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Small states, status seeking and power in International Relations: a comparative between Qatar, Singapore and Rwanda

  • Ferrer, Bernat
Small states can achieve influence and power in the international system by implementing some status-seeking strategies oriented to upgrade their relevance towards the hegemon. This essay will try to discern some ‘status markers’ in order to identify properly a consistent strategy and then it will be observed if Singapore, Qatar and Rwanda fulfil these markers. We will conclude it is possible to identify status-seeking strategies, and the analysed three countries are implementing their own in a similar way. Thus, they achieve a ‘sit at the table’ of the international system despite having no material resources.
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Gradient-based steering for vision-based crowd simulation algorithms

  • Dutra, T. B.
  • Marques, Ricardo
  • Cavalcante‐Neto, J.B.
  • Vidal, C. A.
  • Pettré, J.
Most recent crowd simulation algorithms equip agents with a synthetic vision component for steering. They offer promising perspectives through a more realistic simulation of the way humans navigate according to their perception of the surrounding environment. In this paper, we propose a new perception/motion loop to steering agents along collision free trajectories that significantly improves the quality of vision-based crowd simulators. In contrast with solutions where agents avoid collisions in a purely reactive (binary) way, we suggest exploring the full range of possible adaptations and retaining the locally optimal one. To this end, we introduce a cost function, based on perceptual variables, which estimates an agent’s situation considering both the risks of future collision and a desired destination. We then compute the partial derivatives of that function with respect to all possible motion adaptations. The agent then adapts its motion by following the gradient. This paper has thus two main contributions: the definition of a general purpose control scheme for steering synthetic vision-based agents; and the proposition of cost functions for evaluating the perceived danger of the current situation. We demonstrate improvements in several cases., T. B. Dutra acknowl1edges CAPES for the fellowship (PDSE Proc. 0130/13-3) and J. Ondˇrej for helping in the implementation of his model. R. Marques acknowledges the projects Percolation (ANR- 13-JS02-0008), and Kristina (H2020-RIA-645012) for partially financing this research.
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A Spherical Gaussian framework for Bayesian Monte Carlo rendering of glossy surfaces

  • Marques, Ricardo
  • Bouville, Christian
  • Ribardière, Mickaël
  • Santos, Luís Paulo
  • Bouatouch, Kadi
The Monte Carlo method has proved to be very powerful to cope with global illumination problems but it remains costly in terms of sampling operations. In various applications, previous work has shown that Bayesian Monte Carlo can significantly outperform importance sampling Monte Carlo thanks to a more effective use of the prior knowledge and of the information brought by the samples set. These good results have been confirmed in the context of global illumination but strictly limited to the perfect diffuse case. Our main goal in this paper is to propose a more general Bayesian Monte Carlo solution that allows dealing with non-diffuse BRDFs thanks to a spherical Gaussian-based framework. We also propose a fast hyperparameters determination method which avoids learning the hyperparameters for each BRDF. These contributions represent two major steps towards generalizing Bayesian Monte Carlo for global illumination rendering. We show that we achieve substantial quality improvements over importance sampling at comparable computational cost.
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Spherical Fibonacci point sets for illumination integrals

  • Marques, Ricardo
  • Bouville, Christian
  • Ribardière, Mickaël
  • Santos, Luís Paulo
Quasi-Monte Carlo (QMC) methods exhibit a faster convergence rate than that of classic Monte Carlo methods. This feature has made QMC prevalent in image synthesis, where it is frequently used for approximating the value of spherical integrals (e.g., illumination integral). The common approach for generating QMC sampling patterns for spherical integration is to resort to unit square low discrepancy sequences and map them to the hemisphere. However such an approach is suboptimal as these sequences do not account for the spherical topology and their discrepancy properties on the unit square are impaired by the spherical projection. In this article we present a strategy for producing high quality QMC sampling patterns for spherical integration by resorting to spherical Fibonacci point sets. We show that these patterns, when applied to illumination integrals, are very simple to generate and consistently outperform existing approaches, both in terms of Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and image quality. Furthermore, only a single pattern is required to produce an image, thanks to a scrambling scheme performed directly in the spherical domain., This work is partially funded by National Funds through the FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) within project PEst-OE/EEI/UI0752/2011.
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La volta al món? Com preparem l'equipatge?

  • Abàs Marés, Jordi
  • Romero Chicano, Roger
Unitat didàctica sobre clima i temps de primer d'ESO (especialitat Ciències Naturals). El·laborada dins el Màster de Formació del Professorat d'Educació Secundària i Batxillerat UPF-UOC, Tutor: Iván Marchán, Mentor: Eduard Hernández, Aquesta Unitat Didàctica va destinada als alumnes de 1er d’ESO de l’IES Milà i Fontanals (Barcelona) que cursen l’assignatura de Ciència Integrada. El context d’aprenentatge es presenta en forma de repte: el professor vol donar la volta al món, però necessita l’ajuda dels alumnes per saber quins països visitarà, quan i quins objectes s’ha d’endur a la seva petita maleta, justificant-ho tot en base al clima i al temps. Pel que fa a contingut, la UD està estructurada en dos cicles didàctics: un per “clima” i l’altre per “temps”. En el cicle de clima, es proposen activitats per aprendre a elaborar i a interpretar climogrames i per aprendre a diferenciar els diferents climes del món. Pel que fa al cicle de temps, es proposen activitats com experiments, la construcció d’una estació meteorològica i alguns jocs per fer a l’aula. Totes aquestes activitats estan dissenyades per fomentar el treball cooperatiu., Esta Unidad Didáctica va dirigida a los alumnos de primero de la ESO del instituto Milà i Fontanals (Barcelona) que cursan la asignatura de ciencia integrada. El contexto de aprendizaje se presenta en forma de reto: el profesor quiere irse de viaje para dar la vuelta al mundo, pero necesita la ayuda de los alumnos para saber qué países visitará, cuando y qué objetos ha de llevarse, justificándolo todo en base al clima y al tiempo de cada región. En cuanto al contenido, la UD está estructurada en dos ciclos didácticos: uno para “clima” y otro para “tiempo”. En el ciclo de clima, se proponen actividades para aprender a elaborar y a interpretar climogramas, así como para aprender a diferenciar los diferentes climas del mundo. En el ciclo de tiempo, se proponen actividades como experimentos, la construcción de una estación meteorológica y algunos juegos para hacer en el aula.
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Treball, potència i rendiment: seqüència didàctica per al batxillerat

  • Abàs Marés, Jordi
  • Romero Chicano, Roger
Unitat didàctica de primer de Batxillerat (especialitat Ciències Naturals). El·laborada dins el Màster de Formació del Professorat d'Educació Secundària i Batxillerat UPF-UOC, Tutor: Iván Marchan, Mentor: Eduard Hernández (IES Milà i Fontanals, Barcelona), Aquesta Seqüència va destinada als alumnes de primer de Batxillerat que estiguin cursant l’assignatura de Física. La seqüència es va dissenyar tenint en compte les característiques d’un grup-classe de l’IES Milà i Fontanals, on hi havia molts alumnes interessats en el món de l’automobilisme i de l’esport. Aquest és el fil conductor d’aquesta SD, on els alumnes han estat seleccionats per fer una cursa automobilística i per guanyar-la hauran de decidir quin vehicle seleccionen d’entre un llistat on hi figuren algunes característiques com l’acceleració, la potència, el rendiment... Per poder decidir, els alumnes primer hauran de resoldre diferents problemes basats en situacions quotidianes on els cotxes i els esportistes seran protagonistes. Finalment, durant la última sessió, cada grup de treball haurà de justificar quin medi de transport ha escollit del llistat. Totes les activitats es plantegen perquè es facin en grups de treball cooperatiu., Esta Secuencia va dirigida a los alumnos de primero de Bachillerato que estén cursando Física. La Secuencia se ha diseñado teniendo en cuenta las características de un grupo-clase del IES Milà i Fontanals de Barcelona, donde muchos alumnos mostraron interés por el mundo de los deportes i del automovilismo. Éste será el hilo conductor de la SD, donde los alumnos han sido seleccionados para hacer una cursa automovilística y para ganarla tendrán que decidir qué vehículo escogen de entre un listado en el que figuran características como la masa, la potencia, el rendimiento, etc. Para poder decidir, los alumnos primero tendrán que resolver diferentes problemas basados en situaciones cotidianas donde los coches serán protagonistas. Finalmente, durante la última sesión, cada grupo tendrá que justificar qué medio de transporte ha elegido del listado. Todas las actividades se plantean para que se hagan en grupos de trabajo cooperativo.
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Unitat didàctica sobre genètica mendeliana per a 2n de Batxillerat

  • Llasera Selga, Laia
  • Moreno Macias, Laura
Unitat didàctica de segon de Batxillerat (especialitat Ciències Naturals). El·laborada dins el Màster de Formació del Professorat d'Educació Secundària i Batxillerat UPF-UOC, Tutor: Miquel Nistal, Mentor: Ferran Martínez (INS Cal Gravat, Manresa), La seqüència didàctica es basa en una conferència on els alumnes són científics experts en genètica mendeliana. A través dels diferents workshops de la conferència s’adquireix la pràctica de resoldre diferents problemes i casos pràctics sobre genètica mendeliana. La particularitat d’aquesta conferència és que, no és tant important el resultat dels casos pràctics com el procés que es fa per resoldre’ls. Ja que l’objectiu de la conferència és crear una base d’orientació que ens serveixi per resoldre qualsevol problema d’aquesta temàtica. Els experts sobre la matèria acabaran escrivint un article científic per exposar el nou mètode de resolució de casos pràctics sobre genètica mendeliana a la comunitat científica.
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Inclusive growth: the great metropolitan strategic challenge

  • Trullén, Joan
The objective of the paper is to present the economic and territorial aspects that should be considered in the design of a new metropolitan strategy seeking to promote a new economic and territorial model where economic growth is compatible with a reduction in unemployment and an improvement in income distribution. The basic thesis are: i) the economic and territorial strategy is based on a model that seeks to accelerate economic growth and boost employment, which is the ultimate goal of the strategy; ii) the territorial factors are key to the new model of economic growth and account for a significant part of productivity growth; iii) this growth must be based on a continued search for competitive positions in international trade; iv) within this model of growth it is necessary to increase the weight of industrial activities in general and of advanced tertiary; v) the increase in the weight of these activities should translate into a greater share of wages in the functional distribution of income, improving personal income distribution, and vi) consequently, a process of inclusive growth would be achieved.
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Inclusive growth from an urban perspective: a challenge for the metropolis of the 21st century

  • Trullén, Joan
  • Galletto, Vittorio
Between 1985 and 2008 the metropolis of Barcelona experienced a strong growth in economic activity and employment, which was accompanied by improvements in income distribution. The nomination of Barcelona as the host city of the 1992 Olympic Games and the entrance to the European Communities in January 1986 were crucial to activate from the city of Barcelona a powerful and original economic and urban policy aimed at promoting a new model inclusive of urban growth.The recent long period of economic growth and employment growth made it possible to advance in a model of metropolitan inclusive growth, with significant improvements in the distribution of personal income. Nevertheless, the economic crisis that began in 2008 resulted in an intense job loss and a decline in general economic activity. The Gini index of disposable income in the metropolitan area of Barcelona during the period 2008-2013 worsened returning to levels close to those of 1995. The present work explores the adjustment mechanisms of the labor market in Barcelona in response to the fall in economic activity during the recession, with a special emphasis on unemployment by geographical origin (foreign non-EU nationals) and age (young people). It also identifies the central role in ending the crisis that have had external demand and, therefore, highlights manufacturing as key in the economic recovery. The transition towards a model of inclusive urban growth must be articulated with this central idea: the recovery from the crisis will be based in manufacturing and external demand. And, therefore, it should be stressed the central role of productivity growth policies designed with territorial criteria. Instead of guiding external competitiveness based on reduced labor costs, it is necessary an alternative strategy: to return to a growth model based on inclusive urban growth based in manufacturing exports, strengthening the knowledge economy by promoting advanced services and strengthening the metropolitan infrastructure. This is the new metropolitan strategy of inclusive growth. Metropolises are an appropriate level to face the major challenges of the XXI century: economic growth, employment growth and productivity growth based on export growth. Territorial factors are critical to growing productivity. The metropolitan policies will be decisive for an inclusive growth model as the one proposed for Barcelona.
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GDP estimation for Barcelona and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Methodological improvement in the estimation of productivity dynamics with wage information

  • Raymond, Josep Lluís
  • Cotrina, Dolors
  • Costa, Àlex
  • Puig, Enric
  • Galletto, Vittorio
  • Fíguls, Marc
  • Aguilera, Sandra
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most important macroeconomic magnitude of the economic accounting of a territory. In spite of its known limitations, it is a basic magnitude in knowing the sectoral structure of an economy; furthermore, its evolution is the indicator that best measures economic dynamics. The relevance of GDP is not limited to the knowledge of country or regional economies, but it is also key to the knowledge of local and metropolitan economies. In the case of Barcelona, the estimates made by the Technical Planning Office (GTP) of the Barcelona City Council available up to now start from the calculation for the base year 2011, calculating the values of the following years assuming that the effect of the agglomeration economies (characteristics of urban areas) does not vary from year to year. The availability of wages data from Barcelona, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and Catalonia from the Continuous Sample of Labour Lives (MCVL) allows us to relax this assumption, opening up the possibility of a methodological improvement in which the effect of agglomeration is picked up by the wage differentials between sectors and territorial areas registered every year. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to methodologically improve the calculation of the GDP of Barcelona and the AMB with the introduction of information on wage levels as indicators of productivity. The results achieved with this methodological improvement show a high correlation with the data so far prepared by the GTP, both for Barcelona and for the AMB, so that the methodology used here is validated. The implication of these results is quite significant: the wage differentials between territorial areas would be reflecting differences in the levels of productivity. To our understanding, these are very relevant results that may be of considerable interest for urban economic statistics, as they allow a more up-to-date estimate of municipal GDP (with an annual frequency) and with a significant degree of reliability.
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