Polytechnic Institute of Porto
Recent publications
Adopting distributed energy resources (DERs) is the key to a low-carbon future in electrical distribution systems (EDS). However, integrating DERs increases the uncertainties in the distribution system expansion planning (DSEP). Thus, the long-term DSEP faces a planning risk brought by the uncertainty of demand, electric vehicle (EV) demand, renewable production, and energy prices. Therefore, this work proposes a novel model for the multi-period planning of EDSs and DERs considering conditional value at risk (CVaR) to manage fluctuations in generation cost and carbon emissions. The proposed mathematical model aims to minimize the net present cost related to investment, operation, and risk. Unlike previous approaches, uncertain behavior of demand growth per planning period is addressed, and the risk is evaluated from two perspectives: planning costs and carbon taxes. Investments in substations, lines, renewable distributed generation, EV charging stations, and energy storage systems are considered. The uncertainties associated with the variability of renewable generation and demand are modeled through a set of scenarios. Finally, the model was evaluated using the 24 and 54-bus EDS. Thus, the proposal is a flexible tool that can be used for different purposes (e.g., carbon taxes, budget limits).
  • Nuno Araújo
    Nuno Araújo
  • Ana Maria Reis
    Ana Maria Reis
  • Ana Pinto Borges
    Ana Pinto Borges
  • Álvaro Rosa
    Álvaro Rosa
The need to guarantee public health spending sustainability remains on the governments’ agenda, despite constant efforts to improve health sector efficiency and to contain health spending growth. In this paper, we analyse citizens’, managers’ and health professionals’ views concerning the choice of alternative National Health Service (NHS)’ financing sources and the selection of priority areas to be financed from public funds. The main novelty of this study is the auscultation and the evaluation of different stakeholders’ perspectives concerning health spending decisions, namely, health professionals, managers and the general public. An online questionnaire was used to collect data. Methods include descriptive and inferential statistics, a Pareto graph and a factorial analysis. Our results reveal the preferable additional NHS funding sources are lottery and games of chance and the increase in alcohol and tobacco taxes. The respondents defend that priorities should consider the improvement of the population’s health status, namely, considering the universality of access, equity, effectiveness and efficiency, in line with the NHS’ mission. Health professionals are also concerned about disease prevention and health promotion. This paper contributes empirical evidence to support health manager decisions, focusing on rationing decisions and alternative financing sources.
This article aims to reflect on the changes that are taking place today, considering them from different perspectives, as well as to describe the impact that results from these changes in social, economic, ethical, and academic terms, and the role of creative learning in this transformational process. A description is made of the main characteristics of this moment, mainly in what is considered the industrial 4.0 revolution, as well as the main global trends that are associated with it in this third decade of the millennium. Presenting the Universities of the Future (UoF) project, an assessment of its main results is made, as well as essential questions that must be asked so that several levels of decision-makers can consider as valid in building a different and better future for the planet we inhabit. Part of the answers found seem to suggest that the different social institutions must converge in a collaborative paradigm, in which the free sharing of knowledge, the distribution of resources, and the focus on common problems with different approaches and by different players, bring more creative, efficient, and sustainable solutions and knowledge.
Distributed Machine Learning, in which data and learning tasks are scattered across a cluster of computers, is one of the answers of the field to the challenges posed by Big Data. Still, in an era in which data abounds, decisions must still be made regarding which specific data to use on the training of the model, either because the amount of available data is simply too large, or because the training time or complexity of the model must be kept low. Typical approaches include, for example, selection based on data freshness. However, old data are not necessarily outdated and might still contain relevant patterns. Likewise, relying only on recent data may significantly decrease data diversity and representativity, and decrease model quality. The goal of this paper is to compare different heuristics for selecting data in a distributed Machine Learning scenario. Specifically, we ascertain whether selecting data based on their characteristics (meta-features), and optimizing for maximum diversity, improves model quality while, eventually, allowing to reduce model complexity. This will allow to develop more informed data selection strategies in distributed settings, in which the criteria are not only the location of the data or the state of each node in the cluster, but also include intrinsic and relevant characteristics of the data.
Aim To analyze the associations between early childhood education (ECE) teachers´ digital health literacy (DHL) and well-being, and to determine whether the ECE teachers´ interaction with children and family mediated these associations. Methods A total of 853 early childhood teachers, predominantly women (99.4%) participated in this cross-sectional study. The participants had a mean age of 39.9 years (standard deviation SD = 8.2). Data was collected through an online survey. DHL was assessed using five subscales adapted to the new coronavirus context, and the professionals´ well-being was measured using the WHO-5 well-being scale. Binary logistic regression and mediation analysis were used to analyze the data. Results ECE teachers’ DHL in dimensions of “information searching” and “determining relevance” had both direct and indirect effect on their well-being. Specifically, higher DHL in these dimensions was associated with better well-being. The dimension “evaluating reliability” had an indirect positive effect on well-being by promoting interaction with children. Conclusion These findings suggest that improving ECE teachers´ DHL could have a positive effect on their well-being and their interactions with children. Therefore, it is recommended to develop health promotion practices aimed at enhancing DHL among ECE teachers. Additionally, integrating DHL contents and competencies more prominently into the qualification, further education and training of ECE teachers may help equip them with the necessary skills to access and apply health information effectively. This, in turn, can enhance interactions with children and contribute to their overall well-being.
The notion of prosumers, people who create and consume energy, has emerged in the energy sector as a result of the fast integration of renewable energy sources and advances in digital technology. Platforms for peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading have come to light as viable ways to allow prosumers to conduct direct energy transactions within small groups. Existing P2P trading models, however, frequently lack an optimized approach to maximize the advantages for prosumers. In this article, we provide a novel six-segment strategy (SSS) that is intended to increase prosumers ability to maximize their benefits in P2P energy trading systems. Additionally, the SSS promotes prosumers active market engagement by supporting community-driven energy exchanges. Through extensive mathematical modeling, simulations, and case studies, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the six-segment strategy in enhancing the economic benefits of prosumers participating in P2P energy trading. The proposed optimization strategy holds the potential to revolutionize the energy landscape by promoting more sustainable and consumer-centric energy trading. The cost savings of 12.9% are distributed among prosumers by the SSS, which is an improvement compared with previously proposed strategies.
Cell blocks may be hard to be totally automatically detected by the scanner (ADS), generating incomplete whole slide images (WSIs), with areas that are not scanned, leading to possible false negative diagnosis. The aim of this study is to test if inking the cell blocks helps increasing ADS. Test 1: 15 cell blocks were sectioned, one half inked black (1HB) and the other inked green (1HG). Each of the halves was individually processed to generate a WSI stained by the H&E. 1HBs and 1HGs had similar scanning time (median 59 s vs. 65 s, p = .126) and file sizes (median 382 Mb vs. 381 Mb, p = .567). The black ink interfered less in the observation (2.2% vs. 44.4%; p < .001) than in the green one. Test 2: 15 cell blocks were sectioned, one half inked black (2HB) and the other left unstained/null (2HN). Each of the halves was individually processed to generate three WSIs—one HE, one periodic‐acid Schiff (PAS), and one immunostained by cytokeratin AE1&AE3 (CKAE1AE3). HE and PAS WSIs from both 2HN and 2HB groups were all totally ADS and had similar scanning times and file sizes. Concerning immunostaining with CKAE1AE3: ADS (46.7% vs. 93.3%; p = .014), median time for scanning (57 s vs. 83 s; p < .001) and file size (178 Mb vs. 338 Mb; p < .001) were reduced significantly in the 2HN group in comparison with the 2HB. Although increasing scanning time and file size, inking the cell blocks helps increasing ADS after immunostaining, improving the safety and efficiency of the digital pathology workflow.
The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has revolutionized the provision of health services, often referred to as eHealth, benefiting community pharmacies that can offer new services in innovative formats, namely through telepharmacy. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of pharmacy professionals (i.e., pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) on the provision of new services. The study consisted of administering an online questionnaire to pharmacy professionals nationwide. The questionnaire was developed by the research team, based on focus group methodology, from which an inductive analysis led to the categories that made up the dimensions of the survey. Participants were 95 pharmacy professionals with a mean age of 33.69 years old (SD = 10.75). Almost 79% were women. The results show overall receptivity to the development of new services in community pharmacies. Suggestions for the development of the new services, conditions necessary for their implementation, potential obstacles, and strategies to promote adherence to the new services, among others, are identified. The knowledge thus acquired will help community pharmacies to develop innovative solutions in counselling, pharmacotherapy monitoring, and pharmacovigilance, for example, of herb/dietary supplement–drug adverse reactions and interactions. Based on this information, new services can become more accessible, namely through the use of ICTs.
The complexity associated to group recommendations needs strategies to mitigate several problems, such as the group’s heterogeinity and conflicting preferences, the emotional contagion phenomenon, the cold-start problem, and the group members’ needs and concerns while providing recommendations that satisfy all members at once. In this demonstration, we show how we implemented a Multi-Agent Microservice to model the tourists in a mobile Group Recommender System for Tourism prototype and a novel dynamic clustering process to help minimize the group's heterogeneity and conflicting preferences. To help solve the cold-start problem, the preliminary tourist attractions preference and travel-related preferences & concerns are predicted using the tourists' personality, considering the tourists’ disabilities and fears/phobias. Although there is no need for data from previous interactions to build the tourists’ profile since we predict the tourists’ preferences, the tourist agents learn with each other by using association rules to find patterns in the tourists' profile and in the ratings given to Points of Interest to refine the recommendations.
Chatbots have become increasingly popular in the healthcare industry. In the area of preventive care, chatbots can provide personalized and timely solutions that aid individuals in maintaining their well-being and forestalling the development of chronic conditions. This paper presents GECA, a chatbot designed specifically for preventive care, that offers information, advice, and monitoring to patients who are undergoing home treatment, providing a cost-effective, personalized, and engaging solution. Moreover, its adaptable architecture enables extension to other diseases and conditions seamlessly. The chatbot’s bilingual capabilities enhance accessibility for a wider range of users, including those with reading or writing difficulties, thereby improving the overall user experience. GECA’s ability to connect with external resources offers a higher degree of personalization, which is a crucial aspect in engaging users effectively. The integration of standards and security protocols in these connections allows patient privacy, security and smooth adaptation to emerging healthcare information sources. GECA has demonstrated a remarkable level of accuracy and precision in its interactions with the diverse features, boasting an impressive 97% success rate in delivering accurate responses. Presently, preparations are underway for a pilot project at a Portuguese hospital that will conduct exhaustive testing and evaluate GECA, encompassing aspects such as its effectiveness, efficiency, quality, goal achievability, and user satisfaction.
Exposure to environmental chemicals during developmental stages can result in several adverse outcomes. In this study, the exposure of Portuguese children to Cu, Co, I, Mo, Mn, Ni, As, Sb, Cd, Pb, Sn and Tl was evaluated through the analysis of first morning urine through ICP-MS. Furthermore, we attempted to determine possible exposure predictors. The study sample consisted of 54% girls and 46% boys, with a median age of 10 years; 61% were overweight/obese and were put on a nutritionally oriented diet. For I, half of the population was probably in deficiency status. The median urinary concentrations (μg/L) were Cu 21.9, Mo 54.6, Co 0.76, Mn 2.1, Ni 4.74, As 37.9, Sb 0.09, Cd 0.29, Pb 0.94, Sn 0.45, Tl 0.39 and I 125.5. The region was a significant predictor for Cu, Co, Ni, As and Tl. Children living in an urban area had higher urinary levels, except for Co and Ni. Age was a significant predictor for Cu, I, Mo, Mn, Ni, Sb, Cd and Sn with urinary levels of these elements decreasing with age. No sex-related differences were observed. Diet and weight group were predictors for urinary Cu, Mn, Ni, Sb and As. Significant differences were observed between the diet/weight groups for Cu, Ni, Sb and As, with the healthy diet group presenting higher values.
Higher education is a context that requires students to develop academic, social and institutional tasks. As a result of this complex and multidimensional process, students tend to experience greater stress, anxiety and depression, making it crucial for students to mobilize a set of essential personal, social and instrumental resources, for a more positive adaptation to the academic context. Self-compassion is an adaptative emotion-regulation strategy and may help students to better adjust to academic issues. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of self-compassion as a mediator in the relationship between anxiety and depression, as well as stress and depression. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online questionnaire distributed through social media. Stress and anxiety were found to be positively related to depression scores and negatively related to self-compassion. A bootstrapped mediation model confirmed the existence of a significant positive partial mediation effect exerted by self-compassion on the relationship between stress and depression (b = 0.12, 95% CI [0.05, 0.18]). The analysis also showed a significant positive partial mediation effect exerted by self-compassion in the relationship between anxiety and depression (b = 0.13, 95% CI [0.08, 0.18]). Conclusions: Self-compassion might partially mediate the relationship between stress and depression and between anxiety and depression. Findings underscore self-compassion as a potentially protective factor against negative psychological symptoms.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a clonal, rare, complement-mediated hemolytic anemia. PNH can be associated with marrow failure and thrombophilia. We present a clinical report of splenic vein thrombosis in a patient with classic PNH. A 41-year-old male with classic PNH, naïve to complement inhibitor therapy, developed splenic vein thrombosis as a major adverse effect after vaccination protocol to prevent meningococcal disease. We also report anticoagulant and eculizumab treatment outcomes. In PNH patients, vaccination should be monitored to prevent major outcome events, like vaccine-induced thrombosis. Eculizumab proves effective for treating intravascular hemolysis and preventing more thrombotic events. The potential protective role of eculizumab on controlling complement activity and consequent inflammation may help the patient to not experience breakthrough hemolysis when infected with SARS-CoV-2. Extravascular hemolysis remains present, but new molecules are being studied to inhibit proximal complement and there is a good health prospective for PNH patients.
O presente estudo tem como objetivo principal analisar os níveis de ansiedade na performance musical dos participantes de um coro académico inserido na Licenciatura em Educação Musical da Escola Superior de Educação do Politécnico do Porto. A literatura académica aponta para uma escassez de estudos sobre a ansiedade musical entre cantores e em particular entre cantores em coros. Além disso, em semelhança com outras práticas de canto coral em Portugal, faltam estudos sistemáticos sobre coros académicos. Um estudo de caso foi realizado com o coro da Escola Superior de Educação (ESE) no qual foram recolhidos dados sociodemográficos para caracterizar os participantes do coro. O questionário State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) foi aplicado em dois momentos para medir os níveis de ansiedade traço e ansiedade estado. Os resultados do STAI correlacionam com estudos existentes quanto à ligação entre a ansiedade e o género, enquanto outros fatores como por exemplo o papel de solista não teve impactos estatisticamente significativos. Entretanto, o questionário sociodemográfico revela a heterogeneidade dos alunos que frequentam a licenciatura em Educação Musical na Escola Superior de Educação (ESE), principalmente em relação à idade e a prática instrumental.
With the pressing challenges of water scarcity and pollution, achieving sustainable water management is imperative for promoting long-term development. Therefore, this paper aims to examine the socio-economic and cultural factors that shape the sustainability of water management strategies in Brazil and Portugal. This study highlights various factors that influence water management, including robust legal frameworks, socio-economic disparities, cultural practices, agricultural water usage, knowledge sharing, public participation, climate change resilience, water scarcity risks, industrial water consumption, and urbanization. By conducting a SWOT analysis of water management strategies, this research synthesizes information through an extensive literature review, encompassing the legal frameworks, policies, and implemented strategies in both countries. Additionally, it investigates comparative studies among Brazil, Portugal, and other European nations to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences in water management practices. The findings of this study offer valuable insights into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with water management strategies in Brazil and Portugal, thereby guiding the development of tailored policies and strategies that foster sustainability in water resource management. Additionally, the research highlights the role of digital transformation in optimizing water management practices. By integrating socio-economic, cultural, and digital factors, this study contributes to effective and sustainable water management in Brazil and Portugal, ensuring responsible utilization and preservation of water resources.
Sustainable development is a subject of intense discussion, mainly due to climate change, pollution, and increased waste, among other factors. The governments of various countries worldwide have been setting environmental targets for emissions and consumption to combat climate change and improve the state of our planet. Therefore, it is necessary to have an environmental policy with stakeholder engagement. The literature review method, bibliometric analysis, and visual mappings were applied to understand how these sustainable targets are formulated and used by companies to comply with the limits proposed by governments. The Web of Science platform allowed data collection about Lean and Green, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and Science-Based Targets (SBT). The carried analyses identified the most relevant papers using the PRISMA method, including their authors, their temporal distribution, and a correlation map using the VOSviewer tool. Hence, mapping the current state of the art concerning the SBT topic. Furthermore, a novel conceptual model is proposed to integrate lean and green and create new KPI applied to the definition of SBT to give companies a path and tools to achieve the climate targets efficiently. Future research should focus on the implementation of the conceptual model in several companies to understand its impact to correct and improve the conceptual model proposed.
Developing analytical systems imposes several challenges related not only to the amount and heterogeneity of the involved data but also to the constant need to readapt and evolve to overcome new business challenges. Data are a determinant factor in the success of analytical and decision‐making applications, being its nature, availability, and quality, crucial aspects for planning and structuring populating analytical systems. Today's users are more demanding, requiring adaptable and flexible analytical applications, which impose serious challenges on extract‐transform‐load (ETL) systems design and development for ensuring flexible and robust data populating services, operating 24/7, and managing and processing large volumes of data. Thus, we should design and implement ETL processes using innovative and up‐to‐date approaches, having real application evidence. In this paper, we present a service‐oriented implementation for ETL design and development. We mapped and implemented some of the most conventional ETL processes in a service‐oriented architecture, to demonstrate the application and benefits that this kind of approach will provide to ETL systems project development.
Background Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to be a powerful tool in promoting empathy towards inclusion, particularly for individuals with impairments such as mobility difficulties, vision deficits, or autism but also about pregnancy, which can create temporary difficulties. By immersing users in simulated environments that replicate the experiences of those with different abilities, VR can create a sense of understanding and empathy for those who face challenges in their daily lives. For example, VR experiences can simulate the experience of navigating space as someone with a mobility impairment, providing a new perspective and appreciation for the difficulties that others face. Similarly, VR experiences can simulate the experience of vision impairment, pregnancy, or autism, providing a window into the challenges faced by those with these conditions and fostering empathy and understanding. Material and Methods During the development of this study, field experts were consulted to ensure the robustness of the methods employed. Then, questionnaires were specifically developed to explore disabilities and challenges related to inclusion and were administered to a large population. Additionally, guided interviews were conducted with individuals who possess specific impairments to gather first-hand insights. Results The results obtained from the questionnaires and interviews provide a comprehensive overview of the inclusion challenges that necessitate attention and resolution. By drawing on the expertise of both experts and individuals with lived experiences, a holistic landscape of inclusion challenges has been established. Conclusions The VR emerges as a powerful tool for promoting inclusion and fostering understanding among individuals. Its capacity to create immersive experiences that facilitate empathy has the potential to reshape society into a more compassionate and empathetic one. By leveraging the unique capabilities of VR, we can bridge the gap between different perspectives, fostering greater understanding, acceptance, and inclusivity. Med Pr. 2023;74(3):171–85
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Vitor Braga
  • CIICESI - Centro de Inovação e Investigação em Ciências Empresariais e Sistemas de Informação
Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
  • GILT - Games, Interaction and Learning Technologies
Alexandra Maria da Silva Braga
  • CIICESI - Centro de Inovação e Investigação em Ciências Empresariais e Sistemas de Informação
Diana Aguiar Vieira
Luis Coelho
  • Department of Physics
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