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Heading toward Artificial Intelligence 2.0
Yunhe Pan
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 409-413.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (452KB)

With the popularization of the Internet, permeation of sensor networks, emergence of big data, increase in size of the information community, and interlinking and fusion of data and information throughout human society, physical space, and cyberspace, the information environment related to the current development of artificial intelligence (AI) has profoundly changed. AI faces important adjustments, and scientific foundations are confronted with new breakthroughs, as AI enters a new stage: AI 2.0. This paper briefly reviews the 60-year developmental history of AI, analyzes the external environment promoting the formation of AI 2.0 along with changes in goals, and describes both the beginning of the technology and the core idea behind AI 2.0 development. Furthermore, based on combined social demands and the information environment that exists in relation to Chinese development, suggestions on the development of AI 2.0 are given.

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Marine Renewable Energy Seascape
Alistair G. L. Borthwick
Engineering    2016, 2 (1): 69-78.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3705KB)

Energy production based on fossil fuel reserves is largely responsible for carbon emissions, and hence global warming. The planet needs concerted action to reduce fossil fuel usage and to implement carbon mitigation measures. Ocean energy has huge potential, but there are major interdisciplinary problems to be overcome regarding technology, cost reduction, investment, environmental impact, governance, and so forth. This article briefly reviews ocean energy production from offshore wind, tidal stream, ocean current, tidal range, wave, thermal, salinity gradients, and biomass sources. Future areas of research and development are outlined that could make exploitation of the marine renewable energy (MRE) seascape a viable proposition; these areas include energy storage, advanced materials, robotics, and informatics. The article concludes with a sustainability perspective on the MRE seascape encompassing ethics, legislation, the regulatory environment, governance and consenting, economic, social, and environmental constraints. A new generation of engineers is needed with the ingenuity and spirit of adventure to meet the global challenge posed by MRE.

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The Status of the US High-Temperature Gas Reactors
Andrew C. Kadak
Engineering    2016, 2 (1): 119-123.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (895KB)

In 2005, the US passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandating the construction and operation of a high-temperature gas reactor (HTGR) by 2021. This law was passed after a multiyear study by national experts on what future nuclear technologies should be developed. As a result of the Act, the US Congress chose to develop the so-called Next-Generation Nuclear Plant, which was to be an HTGR designed to produce process heat for hydrogen production. Despite high hopes and expectations, the current status is that high temperature reactors have been relegated to completing research programs on advanced fuels, graphite and materials with no plans to build a demonstration plant as required by the US Congress in 2005. There are many reasons behind this diminution of HTGR development, including but not limited to insufficient government funding requirements for research, unrealistically high temperature requirements for the reactor, the delay in the need for a “hydrogen” economy, competition from light water small modular light water reactors, little utility interest in new technologies, very low natural gas prices in the US, and a challenging licensing process in the US for non-water reactors.

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Fundamental and Technical Challenges for a Compatible Design Scheme of Oxyfuel Combustion Technology
Chuguang Zheng, Zhaohui Liu, Jun Xiang, Liqi Zhang, Shihong Zhang, Cong Luo, Yongchun Zhao
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 139-149.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (5215KB)

Oxyfuel combustion with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a carbon-reduction technology for use in large-scale coal-fired power plants. Significant progress has been achieved in the research and development of this technology during its scaling up from 0.4 MWth to 3 MWth and 35 MWth by the combined efforts of universities and industries in China. A prefeasibility study on a 200 MWe large-scale demonstration has progressed well, and is ready for implementation. The overall research development and demonstration (RD&D) roadmap for oxyfuel combustion in China has become a critical component of the global RD&D roadmap for oxyfuel combustion. An air combustion/oxyfuel combustion compatible design philosophy was developed during the RD&D process. In this paper, we briefly address fundamental research and technology innovation efforts regarding several technical challenges, including combustion stability, heat transfer, system operation, mineral impurities, and corrosion. To further reduce the cost of carbon capture, in addition to the large-scale deployment of oxyfuel technology, increasing interest is anticipated in the novel and next-generation oxyfuel combustion technologies that are briefly introduced here, including a new oxygen-production concept and flameless oxyfuel combustion.

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Research and Development of Heat-Resistant Materials for Advanced USC Power Plants with Steam Temperatures of 700 °C and Above
Fujio Abe
Engineering    2015, 1 (2): 211-224.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1966KB)

Materials-development projects for advanced ultra-supercritical (A-USC) power plants with steam temperatures of 700 °C and above have been performed in order to achieve high efficiency and low CO2 emissions in Europe, the US, Japan, and recently in China and India as well. These projects involve the replacement of martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels with nickel (Ni)-base alloys for the highest temperature boiler and turbine components in order to provide sufficient creep strength at 700°C and above. To minimize the require­ment for expensive Ni-base alloys, martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels can be applied to the next highest temperature components of an A-USC power plant, up to a maximum of 650°C. This paper comprehensively describes the research and development of Ni-base alloys and martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels for thick section boiler and turbine components of A-USC power plants, mainly focusing on the long-term creep-rupture strength of base metal and welded joints, strength loss in welded joints, creep-fatigue properties, and microstructure evolution during exposure at elevated temperatures.

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Recent Advances in 19Fluorine Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Perfluorocarbon Emulsions
Anne H. Schmieder,Shelton D. Caruthers,Jochen Keupp,Samuel A. Wickline,Gregory M. Lanza
Engineering    2015, 1 (4): 475-489.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2072KB)

The research roots of 19fluorine (19F) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) date back over 35 years. Over that time span, 1H imaging flourished and was adopted worldwide with an endless array of applications and imaging approaches, making magnetic resonance an indispensable pillar of biomedical diagnostic imaging. For many years during this timeframe, 19F imaging research continued at a slow pace as the various attributes of the technique were explored. However, over the last decade and particularly the last several years, the pace and clinical relevance of 19F imaging has exploded. In part, this is due to advances in MRI instrumentation, 19F/1H coil designs, and ultrafast pulse sequence development for both preclinical and clinical scanners. These achievements, coupled with interest in the molecular imaging of anatomy and physiology, and combined with a cadre of innovative agents, have brought the concept of 19F into early clinical evaluation. In this review, we attempt to provide a slice of this rich history of research and development, with a particular focus on liquid perfluorocarbon compound-based agents.

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Systems Neuroengineering: Understanding and Interacting with the Brain
Bradley J. Edelman, Nessa Johnson, Abbas Sohrabpour, Shanbao Tong, Nitish Thakor, Bin He
Engineering    2015, 1 (3): 292-308.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (9823KB)

In this paper, we review the current state-of-the-art techniques used for understanding the inner workings of the brain at a systems level. The neural activity that governs our everyday lives involves an intricate coordination of many processes that can be attributed to a variety of brain regions. On the surface, many of these functions can appear to be controlled by specific anatomical structures; however, in reality, numerous dynamic networks within the brain contribute to its function through an interconnected web of neuronal and synaptic pathways. The brain, in its healthy or pathological state, can therefore be best understood by taking a systems-level approach. While numerous neuroengineering technologies exist, we focus here on three major thrusts in the field of systems neuroengineering: neuroimaging, neural interfacing, and neuromodulation. Neuroimaging enables us to delineate the structural and functional organization of the brain, which is key in understanding how the neural system functions in both normal and disease states. Based on such knowledge, devices can be used either to communicate with the neural system, as in neural interface systems, or to modulate brain activity, as in neuromodulation systems. The consideration of these three fields is key to the development and application of neuro-devices. Feedback-based neuro-devices require the ability to sense neural activity (via a neuroimaging modality) through a neural interface (invasive or noninvasive) and ultimately to select a set of stimulation parameters in order to alter neural function via a neuromodulation modality. Systems neuroengineering refers to the use of engineering tools and technologies to image, decode, and modulate the brain in order to comprehend its functions and to repair its dysfunction. Interactions between these fields will help to shape the future of systems neuroengineering—to develop neurotechniques for enhancing the understanding of whole-brain function and dysfunction, and the management of neurological and mental disorders.

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Emerging Trends for Microbiome Analysis: From Single-Cell Functional Imaging to Microbiome Big Data
Jian Xu, Bo Ma, Xiaoquan Su, Shi Huang, Xin Xu, Xuedong Zhou, Wei Huang, Rob Knight
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 66-70.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (813KB)

Method development has always been and will continue to be a core driving force of microbiome science. In this perspective, we argue that in the next decade, method development in microbiome analysis will be driven by three key changes in both ways of thinking and technological platforms: ① a shift from dissecting microbiota structureby sequencing to tracking microbiota state, function, and intercellular interaction via imaging; ② a shift from interrogating a consortium or population of cells to probing individual cells; and ③ a shift from microbiome data analysis to microbiome data science. Some of the recent method-development efforts by Chinese microbiome scientists and their international collaborators that underlie these technological trends are highlighted here. It is our belief that the China Microbiome Initiative has the opportunity to deliver outstanding “Made-in-China” tools to the international research community, by building an ambitious, competitive, and collaborative program at the forefront of method development for microbiome science.

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Noncoding RNAs and Their Potential Therapeutic Applications in Tissue Engineering
Shiying Li, Tianmei Qian, Xinghui Wang, Jie Liu, Xiaosong Gu
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 3-15.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1142KB)

Tissue engineering is a relatively new but rapidly developing field in the medical sciences. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional RNA molecules without a protein-coding function; they can regulate cellular behavior and change the biological milieu of the tissue. The application of ncRNAs in tissue engineering is starting to attract increasing attention as a means of resolving a large number of unmet healthcare needs, although ncRNA-based approaches have not yet entered clinical practice. In-depth research on the regulation and delivery of ncRNAs may improve their application in tissue engineering. The aim of this review is: to outline essential ncRNAs that are related to tissue engineering for the repair and regeneration of nerve, skin, liver, vascular system, and muscle tissue; to discuss their regulation and delivery; and to anticipate their potential therapeutic applications.

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Additive Manufacture of Ceramics Components by Inkjet Printing
Brian Derby
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 113-123.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2218KB)

In order to build a ceramic component by inkjet printing, the object must be fabricated through the interaction and solidification of drops, typically in the range of 10−100 pL. In order to achieve this goal, stable ceramic inks must be developed. These inks should satisfy specific rheological conditions that can be illustrated within a parameter space defined by the Reynolds and Weber numbers. Printed drops initially deform on impact with a surface by dynamic dissipative processes, but then spread to an equilibrium shape defined by capillarity. We can identify the processes by which these drops interact to form linear features during printing, but there is a poorer level of understanding as to how 2D and 3D structures form. The stability of 2D sheets of ink appears to be possible over a more limited range of process conditions that is seen with the formation of lines. In most cases, the ink solidifies through evaporation and there is a need to control the drying process to eliminate the: “coffee ring” defect. Despite these uncertainties, there have been a large number of reports on the successful use of inkjet printing for the manufacture of small ceramic components from a number of different ceramics. This technique offers good prospects as a future manufacturing technique. This review identifies potential areas for future research to improve our understanding of this manufacturing method.

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Design and 3D Printing of Scaffolds and Tissues
Jia An, Joanne Ee Mei Teoh, Ratima Suntornnond, Chee Kai Chua
Engineering    2015, 1 (2): 261-268.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2059KB)

A growing number of?three-dimensional (3D)-print-ing processes have been applied to tissue engineering. This paper presents a state-of-the-art study of 3D-printing technologies?for tissue-engineering applications, with particular focus on the development of a computer-aided scaffold design system; the direct 3D printing of functionally graded scaffolds; the modeling of selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) processes; the indirect additive manufacturing of scaffolds, with both micro and macro features; the development of a bioreactor; and 3D/4D bioprinting. Technological limitations will be discussed so as to highlight the possibility of future improvements for new 3D-printing methodologies for tissue engineering.

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High-Throughput Multi-Plume Pulsed-Laser Deposition for Materials Exploration and Optimization
Samuel S. Mao, Xiaojun Zhang
Engineering    2015, 1 (3): 367-371.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (4674KB)

A high-throughput multi-plume pulsed-laser deposition (MPPLD) system has been demonstrated and compared to previous techniques. Whereas most combinatorial pulsed-laser deposition (PLD) systems have focused on achieving thickness uniformity using sequential multilayer deposition and masking followed by post-deposition annealing, MPPLD directly deposits a compositionally varied library of compounds using the directionality of PLD plumes and the resulting spatial variations of deposition rate. This system is more suitable for high-throughput compound thin-film fabrication.

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Genetically Engineered Crops
Lance A. Davis
Engineering    2016, 2 (3): 268-269.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (910KB)
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A Novel Tele-Operated Flexible Robot Targeted for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery
Zheng Li, Jan Feiling, Hongliang Ren, Haoyong Yu
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 73-78.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3530KB)

In this paper, a novel flexible robot system with a constrained tendon-driven serpentine manipulator (CTSM) is presented. The CTSM gives the robot a larger workspace, more dexterous manipulation, and controllable stiffness compared with the da Vinci surgical robot and traditional flexible robots. The robot is tele-operated using the Novint Falcon haptic device. Two control modes are implemented, direct mapping and incremental mode. In each mode, the robot can be manipulated using either the highest stiffness scheme or the minimal movement scheme. The advantages of the CTSM are shown by simulation and experimental results.

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A Technical Review of Hydro-Project Development in China
Jinsheng Jia
Engineering    2016, 2 (3): 302-312.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (11589KB)

This paper summarizes the development of hydro-projects in China, blended with an international perspective. It expounds major technical progress toward ensuring the safe construction of high dams and river harnessing, and covers the theorization of uneven non-equilibrium sediment transport, inter-basin water diversion, giant hydro-generator units, pumped storage power stations, underground caverns, ecological protection, and so on.

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Fundamental Theories and Key Technologies for Smart and Optimal Manufacturing in the Process Industry
Feng Qian, Weimin Zhong, Wenli Du
Engineering    2017, 3 (2): 154-160.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1352KB)

Given the significant requirements for transforming and promoting the process industry, we present the major limitations of current petrochemical enterprises, including limitations in decision-making, production operation, efficiency and security, information integration, and so forth. To promote a vision of the process industry with efficient, green, and smart production, modern information technology should be utilized throughout the entire optimization process for production, management, and marketing. To focus on smart equipment in manufacturing processes, as well as on the adaptive intelligent optimization of the manufacturing process, operating mode, and supply chain management, we put forward several key scientific problems in engineering in a demand-driven and application-oriented manner, namely: ① intelligent sensing and integration of all process information, including production and management information; ② collaborative decision-making in the supply chain, industry chain, and value chain, driven by knowledge; ③ cooperative control and optimization of plant-wide production processes via human-cyber-physical interaction; and ④life-cycle assessments for safety and environmental footprint monitoring, in addition to tracing analysis and risk control. In order to solve these limitations and core scientific problems, we further present fundamental theories and key technologies for smart and optimal manufacturing in the process industry. Although this paper discusses the process industry in China, the conclusions in this paper can be extended to the process industry around the world.

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Architecture and Software Design for a Service Robot in an Elderly-Care Scenario
Norman Hendrich, Hannes Bistry, Jianwei Zhang
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 27-35.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (8114KB)

Systems for ambient assisted living (AAL) that integrate service robots with sensor networks and user monitoring can help elderly people with their daily activities, allowing them to stay in their homes and live active lives for as long as possible. In this paper, we outline the AAL system currently developed in the European project Robot-Era, and describe the engineering aspects and the service-oriented software architecture of the domestic robot, a service robot with advanced manipulation capabilities. Based on the robot operating system (ROS) middleware, our software integrates a large set of advanced algorithms for navigation, perception, and manipulation. In tests with real end users, the performance and acceptability of the platform are evaluated.

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Strategies and Principles of Distributed Machine Learning on Big Data
Eric P. Xing,Qirong Ho,Pengtao Xie,Dai Wei
Engineering    2016, 2 (2): 179-195.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (5197KB)

The rise of big data has led to new demands for machine learning (ML) systems to learn complex models, with millions to billions of parameters, that promise adequate capacity to digest massive datasets and offer powerful predictive analytics (such as high-dimensional latent features, intermediate representations, and decision functions) thereupon. In order to run ML algorithms at such scales, on a distributed cluster with tens to thousands of machines, it is often the case that significant engineering efforts are required—and one might fairly ask whether such engineering truly falls within the domain of ML research. Taking the view that “big” ML systems can benefit greatly from ML-rooted statistical and algorithmic insights—and that ML researchers should therefore not shy away from such systems design—we discuss a series of principles and strategies distilled from our recent efforts on industrial-scale ML solutions. These principles and strategies span a continuum from application, to engineering, and to theoretical research and development of big ML systems and architectures, with the goal of understanding how to make them efficient, generally applicable, and supported with convergence and scaling guarantees. They concern four key questions that traditionally receive little attention in ML research: How can an ML program be distributed over a cluster? How can ML computation be bridged with inter-machine communication? How can such communication be performed? What should be communicated between machines? By exposing underlying statistical and algorithmic characteristics unique to ML programs but not typically seen in traditional computer programs, and by dissecting successful cases to reveal how we have harnessed these principles to design and develop both high-performance distributed ML software as well as general-purpose ML frameworks, we present opportunities for ML researchers and practitioners to further shape and enlarge the area that lies between ML and systems.

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Development Trends in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing
Bingheng Lu, Dichen Li, Xiaoyong Tian
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 85-89.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (241KB)

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology have been developing rapidly in the last 30 years, and indicate great potential for future development. The promising future of this technology makes its impact on traditional industry unpredictable. 3D printing will propel the revolution of fabrication modes forward, and bring in a new era for customized fabrication by realizing the five “any”s: use of almost any material to fabricate any part, in any quantity and any location, for any industrial field. Innovations in material, design, and fabrication processes will be inspired by the merging of 3D-printing technology and processes with traditional manufacturing processes. Finally, 3D printing will become as valuable for manufacturing industries as equivalent and subtractive manufacturing processes.

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Recent Developments in Functional Crystals in China
Jiyang Wang, Haohai Yu, Yicheng Wu, Robert Boughton
Engineering    2015, 1 (2): 192-210.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (18413KB)

Functional crystals are the basic materials for the development of modern science and technology and are playing key roles in the modern information era. In this paper, we review functional crystals in China, including research history, significant achievements, and important applications by highlighting the most recent progress in research. Challenges for the development of functional materials are discussed and possible directions for development are proposed by focusing on potential strengths of these materials.

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Design and R&D Progress of China Lead-Based Reactor for ADS Research Facility
Yican Wu
Engineering    2016, 2 (1): 124-131.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2944KB)

In 2011, the Chinese Academy of Sciences launched an engineering project to develop an accelerator-driven subcritical system (ADS) for nuclear waste transmutation. The China Lead-based Reactor (CLEAR), proposed by the Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology, was selected as the reference reactor for ADS development, as well as for the technology development of the Generation IV lead-cooled fast reactor. The conceptual design of CLEAR-I with 10 MW thermal power has been completed. KYLIN series lead-bismuth eutectic experimental loops have been constructed to investigate the technologies of the coolant, key components, structural materials, fuel assembly, operation, and control. In order to validate and test the key components and integrated operating technology of the lead-based reactor, the lead alloy-cooled non-nuclear reactor CLEAR-S, the lead-based zero-power nuclear reactor CLEAR-0, and the lead-based virtual reactor CLEAR-V are under realization.

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The Human Microbiota in Health and Disease
Baohong Wang, Mingfei Yao, Longxian Lv, Zongxin Ling, Lanjuan Li
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 71-82.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1171KB)

Trillions of microbes have evolved with and continue to live on and within human beings. A variety of environmental factors can affect intestinal microbial imbalance, which has a close relationship with human health and disease. Here, we focus on the interactions between the human microbiota and the host in order to provide an overview of the microbial role in basic biological processes and in the development and progression of major human diseases such as infectious diseases, liver diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, metabolic diseases, respiratory diseases, mental or psychological diseases, and autoimmune diseases. We also review important advances in techniques associated with microbial research, such as DNA sequencing, metabonomics, and proteomics combined with computation-based bioinformatics. Current research on the human microbiota has become much more sophisticated and more comprehensive. Therefore, we propose that research should focus on the host-microbe interaction and on cause-effect mechanisms, which could pave the way to an understanding of the role of gut microbiota in health and disease. and provide new therapeutic targets and treatment approaches in clinical practice.

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An Ultrasonic Backscatter Instrument for Cancellous Bone Evaluation in Neonates
Chengcheng Liu, Rong Zhang, Ying Li, Feng Xu, Dean Ta, Weiqi Wang
Engineering    2015, 1 (3): 336-343.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (5181KB)

Ultrasonic backscatter technique has shown promise as a noninvasive cancellous bone assessment tool. A novel ultrasonic backscatter bone diagnostic (UBBD) instrument and an in vivo application for neonatal bone evaluation are introduced in this study. The UBBD provides several advantages, including noninvasiveness, non-ionizing radiation, portability, and simplicity. In this study, the backscatter signal could be measured within 5 s using the UBBD. Ultrasonic backscatter measurements were performed on 467 neonates (268 males and 199 females) at the left calcaneus. The backscatter signal was measured at a central frequency of 3.5 MHz. The delay (T1) and duration (T2) of the backscatter signal of interest (SOI) were varied, and the apparent integrated backscatter (AIB), frequency slope of apparent backscatter (FSAB), zero frequency intercept of apparent backscatter (FIAB), and spectral centroid shift (SCS) were calculated. The results showed that the SOI selection had a direct influence on cancellous bone evaluation. The AIB and FIAB were positively correlated with the gestational age (|R| up to 0.45, P<0.001) when T1 was short (<8 µs), while negative correlations (|R| up to 0.56, P<0.001) were commonly observed for T1>10 µs. Moderate positive correlations (|R| up to 0.45, P<0.001) were observed for FSAB and SCS with gestational age when T1 was long (>10 µs). The T2 mainly introduced fluctuations in the observed correlation coefficients. The moderate correlations observed with UBBD demonstrate the feasibility of using the backscatter signal to evaluate neonatal bone status. This study also proposes an explicit standard for in vivo SOI selection and neonatal cancellous bone assessment.

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Urban Big Data and the Development of City Intelligence
Yunhe Pan, Yun Tian, Xiaolong Liu, Dedao Gu, Gang Hua
Engineering    2016, 2 (2): 171-178.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (889KB)

This study provides a definition for urban big data while exploring its features and applications of China’s city intelligence. The differences between city intelligence in China and the “smart city” concept in other countries are compared to highlight and contrast the unique definition and model for China’s city intelligence in this paper. Furthermore, this paper examines the role of urban big data in city intelligence by showing that it not only serves as the cornerstone of this trend as it also plays a core role in the diffusion of city intelligence technology and serves as an inexhaustible resource for the sustained development of city intelligence. This study also points out the challenges of shaping and developing of China’s urban big data. Considering the supporting and core role that urban big data plays in city intelligence, the study then expounds on the key points of urban big data, including infrastructure support, urban governance, public services, and economic and industrial development. Finally, this study points out that the utility of city intelligence as an ideal policy tool for advancing the goals of China’s urban development. In conclusion, it is imperative that China make full use of its unique advantages—including using the nation’s current state of development and resources, geographical advantages, and good human relations—in subjective and objective conditions to promote the development of city intelligence through the proper application of urban big data.

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