85,980 results

  • Decoloured Bloodmeal Based Bioplastic

    Low, Aaron (2012)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    Renewable and compostable bioplastics can be produced from biopolymers such as proteins. Animal blood is a by-product from meat processing and is rich in protein. It is dried into low value bloodmeal and is used as animal feed or fertiliser. Previous work has shown that bloodmeal can be converted into a thermoplastic using water, urea, sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), sodium sulphite and triethylene glycol (TEG). This material is currently being commercialised as Novatein Thermoplastic Protein (NTP) and studies are working on improving its properties through production of composites and blends. In addition further studies are working on understanding its molecular structure before and after thermoplastic processing by utilising various analytical techniques. A specific area identified for improvement is its colour and smell. NTP is black in colour and has an offensive odour which means its current potential applications are limited to agriculture and waste disposal. Approximately 30 to 40% of plastics are used in short life span applications such as packaging and using bioplastics in these applications would be advantageous because of their compostability. To increase NTP’s possible range of applications to common applications such as packaging and increase its acceptance from consumers, its colour and odour must be removed without compromising its mechanical properties. Oxidative treatment methods for removing colour and odour from red blood cell concentrate (RBCC), modified red blood cell concentrate (mRBCC) and bloodmeal were investigated using hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid (PAA), sodium hypochlorite, sodium chlorite, sodium chlorate and chlorine dioxide. Treatment effect on protein molecular weight, crystallinity, thermal stability, solubility, product colour and smell were investigated. Treating RBCC and mRBCC required multiple processing steps, had high water contents (67% and 93% respectively), foamed during treatment with peroxides and the protein was prone to hydrolysis. Bloodmeal contained 95% solids and was less sensitive to hydrolysis. The best decolouring and deodorising results were obtained by treating bloodmeal with 5% PAA. Using this novel treatment method, decolouring was completed within five minutes and produced a powder which was 67% white based on the RGB colour scale. Protein molecular weight was unaffected by PAA concentration, with a number average molecular weight ranging between 190-223 kDa for 1-5% PAA treated bloodmeal. However, its crystallinity decreased from 35% to 31-27% when treated with 1-5% PAA. Treating bloodmeal with 1-5% PAA also reduced the protein’s thermal stability, glass transition temperature (225°C down to 50°C) and increased its solubility from 11% to 85% in 1% SDS solution at 100°C. 3-5% PAA treated bloodmeal powder was extruded using different combinations of water, TEG, glycerol, SDS, sodium sulphite, urea, borax, salt and sodium silicate at concentrations up to 60 parts per hundred parts bloodmeal (pphBM). Partially consolidated extrudates and fully consolidated injection moulded samples were obtained using a combination of water, TEG and SDS. 4% PAA treated bloodmeal produced the best extruded and injection moulded samples and was chosen for investigating the effects of water, TEG and SDS concentration on consolidation and specific mechanical energy input (SME) as well as product colour and mechanical properties. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed SDS was the most important factor influencing ability to be extruded because it detangled protein chains and allowed them to form new stabilising interactions required for consolidation. The best extruded sample, which was 98% consolidated and 49% white, contained 40 pphBM water, 10 pphBM TEG and 6 pphBM SDS. TEG had the greatest effect on the product’s mechanical properties and colour after injection moulding because of its plasticisation effect. ANOVA showed TEG contributed 30.5% to changes in Young’s modulus, 66.9% to strain, 39.7% to toughness, 0.1% to UTS and 38.1% to colour. However, SDS also contributed 8.1% to changes in Young’s modulus, 13.7% to strain, 15.2% to toughness, 12.5% to UTS, 0.5% to colour. Initial water content contributed 19.7% to Young’s modulus, 1.0% to strain, 0.6% to toughness, 30.0% to UTS and 29.9% to colour. The best injection moulded sample was produced using 50 pphBM water, 20 pphBM TEG and 3 pphBM SDS. This produced a material which was 39% white, which had an almost transparent yellow/orange colour with a tensile strength of 4.62 MPa, Young’s modulus 85.48 MPa, toughness 1.75 MPa and 82.62% strain. The mechanical properties of the product manufactured in this study were comparable to those of NTP, but the product was mostly decoloured, allowing it to be easily pigmented and without an offensive odour.

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  • A content analysis of ecotourism attributes of New Zealand whale and dolphin watching operators’ presence on the Internet

    Sun, Xiaoshu

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Since the 1980s, ecotourism has experienced a dramatic growth worldwide. Ecotourism comes with a definitional promise to promote responsible travel to natural areas, make a positive contribution to environmental conservation, and enhance the well-being of local communities. Recent years have seen whale watching tourism gaining great popularity, which originally was considered an excellent form of tourism to protect the marine wildlife and a number of benefits to the environment and local communities have since been identified. However, marine experts expressed concerns with regard to the potential negative impacts on the cetaceans and the whole marine system. Whale watching tour operators are one of the most important stakeholders of the local environment and community, which have responsibilities to protect the marine animals and environment, and various principles and legal regulations that they have to comply with. In order to maximize the benefits for the environment, community and tourists’ experience, there is a significant need for research on whale watching operators. This study was designed to examine the operators in the New Zealand context. New Zealand is considered as one of the most popular whale watching countries in the world. In the years since New Zealand progressed from whaling to whale conservation, whale watching tourism has become one of the most important sectors in ecotourism. Websites are a common medium for business operators to introduce and promote themselves by presenting their contributions for environmental conservation and social development. Thus, in order to have a better understanding of the New Zealand whale watching operators’ performance in ecotourism, it is necessary to develop detailed insights into the efforts they are making for the local environment, community and the tourists through analysing their websites. Sixty-four New Zealand whale watching operators who have a website were identified, and a thorough content analysis was employed to study them. The research results revealed that many operators consider themselves as eco-operators. Almost half of the operators presented Qualmarks, which is the New Zealand tourism certification defined by strict environmentally and socially responsible criteria. It was found that various forms of contributions were made for many aspects of ecotourism, which are classified and discussed in different groups respectively. Whale watching is a significant sector in ecotourism, involving great efforts from all stakeholders. This study shows that although a variety of contributions made for ecotourism are presented by New Zealand operators on their websites, their participation in many of these contributions is relatively low.

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  • Diversity and inclusion in a Multinational Corporation: Senior Managers' perceptions across three Asian regions

    Ponce-Pura, Maria Perpetua

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This two-phase research evaluates diversity and inclusion by examining the perceptions of senior management about diversity and inclusion policies and practices in a US-based multinational corporation (MNC) in Asia. Research was carried out in three regional offices represented by India, Australia and Vietnam. Phase 1 is a preliminary case study in India Region. Phase 2 is a comparative study of senior managers’ perceptions and attitudes toward diversity and inclusion policies and practices in the India Region, Australia Region and Vietnam Region. Data was gathered between 2010 and 2012 using quantitative and qualitative methods. A survey and an interview were conducted in Phase 1 while company survey results were utilized in Phase 2. The results were presented based on percentages of favourable, neutral and unfavourable scores for each question, and were described according to the company criteria as ‘strengths’, ‘opportunities for improvement’ and ‘areas of concern’ respectively. These data were supplemented by secondary information such as company policies and reports. Findings from Phase 1 revealed a generally favourable perception of diversity and inclusion from predominantly male senior managers in the company’s regional office in India. Results indicated that diversity and inclusion were widely understood and accepted as necessary for the business to succeed. Of particular interest was the strong positive attitude of the managers towards initiatives introduced to embed diversity and inclusion such as the Women’s Council. Such attitudes suggest a possible sensitivity to a common goal of advancing women’s interest in the workplace. Comparative results in Phase 2 showed that female senior managers generally, perceived diversity and inclusion less favourably than males. The number of diversity and inclusion policies and practices perceived as strengths by the male senior managers were greater than the strengths indicated by their female counterparts. There were mixed results when overall perceptions of senior managers were compared by region, thus indicating the importance of relational context in transferring diversity and inclusion policies and practices from the company global headquarters to the regional offices in Asia. Differing perceptions were also found for male and female responses on some specific human resource policies and practices directed towards diversity and inclusion, suggesting the company still needs to focus on important issues like gender and discrimination, leadership support on diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance. Considering the limited organisational level studies on diversity and inclusion within the Asian context, this research contributes to the emerging field of research exploring the relational model in diversity management and linking the macro, meso and micro contexts of the three regional offices of the MNC. This model provided a comprehensive perspective of diversity management within a single organisation with multiple branches of operation. Despite its limitations, the study managed to address the divergence between various diversity management elements through the analysis of senior managers’ perceptions, taking into consideration the specific regional contexts within which the multinational organisation operates. The results support the greater explanatory value that a relational approach to diversity management brings. A relational model of diversity bridges macro, meso and micro levels of analysis, resulting in different perceptions across different regional offices within the same organisation. Although the study was limited to one organisation, the strengths of this research were demonstrated in terms of the following contributions: first, this research serves as a starting point in addressing the scarcity of empirical work on the study of diversity management specifically using the multi-level relational model; it contributes to the small amount of diversity research that has been carried out in Asia; second, it provides critical insights at an organisational level when implementing human resource management policies and practices aimed to address diversity issues; third, it underscores the variable perceptions of gender issues across different regions and highlights the importance of macro-contextual factors in diversity management practice; and lastly, it shares the researcher’s valuable experience in overcoming the challenges of an insider-researcher.

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  • The reliability of measuring the inter-recti distance using high-resolution and low-resolution ultrasound imaging comparing a novice to an experienced sonographer

    Iwan, T; Garton, B; Ellis, R

    Journal article
    Auckland University of Technology

    Diastasis recti abdominis is an increase in inter-recti distance. This commonly occurs in women postpartum and may lead to weakness and dysfunction of the abdominal muscles. Ultrasound imaging has been previously used to quantify the inter-recti distance. The aims of this study were: 1) to examine the reliability of an experienced versus a novice sonographer in the measurement of inter-recti distance; 2) to examine the reliability of using high-resolution versus low-resolution ultrasound imaging in the measurement of inter-recti distance. Ultrasound measures of the inter-recti distance were recorded in thirty healthy participants at rest and during an abdominal contraction by both an experienced and novice sonographer. Intra-rater, within-session measurement of inter-recti distance demonstrated good to very good reliability. Intra-rater, between session reliability remained very good for the experienced sonographer but declined for the novice sonographer. Results demonstrated excellent agreement between both low and high-resolution ultrasound imaging with no statistically significant differences recorded. There were no statistical differences between the novice and experienced sonographers’ measurements. The results of this study indicate the potential of low-resolution ultrasound imaging to be implemented clinically in the future.

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  • Dust from Australia- A reappraisal

    Healy, T.R. (1970)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    This paper reviews the meteorological events of October 1928 associated with severe duststorms in Australia and subsequent transport of dust to New Zealand. In the light of contemporary knowledge of the jet streams, and from reappraisal of the original synoptic charts, reported meteorological conditions and press reports pertaining to these duststorms, it is postulated that for dust to be deposited upon New Zealand within 24 hours, of duststorms in Australia it presumably travelled via the jet stream region of the' middle and upper troposphere.

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  • Dynamics and precursor signs for phase transitions in neural systems

    Negahbani, Ehsan (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis investigates neural state transitions associated with sleep, seizure and anaesthesia. The aim is to address the question: How does a brain traverse the critical threshold between distinct cortical states, both healthy and pathological? Specifically we are interested in sub-threshold neural behaviour immediately prior to state transition. We use theoretical neural modelling (single spiking neurons, a network of these, and a mean-field continuum limit) and in vitro experiments to address this question. Dynamically realistic equations of motion for thalamic relay neuron, reticular nuclei, cortical pyramidal and cortical interneuron in different vigilance states are developed, based on the Izhikevich spiking neuron model. A network of cortical neurons is assembled to examine the behaviour of the gamma-producing cortical network and its transition to lower frequencies due to effect of anaesthesia. Then a three-neuron model for the thalamocortical loop for sleep spindles is presented. Numerical simulations of these networks confirms spiking consistent with reported in vivo measurement results, and provides supporting evidence for precursor indicators of imminent phase transition due to occurrence of individual spindles. To complement the spiking neuron networks, we study the Wilson–Cowan neural mass equations describing homogeneous cortical columns and a 1D spatial cluster of such columns. The abstract representation of cortical tissue by a pair of coupled integro-differential equations permits thorough linear stability, phase plane and bifurcation analyses. This model shows a rich set of spatial and temporal bifurcations marking the boundary to state transitions: saddle-node, Hopf, Turing, and mixed Hopf–Turing. Close to state transition, white-noise-induced subthreshold fluctuations show clear signs of critical slowing down with prolongation and strengthening of autocorrelations, both in time and space, irrespective of bifurcation type. Attempts at in vitro capture of these predicted leading indicators form the last part of the thesis. We recorded local field potentials (LFPs) from cortical and hippocampal slices of mouse brain. State transition is marked by the emergence and cessation of spontaneous seizure-like events (SLEs) induced by bathing the slices in an artificial cerebral spinal fluid containing no magnesium ions. Phase-plane analysis of the LFP time-series suggests that distinct bifurcation classes can be responsible for state change to seizure. Increased variance and growth of spectral power at low frequencies (f < 15 Hz) was observed in LFP recordings prior to initiation of some SLEs. In addition we demonstrated prolongation of electrically evoked potentials in cortical tissue, while forwarding the slice to a seizing regime. The results offer the possibility of capturing leading temporal indicators prior to seizure generation, with potential consequences for understanding epileptogenesis. Guided by dynamical systems theory this thesis captures evidence for precursor signs of phase transitions in neural systems using mathematical and computer-based modelling as well as in vitro experiments.

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  • The Formulation of Titanium - based Metal Feedstocks and the Fabrication of Parts using the Powder Injection Moulding Process

    Ewart, Paul Douglas (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    Development of a profitable titanium industry for New Zealand will not come about without innovative technologies. Plastic injection moulding has long held a place in NZ manufacturing to produce large quantities of complex parts and holds the key to such innovation. Titanium metal parts were fabricated by injection moulding titanium based metal powder feedstock followed by a debinding process and subsequent sintering. The fabrication process in its entirety was investigated in four distinct steps. Feedstock formulation involved combining the metal powders with various carrier components. Injection moulding enabled the shaping of the feedstock into geometries approximating the final part. Debinding being the process whereby the carrier/binder system is removed from the part to create a powder compact retaining the required geometry. Sintering being the final step where the metal powders are consolidated into a fully dense metal part of net shape. The feedstock binder consisted of water soluble polyethylene glycol that reduced feedstock viscosity, improved particle wetting, aided greenpart shape retention and eliminated toxic solvents in debinding. Carnauba wax and bees wax aided dispersion, lubricated particles, were safe to handle and better for the environment (than petroleum waxes). Their low melt temperatures aided removal during thermal debinding and supported residue elimination. By optimising the ratio of water soluble, wax and polyolefin binder components (3: 2: 1 respectively) for melt flow and pellet formation, greenparts defect free with uniform particle distribution were made. The optimal binder system proved suitable for titanium alloy and irregular shape pure titanium powders (hydride-de-hydride). Increasing powder loading (wP = (0.60 to 0.65)) had no appreciable effect on viscosity while enabling feedstock with good uniformity and pellet formation. Dimensional change was not affected by uniformity of the feedstock however molecular weight, volume and dispersion of binder components affected interparticular distances. Low processing temperatures reduced disruption to part geometry, benefitted particle bonding and helped retain handling strength. The use of low temperatures for thermal debinding (t = 250 °C) enabled removal of the binder below the temperatures that facilitate interstitial diffusion and oxide/carbide formation, although part thickness, mass and overall volume effected the processing time. A strong correlation was seen between handling strength of the greenparts and defects, such as non-uniform density distribution and cracking after sintering. Sintering was essential to produce the final part and showed that a binder free brownpart was not the only criteria for eliminating impurities. The furnace atmosphere must remain free from contamination to eliminate transfer back to the parts. This was addressed using an argon sweep gas, however, the design and efficacy of the system was considered inadequate. Decomposition products need to be removed quickly from the furnace as they evolve before impurities from the sweep gas diffuse back into the parts during the extended duration at sinter temperatures (t = 1300 °C). The combination of an optimised titanium feedstock and the use of a low temperature thermal debinding technique produced a consolidated MIM part of relatively large dimensions. The parts were seen to have uniform microstructure throughout the cross-section with density comparable to that of MIM standards. In difference to the literature, a high powder loading (φp = 0.65) of HDH powders was used and shown to be readily mouldable. The higher powder loading also eliminate separation defects and shape distortions evident using lower amounts of powder.

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  • A new paradigm for primary prevention strategy in people with elevated risk of stroke

    Feigin, VL; Norrving, B

    Journal article
    Auckland University of Technology

    Existing methods of primary stroke prevention are not sufficiently effective. Based on the recently developed Stroke Riskometer app, a new 'mass-elevated risk stroke/cardiovascular disease prevention' approach as an addition to the currently adopted absolute risk stroke/cardiovascular disease prevention approach is being advocated. We believe this approach is far more appealing to the individuals concerned and could be as efficient as the conventional population-based approach because it allows identification and engagement in prevention of all individuals who are at an increased (even slightly increased) risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The key novelty of this approach is twofold. First, it utilizes modern far-reaching mobile technologies, allowing individuals to calculate their absolute risk of stroke within the next 5 to 10 years and to compare their risk with those of the same age and gender without risk factors. Second, it employs self-management strategies to engage the person concerned in stroke/cardiovascular disease prevention, which is tailored to the person's individual risk profile. Preventative strategies similar to the Stroke Riskometer could be developed for other non-communicable disorders for which reliable predictive models and preventative recommendations exist. This would help reduce the burden of non-communicable disorders worldwide.

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  • Corporate environmental reporting in New Zealand - motivations by moral reasoning

    Nair, Navin

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The objective of this study is to investigate the application of morality as a motivation for environmental reporting in a number of New Zealand companies that consider themselves both ethically and environmentally responsible. There have been many studies on the motivation of environmental reporting. Legitimacy theory and stakeholder theory are explanatory theories that have been dominant in the literature. However, influence of morality as a motivation for environmental reporting has not been studied fully. This dissertation looks at virtue ethics as a theory of morality and suggests that companies ought to report on their environmental impacts in an honest way. Virtue ethics looks at the human character of morality where one asks the question “how should I live my life”? The reflection of human character is present in company value statements and codes of conduct. These codes guide employees to be more ethical by emphasising virtues such as honesty, integrity and fairness. Since most companies hold themselves out to be ethical, those preparing corporate environmental reporting should be expected to report this information in an honest manner. This research used content analysis to prepare, organise and categorise public information disclosed in the annual reports and on company websites of twelve New Zealand companies. The analysis refers to the virtues in each company’s values, codes of ethics, statements of environmental responsibility and actual environmental reporting. The quality of the environmental reporting is assessed by referring to the qualitative characteristics of relevance and faithful representation outlined in the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting 2010. Three of the twelve companies studied have reported high quality environmental information suggesting that virtue could have been the moral motivation as to why they have done so. The other nine companies have not disclosed high quality environmental information. Because these nine companies have held themselves to be ethical in their company statements they therefore ought to be disclosing high quality environmental information.

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  • Optimisation of aerobic fitness development in young athletes

    Harrison, Craig Bruce

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Aerobic fitness is important for most team sport players. However, the trainability of aerobic fitness using different approaches in developmental players, accounting for player maturation, is not well understood. Given the additional importance of technical and tactical skill acquisition for developing team sport players, the design, manipulation and quantification of responses and adaptations to small-sided games (SSG) could help reveal optimal training and prescription strategies for young players. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to design and determine appropriate training approaches for the development of aerobic fitness in young athletes. Firstly, a novel SSG was developed and thereafter a series of studies were undertaken to examine the effect of various SSG designs and training regimes on the physiological, movement and technical characteristics and performance variables in young players aged 12 to 14 years. Data revealed that players travelled further and at higher overall speeds, experienced higher physiological workloads, and performed more successful technical executions during non sport-specific SSG compared with a sport-specific equivalent. During the non sport-specific SSG, fewer player numbers (i.e. 3 vs. 3) provided a higher stimulus for aerobic fitness adaptation and improved technical executions compared with 4 vs. 4 and 6 vs. 6 games. Higher physiological loads were elicited during continuous 3 vs. 3 SSGs balanced for team selection and players travelled further at higher speeds during balanced games. Balanced and unbalanced team selections, and continuous and intermittent regimes, were interchanged without affecting the quantity and quality of technical executions. However, while manipulation of SSG rules reduced exercise intensity, the quality and quantity of technical executions was increased. The addition of inter-game high-intensity interval running elicited higher player external load and increased the distance travelled at higher running speeds. Perceptual response of players was influenced by external load of the various SSG formats more so than internal load. A combination of SSGs training and traditional high-intensity interval training was more effective at increasing aerobic fitness in young team sport players than SSGs training alone. In summary, non sport-specific, continuous SSG formats with small playing numbers, balanced team selection and no rule modifications appear to elicit the highest stimulus for aerobic adaptation and are therefore recommended for aerobic fitness development in young team sport athletes. Restricting the time allowed in possession of the ball could be used as a strategy to increase the technical skill capabilities of players, while intermittent regimes are recommend to train the associated demands of higher speed running. Finally, while SSGs can elicit sufficient stimulus for increasing aerobic fitness, the addition of high-intensity interval training to the training regime of young players around peak height velocity provides optimal development.

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  • Mid-term evaluation of the Strengthening Pacific Partnerships project

    Nunns, H; Roorda, M; Bedford, C; Bedford, R

    Report
    Auckland University of Technology

    This report presents the findings of an independent, mid-term evaluation of the Strengthening Pacific Partnerships (SPP) project for the 18 month period October 2011 to March 2013. The main report presents the valuation findings about the SPP project, including general observations about the seven Pacific States involved in SPP. Appendix A includes the specific findings for each of the States.1 In this report, the term “respondent” refers to a person who was interviewed for the evaluation. The term “official” refers to a Government employee in a Pacific state unless otherwise stated.

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  • Trust Mining and analysis in complex systems

    Jiang, Jing

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    A complex system, as a collection of loosely coupled interacting components, can group and create functioning units together. Complex systems have become a powerful framework for describing, analysing, modelling systems in nature and society. Trust among components, established by considering past interactions, represents a subjective expectation which a component has about another’s future behaviour to perform given activities dependably, securely, and reliably. Hence, trust is essential to effectively reduce the perceived risks of transactions and guide future interactions. It is applied to quantify the performance of both individual component behaviours and the correlations among interdependent components in a complex system. With regard to certain challenges in the current complex system research, this thesis deeply investigates trust relationships among components within two different types of complex systems, i.e., the collaborative complex system and the preference system, and proposes three trust estimation approaches. Firstly, collaborative complex systems consist of loosely coupled autonomous and adaptive components. In order to address complicated problems which usually require multiple skills and functions, components are grouped as composite teams and collaborate by providing different knowledge, resource and skill. Two types of team formation strategies for collaborative complex systems are proposed for scenarios of team formation without predefined workflow structures, and team formation with predefined workflow structures, respectively. Hence, the Correlated Contribution trust evaluation model is proposed to explore the compositional trust through considering correlations and dependencies among both skills required by tasks and individual components within collaborative composite teams. Furthermore, we propose an automatic approach, i.e., the Same Edge Contribution trust evaluation model, to estimate the trustworthiness of proposed candidate composite teams by analysing historical provenance graphs which are adopted to capture pre- defined workflow structures. Finally, preference systems mainly focus on the entities with similar preferences and group them into various communities. However, in the real world, a particular entity usually places its trust differently from other social entities, because of their multi-faceted interests and preferences. In this thesis, a Community- Based trust estimation approach is proposed to explore the similarity of criteria or preference among entities within the same community in relation to a certain context. It automatically infers trust relationships among entities from previous entity-generated feedback, and predict a particular entity’s potential feedback for items which the entity does not have previous experience with.

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  • Introductory programming and educational performance indicators - a mismatch

    Clear, AL

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Introductory programming courses are known worldwide to pose challenges for both students and educators. A recent meta-review of research in the area has indicated something in the order of a sixty six percent pass rate globally. Yet the New Zealand Government has asked institutions to set high and increasing targets as a goal for student pass rates in its educational performance indicators. Increasingly these metrics are being used to shape the behaviour and educational outcomes sought from educational institutions, with the threat of penalties by way of loss of funding for supposedly “poorly performing courses”. Yet while focused at the institutional level, how do these indicators really meet the needs of all the stakeholders in the tertiary education system? To what extent do they distort and create incentives for perverse behaviours? This review assesses the dilemmas such measurement systems pose to educators using the case of introductory programming as an example.

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  • Optimisation and modelling of spiking neural networks - Enhancing neural information processing systems through the power of evolution

    Schliebs, S (2011-08-04)

    Book
    Auckland University of Technology

    Motivated by the desire to better understand the truly remarkable information processing capabilities of the brain, numerous biologically plausible computational models have been explored in the recent decades. Already today, many applications employ neural networks to solve complex real world problems. Significant progress has been made in areas such as speech recognition, robotic controllers, associative memory and function approximation. This book develops an extension for a machine learning technique called the evolving spiking neural network (eSNN). It allows the automatic tuning of the neural and learning-related parameters of eSNN in order to promote its straightforward application to many different problem domains. The book proposes novel evolutionary algorithms capable of efficiently exploring multiple mixed-variable search spaces simultaneously. The enhanced eSNN is comprehensively investigated on benchmark problems and a real-world case study.

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  • Design and control of cross coupled mechanisms driven by AC brushless servomotors

    Connor, AM (2014-04-10)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    This paper presents an overview of a design methodology for the optimal synthesis of hybrid mechanisms. Hybrid mechanisms have been defined as multi-degree of freedom systems where the input motions are supplied by different motor types. In this work a five bar mechanism is designed for a given task under the constraint that one input axis rotates with constant velocity whilst the other input can exhibit any motion requirement. A machine of this type is classified as being cross-coupled due to the mechanical linkage between the input axes. Cross-coupling implies that the input motion on one axis effects the position of the other input axis. This can lead to either opposition to, or accentuation of the control system input. Such a system as this is difficult to control due to the compensation for this on each axis leading to further disturbance. Results are presented for a real machine operating in this way and the actual output of the machine is compared to the desired input of the machine.

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  • Signals from human resource (HR) job advertisements in New Zealand

    Ho, M; Nguyen, D; Lo, K; McLean, C; Teo, S (2014-01-30)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Human resource (HR) competencies for HR professionals have been implicated as an indicator of organisations’ pursuit of human resource management (HRM). Utilising Signalling Theory, this paper evaluates the literature on HR competencies and contrasts these with the signals given by organisations in the recruitment of HR professionals in New Zealand. Using Leximancer and frequency analysis, we contrast the academic literature with the signals that organisations recruiting HR professionals give in their job advertisements. Findings indicate that the literature has progressed to more strategic concerns and focused on the management of competencies by organisations. In contrast, signals by organisations appear to emphasise functional rather than strategic competencies. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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  • A case study of authentic learning underpinned by design thinking and industry collaboration

    Inder, S; Withell, A (2014-02-19)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    This paper will present a case study of a year-two product design project that has been developed alongside the specific requirements of an industry collaborator and delivered within an innovative, research-led, Design Thinking (Brown, 2008) framework, providing an authentic learning experience for students. This tightly structured approach aimed to “engage students in real-world inquiry problems involving higher order thinking skills with an authentic audience beyond the classroom” (Rule, 2006), through the integration of industry orientated needs and constraints. The paper will discuss the overarching approach to the development of the project including the key principles and theories that underpin the curriculum. The paper then discusses collaboration with an industry expert to develop the pragmatic design and industry constraints focusing on economic feasibility, functional viability and product desirability. In addition, it includes a description of an innovative Design Thinking framework that has been developed as part of a PhD research project. The paper concludes with a discussion of the impact of this tightly constrained, authentic learning approach on the design expertise development of students. It also discusses the tensions in developing a learning and teaching approach for year two students that balances Design Thinking (empathising and radical idea generation) and pragmatic, constraint driven design.

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  • Attributing returns and optimising United States swaps portfolios using an intertemporally-consistent and arbitrage-free model of the yield curve

    Krippner, Leo (2005-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    This paper uses the volatility-adjusted orthonormalised Laguerre polynomial model of the yield curve (the VAO model) from Krippner (2005), an intertemporally-consistent and arbitrage-free version of the popular Nelson and Siegel (1987) model, to develop a multi-dimensional yield-curve-based risk framework for fixed interest portfolios. The VAO model is also used to identify relative value (i.e. potential excess returns) from the universe of securities that define the yield curve. In combination, these risk and return elements provide an intuitive framework for attributing portfolio returns ex-post, and for optimising portfolios ex-ante. The empirical applications are to six years of daily United States interest rate swap data. The first application shows that the main sources of fixed interest portfolio risk (i.e. unanticipated variability in ex-post returns) are first-order (‘duration’) effects from stochastic shifts in the level and shape of the yield curve; second-order (‘convexity’) effects and other contributions are immaterial. The second application shows that fixed interest portfolios optimised ex-ante using the VAO model risk/relative framework significantly outperform a naive evenly-weighted benchmark over time.

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  • Modelling the yield curve with Orthonormalised Laguerre Polynomials: A consistent cross-sectional and inter-temporal approach

    Krippner, Leo (2003-09)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Waikato

    This article proposes the orthonormalised Laguerre polynomial (OLP) model of the yield curve, a generic linear model that is both cross-sectionally consistent (that is, it reliably fits the yield curve at a given point in time), and inter-temporally consistent (that is, the cross-sectional parameters are shown to be consistent over time within the expectations hypothesis framework). The OLP model generalises the exponential-polynomial model for a single yield curve, as originally proposed by Nelson and Siegel (1987), and also allows for the simultaneous modelling of other same-currency yield curves that have instrument-specific differences (such as default risk), as in Houweling, Hoek and Kleibergen (2001). New Zealand data is used to illustrate the empirical application of the OLP model.

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  • When no news is good news - The decrease in investor fear after the FOMC announcement

    Frijns, BPM; Fernandez-Perez, A

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    This paper examines the impact of FOMC announcements on the intraday behavior of the VIX and VIX futures. We find that the VIX and the VIX futures start to decline immediately after the FOMC announcement, and this decline persists for about 45 minutes after the announcement. The VIX declines by about 3% on announcement days, whereas the nearest term VIX futures contract declines by about 1.40% around the announcement. We further note that the decline in the VIX and VIX futures is inversely related to the increase in realized volatility around the FOMC announcement. We show that on days with an FOMC announcement, a trading strategy, going short on the VIX futures at the start of the day and closing the position at the end of the same day, yields a return of about 10% p.a.

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