote a shift in focus from hosts to contents. Among the ICN architectures, the Named-Data Networking (NDN) envisions users' named content requests to be forwarded and recorded by their names in routers along the path from one consumer to 1-or-many sources. The Pending Interest Table (PIT) is the NDN's data-plane component which temporarily records forwarded content requests in routers. On one hand, the PIT stateful mechanism enables properties like requests aggregation, multicast responses delivery and native hop-by-hop control flow. On the other hand, the PIT stateful forwarding behavior can be easily abused by malicious users to mount disruptive distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), named Interest Flooding Attacks (IFAs). In IFAs, loosely coordinated botnets flood the network with a large amount of hard to satisfy requests with the aim to overload both the network infrastructure and the content producers. Countermeasures against IFA have been proposed since the early attack discovery. However, a fair understanding of the defense mechanisms' real efficacy is missing since those have been tested under simplistic assumptions about the evaluation scenarios. Thus, overall, the IFA security threat still appears easy to launch but hard to mitigate. This dissertation work shapes a better understanding of both the implications of IFAs and the possibilities of improving the state-of-the-art defense mechanisms against these attacks. The contributions of this work include the definition of a more complete and realistic attacker model for IFAs, the design of novel stealthy IFAs built upon the proposed attacker model, a re-assessment of the most-efficient state-of-the-art IFA countermeasures against the novel proposed attacks, the theorization and one concrete design of a novel class of IFA countermeasures to efficiently address the novel stealthy IFAs. Finally, this work also seminally proposes to leverage the latest programmable data-plane technologies to design and test alternative forwarding mechanisms for the NDN which could be less vulnerable to the IFA threat. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 51 (7 UL)
Full Text
See detailL'entretien préliminaire individuel. Une chance négligée pour la résolution constructive du conflit par la médiation.
Mischo-Fleury, Sylvie Monique UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Research on emotions and other psychic dimensions is now called upon to play an important role in preventing and resolving conflicts. Knowledge of psychological mechanisms, their normality and the ... [more ▼]

Research on emotions and other psychic dimensions is now called upon to play an important role in preventing and resolving conflicts. Knowledge of psychological mechanisms, their normality and the possibilities of intervening on their distortions in the conflict may contribute to offer answers to the mediator addressing these issues and enhanced skills to handle the face-to-face of a confrontational encounter. We have many years of experience in the treatment of psychopathologies, the regulation of mental dysfunctional mechanisms and their impact on social behaviors and cognitive processes triggered by emotions. During mediation session, if the actors of the litigation come to the negotiating table, it is precisely to address the crucial and highly emotional issues. Our practical experience of mediation, our partnerships with various mediation associations, the exchange with many field mediators, the research that we conducted, led us to think about practical solutions to the need for mediation based on psychology. We drew up a comprehensive review of the scientific literature and chose to set our questioning within the framework of action-research and mediation engineering and using the creative and participative methodology of design thinking. With a team of 7 mediators-users we have decoded, decrypted, the basic data of the psychic dimensions inherent to the conflict (perception, thought, emotion, will and values, behavior and communication). In our professional practice, we have built and experimented a structured matrix of analysis and intervention on the psychic dimensions in the conflict, the metamodel PRECAUCUS, to be used especially in pre-mediation, a restructured and fully integrated phase of the mediation process. An inductive qualitative analysis - in empirical research - enabled us to analyze the date collected during collaborative meetings as well as the benefits of using the first test of the metamodel. The results show the relevance of the solutions proposed both by the know-how and the "savoir-être" gained by the mediator and by the co-construction of the mediator/disputant work, as well as by the fact that psychology is, from now on, the most important fundamental discipline the when it comes to optimizing mediation process and contributing to the future of mediation. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 35 (14 UL)
Full Text
See detailAnti-de Sitter geometry: convex domains, foliations and volume
Tamburelli, Andrea UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

We study various aspects of the geometry of globally hyperbolic anti-de Sitter 3-manifolds. For manifolds with convex space-like boundaries, homeomorphic to the product of a closed, connected and oriented ... [more ▼]

We study various aspects of the geometry of globally hyperbolic anti-de Sitter 3-manifolds. For manifolds with convex space-like boundaries, homeomorphic to the product of a closed, connected and oriented surface of genus at least two with an interval, we prove that every pair of metrics with curvature less than -1 on the surface can be realised on the two boundary components. For globally hyperbolic maximal compact (GHMC) anti-de Sitter manifolds, we study various geometric quantities, such as the volume, the Hausdorff dimension of the limit set, the width of the convex core and the Holder exponent of the manifold, in terms of the parameters that describe the deformation space of GHMC anti-de Sitter structures. Moreover, we prove existence and uniqueness of a foliation by constant mean curvature surfaces of the domain of dependence of any quasi-circle in the boundary at infinity of anti-de Sitter space. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 59 (8 UL)
Full Text
See detailThe spatial road to mathematics - from the relation between spatial skills and early mathematics towards interventions
Cornu, Véronique UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Early mathematical abilities, developed prior the onset of formal instruction, have been identified as a strong predictor of later mathematical achievement and numeracy, which goes along, in turn, with a ... [more ▼]

Early mathematical abilities, developed prior the onset of formal instruction, have been identified as a strong predictor of later mathematical achievement and numeracy, which goes along, in turn, with a variety of different life outcomes. Hence, unravelling the cognitive abilities associated with successful mathematical development is an important effort in the field of numerical cognition and developmental psychology. Abilities that are identified as predictors of mathematical development are potentially vital key targets of early interventions. By fostering these key abilities, children’s mathematical development should be positively influenced. The present thesis pursues two major aims. The first aim is to identify key predictors of mathematical development. More precisely, the present thesis studies whether spatial skills fall within the category of key predictors in young children. Findings illustrate that different aspects of spatial skills emerge as strong predictors of mathematics (study I). Findings further highlight, that spatial skills hold a pivotal role for mathematical skills with a prominent verbal component (study II). The second aim is concerned with the elaboration and scientific investigation of the effects of early interventions. A distinguishing feature of the present thesis is, that it is set in the Luxembourgish school setting. The latter is characterized by its heterogeneous student population from diverse language backgrounds. According to current statistics, around two-third of the children who attend Luxembourgish fundamental school do not speak Luxembourgish as a first language at home. Hence, an important number of children are not fluent in the language of instruction in preschool. Therefore, a central concern was to develop and implement early interventions that face the challenges posed by a multilingual school setting. For this reason, the language-neutral early mathematics training tool “MaGrid” was developed. MaGrid sets out to overcome the language-barrier in early mathematics education. On the content side, it encompasses a vast amount of number-specific and spatial training tasks. In the context of the present thesis two intervention studies (study III and study IV), including this tool, were run and yielded promising results. Results of these studies further add to unravelling the relation between spatial skills and mathematics and answering the question, whether the (early) road to mathematics is spatial indeed. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 23 (12 UL)
See detailSpeaker evaluations in multilingual contexts: The predictive role of language and nationality attitudes as distinct factors in explicit and implicit cognition
Lehnert, Tessa Elisabeth UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Previous speaker evaluation models have assumed that, in social interactions, attitudes towards languages are the most salient cues that are used to form an evaluation of the person who is speaking (Giles ... [more ▼]

Previous speaker evaluation models have assumed that, in social interactions, attitudes towards languages are the most salient cues that are used to form an evaluation of the person who is speaking (Giles & Marlow, 2011). The role of attitudes towards the speaker’s national group has not been addressed because most studies have been conducted in monolingual contexts in which spoken language serves as a clear indicator of national group membership. However, the concepts of language and nationality cannot be equated in multilingual societies, which are characterized by various nationals using different languages. The present dissertation addresses the need for the development of a revised theoretical model for multilingual contexts by making a distinction between language, nationality, and speaker concepts on both an explicit and an implicit level. The adapted model applies social-cognitive theories that propose a distinction between explicit and implicit processes and further posits a differential predictive influence of explicit and implicit attitudes on explicit and implicit speaker evaluations. In the multilingual context of Luxembourg, three successive studies were conducted by adapting an audio-based Implicit Association Test (IAT) as an implicit measure of language and nationality attitudes and an evaluative priming task as implicit measure of speaker evaluations. The findings emphasized the convergent and discriminant validity of language and nationality attitudes on both an explicit and an implicit level. Furthermore, the distinctness of explicit and implicit speaker evaluations was confirmed such that explicit evaluations were influenced by explicit attitudes, and implicit evaluations were affected by implicit attitudes. In the fourth study, the model was transferred to the linguistic context of Montreal (Canada). The findings showed that implicit speaker preferences were affected by implicit nationality attitudes affirming model transferability. Overall, the dissertation shows that language is a salient factor in explicit person perception, whereas nationality plays a vital role on an implicit level, demonstrating the added value of the language-nationality and the explicit-implicit distinction in the speaker evaluation formation. Self-reports diverged from implicit measures such that an in-group bias was visible only on an implicit level, giving insight into the effect of specific socio-contextual factors in a given linguistic context as well as the practical implications for decision makers in professional domains. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 27 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailOptical Detection of Deep Defects in Cu(In,Ga)Se2
Spindler, Conrad UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The aim of this thesis is to shed light on the deep defect structure in Cu(In,Ga)Se2 by photoluminescence measurements and to propose a possible conclusive defect model by attributing experimental ... [more ▼]

The aim of this thesis is to shed light on the deep defect structure in Cu(In,Ga)Se2 by photoluminescence measurements and to propose a possible conclusive defect model by attributing experimental findings to a literature review of defect calculations from first principles. Epitaxial films are grown on GaAs by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy and characterized by photoluminescence at room or low temperature. In CuGaSe2, deep defect bands at ca. 1.1 eV and 1.23 eV are resolved. A model for the power law behavior in excitation dependent measurements of the peak intensities is derived, which leads to the experimental finding of two deep donor-like defects as a result. In Cu(In,Ga)Se2, the deeper band at around 1.1 eV remains constant in energy when more and more gallium is replaced by indium in the solid solution. For decreasing Ga-contents, the band gap is mainly lowered by a decrease of the conduction band energy. From fitting models for electron-phonon coupling, the dominating deep donor-like defect is determined at 1.3 eV above the valence band maximum. This level is proposed to be crucial for high Ga-contents when it is deep inside the band gap and most likely acts as a recombination center. At low Ga-contents it is resonant with the conduction band. The larger open circuit voltage deficits for high Ga-contents are proposed to stem at least partly from this defect which is qualitatively supported by simulations. Additionally another defect band at around 0.7 eV is observed for high Ga-contents at low temperatures and at 0.8 eV for low Ga-contents. The intensity of the 0.8 eV band seems to disappear in a sample with Cu-deficiency. In general, deep luminescence is always observed with similar energies in all Cu-rich compositions, independent of the Ga-content. The deep defect involved could explain inferior efficiencies of Cu-rich devices which show increased non-radiative recombination in general. It is further discussed that the same deep defect could be the origin of a level at 0.8 eV which is observed in several photo-capacitance measurements in literature. Based on the literature review for intrinsic defect calculations by hybrid-functionals, a possible defect model for shallow and deep defects is derived with a focus on those results, where different authors using different methods agree. By comparing the experimental results in the scope of this thesis, the deep defect found at 1.3 eV above the valence band is attributed to the GaCu antisites. The single (0/-1) charge transition of CuIn and CuGa is proposed to be the main shallow acceptor in the near-band-edge luminescence of Cu-rich compositions at 60 - 100 meV, whereas the second (-1/-2) charge transition is attributed to the deep 0.8 eV defect band. The present findings could be useful for the improvement of Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells with stochiometric absorber compositions (Cu-rich growth) or with high band gaps (high Ga-content). Furthermore, the results show a very good agreement of experiment and recent theoretical calculations of defects, which can be seen as a promising relation between photoluminescence spectroscopy and predictions from theory for other complex materials. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 29 (15 UL)
Full Text
See detailAdvanced Raman Spectroscopy of Ultrathin RNiO3 films
Schober, Alexander UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The present work aims at investigating the structural properties of ultrathin rare-earth nickelate films by Raman Spectroscopy. Two remarkable cases are studied: LaNiO3 deposited epitaxially on LaAlO3 ... [more ▼]

The present work aims at investigating the structural properties of ultrathin rare-earth nickelate films by Raman Spectroscopy. Two remarkable cases are studied: LaNiO3 deposited epitaxially on LaAlO3, which shows a metal-to-insulator (MIT) transition but only in the ultrathin film regime, and NdNiO3 deposited epitaxially on NdGaO3 showing an upward shift of its MIT temperature by 130 K but only when deposited along the [111]pc direction of the substrate. The extremely small size of the films and overlap of the film and substrate signatures represent an experimental challenge and require the development of ingenious measurement and analysis strategies. To overcome these limitations, we propose the creation of a multidimensional dataset through depth profile acquisitions, in combination with multivariate analysis tools that were employed to extract the signature of the films. Different analysis strategies were used in both cases to adapt to the specificities of the respective samples. For the LNO films deposited along the [001]pc orientation of LAO, Raman depth profile measurements in combination with a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) allowed us to dissociate the signals from the film and the substrate. The evolution of the LNO peaks does not suggest any phase transition, thus, suggesting that a mechanism unrelated to the MIT of other nickelates is triggering the insulating state. This was further validated by ab initio calculations and TEM imaging. All acquired data point towards the following: as LNO becomes very thin, the surface layer (≈ 2pc u.c.), which is the most rigid part of the structure, imposes its structural and insulating characteristic. In the ultrathin regime this continues to a point where the surface of the film alters the interfacial unit cells of the substrate. For the NNO films deposited along the [111]pc orientation of NGO, depth profile measurements in combination with a Non-negative Matrix Factorisation (NMF) allowed us to dissociate the signals from the film and the substrate. The dissociation was performed at room temperature and the acquired knowledge was then utilised to fit an entire temperature series from 5 to 390 K. Comparing the tendency of the Raman signatures with other rare-earth nickelate allowed to support the proposed position of the film in the phase diagram of nickelates by a structural measurement. More generally, the methodology developed in this work is applicable to other systems and opens new perspectives for application of Raman spectroscopy on ultra-thin films. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 49 (8 UL)
See detailSTUDY OF THE INCORPORATION MECHANISMS OF ORGANIC CHEMICALS INTO HAIR
Chata, Caroline Georgette Samia UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Hair presents several advantages for biomonitoring the exposure to pollutants. For instance, this matrix is representative of the mid to long term exposure depending on the length of the sample. However ... [more ▼]

Hair presents several advantages for biomonitoring the exposure to pollutants. For instance, this matrix is representative of the mid to long term exposure depending on the length of the sample. However the question concerning the hair incorporation mechanism of chemicals remain partially unravelled. The subject of the present PhD was the “study of the incorporation mechanisms of organic chemicals into hair” (StICHa). Therefore we focused on the influence of biological and physicochemical parameters on the incorporation of pesticides into hair. The results presented in the project were obtained from three experiments whose two animal experiments conducted on rats. The first one allowed to link levels of exposure of pesticides to the corresponding concentrations in plasma and in hair. This also allowed to study the accumulation of pesticides in the rat body over time and to investigate the influence of the pesticide physicochemical properties on their incorporation into hair. The second one provided pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters of pesticides in blood after a single exposure and highlighted the concept of background exposure corresponding to the detectable chemicals concentration in the animals before exposure due to environmental contamination. An in vitro test was also conducted to investigate bonds between pesticides and blood components and their influence on hair incorporation. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 47 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailUNRAVELING THE COMPLEX GENETICS OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS
Bobbili, Dheeraj Reddy UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Detailed reference viewed: 56 (18 UL)
Full Text
See detailAnalysis and Design of Privacy-Enhancing Information Sharing Systems
Symeonidis, Iraklis UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Recent technological advancements have enabled the collection of large amounts of personal data of individuals at an ever-increasing rate. Service providers, organisations and governments can collect or ... [more ▼]

Recent technological advancements have enabled the collection of large amounts of personal data of individuals at an ever-increasing rate. Service providers, organisations and governments can collect or otherwise acquire rich information about individuals’ everyday lives and habits from big data-silos, enabling profiling and micro-targeting such as in political elections. Therefore, it is important to analyse systems that allow the collection and information sharing between users and to design secure and privacy enhancing solutions. This thesis contains two parts. The aim of the first part is to investigate in detail the effects of the collateral information collection of third-party applications on Facebook. The aim of the second part is to analyse in detail the security and privacy issues of car sharing systems and to design a secure and privacy-preserving solution. In the first part, we present a detailed multi-faceted study on the collateral information collection privacy issues of Facebook applications; providers of third-party applications on Facebook exploit the interdependency between users and their friends. The goal is to (i) study the existence of the problem, (ii) investigate whether Facebook users are concerned about the issue, quantify its (iii) likelihood and (iv) impact of collateral information collection affecting users, (v) identify whether collateral information collection is an issue for the protection of the personal data of Facebook users under the legal framework, and (vi) we propose solutions that aim to solve the problem of collateral information collection. In order to investigate the views of the users, we designed a questionnaire and collected the responses of participants. Employing real data from the Facebook third-party applications ecosystem, we compute the likelihood of collateral information collection affecting users and quantify its significance evaluating the amount of attributes collected by such applications. To investigate whether collateral information collection is an issue in terms of users’ privacy we analysed the legal framework in light of the General Data Protection Regulation. To provide countermeasures, we propose a privacy dashboard extension that implements privacy scoring computations to enhance transparency towards collateral information collection. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 15 (2 UL)
Full Text
See detailMagnetic small-angle neutron scattering on bulk metallic glasses
Mettus, Denis UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The present PhD thesis is devoted to the exploration of the use of the magnetic small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) technique for analyzing the magnetic microstructure of bulk magnetic materials. More ... [more ▼]

The present PhD thesis is devoted to the exploration of the use of the magnetic small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) technique for analyzing the magnetic microstructure of bulk magnetic materials. More specifically, magnetic-field-dependent SANS has been utilized to study the magnetic microstructure of bulk metallic glasses (BMGs). The magnetic scattering is compared for soft magnetic and hard magnetic compositions in different mechanically treated states. On the basis of the continuum theory of micromagnetics, the correlation function of the spin-misalignment SANS cross section is computed and analyzed as a function of various external and material parameters. Analysis of the experimental correlation functions of the BMG reveals the existence of field-dependent anisotropic long-wavelength magnetization fluctuations on a scale of a few tens of nanometers. As a second aspect of this PhD work, we have explored the impact of the Dzyaloshinski-Moriya interaction on the elastic magnetic SANS cross section of microstructural-defect-rich materials. The effect was demonstrated by measuring polarized SANS on a nanocrystalline terbium sample and on a cold-rolled polycrystalline cobalt sample. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 40 (17 UL)
Full Text
See detailNonequilibrium Thermodynamics in Biology: From Molecular Motors to Metabolic Pathways
Wachtel, Artur UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Biological systems need to exchange energy and matter with their environment in order to stay functional or “alive”. This exchange has to obey the laws of thermodynamics: energy cannot be created and ... [more ▼]

Biological systems need to exchange energy and matter with their environment in order to stay functional or “alive”. This exchange has to obey the laws of thermodynamics: energy cannot be created and exchange comes at the cost of dissipation, which limits the efficiency of biological function. Additionally, subcellular processes that involve only few molecules are stochastic in their dynamics and a consistent theoretical modeling has to account for that. This dissertation connects recent development in nonequilibrium thermodynamics with approaches taken in biochemical modeling. I start by a short introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, with a special emphasis on large deviation theory and stochastic thermodynamics. Building on that, I present a general theory for the thermodynamic analysis of networks of chemical reactions that are open to the exchange of matter. As a particularly insightful concrete example I discuss the mechanochemical energy conversion in stochastic models of a molecular motor protein, and show how a similar analysis can be performed for more general models. Furthermore, I compare the dissipation in stochastically and deterministically modeled open chemical networks, and present a class of chemical networks that displays exact agreement for arbitrary abundance of chemical species and arbitrary distance from thermodynamic equilibrium. My major achievement is a thermodynamically consistent coarse-graining procedure for biocatalysts, which are ubiquitous in molecular cell biology. Finally, I discuss the thermodynamics of unbranched enzymatic chains. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 26 (11 UL)
See detailDevelopment of mass spectrometry-based assays to measure the ERCC1/XPF proteins as potential biomarkers in lung cancer
Antonelli, Daniela UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

In the last two decades, the integration of personalized medicine approaches in the management of oncology patients has led to important progress. Indeed, the use of predictive biomarkers in clinical ... [more ▼]

In the last two decades, the integration of personalized medicine approaches in the management of oncology patients has led to important progress. Indeed, the use of predictive biomarkers in clinical practice to improve treatment strategies has represented an important achievement for both patient clinical outcomes and quality of medical care. In the context of lung cancer, several studies have highlighted a potential role of the excision repair cross-complementation group 1 (ERCC1) protein as a predictive biomarker of platinum-based chemotherapy efficacy in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. ERCC1 protein and its binding partner, the DNA repair endonuclease XPF, are key players in the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway where they repair DNA lesions caused by platinum-based drugs. However, the presence of four ERCC1 isoforms, of which only one, ERCC1-202, is functional in the NER pathway, complicates the clinical scenario. Indeed, the lack of an antibody that specifically recognizes ERCC1-202 hampers the development of a valid clinical assay to assist clinicians in therapeutic decision making. Moreover, the essential nature of the ERCC1/XPF interaction to repair DNA lesions, suggested the pivotal role of the ERCC1/XPF complex in the prediction of therapy response. Because of the need to discriminate among the four ERCC1 isoforms, to selectively quantify ERCC1-202 in an antibody-independent fashion, and because of the required contribution of the XPF protein in the DNA lesion processing, the present project aimed to develop robust mass spectrometry (MS)-based assays for the ERCC1 and XPF isoforms to provide accurate quantification of the ERCC1-202/XPF proteins as binding partners. Combining ERCC1 or XPF immunoenrichment from biological samples with targeted mass spectrometry, the selected ERCC1 and XPF proteotypic peptides (PTPs) were measured by parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) using a quadrupole-obitrap mass spectrometer. The quantification of the ERCC1-202/XPF proteins was performed using stable isotope labeled (SIL) peptides. The associated results showed that the simultaneous detection of three ERCC1 PTPs, named isoform discriminating peptides, represents a signature of ERCC1-202 and that the inclusion of control peptides allows to avoide ERCC1 isoform misclassification. The immuno-affinity studies and the evaluation of XPF stability highlighted that ERCC1-202 interacts and stabilizes XPF. Finally, a correlation between ERCC1-202/XPF protein levels was observed. In the light of the poor analytic specificity of the current immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay for the ERCC1 protein, the use of targeted MS-based assays to detect and quantify both ERCC1-202 and XPF proteins represents a more selective approach. These findings strongly suggest to assess the role of the ERCC1-202/XPF proteins as predictive biomarkers in clinical samples with the final goal to guide the clinicians’ therapeutic decisions. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 96 (3 UL)
Full Text
See detailMULTI-GNSS ERROR CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS TO LONG-TERM MONITORING APPLICATIONS IN GEOSCIENCES
Abraha, Kibrom Ebuy UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-derived position solutions are used for crustal deformations for long-term monitoring studies such as correcting sea-level records for vertical land movements and ... [more ▼]

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-derived position solutions are used for crustal deformations for long-term monitoring studies such as correcting sea-level records for vertical land movements and to determine present-day surface-mass changes. In all these studies scientists rely heavily on precise International GNSS Service (IGS) products. In recent years the IGS products have partly been generated from a rigorous combination of GNSS, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema (GLONASS) observations. Although combined solutions from two or more GNSS benefit from the diversity and redundancy of having more than one GNSS, the solutions are also subjected to system-specific systematic errors. Applications which demand high-accuracy products, therefore, would profit from evaluations of the benefits and error characteristics of combined GNSS solutions. In response to the increased availability of multi-GNSS observations from a truly global ground network of receivers, the goal of this thesis is to investigate their overall impacts on the derived products. Primarily, the impacts of combined GNSS data processing for stations in a constrained environment with a potential for signal obstructions, is investigated. The effects of signal obstructions on derived parameter time series and station velocity estimates are assessed. The benefits of combined solutions are evaluated for stations in constrained environments. Moreover, the study of the impacts of combined solutions on satellite orbits and station parameters contributes to the understanding of the error characteristics of combined GNSS data processing on derived products. The consistency of the parameters, noise analysis and system-specific periodic errors are assessed. Dominant system specific periodic errors and the impact of combined solutions on reducing the effects are addressed. Unmodelled or insufficiently modelled (sub-)daily errors propagate to longer periods and appear in high-end products coinciding with other longer periods, which in turn may lead to misleading interpretations of the latter. The propagation mechanism mainly depends, among other factors, on data sampling deficiencies and GNSS ground repeat periods. Here, the results of this study show that combined solutions not only reduce system-specific effects but also provide a means to identifying the sources from other compatible elements. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 24 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailMULTIMODAL LEGAL INFORMATION RETRIEVAL
Adebayo, Kolawole John UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The goal of this thesis is to present a multifaceted way of inducing semantic representation from legal documents as well as accessing information in a precise and timely manner. The thesis explored ... [more ▼]

The goal of this thesis is to present a multifaceted way of inducing semantic representation from legal documents as well as accessing information in a precise and timely manner. The thesis explored approaches for semantic information retrieval (IR) in the legal context with a technique that maps specific parts of a text to the relevant concept. This technique relies on text segments, using the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), a topic modeling algorithm for performing text segmentation, expanding the concept using some Natural Language Processing techniques, and then associating the text segments to the concepts using a semi-supervised Text Similarity technique. This solves two problems, i.e., that of user specificity in formulating query, and information overload, for querying a large document collection with a set of concepts is more fine-grained since specific information, rather than full documents is retrieved. The second part of the thesis describes our Neural Network Relevance Model for E-Discovery Information Retrieval. Our algorithm is essentially a feature-rich Ensemble system with different component Neural Networks extracting different relevance signal. This model has been trained and evaluated on the TREC Legal track 2010 data. The performance of our models across board proves that it capture the semantics and relatedness between query and document which is important to the Legal Information Retrieval domain [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 30 (7 UL)
Full Text
See detailDesign and Implementation of Legal Protection for Trade Secrets in Cloud Brokerage Architectures relying on Blockchains
Wasim, Muhammad Umer UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Data Protection legislation has evolved around the globe to maximize legal protection of trade secrets. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to prove trade secret violations in cloud context ... [more ▼]

Data Protection legislation has evolved around the globe to maximize legal protection of trade secrets. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to prove trade secret violations in cloud context. Embedding legal protection as a preemptive measure could effectively reduce such burden of proof in a court of law, which can be implemented by an online broker in the cloud. The primary aim of this research was to propose a model for an online broker that embeds le-gal protection as preemptive measure to reduce burden of proof during litigation. This is a novel area of inter-disciplinary research whose body of knowledge is not yet well established. The underlying concept in the proposed model was built upon the notion of factor analysis from the discipline of unsupervised machine learning. For evaluation, two-stage procedure was implemented that showed ap-plication of legal protection as preemptive measure and subsequently, reduced burden of proof in a court of law. A real time quality of service based dataset for cloud storage providers (Carbonite, Dropbox, iBackup, JustCloud, SOS Online Backup, SugarSync, and Zip Cloud) was used for the technical evaluation. The simulation results showed better results of proposed model as compared to its counterparts in the field, which in court of law can be used as a part of evidence to reduce burden of proof. For legal validation of such conclusion, questionnaires were sent to law and ICT experts. There were total of six respondents (two from the field of ICT, two from the field of law, and two from the field of ICT and Law). The sample (5 out of 6 respondents) agreed that results of our model could be used in the court (or judiciary) as a part of evidence to reduce burden of proof. Theoretically, this part of research (focused on primary aim) is a pioneer effort on providing legal protection to trade secrets in the cloud. Practically, it will benefit an enterprise to negotiate contract with service providers to minimize trade secret misappropriation in the cloud. However, for enterprise that is using decentralized architecture in the cloud e.g. blockchains, contracts could emerge towards smart contracts (an autono-mous software program running over blockchains). In this context, a well negoti-ated contract will not be a solution to minimize trade secret misappropriation. In fact, for this case it is particularly relevant to instantiate role of judiciary over a blockchain. The secondary aim of this research was to develop a model that can be implemented over the blockchain to automatically issue preliminary injunc-tion (or temporary restraining order by court of law) for the breach of contract that can potentially lead to trade secret misappropriation. This part of the re-search extended the previously proposed model by using stochastic modeling from the discipline of data science. High performance computing (HPC) cluster at University of Luxembourg (HPC @ Uni.lu) and docker (a software container platform) were used to emulate contractual environment of three service provid-ers: Redis, MongoDB, and Memcached Servers. The results showed that court in-junction(s) was issued only for Redis and MongoDB Servers. Technically, this difference could be attributed to the fact that Memcached is simply used for caching and therefore, it is less prone to breach of contract. Whereas, Redis and MongoDB as databases and message brokers are performing more complex oper-ations and are more likely to cause a breach. For legal validation of the results, questionnaires were sent to law and ICT experts. There were total of six respond-ents (two from the field of ICT, two from the field of law, and two from the field of ICT and Law). The sample (4 out of 6 respondents) disagreed “ONLY” using the results of the model by the court of law (or judiciary) to issues a preliminary injunction (or temporary restraining order) for the breach of contract. Theoreti-cally, this part of the research is a pioneer attempt for providing legal protection over the blockchain. Practically, it will benefit blockchain driven enterprises to control and stop breach of contract that can potentially lead to trade secret mis-appropriation. In addition to above mentioned applied benefits, following list briefly presents research contributions of this multidisciplinary Ph.D. research in the domain of Law. • It is first in-line to focus on legal protection for trade secrets in the cloud. A well-established similar concept is “information security”, which provides technical protection for trade secrets in the cloud e.g. encryption, hashing etc. • In the domain of case law, despite of the jurisdiction constraint i.e. precedents (or court rulings) are binding on all courts within the same jurisdiction, this research is first in-line to use case law together with newly proposed Delphi Sampling method to provide legal protection for trade secrets in borderless online cloud environment. • It is first in-line to implement notion of “confidentiality by design”, which focuses on a legal person or an enterprise. A well-established similar concept is “privacy by design” that focuses on a physical per-son or human being. • By defying the myth that “smart contracts cannot be breached” and in the context of contract law, this research is first in-line to automate role of the court (evidential hearing). In addition to the above mentioned research contribution in the domain of Law, following list briefly presents research contribution in the domain of ICT. • In the context of multi-criteria decision analysis, this research is first in-line to identify and analyze noise in the data and solves related is-sue of structural uncertainty (or misspecification of criteria). • In the context of machine learning, this research is first in-line to propose “self-regulated multi-criteria decision analysis” that operates without decision maker’s interference and hence, it can be used in the context where automation of decision making process is required. • In the context of multidisciplinary research, this study is first in-line to propose a method of Delphi Sampling that seeks inter-disciplinary validation for research results. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 31 (5 UL)
Full Text
See detailStochastic Model Predictive Control for Eco-Driving Assistance Systems in Electric Vehicles
Sajadi Alamdari, Seyed Amin UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Electric vehicles are expected to become one of the key elements of future sustainable transportation systems. The first generation of electric cars are already commercially available but still, suffer ... [more ▼]

Electric vehicles are expected to become one of the key elements of future sustainable transportation systems. The first generation of electric cars are already commercially available but still, suffer from problems and constraints that have to be solved before a mass market might be created. Key aspects that will play an important role in modern electric vehicles are range extension, energy efficiency, safety, comfort as well as communication. An overall solution approach to integrating all these aspects is the development of advanced driver assistance systems to make electric vehicles more intelligent. Driver assistance systems are based on the integration of suitable sensors and actuators as well as electronic devices and software-enabled control functionality to automatically support the human driver. Driver assistance for electric vehicles will differ from the already used systems in fuel-powered cars such as electronic stability programs, adaptive cruise control etc. in a way that they must support energy efficiency while the system itself must also have a low power consumption. In this work, an eco-driving functionality as the first step towards those new driver assistance systems for electric vehicles will be investigated. Using information about the internal state of the car, navigation information as well as advanced information about the environment coming from sensors and network connections, an algorithm will be developed that will adapt the speed of the vehicle automatically to minimize energy consumption. From an algorithmic point of view, a stochastic model predictive control approach will be applied and adapted to the special constraints of the problem. Finally, the solution will be tested in simulations as well as in first experiments with a commercial electric vehicle in the SnT Automation & Robotics Research Group (SnT ARG). [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 104 (35 UL)
Full Text
See detailTraditions in Tension: An Ethnographic Inquiry of Luxembourg’s Family-Run Hotels
Adiguna, Rocky UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The suggestion that tradition plays a role in family business is a long-acknowledged but often presumed notion in family business research. As a result, studies that attempt to conceptualise tradition as ... [more ▼]

The suggestion that tradition plays a role in family business is a long-acknowledged but often presumed notion in family business research. As a result, studies that attempt to conceptualise tradition as a focal point remain scarce. This dissertation addresses this vacuum by examining the properties and processes that are involved in the tradition-making and tradition-maintaining of hospitality-based family businesses. Based on an ethnographic inquiry of five hotel-running families in Luxembourg, this dissertation inquires into the meanings and tensions of tradition. Drawing from a process perspective, it explores how family owner-managers receive, enact, and perpetuate the continuity of the family businesses as traditions. Theoretically, this study contributes to two streams of literature: to the family business literature by providing a conceptual foundation for understanding tradition as process, and to the process organisation studies literature by proposing family business as an exemplar of tradition where the past is immanent in the present. Methodologically, this study attends to discourses and narratives at the national level, the industry level, and the organisational level to contextualise the family-run hotels in a wider discursive space. These multi-level analyses constitute the basis for the application of a field ethnography which attempts to explore the relationality between different modes of discourse in a chosen field: texts, talks, actions, and images. As a result, the lived narratives of five hotel-running families are produced. This dissertation advances tradition as a root metaphor for family business and proposes three different angles of seeing the family business as tradition: family business as received tradition, family business as enacted tradition, and family business as tradition to be transmitted. In alignment with the process perspective, four dualities in the enactment of the family businesses as traditions are discussed: repetition and novelty, preservation and abandonment, being and appearing, and certainty and possibility. Ultimately, this dissertation puts into question the predominant understanding of tradition as a fixed construct argues instead that tradition's apparent unity, fixity, and stability is a result of a reflexive process which is enacted by owner-managers on a daily basis. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 70 (12 UL)
Full Text
See detailAngle and Spectral Dependence of the Internal and External Quantum Efficiency of Solar Modules
Reiners, Nils UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Reviewing scientific publications in the field of photovoltaic research, it becomes apparent that most of the investigations are carried out under perpendicular light incidence even though many of the ... [more ▼]

Reviewing scientific publications in the field of photovoltaic research, it becomes apparent that most of the investigations are carried out under perpendicular light incidence even though many of the relevant processes in a solar cell or module may strongly depend on the angle of incidence. The reasons for this are most likely due to three facts. Firstly, the equipment that is available for measurements and characterization in research laboratories is mainly constructed for perpendicular incidence. Secondly, the complexity of the analysis strongly increases when the angle of incidence is considered and thirdly, there is still a lack of standardization, which makes it difficult to compare the performance of solar modules at oblique incidence. Regarding the maximization of the annual energy yield of a solar module it is crucial to be aware of operating conditions in the field. It is obvious that most of the time, light is incident on the module’s surface with an oblique angle. However, it is not sufficient to investigate the short circuit current density effects due to the variation of the angle of incidence as it is often done. The reflection and absorption properties of the materials in a solar module generally vary with the wavelength of the incident light. This is the reason why it is convenient to take the angular and the spectral performance of solar modules into account simultaneously. In this thesis a synopsis of all the relevant angle and spectral dependent effects is presented for silicon solar cells and modules. It is shown that not only optical effects are occurring, but that the internal quantum efficiency (IQE) also varies with the angle of incidence. It is also shown to which extent the implementation of textured surfaces influences the angle dependence of the external quantum efficiency (EQE) and the IQE. The analysis is performed using a newly developed analytical solar cell model that takes into account all relevant parasitic absorption processes in an untextured solar cell. Using an effective angle approach, the analysis can be extended to a textured solar cell. For more complex structures, a ray tracing tool was developed that is capable of simulating several textured layers and subsequently, of determining the corresponding EQE and IQE at all desired angles of incidence. The angle and spectral dependence of the cells and modules under investigation were determined using measurement equipment that was particularly constructed for this purpose. The angle dependence of the EQE of the samples was determined with two different systems: A filter monochromator to determine the spectral response and by transforming the electroluminescence spectrum of the samples to the EQE using the opto-electronic reciprocity relation of solar cells. To determine the angle dependence of the IQE, a measurement setup was constructed for the determination of the angular reflection spectra. Finally, the different angle and spectral dependent effects that were identified were analyzed with respect to their influence on the energy yield estimation of standard solar modules under outdoor conditions. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 60 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailMany-Body Perturbation Theory Approach to Raman Spectroscopy and Its Application to 2D Materials
Reichardt, Sven UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Raman spectroscopy has become one of the most important techniques for the characterization of materials, as it allows the simultaneous probing of several properties, such as electronic and vibrational ... [more ▼]

Raman spectroscopy has become one of the most important techniques for the characterization of materials, as it allows the simultaneous probing of several properties, such as electronic and vibrational excitations, at once. This versatility, however, makes its theoretical description very challenging and, up to now, no fully satisfactory and general way for the calculation of Raman spectra from first principles exists. In this thesis, we aim to fill this gap and present a coherent theory of Raman scattering within the framework of many-body perturbation theory. We develop a novel and general, correlation function-based approach for the calculation of Raman scattering rates that can potentially also be applied to ultra-fast Raman spectroscopy out of equilibrium. Besides these theoretical developments, we present concrete computational recipes for the calculation of Raman intensities that allow the inclusion of both excitonic effects and non-adiabatic effects of lattice vibrations. The latter has so far not been possible with state-of-the-art methods, which can only take into account one of the two effects. As a first test case, we apply our theory to graphene, for which we use it to study the laser frequency and Fermi energy dependence of the Raman G-peak intensity. The flexibility of our approach also allows us to demonstrate that non-resonant processes and quantum mechanical interference effects play a significant role in Raman scattering. This applies not only to graphene but also to other two-dimensional materials of current interest, such as MoTe2 and MoS2. In addition to the development of a consistent and comprehensive description of Raman scattering, we derive a novel approach for the calculation of phonon frequencies and the screened electron-phonon coupling. It can be applied also to strongly correlated systems, for which the currently used methods are not entirely satisfactory or insufficient. Our new method goes beyond the limitations of the methods currently in use and will permit the computation of phonon-related quantities also in systems with strong correlation effects such as Kohn anomalies (e.g., graphene) or Peierls instabilities. Lastly, we present work on the application of (magneto-)Raman spectroscopy as a probe for many-body effects in graphene. Here we focus on the description of the phenomenon of magneto-phonon resonances and how it can be used to probe electronic excitation energies and to extract electron and phonon lifetimes. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 144 (27 UL)
Full Text
See detailCharacterization and Multi-Physical Analysis of RF-Driven Microwave Plasma Applications from 1.3 GHz to 3.5 GHz
Schopp, Christoph UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis presents the analysis of microwave plasma frequency-dependence based on the investigation of multi-physical parameters. Fundamentals of a microwave plasma and high-frequency technology are ... [more ▼]

This thesis presents the analysis of microwave plasma frequency-dependence based on the investigation of multi-physical parameters. Fundamentals of a microwave plasma and high-frequency technology are explained. Frequency-dependent effects on the base point impedance are presented in combination with the description of the used measuring hardware. Development of a bi-static network for the main plasma states (ignition and operation) is presented on the example of two high-pressure lamps at 2.45 GHz. Networks of both lamps are custom-built during the course of this thesis. An efficacy of 135 lm/W is achieved exceeding the efficacy of most LEDs. Frequency-dependent electrical properties are analyzed by reflection measurements of three different prototypes (argon plasma jet, phosphor-coated lamp and hollow glass cylinder filled with xenon) for the first time. A novel and simple lumped element and 3D-model are developed for the fitting of the plasma. A series resonance circuit substitutes the frequency-dependency of the capacitive plasma. The models are extended for S21 measurements by a novel developed transmission prototype. A simple frequency-dependent capacitor lumped element model fits the transmission parameters of the plasma. The novel core/cone3D-model is capable of fitting the plasma in an FEM simulator by only using the conductivity. A significant influence of the frequency on the spatial properties of all prototypes is measured for the first time by a simple CMOS camera and a custom image registration routine. The spatial extension is inversely proportional to the frequency. Optical measurements identify the participating ion species. Influence of the frequency on single spectral bands are presented in an in-depth analysis using optical emission spectroscopy. A proportionality of the frequency and the energy density in the microwave plasma is revealed. This is supported by the thermal measurements. The plasma jet rotational temperature is determined by the hydroxyl band at 310nm and shows a maximum values of 1350 K at only 15 W. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 42 (7 UL)
Full Text
See detailBewohnerorientierte Betreuung für Luxemburgs Alten- und Pflegeheimbewohner. Theoretische und empirische Analysen zur Entwicklung und Implementierung eines neuen Betreuungsmodells
Pax, Nadine UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The starting point of the dissertation is the thesis that the work in Luxembourg's nursing homes is based on nursing models that are - in today's sense of gerontology - outdated in some respects. This is ... [more ▼]

The starting point of the dissertation is the thesis that the work in Luxembourg's nursing homes is based on nursing models that are - in today's sense of gerontology - outdated in some respects. This is explained in the theoretical part in (literary-) analyzes on the following topics: Aging and theories of aging, living conditions in the national homes, qualification of geriatric nursing staff, previously used nursing models, central needs of older people from the perspective of nursing models and recent research. In the second part, the author presents her support model for Luxembourg nursing homes developed in this context, which focuses on the promotion of competences, autonomy and self-determination as well as the fulfillment of the central needs of residents of care institutions. The components of the model are presented and the prerequisites for a successful implementation with regard to legal-administrative regulations, qualification of the nursing staff, sensitization of the inhabitants of residential nursing institutions and their relatives as well as the public are comprehensively elaborated and completed by considerations of quality assurance and the limits of the model. In the center of the third part is an empirical study of Luxembourg nursing staff with the aim of identifying needs and conditions for the introduction of the new support model. In a questionnaire study, with n = 155 participants of different qualification levels, their typical nursing behavior as well as caregiver-related convictions, goals and emotions were surveyed. By cluster analysis - as expected - a group of caregivers has been identified that tends to promote nursing behavior that promotes autonomy, while - contrary to expectations - no group of caregivers has shown nursing behavior that limits autonomy. Instead, there was a group with inconsistent care, characterized partly by promotion and partly by restriction on the autonomy of inhabitants of residential care institutions. A similar cluster pattern emerged for the nursing goals and beliefs. A subsequent comparison of the care behavior clusters revealed systematic differences in goals and beliefs favoring autonomy or limitation. Overall, the findings indicate a need for autonomous support and care for elderly people in Luxembourg. Finally, ways are sketched for the gradual introduction of a corresponding support model. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 57 (5 UL)
Full Text
See detailA Scalable and Accurate Hybrid Vulnerability Analysis Framework
Thome, Julian UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

As the Internet has become an integral part of our everyday life for activities such as e-mail, online-banking, shopping, entertainment, etc., vulnerabilities in Web software arguably have greater impact ... [more ▼]

As the Internet has become an integral part of our everyday life for activities such as e-mail, online-banking, shopping, entertainment, etc., vulnerabilities in Web software arguably have greater impact than vulnerabilities in other types of software. Vulnerabilities in Web applications may lead to serious issues such as disclosure of confidential data, integrity violation, denial of service, loss of commercial confidence/customer trust, and threats to the continuity of business operations. For companies these issues can result in significant financial losses. The most common and serious threats for Web applications include injection vulnerabilities, where malicious input can be “injected” into the program to alter its intended behavior or the one of another system. These vulnerabilities can cause serious damage to a system and its users. For example, an attacker could compromise the systems underlying the application or gain access to a database containing sensitive information. The goal of this thesis is to provide a scalable approach, based on symbolic execution and constraint solving, which aims to effectively find injection vulnerabilities in the server-side code of Java Web applications and which generates no or few false alarms, minimizes false negatives, overcomes the path explosion problem and enables the solving of complex constraints. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 138 (42 UL)
Full Text
See detailRecent developments around the Malliavin-Stein approach (Fourth moment phenomena via exchangeable pairs)
Zheng, Guangqu UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Part I is a survey, part II is a collection of papers.

Detailed reference viewed: 64 (13 UL)
See detailColonization and succession of the human gastrointestinal microbiome in neonates and infants at high risk of metabolic disease in adulthood
Wampach, Linda UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Recent studies have highlighted that the human gastrointestinal microbiome not only maintains important functions for the human host, but is also intimately linked to the development of the neonatal ... [more ▼]

Recent studies have highlighted that the human gastrointestinal microbiome not only maintains important functions for the human host, but is also intimately linked to the development of the neonatal immune system. Therefore, earliest perturbations to the initial colonization process of the human gastrointestinal tract have been suggested to result in adverse health effects later in life. While the rate of caesarean section deliveries is increasing worldwide, it still remains unclear to what extent a caesarean section delivery (CSD) or other perturbations affect the colonization and succession of the gastrointestinal microbiome and might eventually impact the immune development of a neonate. Although much research has been performed on bacterial colonization and succession to date, far less is known about the other two domains of life, archaea and eukaryotes. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether a delivery by caesarean section causes a disruption of mother-to-infant transmission of microbiota and whether this affects human physiology early on, with potentially persistent effects in later life. Over the course of this thesis, a multitude of objectives was tackled. First of all, the description of microbial communities and trends over time within the neonatal and infant gut microbiome, and the study of the early colonization and succession by members of the three domains of life. Second, the careful application of high-throughput approaches on earliest low biomass samples, the detection of functional repertoires and strains transferred from mothers to neonates, and the analysis of the immunostimulatory potential of neonatal gut microbiomes in relation to delivery mode with likely effects on the later health status. In a first study based on 15 infants and using a combination of 16S and 18S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR, earliest differences among the three domains of life according to delivery mode were detected as early as three days postpartum. Sequences from organisms belonging to all three domains of life were detectable in all of the collected meconium samples. The findings complement previous observations of a delay in colonization and succession of CSD infants, which likely affects not only bacteria but also archaea and microeukaryotes. Based on the observation that the first 5 days postpartum showed significant differing trends between delivery modes and considering the fact that the very first days postpartum are generally under-studied, this highlighted the importance to perform more in-depth analyses of these microbiome samples. In a next step, based on 12 mother-neonate pairs, high-resolution, metagenomic analysis of the gut microbiomes of mothers and neonates was performed to resolve the earliest colonizing microbiome. After data curation and in accordance with the observed changes in community composition for both cohorts, differences with respect to encoded metabolic functions between the microbiomes of vaginally delivered (VD) or CSD neonates as early as day 3 were observed. Several functional pathways were over-represented in VD neonates, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis. Genes encoding proteins involved in these functions were linked to specific strains, which were vertically transmitted from the respective mothers. Based on the candidate’s work, more follow-up work on LPS was done by a colleague with a background in immunology. Isolated LPS from faecal samples collected at day 3 had a higher immunostimulatory potential in VD neonates and cytokines measured in plasma collected at the same day presented an increased immune reaction in VD neonates. Collectively, these results suggest that vaginal delivery favours vertical transmission of specific gastrointestinal strains from mother to neonate, while caesarean section may impede this process and thereby decrease linked functional repertoires and immunostimulatory potential with potential effects on human physiology later in life. Taken together, the results obtained from both cohorts strongly indicate that maternal and neonatal factors, such as antibiotics intake or milk diet, but most importantly the delivery mode, have the potential to influence the initial neonatal bacterial, archaeal and microeukaryotic colonization of the gut microbiome shortly postpartum, with the potential to impact the neonatal immune development, which could thereby affect the later health status. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 64 (12 UL)
Full Text
See detailLarge-scale and Flexible Nanogenerator based on ZnO conical nanostructures by Nano-Imprint Lithography and Atomic Layer Deposition
Spirito, David Mario André UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The present work stands in the context of the rapid growth of portable electronics and wireless sensors. This growth drives the request for advances in materials science and technology to harvest energy ... [more ▼]

The present work stands in the context of the rapid growth of portable electronics and wireless sensors. This growth drives the request for advances in materials science and technology to harvest energy from ambient sources. Piezoelectric nanogenerators, which convert vibrations into electrical energy, are considered as one of the promising building blocks for the design of low-cost and performant energy harvesting devices. Several demonstrations of PENGs have been reported throughout the last decade, many of them based on Zinc Oxide –ZnO– nanowires. Despite interesting performances, literature also suggests that the classical bottom-up approach of optimized ZnO-based PENGs performance approaches its limits and that top-down approaches merit further attention. This has motivated the present work, with the aim to conceptualize by models, to fabricate and to investigate a new type of piezoelectric nanogenerator based on ZnO nanostructures to overcome current limitations. To achieve this goal, we have used a top-down approach that allows an accurate control of the aspect ratio and density of tailored ZnO nanowires by using Nano-Imprint Lithography and Atomic Layer Deposition. In our work, we demonstrate that this approach enables the fabrication of large flexible piezoelectric nanogenerators with interesting properties. In the first part of this work, we have optimized the synthesis of crystalline N-doped ZnO films by ALD at a deposition temperature as low as T = 80 °C. We have particularly investigated the role of the time of purge with nitrogen as purge gas in each cycle of a ZnO monolayer of the ALD process. A thorough chemical and structural analysis illustrates that the time of purge allows tuning the N-doping-level which, despite being low, affects both the long-range and short-range structure. Raman and luminescence spectroscopy suggest a complex defect structure, characterized by nitrogen ions which substitute oxygen ions and by Zn cations on interstitial sites. Importantly, even the low level of nitrogen doping allows tuning the sheet resistivity of ZnO films by several orders of magnitude. The ability to obtain crystallized and tunable N-doped ZnO films down to 80 °C by ALD provides a critical building block to tune structural, optic and electric properties for a variety of applications. In the second part, we have designed, fabricated and characterized a new type of PENGs based on patterned nanostructures made of conical-shape ZnO pillars. First, we have used a finite element modeling to identify the optimization for the electromechanical performances of the ZnO nanowires, namely in terms of their aspect ratio and pitch. This has defined the stamps of the nano-imprint, which has then be combined with a low temperature conformal ALD to provide ZnO conical nanostructures. A thorough structural analysis of such nanostructures attests a high crystallinity, a polycrystalline growth and piezoelectric properties. This has been the necessary technological achievement for addressing in a next step functional patterned piezoelectric nanogenerators. We have produced small flexible devices with an active area of 4 x 4 mm2, using either a blocking electronic barrier with alumina, either a p-n junction with a conductive polymer (PEDOT:PSS). The different devices and architectures have then been characterized at matching impedance. The electric characterization of a device with a p-n junction exhibits a maximum output voltage of 0.2 V and a power density of 0.3 µW cm-2. An effective transverse piezoelectric coefficient value e31eff of -0.45 C m-2 is determined, which corresponds to the order of magnitude reported in literature. As a proof of concept for potential industrialization, we scaled the P-PENGs up to 20 cm² for large flexible substrates. The 3.7 billion pillars, sandwiched between electrodes, evidence the robustness of our process. The analysis of the constitutive piezoelectric equations has prompted us to pay a particular attention to an accurate setup for P-PENGs characterization, which turns out to be mandatory to compare accurately devices. For this, we setup an electromechanical actuator. Two devices with the same architecture but with different levels of N-doping are compared. Using an equivalent electrical model, the performance of the P-PENG with the higher N-doped ZnO shows a larger output voltage and power density than the device with a lower N-doping level. This comparison shows that the higher N-doping-level leads to an increase of 150 % of the power output. From this we calculate that the effective piezoelectric coefficient increases by about 60 % for a P-PENG based on higher N-doped ZnO. This latter demonstrates an energy conversion efficiency of 10 %, on top of PENG based on ZnO. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 150 (10 UL)
See detailTuning Self-Assembly in Liquid Crystal shells: from Interfacial- to Polymer-stabilization
Noh, Junghyun UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Liquid crystals form a subclass of soft materials which is easily influenced and deformed by a surface, an interface and the geometry. Of particular interest, in this thesis, is the confinement of liquid ... [more ▼]

Liquid crystals form a subclass of soft materials which is easily influenced and deformed by a surface, an interface and the geometry. Of particular interest, in this thesis, is the confinement of liquid crystals in shell geometry, imposing real or virtual defects that the liquid crystal cannot avoid. With the help of microfluidics, we prepare our research platform, liquid crystal shells, which contain and are surrounded by aqueous phases. In order to maintain such a shell structure in the aqueous phases, immiscible with the liquid crystal, appropriate stabilization is required. Here we explore two different pathways of interfacial stabilization and polymer stabilization and their impact on liquid crystal self-assembly. We primarily use either a polymeric or an ionic surfactant dissolving in water to stabilize shells and tune boundary conditions of shells. Depending on symmetrically or asymmetrically imposed boundary conditions, the nematic–isotropic phase transition appears as a single transi- tion or separated into two steps. We propose that the latter phenomenon can be understood as a result of an ordering-enhancing effect by surfactants. The nematic–smectic A phase transition is also investigated under varying boundary conditions. With a precise temperature control, we explore equilibrium smectic structures and introduce a new arrangement of focal conic arrays in shell geometry. Beyond stabilizing the shell from the shell exterior, but we also incorporate a photosensitive surface agent within the shell, enabling dynamic and reversible photoswitching of the liquid crystal alignment in real time. However, shells with interfacial stabilization cannot survive more than several weeks due to their intrinsic fluid interfaces. In particular, a liquid crystal shell can serve as a permeable mem- brane which lets the constituents of aqueous phases pass through, giving a significant influence on the liquid crystalline order. To tame liquid crystal self-assembly and make the shell struc- ture permanent, we use photopolymerization to stabilize the shells. With only 5% monomer, the entire configuration of each liquid crystal shell is locked and shell lifetime extends beyond several months. The liquid crystalline order is visualized on the nanoscale via the polymer network and we further demonstrate that the shell configurations can be a unique template for creating complex polymer networks. Finally a new experimental approach is introduced to making ultrathin shells and several issues on shell instability and alignment determination are addressed. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 179 (23 UL)
Full Text
See detailCape Verdean Migration Trajectories into Luxembourg: A Multisited Sociolinguistic Investigation
Cardoso Tavares, Bernardino UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis investigates Cape Verdean migration trajectories into Luxembourg from a multisited sociolinguistic point of view. Approaching migration as both emigration and immigration, the thesis examines ... [more ▼]

This thesis investigates Cape Verdean migration trajectories into Luxembourg from a multisited sociolinguistic point of view. Approaching migration as both emigration and immigration, the thesis examines sociolinguistic aspects of both aspiring and accomplished Cape Verdean migrants to Luxembourg. Based on a narrative and the material ethnography, the thesis seeks to understand migration and its inequalities from the colonial past to the current episode of globalisation. As a starting point, the thesis historicises Cape Verdean migration to Luxembourg as initially entangled in colonisation and labour policies. It has shown that, Cape Verdean movements to Luxembourg derived indirectly from Portuguese colonisation and unexpectedly meddled in Luxembourg foreign labour policies during the 1960s and 70s. This thesis explores this entanglement and unexpectedness of migration from the perspective of individual migrants. It explores what happened in between those points of departure and arrival by means of a multisited ethnographic linguistic landscape approach (MELLA). This approach consists of a material and narrative ethnography that studied traces of migrant presences and absences in public and private spaces on both ends of the trajectory. It was found that the linguistic landscape of Cape Verde contained numerous references to Luxembourg (e.g. Avenida Luxemburgo in Santo Antão) and vice versa (e.g. Epicerie Créole in Bonnevoie) and that some participants in the study, like myself, routinely went back and forth, sustaining relationships and engagements in both countries. However, findings also showed how unequal and exclusive South-North mobilities have become. It is obvious that as life in general is, South-North migration is a struggle, with language being a crucial dimension of this struggle. The thesis shows how migration is a struggle from the start in the country of origin with prospective migrants making considerable efforts and investments to travel North, often in vain, and continues to be a struggle for those who succeed to arrive North. Language duties are always demanded and migrants are constructed from a linguistic deficit perspective rather than addressing the systemic and structural conditions that contribute to unequal struggles among migrant groups and between the locals and migrants, intersecting with gender, class and race. This study provides an account of how multilingualism itself is also a struggle for Cape Verdeans, as Luxembourg’s trilingualism is often used as a gatekeeping device and as a proxy for race in a ‘colour-blind’ racism. It is my hope that this first book-length study of Cape Verdean migration to Luxembourg has opened a new empirical field of research, and will be followed by many more studies to come. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 30 (11 UL)
Full Text
See detailStructural properties of steel-concrete composite joints
Duarte da Costa, Job UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The performance of steel and concrete composite frames is influenced by the structural properties of beam-to-column composite joints. The accurate assessment of these properties constitutes therefore an ... [more ▼]

The performance of steel and concrete composite frames is influenced by the structural properties of beam-to-column composite joints. The accurate assessment of these properties constitutes therefore an important element for a realistic representation of the structural behaviour at serviceability and ultimate limit state. However, the structural joint properties are not equally covered by current design standards; analytical guidance is provided to assess the resistance and stiffness of composite joints, whereas for the rotation capacity an experimental proof is required. Due to the additional effort required to determine the rotation capacity, the global plastic analysis finds little application in the design of composite frames, resulting in a lack of efficiency and material optimization in the final design. In the present work, an analytical model to calculate the rotation capacity of composite joints is derived. Based on the knowledge developed in this research, an improvement of the current design rules for the joint stiffness is proposed. This model is based on an experimental test campaign comprising eight full-scale beamto- column joints with composite slim-floor beams. Besides, a finite element model was developed with the software Abaqus, which has been validated by the experimental tests. Numerical simulations were performed to investigate in-depth the conducted experiments and to analyse the behaviour of additional composite joints with different reinforcement properties. This research has resulted in new analytical design rules for the joint stiffness and rotation capacity. The reliability of these new design rules has been demonstrated for different joint typologies using experimental and numerical data. The development of an analytical method for the rotation capacity of composite joints allows composite beams with composite beam-to-column joints to be designed according to the global plastic analysis without need of experimental evidence. Furthermore, the improvement of the current design rules for the stiffness of composite joints induces a more accurate assessment of the action effects at serviceability and ultimate limit state. This thesis provides therefore a complete methodology to design beam-to-column composite joints. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 70 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailDEVELOPMENT OF A COMPUTATIONAL RESOURCE FOR PERSONALIZED DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS
Noronha, Alberto UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

There is a global increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases associated with unhealthy food intakes. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes represent a ... [more ▼]

There is a global increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases associated with unhealthy food intakes. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes represent a high societal impact and an economic burden for health-care systems around the world. To understand these diseases, one needs to account the several factors that influence how the human body processes food, some of which are determined by the genome and patterns of gene expression that translate to the ability - or lack of - to degrade and absorb certain nutrients. Other factors, like the gut microbiota, are more volatile because its composition is highly moldable by diet and lifestyle. Multi-omics technologies can support the comprehensive collection of dietary intake data and monitoring of the health status of individuals. Also, a correct analysis of this data could lead to new insights about the complex processes involved in the digestion of dietary components and their involvement in the prevention or the appearance of health problems, but its integration and interpretation are still problematic. Thus, in this thesis, we propose the utilization of Constraint-Based Reconstruction and Analysis (COBRA) methods as a framework for the integration of this complex data. To achieve this goal, we have created a knowledge-base, the Virtual Metabolic Human (VMH), that combines information from large-scale models of metabolism from the human organism and typical gut microbes, with food composition information, and a disease compendium. VMH’s unique combination of resources leverages the exploration of metabolic pathways from different organisms, the inclusion of dietary information into in-silico experiments through its own diet designer tool, visualization and analysis of experimental and simulation data, and exploring disease mechanisms and potential treatment strategies. VMH is a step forward in providing the necessary tools to investigate the mechanisms behind the influence of diet in health and disease. Tools such as the diet designer can be used as a basis for diet optimization by predicting combinations of foods that can contribute to specific metabolic outcomes, which has the potential to be integrated and translated into treatment development and dietary recommendations in the foreseeable future. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 36 (12 UL)
Full Text
See detailSpectrum Monitoring Algorithms for Wireless and Satellite Communications
Politis, Christos UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for more efficient utilization of the radio frequency spectrum as new terrestrial and space services are deployed resulting in the congestion of the already crowded ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for more efficient utilization of the radio frequency spectrum as new terrestrial and space services are deployed resulting in the congestion of the already crowded frequency bands. In this context, spectrum monitoring is a necessity. Spectrum monitoring techniques can be applied in a cognitive radio network, exploiting the spectrum holes and allowing the secondary users to have access in an unlicensed frequency band for them, when it is not occupied by the primary user. Furthermore, spectrum monitoring techniques can be used for interference detection in wireless and satellite communications. These two topics are addressed in this thesis. In the beginning, a detailed survey of the existing spectrum monitoring techniques according to the way that cognitive radio users 1) can detect the presence or absence of the primary user; and 2) can access the licensed spectrum is provided. Subsequently, an overview of the problem of satellite interference and existing methods for its detection are discussed, while the contributions of this thesis are presented as well. Moreover, this thesis discusses some issues in a cognitive radio system such as the reduction of the secondary user's throughput of the conventional \listen before talk" access method in the spectrum. Then, the idea of simultaneous spectrum sensing and data transmission through the collaboration of the secondary transmitter with receiver is proposed to address these concerns. First, the secondary receiver decodes the signal from the secondary transmitter, then, removes it from the total received signal and finally, applies spectrum sensing in the remaining signal in order to decide if the primary user is active or idle. The effects of the imperfect signal cancellation due to decoding errors, which are ignored in the existing literature, are considered in our analysis. The analytical expressions for the probabilities of false alarm and detection are derived and numerical results through simulations are also presented to validate the proposed study. Furthermore, the threat of interference for the satellite communications services is studied in this thesis. It proposes the detection of interference on-board the satellite by introducing a spectrum monitoring unit within the satellite transponder. This development will bring several benefits such as faster reaction time and simplification of the ground stations in multi-beam satellite systems. Then, two algorithms for the detection of interference are provided. The first detection scheme is based on energy detector with signal cancellation exploiting the pilot symbols. The second detection scheme considers a two-stage detector, where first, the energy detector with signal cancellation in the pilot domain is performed, and if required, an energy detector with signal cancellation in the data domain is carried out in the second stage. Moreover, the analytical expressions for the probabilities of false alarm and detection are derived and numerical results through simulations are provided to verify the accuracy of the proposed analysis. Finally, this thesis goes one step further and the developed algorithms are evaluated experimentally using software defined radios, particularly universal software radio peripherals (USRPs), while it concludes discussing some open research topics. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 39 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailDynamical hybrid modeling of human metabolism
Ben Guebila, Marouen UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Human metabolism plays a key role in disease pathogenesis and drug action. Half a century of biochemical literature leveraged by the advent of genomics allowed the emergence of computational modeling ... [more ▼]

Human metabolism plays a key role in disease pathogenesis and drug action. Half a century of biochemical literature leveraged by the advent of genomics allowed the emergence of computational modeling techniques and the in silico analysis of complex biological systems. In particular, Constraint-Based Reconstruction and Analysis (COBRA) methods address the complexity of metabolism through building tissue-specific networks in their steady state. It is known that biological systems respond to perturbations induced by pathogens, drugs or malignant processes by shifting their activity to safeguard key metabolic functions. Extending the modeling framework to consider the dynamics of these complex systems will bring simulations closer to observable human phenotypes. In this thesis, I combined physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models with genome-scale metabolic models (GSMMs) to form hybrid genome-scale dynamical models that provide a hypothesis-free framework to study the perturbations induced by one or more perturbagen on human tissues. On a first stage, these methodologies were applied to decipher the absorption of levodopa and amino acids by the intestinal epithelium and allowed to derive a model-based diet for Parkinson's Disease patients. In the next phase, we extended the study to 605 drugs in order to predict the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects through a machine learning classifier, using a combination of gene expression and metabolic reactions set as features. Finally, the approach upscaled to several tissues, specifically to investigate the genesis of metabolic symptoms in type 1 diabetes and to suggest key metabolic players underlying within and between-individual variability to insulin action. Taken as whole, the integration of two modeling techniques constrained by expert biological knowledge and heterogeneous data types will be a step forward in achieving convergence in human biology. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 169 (34 UL)
Full Text
See detailThe Democratic and Human Rights Transition in Sub-Saharan States since the End of the Cold War and the European Union’s Influence
Miji, Ernest Ayeah UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The democratic wind that first blew across the Eastern European states after the collapse of the Berlin Wall later blew across the sub-Saharan region. Authoritarian and one-party regimes were challenged ... [more ▼]

The democratic wind that first blew across the Eastern European states after the collapse of the Berlin Wall later blew across the sub-Saharan region. Authoritarian and one-party regimes were challenged across the continent. While the democratic transitions in the Eastern European states have almost been consolidated, due largely to the huge EU’s impetus or influence, the transition in the sub-Saharan states has been slow, chaotic, sporadic, violent, and unstable and in some cases, initial democratic gains have been lost. The EU has not remained indifferent to these lapses in democracy, but has in some cases follow realpolitik and in some cases, its foreign policy has gone head-to-head with some of its powerful member states, especially France. The role of France in this sub-region has been paid careful attention and results from democracy indexes show most of the former French colonies lag behind. France indeed, now uses the EU to foster its agenda in the sub-Saharan region. EU’s sanctions on Laurent Gbagbo after the disputed presidential elections of 2010 in Ivory Coast show how France can use the EU to get rid of leaders who refuse to toe the French line. The failure of the EU to speak with one voice has been a real setback to its policy of democracy and human rights promotion. French support of rigged elections in some of its ex-colonies, condemned by the EU has only gone a long way to weaken the EU’s foreign policy on democracy and human rights. This study focuses on the democratic and human rights transition currently going on in the sub-Saharan region of Africa beginning from the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. The study also pays attention to the EU’s influence, if any on the process. In order to get a good grasp of the present transition, a brief analysis on colonialism before independence and the period of the Cold War after independence have been done. Cameroon in this study has been used as a case-study of the political dynamics that occur in the transition of some of these states to democracy. To further throw light on these political dynamics, some countries across the various sub-regions of the sub-Saharan region have been analysed. However, only Cameroon did receive empirical studies. The case study and analyses show the democratic transition has or witnesses influence from internal actors and international actors. Some analysts claim internal pressure accounts most for the democratic transion while others say it is international pressure, but the majorty claims it is both. The EU’s influence has been tested in two specific cases of sanctions: Zimbabwe and Nigeria, using hypotheses for political influence. Other cases of EU’s influence are analysed from EU sanctions on Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Guinea-Bissau. Influence in these cases has not been interpreted as a transition to an ideal form of democracy, but the compliance of these states to specific EU stated preferences. Contrary to what most political commentators erroneously refer to an African democracy, this study shows that democracy in this region is not uniform and that it varies from sub-region to sub-region with colonial heritage showing different tendencies. In addition, oil-producing and mineral-rich states lag behind in the democratic process and have long-serving leaders of whom most are corrupt. The study has relied heavily on the Freedom House and Mo Ibrahim indexes of measuring democracy. They both provided similar results, thereby giving more credibility to the analyses. This study concludes that the EU has not been a major influencer of the democratic process in the sub-Saharan region, due mostly to its internal system and can best be termed as a democracy promoter. Various factors that favour and detract the EU foreign policy on human rights and democratization in Africa have been analysed. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 24 (10 UL)
See detailLuxemburgische Intonation: System und Sprachkontakt
Manzoni, Judith Maria UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Intonation is usually one of the latest linguistic fields to be investigated in a language, which explains why no systematic approach of the tonal inventory can be found of Luxembourgish, itself a very ... [more ▼]

Intonation is usually one of the latest linguistic fields to be investigated in a language, which explains why no systematic approach of the tonal inventory can be found of Luxembourgish, itself a very young and little researched Germanic language. The main goal of this thesis is therefore to analyze the intonation of Luxembourgish in order to compile a tonal inventory by working on the characteristics of the different intonational patterns used by Luxembourgish native speakers. For this, a formal as well as a functional analysis is carried out, which is used to describe (within the autosegmental-metrical framework) the characteristics of the intonational system. This study establishes six different nuclear patterns, four of which are used in more than one conversational situation, meaning that these situations are not differentiated on the level of intonation. A thorough acoustic analysis depicts the different intonation patterns phonetically, which allows for the comparison of the same conversational situation in different speaking styles (scripted vs. unscripted speech). These findings form the basis for a comparison between the Luxembourgish intonation and the intonation of other languages, which leads to the questions whether the Luxembourgish intonation inventory differs from the ones of the two other official languages in Luxembourg, German and French. This also brings up the question about intonational transfer in the French or German speech of Luxembourgish native speakers. Results show that the German and French intonation systems differ quite strongly from the Luxembourgish system which leads to intonational interferences, even though these interferences are of a different nature in both languages. In brief, this study provides a systematic approach to Luxembourgish intonation and for the first time combines the tonal patterns with their function in discourse while also giving insights into intonational interferences produced by Luxembourgish native speakers in French and German. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 26 (4 UL)
Full Text
See detailModelling the Extensionally Driven Transitions of DNA
Taghavi, Amirhossein UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Empirical measurements on DNA under tension show a jump by a factor of ≈ 1.5 − 1.7 in the relative extension at applied force of ≈ 65 − 70 pN, indi- cating a structural transition. The still ambiguously ... [more ▼]

Empirical measurements on DNA under tension show a jump by a factor of ≈ 1.5 − 1.7 in the relative extension at applied force of ≈ 65 − 70 pN, indi- cating a structural transition. The still ambiguously characterised stretched ‘phase’ is known as S-DNA. Using atomistic and coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulations we study DNA over-stretching in the presence of organic salts Ethidium Bromide (EtBr) and Arginine (an amino acid present in the RecA binding cleft). We present planar-stacked triplet disproportionated DNA as a solution phase of the double helix under tension, and dub it ‘Σ DNA’, with the three right-facing points of the Σ character serving as a mnemonic for the three grouped bases. Like unstretched Watson-Crick base paired DNA structures, the structure of the Σ phase is linked to function: the partitioning of bases into codons of three base-pairs each is the first stage of operation of recombinase enzymes such as RecA, facilitating alignment of homologous or near-homologous sequences for genetic exchange or repair. By showing that this process does not require any very sophisticated manipulation of the DNA, we position it as potentially appearing as an early step in the de- velopment of life, and correlate the postulated sequence of incorporation of amino acids (GADV then GADVESPLIT and then the full 20 residue set of canonical amino acids) into molecular biology with the ease of Σ-formation for sequences including the associated codons. To further investigate the de- pendence of stretching behaviour on the concentration of intercalating salt molecules, we present a physically motivated coarse-grained force-field for DNA under tension and use it to qualitatively reproduce regimes of force- extension behaviour which are not atomistically accessible. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 69 (17 UL)
Full Text
See detailLe contrôle juridictionnel de conventionnalité et de constitutionnalité des lois au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
Sauer, Carola UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The thesis analyses the judicial review of laws, more precisely their compatibility with "higher law" in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Since the 19th century, general courts have authority to review laws ... [more ▼]

The thesis analyses the judicial review of laws, more precisely their compatibility with "higher law" in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Since the 19th century, general courts have authority to review laws as to international law. In 1996/1997, the Constitutional Court was established and empowered to examine ordinary statute law as to their compatibility with the Constitution. As a result, the rule of law might be considered realized. However, the powers of this special court and the legal effects of its judgements are considerably limited. What is more, the analysis of constitutional jurisprudence reveals clear self-limiting tendancies of the constitutional judges themselves. Moreover, it is general wisdom that the Constitutional Court has no authority to review the compatibility of any law with international law. The latter competence is exclusively with the ordinary judge. This situation causes legal uncertainty, bearing the risk of contradictory jurisprudence of high courts. The judicial separation of constitutionality and conventionality review also lacks coherence with respect to the primacy of public international in the Grand-Duchy, and it ignores the existing overlapping of international law and Constitution. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 61 (19 UL)
Full Text
See detailDynamic Network Reconstruction in Systems Biology: Methods and Algorithms
Yue, Zuogong UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Dynamic network reconstruction refers to a class of problems that explore causal interactions between variables operating in dynamical systems. This dissertation focuses on methods and algorithms that ... [more ▼]

Dynamic network reconstruction refers to a class of problems that explore causal interactions between variables operating in dynamical systems. This dissertation focuses on methods and algorithms that reconstruct/infer network topology or dynamics from observations of an unknown system. The essential challenges, compared to system identification, are imposing sparsity on network topology and ensuring network identifiability. This work studies the following cases: multiple experiments with heterogeneity, low sampling frequency and nonlinearity, which are generic in biology that make reconstruction problems particularly challenging. The heterogeneous data sets are measurements in multiple experiments from the underlying dynamical systems that are different in parameters, whereas the network topology is assumed to be consistent. It is particularly common in biological applications. This dissertation proposes a way to deal with multiple data sets together to increase computational robustness. Furthermore, it can also be used to enforce network identifiability by multiple experiments with input perturbations. The necessity to study low-sampling-frequency data is due to the mismatch of network topology of discrete-time and continuous-time models. It is generally assumed that the underlying physical systems are evolving over time continuously. An important concept system aliasing is introduced to manifest whether the continuous system can be uniquely determined from its associated discrete-time model with the specified sampling frequency. A Nyquist-Shannon-like sampling theorem is provided to determine the critical sampling frequency for system aliasing. The reconstruction method integrates the Expectation Maximization (EM) method with a modified Sparse Bayesian Learning (SBL) to deal with reconstruction from output measurements. A tentative study on nonlinear Boolean network reconstruction is provided. The nonlinear Boolean network is considered as a union of local networks of linearized dynamical systems. The reconstruction method extends the algorithm used for heterogeneous data sets to provide an approximated inference but improve computational robustness significantly. The reconstruction algorithms are implemented in MATLAB and wrapped as a package. With considerations on generic signal features in practice, this work contributes to practically useful network reconstruction methods in biological applications. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 108 (25 UL)
See detailAlltagspraktiken in Kindertageseinrichtungen. Eine videographische Studie zur Herstellung eines gemeinsamen Miteinanders von pädagogischen Fachkräften und Kindern
Göbel, Sabrina UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Sabrina Göbel untersucht in ihrer Studie, auf welche Art und Weise der Alltag in Kindertageeinrichtungen hergestellt bzw. reproduziert wird. Aus einer praxistheoretischen Perspektive und mithilfe ... [more ▼]

Sabrina Göbel untersucht in ihrer Studie, auf welche Art und Weise der Alltag in Kindertageeinrichtungen hergestellt bzw. reproduziert wird. Aus einer praxistheoretischen Perspektive und mithilfe videographischen Datenmaterials konzentriert sich die qualitativ-rekonstruktive Auswertung auf die Frage nach der Relevanz von wiederkehrenden Praktiken und Routinen für die Herstellung, Gestaltung und Modulation der frühpädagogischen Praxis. Dieses Vorgehen ermöglicht es, ein Verständnis für die sozialen Herstellungspraxen und -prozesse sowie für die dem Alltagsgeschehen zugrunde liegenden impliziten Logiken und Ordnungen der Praxis zu entwickeln. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 12 (0 UL)
Full Text
See detailINVESTIGATION OF THE CU2(SN,GE)S3 TERNARY ALLOY FOR THIN FILM SOLAR CELLS
Robert, Erika UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis examines material properties of the novel Cu2(Sn, Ge)S3 alloy, from the perspective of a solar cell scientist searching for a new light absorbing material to produce highly efficient thin-film ... [more ▼]

This thesis examines material properties of the novel Cu2(Sn, Ge)S3 alloy, from the perspective of a solar cell scientist searching for a new light absorbing material to produce highly efficient thin-film devices. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 81 (16 UL)
Full Text
See detailThe institution of linguistic dissidence in the Balearic Islands: ideological dynamics of Catalan standardisation
Duane Bernedo, Lucas John UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis describes ethnographically the recent institution of linguistic dissidence in the Balearic Islands, understood as the establishment of a belief in the archipelago’s socio-political field that ... [more ▼]

This thesis describes ethnographically the recent institution of linguistic dissidence in the Balearic Islands, understood as the establishment of a belief in the archipelago’s socio-political field that claims ‘Balearic’, and not the current Catalan, must share official status with Castilian as its authentic autochthonous language. Three associations of language activists created in 2013 are responsible for this development. This thesis analyses two years of social media activity of the three language activist associations, together with other materials. Findings show how activists engaged in a struggle for the legitimisation of an alternative standard that revolved around authenticity ideologies, while they simultaneously secured and advanced the anonymity value of Castilian. Social media was instrumental for these purposes, as it provided activists representational control to articulate discourses about language and to police language practices. This thesis also examines the implications that this development represented for Catalan standardisation. I interviewed 11 language planners working at different institutions in the Balearic Islands and two Catalan language advocates. The interviews provided accounts on the ways institutional actors police the standard variety. After finding a vertical distribution of standard practices among institutional actors, the analysis focuses on a local planner’s social media practices. In all, this thesis advances three arguments about the activists’ strategic adoption of the standard language regime, the existence of an identification need in the Balearic linguistic market, and the role of minoritisation on standardisation. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 117 (15 UL)
Full Text
See detailComputational Integrative Models for Cellular Conversion: Application to Cellular Reprogramming and Disease Modeling
Jung Geb. Zickenrott, Sascha UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The groundbreaking identification of only four transcription factors that are able to induce pluripotency in any somatic cell upon perturbation stimulated the discovery of copious amounts of instructive ... [more ▼]

The groundbreaking identification of only four transcription factors that are able to induce pluripotency in any somatic cell upon perturbation stimulated the discovery of copious amounts of instructive factors triggering different cellular conversions. Such conversions are highly significant to regenerative medicine with its ultimate goal of replacing or regenerating damaged and lost cells. Precise directed conversion of damaged cells into healthy cells offers the tantalizing prospect of promoting regeneration in situ. In the advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies, the distinct transcriptional and accessible chromatin landscapes of several cell types have been characterized. This characterization provided clear evidences for the existence of cell type specific gene regulatory networks determined by their distinct epigenetic landscapes that control cellular phenotypes. Further, these networks are known to dynamically change during the ectopic expression of genes initiating cellular conversions and stabilize again to represent the desired phenotype. Over the years, several computational approaches have been developed to leverage the large amounts of high-throughput datasets for a systematic prediction of instructive factors that can potentially induce desired cellular conversions. To date, the most promising approaches rely on the reconstruction of gene regulatory networks for a panel of well-studied cell types relying predominantly on transcriptional data alone. Though useful, these methods are not designed for newly identified cell types as their frameworks are restricted only to the panel of cell types originally incorporated. More importantly, these approaches rely majorly on gene expression data and cannot account for the cell type specific regulations modulated by the interplay of the transcriptional and epigenetic landscape. In this thesis, a computational method for reconstructing cell type specific gene regulatory networks is proposed that aims at addressing the aforementioned limitations of current approaches. This method integrates transcriptomics, chromatin accessibility assays and available prior knowledge about gene regulatory interactions for predicting instructive factors that can potentially induce desired cellular conversions. Its application to the prioritization of drugs for reverting pathologic phenotypes and the identification of instructive factors for inducing the cellular conversion of adipocytes into osteoblasts underlines the potential to assist in the discovery of novel therapeutic interventions. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 29 (5 UL)
Full Text
See detailComputational Integrative Models for Cellular Conversion: Application to Cellular Reprogramming and Disease Modeling
Zickenrott, Sascha UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The groundbreaking identification of only four transcription factors that are able to induce pluripotency in any somatic cell upon perturbation stimulated the discovery of copious amounts of instructive ... [more ▼]

The groundbreaking identification of only four transcription factors that are able to induce pluripotency in any somatic cell upon perturbation stimulated the discovery of copious amounts of instructive factors triggering different cellular conversions. Such conversions are highly significant to regenerative medicine with its ultimate goal of replacing or regenerating damaged and lost cells. Precise directed conversion of damaged cells into healthy cells offers the tantalizing prospect of promoting regeneration in situ. In the advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies, the distinct transcriptional and accessible chromatin landscapes of several cell types have been characterized. This characterization provided clear evidences for the existence of cell type specific gene regulatory networks determined by their distinct epigenetic landscapes that control cellular phenotypes. Further, these networks are known to dynamically change during the ectopic expression of genes initiating cellular conversions and stabilize again to represent the desired phenotype. Over the years, several computational approaches have been developed to leverage the large amounts of high-throughput datasets for a systematic prediction of instructive factors that can potentially induce desired cellular conversions. To date, the most promising approaches rely on the reconstruction of gene regulatory networks for a panel of well-studied cell types relying predominantly on transcriptional data alone. Though useful, these methods are not designed for newly identified cell types as their frameworks are restricted only to the panel of cell types originally incorporated. More importantly, these approaches rely majorly on gene expression data and cannot account for the cell type specific regulations modulated by the interplay of the transcriptional and epigenetic landscape. In this thesis, a computational method for reconstructing cell type specific gene regulatory networks is proposed that aims at addressing the aforementioned limitations of current approaches. This method integrates transcriptomics, chromatin accessibility assays and available prior knowledge about gene regulatory interactions for predicting instructive factors that can potentially induce desired cellular conversions. Its application to the prioritization of drugs for reverting pathologic phenotypes and the identification of instructive factors for inducing the cellular conversion of adipocytes into osteoblasts underlines the potential to assist in the discovery of novel therapeutic interventions. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 85 (18 UL)
Full Text
See detailMobile Network Data Analytics for Intelligent Transportation Systems
Derrmann, Thierry UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

In this dissertation, we explore how the interplay between transportation and mobile networks manifests itself in mobile network billing and signaling data, and we show how to use this data to estimate ... [more ▼]

In this dissertation, we explore how the interplay between transportation and mobile networks manifests itself in mobile network billing and signaling data, and we show how to use this data to estimate different transportation supply and demand models. To perform the necessary simulation studies for this dissertation, we present a simula- tion scenario of Luxembourg, which allows the simulation of vehicular Long-Term Evolu- tion (LTE) connectivity with realistic mobility. We first focus on modeling travel time from Cell Dwell Time (CDT), and show – on a synthetic data set– that we can achieve a prediction Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) below 12%. We also encounter proportionality between the square of the mean CDT and the number of handovers in the system, which we confirmed in the aforementioned simulation scenario. This motivated our later studies of traffic state models generated from mobile network data. We also consider mobile network data for supporting synthetic population generation and demand estimation. In a study on Call Detail Records (CDR) data from Senegal, we estimate CDT distributions to allow generating the duration of user activities, and validate them at a large scale against a data set from China. In a different study, we show how mobile network signaling data can be used for initializing the seed Origin- Destination (O-D) matrix in demand estimation schemes, and show that it increases the rate of convergence. Finally, we address the traffic state estimation problem, by showing how handovers can be used as a proxy metric for flows in the underlying urban road network. Using a traffic flow theory model, we show that clusters of mobile network cells behave characteristically, and with this model we reach a MAPE of 11.1% with respect to floating-car data as ground truth. The presented model can be used in regions without traffic counting infrastructure, or complement existing traffic state estimation systems. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 36 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailActive Harmonics Compensation in Smart Grids
Kobou Ngani, Patrick UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The quality of electric power is a key factor for the electricity supply service. It defines how good the characteristics of the supplied power meet the standard ones. Among several other power quality ... [more ▼]

The quality of electric power is a key factor for the electricity supply service. It defines how good the characteristics of the supplied power meet the standard ones. Among several other power quality issues, the harmonics are of more and more concern over the last decades. This is essentially due to the widespread use of electronic components. This thesis focuses on the development of a voltage active power filter implementing a new selective harmonics compensation algorithm. The first design is described as following: band-pass filters decompose the measured voltage signal as a sum of different harmonics voltages; PLLs (frequency-tuned) transform of the oscillating signals into two orthogonal and rotating components (dq-transform). The dq-components of each harmonic are controlled to zero using standard PI-controllers and the compensating harmonics waves are generated via the inverse PLL. All the harmonics compensating waves are superimposed and added to the fundamental reference signal. This represents the final control signal of the inverter. Implemented in the MATLAB-SIMULINK simulation environment, this foreseen methodology depicted as major issue the control stability especially when the system frequency differs from the rated 50-Hertz frequency. This is the reason why a second design has been proposed. The major improvement is done on the harmonics detection stability by replacing the PLLs frames by the well-known internal frame of the fundamental voltage of the controlled inverter. After the convincing theoretical results from the simulations, the method is implemented and validated experimentally on a test rig in the lab. The two key features of the developed active power filter (APF) are: 1)Its ability to be used as a standalone power unit that compensates by itself the harmonics that could appear in the system while generating the fundamental voltage necessary to build up the micro-grid. 2)Its ability to serve as a full grid-tied power element that not only mitigates the voltages harmonics on the coupled grid but also supports the grid by controlling the exchanged active and reactive powers between the inverter and the grid. In addition to the developed harmonic mitigation technique, a new grid synchronization method has been proposed along with a new power control algorithm combined with a grid impedance estimator for grid-tied inverter. Further investigations and development are required for three-phase unbalance voltage systems as well as for single-phase voltage power system for low power grids. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 117 (46 UL)
Full Text
See detailDynamic Origin-Destination Matrix Estimation with Interacting Demand Patterns
Cantelmo, Guido UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

It has become very fashionable to talk about Mobility as a Service, multimodal transport networks, electrified and green vehicles, and sustainable transportation in general. Nowadays, the transportation ... [more ▼]

It has become very fashionable to talk about Mobility as a Service, multimodal transport networks, electrified and green vehicles, and sustainable transportation in general. Nowadays, the transportation field is exploring new angles to solve mobility issues, applying concepts such as using machine learning techniques to profile user behaviour. While for many years “traffic pressure” and “congestion phenomena” were the most established keywords, there is now a widespread body of research pointing out how new technologies alone will solve most of these issues. One of the main reasons for this change of direction is that earlier approaches have been proven to be more “fair” than “effective” in tackling mobility issues. The main limitation was probably to rely on simple assumptions, such as in-elastic mobility travel demand (car users will stick to their choice), when modelling travel behaviour. However, while these assumptions were questionable twenty years ago, they simply do not hold in today's society. While it is still true that high-income people usually own a car, the concept of urban mobility evolved. First, new generations are likely to buy a car ten-twenty years later than their parents. Second, in many cases, users can choose options that are more effective by combining different transport modes. Wealthy people might decide to live next to their working place or to the city centre, rather than to buy a car. Thus, it becomes clear that to understand the evolution of the mobility demand we need to question some of these assumptions. While data can help in understanding this societal transformation, we argue in this dissertation that they cannot be considered as the sole source of information for the decision maker. Although data have been there for many years, congestion levels are increasing, meaning that data alone cannot solve the problem. Although successful in many case studies, data-driven approaches have the limitation of being capable of modelling only what they observed in the past. If there is no record of a specific event, then the model will simply provide a biased information. In this manuscript we point out that both elements – data and model – are equally relevant to represent the evolution of a transport system, and specifically how important is to consider the heterogeneity of the mobility demand within the modelling framework in order to fully exploit the available data. In this manuscript, we focus on the so-called Dynamic Demand Estimation Problem (DODE), which is the problem of estimating the mobility demand patterns that are more likely to best fit all the available traffic data. While this dissertation still focuses on car-users, we stress that the activity based structure of the demand needs to be explicitly represented in order to capture the evolution of a transport system. While data show a picture of the reality, such as how many people are travelling on a certain road segment or even along a certain path, this information represents a coarse aggregation of different individuals sharing a common resource (i.e. the infrastructure). However, the traffic flow is composed of different users with different trip purposes, meaning they react differently to a certain event. If we shut down a road from one day to another, commuting and not commuting demand will react in a different way. The same concept holds when dealing with different weather conditions, which also lead to a different demand pattern with respect to the typical one. This dissertation presents different frameworks to solve the DODE, which explicitly focus on the estimation of the mobility demand when dealing with typical and atypical user behaviour. Although the approach still focuses on a single mode of transport (car-users), the proposed formulation includes the generalized travel cost within the optimization framework. This key element allows accounting for the departure time choice and, in principle, it can be extended to the mode choice in future work. The methodologies presented in this thesis have been tested with a “state of the practice” dynamic traffic assignment model. Results suggest that the models can be used for real-life networks, but also that more efficient algorithm should be considered for practical implementations in order to unleash the full potential of this new approach. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 46 (13 UL)
See detailScience learning in an early childhood classroom in Luxembourg: A journey from sociocultural and cultural historical theories to post-humanism
Haus Geb. Hilgers, Jana Maria UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

In this dissertation, I map the journey I went on; from applying cultural-historical theory to the application of posthumanist perspectives on science learning and researching science learning in an early ... [more ▼]

In this dissertation, I map the journey I went on; from applying cultural-historical theory to the application of posthumanist perspectives on science learning and researching science learning in an early childhood classroom in Luxembourg. Within this work, I show the process of realizing that the theories I applied for a certain amount of time at the beginning of the Ph.D. revealed a gap to me concerning what I wanted to achieve in the field of researching science learning. I draw on posthumanist perspectives to elaborate broader views of the research process to show how each (human and non-human) participant contributes to the context of science education with young children in Luxembourg. I also I present findings that changed my perspective on research and data analysis with young children in the field of science education. In sharing my reflexive journey, I contribute to ongoing methodological and ethical discussions about the research process with – rather than on – young children, as well as working to increase awareness of the importance of the researcher's stance and positioning towards both human and non-human research participants in Luxembourg classrooms. In the chapters that follow, I show the trajectory of how I applied sociocultural and later posthumanist theory and ethnographic video analysis to data I collected in one Kindergarten science classroom in Luxembourg. Findings of this journey show how human and non-human beings work together, and provide impulses for researchers to situate themselves reflexively to consider why and how they are doing research and what they hope to gain from it. This is not to promote a narcissistic and self-indulgent view of the researcher, but to point out what might be missing from some research reports that claim to be participatory when in fact they reproduce the researcher's perspectives of the children's view and "sell" it as their own, instead of listening and including participants’ voices. In order to link this to posthumanist theory and agential realism (e.g., Barad, 2007), this thesis theorizes research processes in ways that not only take into account who is researching whom, but that draw attention to the surrounding entanglements that constitute research, and how the research itself changes and is changed by the participating human and non-human beings. The papers assembled below show how all participating (human and non-human) beings are entangled and together become through and for one another. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 40 (10 UL)
Full Text
See detailContributions to the asymptotic study of Hermite driven processes
Tran, Thi Thanh Diu UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

This thesis consists of two parts. Part I is an introduction to Hermite processes, Hermite random fields, Fisher information and to the papers constituting the thesis. More precisely, in Section 1 we ... [more ▼]

This thesis consists of two parts. Part I is an introduction to Hermite processes, Hermite random fields, Fisher information and to the papers constituting the thesis. More precisely, in Section 1 we introduce Hermite processes in a nutshell, as well as some of its basic properties. It is the necessary background for the articles [a] and [c]. In Section 2 we consider briefly the multiparameter Hermite random fields and we study some less elementary facts which are used in the article [b]. In section 3, we recall some terminology about Fisher information related to the article [d]. Finally, our articles [a] to [d] are summarised in Section 4. Part II consists of the articles themselves: [a] T.T. Diu Tran (2017): Non-central limit theorem for quadratic functionals of Hermite-driven long memory moving average processes. Stochastic and Dynamics, 18, no. 4. [b] T.T. Diu Tran (2016): Asymptotic behavior for quadratic variations of nonGaussian multiparameter Hermite random fields. Under revision for Probability and Mathematical Statistics. [c] I. Nourdin, T.T. Diu Tran (2017): Statistical inference for Vasicek-type model driven by Hermite processes. Submitted to Stochastic Process and their Applications. [d] T.T. Diu Tran (2017+): Fisher information and multivariate Fouth Moment Theorem. Main results have already been obtained. It should be submitted soon. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 96 (12 UL)
Full Text
See detailIntegrating User- and System-Centric Perspectives into Collaborative Compound Document Authoring
Klein, Johannes UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Computer-supported collaborative work is increasingly common in our professional and personal life. However, the expectations and requirements of the users are frequently neglected when addressing the ... [more ▼]

Computer-supported collaborative work is increasingly common in our professional and personal life. However, the expectations and requirements of the users are frequently neglected when addressing the technological challenges associated with the development of a distributed collaboration system. The proposed collaboration environment employs an integrative approach to distributed compound document authoring, including both a user- and system-centric perspective on collaborative work. An interruption-free, reliable, and responsive shared work environment with a near real-time representation of the work of others is a core expectation from the users. In order to provide these features, a fine-granular, graph-based data representation has been developed to serve as the basis for this approach. The data representing individual compound document elements is partitioned over sets of three distinct nodes in the graph structure. This separation of metadata and payload data enables the precise attribution of editing operations while maintaining an adaptable and extensible data representation. User-specific preferences allow for the individualization of a user's work environment to account for personal preferences, requirements from the current collaboration scenario, or limitations of the employed computer system. Support for complex, data type-specific editing commands is integrated with a concurrent command application and Layered Consistency Management model. This enables a near real-time representation of the work of others, the preservation of the users' editing intentions, and the maintenance of a globally consistent data state. Intra- and inter-document relations retain semantic connections between distinct data structure elements. Together with an element's supplemental data, this related information enables additional, autonomous conflict resolution approaches and facilitates a comprehensive representation of the conflict in case of a manual resolution process. By integrating these functionalities into one coherent system, the users are provided with an unobtrusive, yet reliable and feature-rich distributed work environment able to actively support collaborative compound document authoring. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 68 (13 UL)
Full Text
See detailAdaptive capacities of cancer cells in Glioblastoma
Dirkse, Anne Marie Elisabeth UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Detailed reference viewed: 32 (5 UL)
Full Text
See detailAnalysis of cancer related protein isoforms by mass spectrometry
Ancheva, Lina UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Detailed reference viewed: 96 (9 UL)
See detailOptimierung und Charakterisierung einer mittels Laserstrahl gefügten Verbindung zwischen Aluminium und Polyamid 6.6
Lamberti, Christian UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

The creation of strong joints between dissimilar materials and in particular between polymers and metals is one of the most often discussed topics in the fields of automotive, aerospace and transportation ... [more ▼]

The creation of strong joints between dissimilar materials and in particular between polymers and metals is one of the most often discussed topics in the fields of automotive, aerospace and transportation. Especially the combination of polyamide and aluminum is of highest interest, due to their market share as construction materials. New joining concepts are anticipated to deliver strong, durable and resource efficient structural components that are ideally suited for lightweight designs. However, current research activities have shown that the highly distinct material properties of these materials pose enormous challenges on the creation of hybrid structures. The cause that potentially enables the connection between the aluminum surface and the polymer is still not fully understood. The research objective of the presented work, therefore is, on the one hand, to create an optimal joint between aluminum and polyamide 6.6 using a laser beam to reach high shear strength for an industrial application. On the other hand, the presented work seeks to deliver a substantial contribution to furtherly understand the interaction between the polymer and the metal surface during the thermal joining. A laser-based joining method was developed that enables the researchers to overcome limitations of conventional processes, that is minimizing space requirements, making the application of additional gaskets obsolete, reaching high strength, saving weight and reducing processing time. The effectiveness of different surface pre-treatments has been studied, and the described optimization of this method has lead to an increase of the shear strength of the joints by more than 100 %. Laser ablation and the hydrothermal treatment of the metallic surface, before the joining operation, lead to the highest joint strength. The surface pre-treatment method of laser ablation delivered to transfer the gathered insights and experience from the laboratory to the industrial scale, due to its repeatability and reproducibility. The experiment mentioned above includes the use of production materials, such as aluminum with a higher sheet thickness of up to 1.48 mm and glass fiber reinforced polymer. Shear strength of 40 MPa was reached in quasi-static single lap shear tests. During dynamic testing, samples maintained 63 % of static breaking load after one million cycles. The hydrothermal treatment of the aluminum surface leads to a lower surface roughness of Ra = 1.58 µm in average as opposed to 4.90 µm after laser ablation. Due to the lower roughness values, the first-mentioned method was chosen to study the interaction. An XPS-analysis revealed a strong influence of the surface pre-treatment method on the chemical composition of the metal surface, which becomes noticeable by hydroxylation of the surface layer and is expressed by the oxide ratio (O/Al) and hydroxide ratio (OH/O). A high O/Al ratio of 2.36 and an OH/O ratio of 0.63 after the hydrothermal treatment is showing a strong increase of the amount of hydroxide in direct comparison to values of 35 % and 36 % of OH/O ratio after ethanol and hexane cleaning respectively. The question, as to which extent the presence of such hydroxide structures at the boundary layer of the aluminum influence the interaction between the metal surface and the polymer, was a subject matter of an additional FT-IR analysis. In case of the infrared spectra from thin polymer films on the hydrothermally treated surface, clear indications of interaction are visible. In direct comparison to the infrared spectra from polymer films on either ethanol or hexane cleaned surfaces, this interaction seems to increase nearby of the interface further. The interaction mentioned above appears at the carbonyl band and amine band as a shift of 4 cm-1 and 8 cm-1 and an increase of the full width at half maximum by 35 % respectively 40 %. Additional strong differences are visible at the molecule vibrations below 1,200 cm-1, which are typically assigned to both crystalline phases and amorphous phases of the polyamide. In case of the hydrothermal treatment, collected data indicates a polymorphous state inside the polymer films, which seems to become increasingly disordered close to the interface. On the contrary, spectra from the polymer films on ethanol and hexane pre-treated substrates show only marginal changes. Methods are proposed to build upon the results described in this work and refine distinct signs of the interaction. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 80 (17 UL)
Full Text
See detailSustainable Building Transitions in Luxembourg and Freiburg: Local Meanings, Circumstances and Rationales
Preller Geb. Jung, Bérénice Cynthia UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Sustainable building has become a subject of high policy emulation to address sustainability challenges. Publications and interventions from international organisations concord in outlining the high share ... [more ▼]

Sustainable building has become a subject of high policy emulation to address sustainability challenges. Publications and interventions from international organisations concord in outlining the high share of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the building sector, while at the same time pointing towards the important leverage for sustainability interventions on the built environment. The realisation of sustainable building crosses serval functional domains: regulatory, economic, cultural, social, natural etc. It requires also to consider buildings in a comprehensive manner from their inception, construction, up to their use and eventual retrofit or demolition but also in relationship with their wider (urban) settings. And last but not least, it requires close interactions with a wide range of stakeholders with different interests and disciplinary perspectives. As a result, sustainable building transformations are a widely diversified agenda. Hence the primary interest, as well as objective of this work, has been to try to better grasp the causes and mechanisms that explain such large differentiation of sustainable building. Drawing on critical sustainable urban literature, I posit sustainable building as diversified because it is a situated and socially mediated object. Conceptually, the work engages with two approaches. First the literature on sustainable socio-technical transitions, in particular the Multi-Level Perspective. Its grounding in co-evolutionary and institutional thinking helps to comprehend the socio-material complexity of sustainable building across a broad range of dimensions and connections. In complementing, and following the adopted socially constructed stance, the work further looks at the discursive constructs used to argue in favour of the transformation towards sustainable building, as the performativity of discourse helps to explain why that change occurs. The operationalisation of the research inquires sustainable building transformations in two European urban areas, Luxembourg (LU) and Freiburg (D), that both focus on sustainable building transformations in their urban policy agenda. Using a mix of qualitative research methods (interviews, cooperative research workshops, and the discourse analysis of a text corpus), I look into detail at how sustainable building policies are played out and how their content varies in relation to the geographical context in which they are situated. Of particular interest to my research is to understand why the transitions towards sustainable building in Luxembourg and Freiburg is a certain way, following the ideologies and interpretations that underlay it. This focus allows to uncover similarities in both Luxembourg and Freiburg where sustainable building is dominantly addressed via technicalities, energy efficiency and green growth, thus tying onto the mainstreamed socio-economic paradigm, despite locally differentiated circumstances. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 66 (6 UL)
Full Text
See detailTransforming Time Series for Efficient and Accurate Classification
Li, Daoyuan UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Time series data refer to sequences of data that are ordered either temporally, spatially or in another defined order. They can be frequently found in a variety of domains, including financial data ... [more ▼]

Time series data refer to sequences of data that are ordered either temporally, spatially or in another defined order. They can be frequently found in a variety of domains, including financial data analysis, medical and health monitoring and industrial automation applications. Due to their abundance and wide application scenarios, there has been an increasing need for efficient machine learning algorithms to extract information and build knowledge from these data. One of the major tasks in time series mining is time series classification (TSC), which consists of applying a learning algorithm on labeled data to train a model that will then be used to predict the classes of samples from an unlabeled data set. Due to the sequential characteristic of time series data, state-of-the-art classification algorithms (such as SVM and Random Forest) that performs well for generic data are usually not suitable for TSC. In order to improve the performance of TSC tasks, this dissertation proposes different methods to transform time series data for a better feature extraction process as well as novel algorithms to achieve better classification performance in terms of computation efficiency and classification accuracy. In the first part of this dissertation, we conduct a large scale empirical study that takes advantage of discrete wavelet transform (DWT) for time series dimensionality reduction. We first transform real-valued time series data using different families of DWT. Then we apply dynamic time warping (DTW)-based 1NN classification on 39 datasets and find out that existing DWT-based lossy compression approaches can help to overcome the challenges of storage and computation time. Furthermore, we provide assurances to practitioners by empirically showing, with various datasets and with several DWT approaches, that TSC algorithms yield similar accuracy on both compressed (i.e., approximated) and raw time series data. We also show that, in some datasets, wavelets may actually help in reducing noisy variations which deteriorate the performance of TSC tasks. In a few cases, we note that the residual details/noises from compression are more useful for recognizing data patterns. In the second part, we propose a language model-based approach for TSC named Domain Series Corpus (DSCo), in order to take advantage of mature techniques from both time series mining and Natural Language Processing (NLP) communities. After transforming real-valued time series into texts using Symbolic Aggregate approXimation (SAX), we build per-class language models (unigrams and bigrams) from these symbolized text corpora. To classify unlabeled samples, we compute the fitness of each symbolized sample against all per-class models and choose the class represented by the model with the best fitness score. Through extensive experiments on an open dataset archive, we demonstrate that DSCo performs similarly to approaches working with original uncompressed numeric data. We further propose DSCo-NG to improve the computation efficiency and classification accuracy of DSCo. In contrast to DSCo where we try to find the best way to recursively segment time series, DSCo-NG breaks time series into smaller segments of the same size, this simplification also leads to simplified language model inference in the training phase and slightly higher classification accuracy. The third part of this dissertation presents a multiscale visibility graph representation for time series as well as feature extraction methods for TSC, so that both global and local features are fully extracted from time series data. Unlike traditional TSC approaches that seek to find global similarities in time series databases (e.g., 1NN-DTW) or methods specializing in locating local patterns/subsequences (e.g., shapelets), we extract solely statistical features from graphs that are generated from time series. Specifically, we augment time series by means of their multiscale approximations, which are further transformed into a set of visibility graphs. After extracting probability distributions of small motifs, density, assortativity, etc., these features are used for building highly accurate classification models using generic classifiers (e.g., Support Vector Machine and eXtreme Gradient Boosting). Based on extensive experiments on a large number of open datasets and comparison with five state-of-the-art TSC algorithms, our approach is shown to be both accurate and efficient: it is more accurate than Learning Shapelets and at the same time faster than Fast Shapelets. Finally, we list a few industrial applications that relevant to our research work, including Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring as well as anomaly detection and visualization by means for hierarchical clustering for time series data. In summary, this dissertation explores different possibilities to improve the efficiency and accuracy of TSC algorithms. To that end, we employ a range of techniques including wavelet transforms, symbolic approximations, language models and graph mining algorithms. We experiment and evaluate our approaches using publicly available time series datasets. Comparison with the state-of-the-art shows that the approaches developed in this dissertation perform well, and contribute to advance the field of TSC. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 327 (31 UL)
Full Text
See detailCONSEQUENCES OF EARLY LIFE STRESS FOR PAIN PROCESSING AND COPING WITH STRESS IN LATER LIFE: BEHAVIOURAL AND BIOCHEMICAL STUDIES IN THE RAT
Genty, Julien UL

Doctoral thesis (2018)

Stress is commonly defined as the response to a non-specific situation presenting a psychological and/or physical challenge. In order to react in an appropriate manner to environmental threats the body ... [more ▼]

Stress is commonly defined as the response to a non-specific situation presenting a psychological and/or physical challenge. In order to react in an appropriate manner to environmental threats the body will trigger a wide range of defence mechanisms. However cases where challenges are sustained and the individual does not have the ability to cope with the stress are nowadays believed to be a main factor for the onset and exacerbation of a broad range of disorders. Among these are psychiatric disorders such as depression but also pain affections. Pain is described by the International Association for the study of Pain (IASP) as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. As for stress, this system aiming at preserving the body integrity can become defective and enhance pain sensitivity or foster the development of chronic pain. These two health problems categories each represent a considerable issue of public health. Indeed the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 27% of the European adult population had experienced at least one episode of mental disorder and the IASP reported that 19% of the pan-European population experienced chronic pain (Macfarlane, Pain 2016). Furthermore, chronic pain and stress-related disorders are greatly comorbid, having deleterious effects on the efficacy of treatments. Despite the raising awareness of clinical and pre-clinical research on their overlapping pathways, common mediators and interactions, the nature of the relationship between chronic pain conditions and stress-related disorders is not yet elucidated. The studies I undertook during my Ph.D. aimed to understand how chronic stress, with an emphasis on early-life stress, is linked to altered nociceptive transmission and to modified chronic pain vulnerability. Early life stress (ELS) was of particular interest as this period of life is subjected to an intense neuronal plasticity of notably stress and pain systems. Furthermore it is increasingly accepted that early life factors are linked to the susceptibility to develop chronic pain conditions in adulthood. As pain is a multidimensional system, I had to restrict my studies to one of the relay stations for the transmission of pain. In the context of chronic stress, most of the work was done on the brain circuits underlying the affective part of pain but little is known about the effect of chronic pain on spinal nociceptive processes. Since chronic stress is a broad phenomenon altering not only processing at the brain level, I focused my studies on spinal dorsal horn noxious transmission. The first stage of my work was to assess the impact of ELS on neuropathic pain, a type of chronic pain arising from nerve lesions. In a second step, I sought to determine if the results obtained in this first study were specific to the type of pain (neuropathic) or also were valid for another type of chronic pain, e.g. chronic inflammatory pain. The third study aimed to determine if ELS would predispose to enhanced vulnerability to stress exposure later in life and to concomitant alterations of chronic pain. To finish, during the last year of my Ph.D. I investigated the possible mechanisms underlying the behavioural results using pharmacological manipulations and initiated a separate project devoted to in vivo electrophysiological characterization of the response behaviour of nociceptive spinal dorsal horn neurons. In the following introduction, I will give an overview of the stress systems, focusing on the hypothalamo-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and early life stress. Then I will outline the different part of the pain system and concepts of central sensitization involved in chronic pain. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 76 (10 UL)