April research picks

Automated breast cancer detection

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of malignancy in women. Dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) is used to scan the breast for lesions in suspected cases that may not be visible on a standard mammogram but where symptoms or evidence of breast cancer have presented. Now, researchers in India have developed an algorithm that can quickly analyse a rendered 3D structure of a lesion of interest revealed by the MRI and determine accurately whether or not the affected tissue is malignant or benign. Such technology could reduce the need for surgical biopsy removal for laboratory testing and so improve outcomes for patients and avoid unnecessary treatment. The algorithm utilises the high-end parallel computing power of a graphical processing unit (GPU), the NVIDIA CUDA technology.

Malu, G., Sherly, E. and Koshy, S.M. (2015) ‘An automated algorithm for lesion identification in dynamic contrast enhanced MRI’, Int. J. Computer Applications in Technology, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp.23–30.

The common search for truth

An important fundamental concept in game theory is “common knowledge”, the information “everyone” knows about. Of course, it is this common knowledge that helps us pick and choose what keywords and phrases we use to search for uncommon knowledge on the Internet. Unfortunately, the context of such common knowledge is not available to the search engines nor the algorithms they use to sell advertising. Now, researchers in Lithuania have investigated whether or not there is correlation between common knowledge variables and search engine marketing elements. They have demonstrated that a “lose-lose” situation currently exists in the advertising keyword market, where common knowledge is all but ignored and instead advertisers simply buy click-throughs where instead of a term describing a product and so homing in on what consumers might actually want to buy, they simply insert the query term into the search and so many spurious results are generated too. The team has discovered statistical relationships between the rules and techniques of advertisement performance, keyword quality score and website experience and that might be used to optimise a campaign based on game theory and convert a lose-lose situation into a win-win.

Girčys, A.P. (2015) ‘Correlation of common knowledge variables and search engine marketing elements’, Int. J. Business and Emerging Markets, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.170–185.

Recycling gender alignment

Product design is often about efficiencies, lean manufacturing and profit margins, rarely are customer requirements the primary concern of commercial concerns. But, researchers in Taiwan argue that customer requirements should be high on the agenda and can be integrated into product design to benefit consumer and company alike. They explain the concept with regards to the integrated design of a new type of bicycle that factors into the design gender differences between users in a novel way. The customer requirements versus quality function deployment show that there are three main factors that users would consider: The most critical factor emphasised by both male and female respondents was safety. Female respondents placed greater emphasis on recyclability and packaging than on overall colour. Among the engineering characteristics, both male and female respondents felt that recyclability was more important than other factors related to packaging. “The results of this study could strengthen product development within manufacturing industries and increase overall product competitiveness and enterprise market share,” the team concludes.

Hsu, C-H., Ouyang, L-Y. and Yang, C-M. (2015) ‘An integrated approach for defining bicycle design factors with consideration of gender differences’, Int. J. Industrial and Systems Engineering, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp.326–347.

The real Chinese Internet

Recent legislation in China imposed on internet service providers (ISPs) not only obliges them to protect online personal information and privacy but forces them to collect their clients’ true identity. As with much online privacy legislation across the globe, ostentatiously such requirements are put in place to protect a nation’s citizens, from terrorism and criminality, for instance. But, in the “post-Snowden” era, most users are well aware that privacy is only a virtual, diffuse, concept. The enforcement of ‘real-name registration’ in China would seem to represent an addition to China’s pre-existing legal framework and enforcement mechanism for internet content regulation that might well stifle freedom of speech still further. Zhixiong Liao of the Faculty of Law, at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, suggests the new law is an example of “one stone, two birds”. It is he says a way to protect online personal information and privacy but also has a ” disguised” purpose of providing the authorities with “a more effective way for the enforcement of the internet censorship laws and regulations.”

Liao, Z. (2015) ‘Implications of China’s latest statute on internet and the forthcoming real- name registration scheme’, Int. J. Technology Policy and Law, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.55–70.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.