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Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 1 - August 2015
Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 1 - August 2015 ISSUE: Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 1 - August 2015



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Article
Malta's participation in Europe's oldest research cooperation frame- work
J. Mifsud
Pages: 1 - 5
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Article
'Everyone is a winner, help is just a push of a button away...': The Telecare Plus service in Malta
M. Formosa
Pages: 6 - 16
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
This paper reports on a research study on the role of assistive technologies in later life. Re- search questions included what is the impact of assist- ive technologies on the quality of life of older service- users, and to what extent does assistive technology lead to an improved quality of life for subscribers and in- formal carers? The chosen method of enquiry was a case-study of the Telecare Plus service in Malta. A total of 26 semi-structured interviews were held with a con- venience sample of 26 people aged 60-plus about their use and experience of this particular telecare system. The Telecare Plus service was found to contribute pos- itively to subscribers' levels of emotional and physical wellbeing, interpersonal relations and personal develop- ment, as well as towards the quality of life of informal carers. However, research also highlighted a range of challenges that stood in the way of increased adoption rates of the Telecare Plus service by older people. The fact that the eld of assistive technologies in Malta lacks efficient and clear business models constitutes another barrier towards the take up of such services.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.01
Article
Connecting Frontier Research with Industrial Development - Lanthanide and Actinide Chemistry in the European f-Element Network (EUFEN)
U. Baisch
Pages: 17 - 22
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Abstract:
The chemistry of f-elements, even though often not known to the general public, forms part of many industrial processes, manufacturing and medical applications, such as medical imaging (e.g. MRI scans), strong magnets, data storage media, superconducters, LEDs, catalysis, as well as energy, and metal extraction. It plays a crucial role in the scienti c and industrial landscape of the European Union (EU) in elds of energy, security, training, sustainability, and society. The use of these elements widens the scope of synthetic possibilities in chemistry, and materials with outstanding electromagnetic properties have already been realised. The synthesis of lanthanide containing supramolecular materials with exceptional materials properties has already been reported, e.g. the ability to bind and release gases, high-temperature superconductivity, and all-white light emitting diodes. The EUFEN (European f-Element Network) COST action provides cooperative mobility mechanisms for nationally funded f-element chemists pursuing fundamental frontier research to initiate collaborations, training, networking, and dissemination among each other. Novel developments and results in terms of f-element crystal engineering carried out at the University of Malta are therefore part of EUFEN.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.02
Article
Real-Time Modelling and Interpolation of Spatio-Temporal Marine Pollution
N. Formosa, K. Scerri
Pages: 23 - 30
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Abstract:
Due to the complexity of the interactions involved in various dynamic systems, known physical, biological or chemical laws cannot adequately describe the dynamics behind these processes. The study of these systems thus depends on measurements often taken at various discrete spatial locations through time by noisy sensors. For this reason, scientists often necessitate in- terpolative, visualisation and analytical tools to deal with the large volumes of data common to these sys- tems. The starting point of this study is the seminal research by C. Shannon on sampling and reconstruction theory and its various extensions. Based on recent work on the reconstruction of stochastic processes, this paper develops a novel real-time estimation method for non- stationary stochastic spatio-temporal behaviour based on the Integro-Difference Equation (IDE). This meth- odology is applied to collected marine pollution data from a Norwegian fjord. Comparison of the results ob- tained by the proposed method with interpolators from state-of-the-art Geographical Information System (GIS) packages will show, that signi cantly superior results are obtained by including the temporal evolution in the spa- tial interpolations.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.03
Article
Towards Sound Refactoring in Erlang
E. Tanti, A. Francalanza
Pages: 31 - 35
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Abstract:
Erlang is an actor-based programming language used extensively for building concurrent, reactive systems that are highly available and suer minimum downtime. Such systems are often mission critical, making system correctness vital. Refactoring is code restructuring that improves the code but does not change behaviour. While using automated refactoring tools is less error-prone than performing refactorings manually, automated refactoring tools still cannot guarantee that the refactoring is correct, i.e., program behaviour is preserved. This leads to lack of trust in automated refactoring tools. We rst survey solutions to this problem proposed in the literature. Erlang refactoring tools as commonly use approximation techniques which do not guarantee behaviour while some other works propose the use of formal methodologies. In this work we aim to develop a formal methodology for refactoring Erlang code. We study behavioural preorders, with a special focus on the testing preorder as it seems most suited to our purpose.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.04
Article
Symbiotics of History and Social Psychology Understanding Social Representations of History in Europe
S. Azzopardi, E. Buttigieg, L. Licata
Pages: 36 - 40
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Abstract:
COST Action IS1205 aims at advancing knowledge and promoting networking among historians and social psychologists to analyse the role played by social representations of history in Europe. Social representations of history are central to the identity of groups that may or may not form the majority in any given country. In Europe, these representations are at best diverse, at worst fragmented, among various national and ethnic groups, either in the same country or across the continent. If left unexplored and unexplained, these social (mis)representations can incite adverse emotions, in turn in uencing group behaviours and possibly leading to intergroup rivalry. Bridging the two disciplines through representatives from 28 countries, Action IS1205 addresses this issue by coordinating research on the role of: social cognitive processes in shaping lay representations of history; lay representation of history through the concepts of nationhood and identities; social-psychological studies of the narrative transmission of history through textbooks and the media; lay representation of history and group-based emotions in shaping attitudes, intergroup con ict and reconciliation processes.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.05
Article
Numerical Modelling of Soil Erosion Susceptibility in the Maltese Islands using Geographic Information Systems and the Revised Uni- versal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE)
D. Sultana
Pages: 41 - 50
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The Mediterranean region is subject to various factors that exacerbate soil erosion pressures. Such factors include agricultural land fragmentation and abandonment, unsustainable agricultural practices and rapid urbanisation. Soil erosion in the Maltese Islands has been identi ed as a predominating land degradation process and a major threat to the sustainability of the agricultural sector. The small scale of the Maltese Islands facilitates an in detail national study of soil erosion processes and contributing socio-economic dynamics. The research methods, erosion rate values and controlling dynamics discussed in this work have a particular relevance to the Mediterranean area.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.06
Article
Typing Actors using Behavioural Types
J. Masini, A. Francalanza
Pages: 51 - 55
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Abstract:
The actor model of computation assists and disciplines the development of concurrent programs by forcing the software engineer to reason about high-level concurrency abstractions. While this leads to a better handling of concurrency-related issues, the model itself does not exclude erratic program behaviours. In this paper we consider the actor model and investigate a type-based static analysis to identify actor systems which may behave erraticly during runtime. We consider the notion of behavioural types and consider issues related to the nature of the actor model including non-determinism, multi-party communication, dynamic actor spawning, non-finite computation and a possibly changing communication topology, which we contrast with existing works.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.07
Article
Assessing potential output growth of the Maltese economy using a production function approach
A. G. Grech, B. Micallef
Pages: 56 - 62
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
After outlining the various methods used to estimate potential output, this article presents estim- ates for Malta, the smallest member of the euro area, de- rived from one of the most commonly used methods, the production function approach. Given the uncertainty surrounding these kinds of estimates, these estimates are compared with those made for Malta by other institutions using different methods. Based on this ana- lysis and on a cross-country comparison with other euro area economies, a number of observations are made that would enable potential growth to accelerate and result in a faster economic convergence.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.08
Article
Digital Technologies for virtual recomposition. The case study of Serpotta stuccoes
F. Di Paola
Pages: 63 - 68
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The matter that lies beneath the smooth and shining surface of stuccoes of the Serpotta fam- ily, who used to work in Sicily from 1670 to 1730, has been thoroughly studied in previous papers, disclosing the deep, even if empirical, knowledge of materials sci- ence that guided the artists in creating their master- works. In this work the attention is focused on the solid perspective and on the scenographic sculpture by Giac- omo Serpotta, who is acknowledged as the leading ex- ponent of the School. The study deals with some par- ticular works of the artist, the so-called teatrini" (Toy Theater), made by him for the San Lorenzo Oratory in Palermo. On the basis of archive documents and pre- vious analogical photogrammetric plotting, integrated with digital solutions and methodologies of computer- based technologies, the study investigates and interprets the geometric-formal genesis of the examined works of art, until the prototyping of the whole scenic apparatus.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.09
Article
Architectural Perspectives in the Cathedral of Palermo: Image-Based Modeling for Cultural Heritage Understanding and Enhancement
L. Inzerillo, C. Santagati
Pages: 69 - 75
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Abstract:
Palermo o ers a repertoire of both artistic and architectural solid perspective of great beauty and in large quantity. This paper addresses the problem of the 3D survey of these works and their related study through the use of image-based modelling (IBM) techniques. We propose, as case studies, the use of IBM techniques inside the Cathedral of Palermo. Indeed, the church houses a huge and rich sculptural repertoire, dating back to 16th century, which constitutes a valid eld of IBM techniques application. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the effectiveness and potentiality of these techniques for geometric analysis of sculptured works. Indeed, usually the survey of these artworks is very dicult due the geometric complexity, typical of sculptured elements. In this study, we analysed cylindrical and planar geometries as well as carrying out an application of perspective return.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.1.10
Article
2015 Researcher's Mini-Symposium
D. C. Magri
Pages: 76 - 77
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Article
The New Malta Neuroscience Network Programme
Giuseppe Di Giovanni
Pages: 78 - 80
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