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Systems, Volume 10, Issue 3 (June 2022) – 33 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Integrating IoT devices into blockchain-based systems is attracting considerable interest in addressing the requirements of traceability systems for Industry 4.0. However, there is still a need for resource characterization of the Blockchain’s impact on constrained IoT sensors. Furthermore, the infrastructure costs of these blockchain-based systems are not widely understood. This paper characterizes the resources and provides a monetary cost model for blockchain-based traceability systems that use constrained IoT sensors. First, we describe and implement a farm-to-fork case study using two blockchain networks and analyze the impact of blockchain on different IoT devices. Finally, we present an infrastructure cost model and evaluate the costs of a product in different scenarios. View this paper
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19 pages, 3254 KiB  
Article
Taxation of Fiat Money Using Dynamic Control
Systems 2022, 10(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030084 - 19 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2095
Abstract
The treasury analogy is widely used in most countries in the execution of fiscal policies striving to match taxation with public expenditure while, at the same time, the central banks tinker with interest rates and reserve requirements and conduct open market operations for [...] Read more.
The treasury analogy is widely used in most countries in the execution of fiscal policies striving to match taxation with public expenditure while, at the same time, the central banks tinker with interest rates and reserve requirements and conduct open market operations for regulating money supply. This paper investigates the relevance of those policy actions to the ubiquitous use of fiat money tokens which in addition to meeting public expenditure and paying taxes also facilitate transactions in the economy. A parsimonious model of the macroeconomic system subsuming the prevalent fiscal and monetary interventions is developed and experimented with to explore alternative policy levers for funding public expenditure and controlling money supply. A novel dynamic control regimen to regulate taxation and open market operations for controlling inflation is proposed. It is shown that while the public spending can be entirely met through new money creation, taxation and open market operations must be used as inflation control instruments, whereas expenditure instruments can be used to alleviate the regressivity of taxation regimen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Modeling Approaches to Finance and Fintech Innovation)
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17 pages, 6715 KiB  
Article
Deep-Learning-Based Floor Path Model for Route Tracking of Autonomous Vehicles
Systems 2022, 10(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030083 - 15 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1822
Abstract
Real-time route tracking is an important research topic for autonomous vehicles used in industrial facilities. Traditional methods such as copper line tracking on the ground, wireless guidance systems, and laser systems are still used in route tracking. In this study, a deep-learning-based floor [...] Read more.
Real-time route tracking is an important research topic for autonomous vehicles used in industrial facilities. Traditional methods such as copper line tracking on the ground, wireless guidance systems, and laser systems are still used in route tracking. In this study, a deep-learning-based floor path model for route tracking of autonomous vehicles is proposed. A deep-learning floor path model and algorithm have been developed for highly accurate route tracking, which avoids collisions of vehicles and follows the shortest route to reach the destination. The floor path model consists of markers. Routes in the floor path model are created by using these markers. The floor path model is transmitted to autonomous vehicles as a vector by a central server. The server dispatches the target marker address to the vehicle to move. The vehicle calculates all possible routes to this address and chooses the shortest one. Marker images on the selected route are processed using image processing and classified with a pre-trained deep-CNN model. If the classified image and the image on the selected route are the same, the vehicle proceeds toward its destination. While the vehicle moves on the route, it sends the last classified marker to the server. Other autonomous vehicles use this marker to determine the location of this vehicle. Other vehicles on the route wait to avoid a collision. As a result of the experimental studies we have carried out, the route tracking of the vehicles has been successfully achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Methods for Data Labelling for Intelligent Systems)
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24 pages, 2139 KiB  
Systematic Review
Knowledge Management as a Domain, System Dynamics as a Methodology
Systems 2022, 10(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030082 - 14 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2717
Abstract
For decades, system dynamics has been utilised as a framework for evaluating and interpreting various types of systems with varying degrees of complexity and knowledge demands. Knowledge management is strongly related to system dynamics on a thematic level. We did a thorough review [...] Read more.
For decades, system dynamics has been utilised as a framework for evaluating and interpreting various types of systems with varying degrees of complexity and knowledge demands. Knowledge management is strongly related to system dynamics on a thematic level. We did a thorough review to identify potential applications and analysed system dynamics and knowledge management domains. The systematic review followed the PRISMA method. We identified two major groups and one subgroup of the combination of system dynamics and knowledge management after examining and categorising 45 papers. Articles were searched for on Web of Science, Scopus, and LENS. We then concentrated on the categorisation of articles by theme. We discovered that system dynamics models were used as a component of a decision support tool or a knowledge management system in some instances, or the integration of knowledge management processes into specific systems. This study contributes to the growth of system dynamics as a methodology capable of generating novel ideas, highlighting limitations, and providing analogies for future research in a variety of academic areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection System Dynamics)
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16 pages, 1697 KiB  
Article
Start-Ups as Adaptable Stable Systems Based on Synchronous Business Models
Systems 2022, 10(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030081 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
Business models have been a popular topic in research and practice for more than twenty years. During this time, frameworks for formulating business models have been developed, such as the business model canvas. Moreover, different business model frameworks have been proposed for different [...] Read more.
Business models have been a popular topic in research and practice for more than twenty years. During this time, frameworks for formulating business models have been developed, such as the business model canvas. Moreover, different business model frameworks have been proposed for different sectors. Yet, these frameworks have the fundamental shortcoming of not addressing directly and persistently the primary objective of start-ups: to survive in changing environments. The aim of the action research reported in this paper is to overcome that fundamental shortcoming. This is an important topic because the majority of start-ups do not survive. In this paper, first principles for survival in changing environments are related to business models. In particular, action research to reframe start-ups as adaptable stable systems based on synchronous business models is reported. The paper provides three principal contributions. The contribution to business model theory building is to relate survival first principles revealed through natural science research to business models. Reference to first principles highlight that survival depends on maintaining both external adaptability and internal stability through synchronization with changing environments. The second contribution is to business model practice through describing a simple business modeling method that is based on the scientific first principles. The third contribution is to provide an example that bridges the rigor–relevance gap between scientific research and business practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Model–the Perspective of Systems Thinking and Innovation)
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19 pages, 2104 KiB  
Article
Nonlinear Dependence and Spillovers between Currency Markets and Global Economic Variables
Systems 2022, 10(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030080 - 09 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1648
Abstract
The widespread integration and growing systemic dependence among currency, stock, and commodity markets render these markets often very vulnerable to shocks and at risk of collapse at the same time. As a result, these trends threaten the sustainability of the entire financial system. [...] Read more.
The widespread integration and growing systemic dependence among currency, stock, and commodity markets render these markets often very vulnerable to shocks and at risk of collapse at the same time. As a result, these trends threaten the sustainability of the entire financial system. In this study, we aim to explore the spillovers and nonlinear dependencies between the seven major foreign exchange rates, crude oil and gold prices, a global stock price index, and oil and stock implied volatility indices as proxy variables for global risk factors by employing a directional spillover network approach. We also use a multi-scale decomposition method and nonlinear causality test between these variables to capture multi-level relationships at short and long horizons. The major findings are summarized as follows. First, from the multi-scale decomposition analysis, we identify that Granger causality test results and the direction and strength of return spillovers change with the level of decomposition. Second, the results of nonlinear causality tests show variation in both the significance and direction of Granger causality relationships between the decomposed currency and other series at different timescales, especially for the decomposed oil, gold, and OVX series. Third, the measured directional spillover indices identify the Euro–Dollar exchange rate as the largest contributor of connectedness to the other series. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Modeling Approaches to Finance and Fintech Innovation)
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28 pages, 2546 KiB  
Article
A Model for Knowledge Management Systems in the UbuntuNet Alliance Member Institutions
Systems 2022, 10(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030079 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2408
Abstract
In the current knowledge-driven global economy, higher education and research institutions are taking a leading role as the hubs for knowledge creation and sharing. In contribution to the needed coordination of the efforts, this paper presents a guiding model thorough assessment of the [...] Read more.
In the current knowledge-driven global economy, higher education and research institutions are taking a leading role as the hubs for knowledge creation and sharing. In contribution to the needed coordination of the efforts, this paper presents a guiding model thorough assessment of the prevailing status of knowledge resources sharing and collaboration in the regional alliance for education and research networks in the eastern and southern African countries—UbuntuNet Alliance. This research carried out a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews with CEOs of three active national research and education networks (NRENs), representing both the government-run and private consortium-based settings. The study adopted a socio-technical perspective in assessing the technological engagements and the knowledge resources utilization within and among the NRENs in the region. The findings show that the NRENs share a similar set of challenges as well as missions and objectives; they aspire to provide technology-enhanced knowledge-sharing platforms within and across their domains. Finally, it presents UbuntuKMS Model—a comprehensive technology-enhanced knowledge management systems model that intends to provide guidance for the NRENs to orient their efforts accordingly. The research revealed that contextual considerations in developing system solutions are vital as the developing economies experience unique realities on the ground. Full article
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16 pages, 18850 KiB  
Article
Blockchain Traceability System in Complex Application Scenarios: Image-Based Interactive Traceability Structure
Systems 2022, 10(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030078 - 08 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2068
Abstract
To solve the problems exposed by the application of blockchain technology under complex scenarios, such as fraudulent use of data, hard to store huge amounts of data, and low traceability efficiency under an ultra-huge number of traceability requests, this paper constructs an image-based [...] Read more.
To solve the problems exposed by the application of blockchain technology under complex scenarios, such as fraudulent use of data, hard to store huge amounts of data, and low traceability efficiency under an ultra-huge number of traceability requests, this paper constructs an image-based interactive traceability structure by using images as an enhancement. By adding pointers to raw image files, a specific file structure is formed for traceability, and the traceability process is separated from the verification process, therefore realizing the distributed traceability of “traceability off the chain and verification on the chain”. The experimental results show that, compared with the traditional blockchain traceability mode, the interactive traceability structure can reduce the data retrieval pressure and greatly improve the traceability efficiency of a specific transaction chain. With the growth of the span of the transaction chain, the traceability efficiency advantage of the interactive traceability structure becomes more obvious. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extended Reality Application and Management Systems)
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30 pages, 15032 KiB  
Review
Smart Cities from the Perspective of Systems
Systems 2022, 10(3), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030077 - 08 Jun 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5559
Abstract
Modern cities are complex adaptive systems in which there is a lot of dependency and interaction between the various stakeholders, components, and subsystems. The use of digital Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has opened up the vision of smart cities in which the [...] Read more.
Modern cities are complex adaptive systems in which there is a lot of dependency and interaction between the various stakeholders, components, and subsystems. The use of digital Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has opened up the vision of smart cities in which the city dwellers can have a better quality of life and the city can be better organized and managed. The deployment of ICT solutions, however, does not automatically or invariably improve the quality of living of the citizens. Analyzing cities as complex systems with various interacting sub-systems can help us understand urban dynamics and the fate of smart cities. We will be able to analyze various policy interventions and ascertain their effectiveness and anticipate potential unintended consequences. In this paper, we discuss how smart cities can be viewed through the lens of systems thinking and complex systems and provide a comprehensive review of related techniques and methods. Along with highlighting the science of cities in light of historic urban modeling and urban dynamics, we focus on shedding light on the smart city complex systems. Finally, we will describe the various challenges of smart cities, discuss the limitations of existing models, and identify promising future directions of work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Complex Systems)
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15 pages, 1427 KiB  
Article
Dual-Channel Supply Chain Pricing Decisions under Discounted Advertising Value
Systems 2022, 10(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030076 - 07 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1770
Abstract
Retailers advertise on different sales channels. When consumers buy online, the effectiveness of advertising is discounted because they cannot feel the product. Observing this phenomenon, this paper studies the advertising strategy of a dual-channel retailer. In this paper, we build stylized game models [...] Read more.
Retailers advertise on different sales channels. When consumers buy online, the effectiveness of advertising is discounted because they cannot feel the product. Observing this phenomenon, this paper studies the advertising strategy of a dual-channel retailer. In this paper, we build stylized game models for the retailer’s price and advertising levels on online and offline channels, respectively. Our contribution is to provide prescriptions for how dual-channel retailers make price and advertise decisions and determine which channel is more profitable for retailers. We find that advertising discounts are not always harming the retailer’s profits. The level of advertising discounts causes retailers to increase the selling price when consumers engage in online shopping. Also, we derive that retailers can choose the sales channels based on the level of consumers’ channel preference of consumers. Interestingly, an increase in the level of advertising discounts will contribute to the growth of the retailer’s profit. Finally, by numerical analysis, we demonstrate the robustness of the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Supply Chain Management)
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22 pages, 1867 KiB  
Article
Applications of the Investor Sentiment Polarization Model in Sudden Financial Events
Systems 2022, 10(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030075 - 05 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1782
Abstract
At present, the proportion of individual financial investors in China is relatively high, the phenomenon of noisy trading is frequent, and the market system risk caused by the polarization of investor sentiment cannot be ignored. Therefore, exploring the polarization of investor sentiment under [...] Read more.
At present, the proportion of individual financial investors in China is relatively high, the phenomenon of noisy trading is frequent, and the market system risk caused by the polarization of investor sentiment cannot be ignored. Therefore, exploring the polarization of investor sentiment under the influence of sudden financial events is of great practical significance for alleviating abnormal fluctuations in financial markets and building a long-term and stable market mechanism. Based on the B–A scale-free network and J–A model, this paper combines the multi-agent system and the DSSW model to construct a polarization model of investor sentiment. Through simulation tests and empirical tests, it is concluded that the polarization of investor sentiment stems from the herd effect and exclusion effect of investor behavior, and that increasing the coefficient of destabilization ε and reducing the effect interval threshold D1 and D2 will aggravate the polarization of investor sentiment in the equilibrium state, while increasing the effect parameter α and β will not affect the polarization of investor sentiment in the equilibrium state, but will accelerate the number of interactions required to reach the equilibrium state. Finally, this paper puts forward targeted policy recommendations to provide references for responding to unexpected financial events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Modeling Approaches to Finance and Fintech Innovation)
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32 pages, 3623 KiB  
Article
Feasibility Analysis of a Mobile Microgrid Design to Support DoD Energy Resilience Goals
Systems 2022, 10(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030074 - 03 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2492
Abstract
This research investigates the feasibility of using mobile hybrid microgrids to increase energy resilience in DoD Installations. The primary question examined is whether a standardized mobile microgrid, constrained within an International Standards Organization (ISO) Triple Container (TriCon) and not to exceed 10,000 lbs [...] Read more.
This research investigates the feasibility of using mobile hybrid microgrids to increase energy resilience in DoD Installations. The primary question examined is whether a standardized mobile microgrid, constrained within an International Standards Organization (ISO) Triple Container (TriCon) and not to exceed 10,000 lbs (approximately 4535 kg), can provide the necessary power for small critical sites with an average 10 kW load on DoD installations with similar resilience to a customized single load microgrid or emergency backup generator. Key assumptions for this research are that power outages may be accompanied by a fuel constrained environment (e.g., natural disaster that restricts fuel transport), an existing installation microgrid is in place, and the risk of outages does not warrant the development of redundant customized single load microgrids for each critical load. The feasibility of a mobile hybrid microgrid is investigated by constructing an architectural design that attempts to find a satisfactory combination of commercial off-the-shelf components for battery energy storage, photovoltaic power, and generator power within the constraints of an 8 ft × 6 ft 5 in × 8 ft (approximately 2.4 m × 2 m × 2.4 m) shipping container. The proposed design is modeled and simulated over a two-week period using Global Horizontal Index solar irradiance data, and a randomized average 10 kW load. Results of the model are used to analyze the feasibility of the system to meet the load while reducing dependency on fuel resources. Trade-offs between a customized single load microgrid and standardized mobile microgrid are discussed. The result of this research indicates that a standardized mobile microgrid holds significant promise for DoD and other potential users (public safety, private industry, etc.) in having a rapidly deployable solution to bring critical loads back online during an emergency situation that reduces generator usage. Full article
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15 pages, 3802 KiB  
Article
A Study of Factors Influencing the Continuance Intention to the Usage of Augmented Reality in Museums
Systems 2022, 10(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030073 - 01 Jun 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3579
Abstract
Augmented reality (AR) technology has rapidly developed in recent years. This technology is widely used in various fields, including museum exhibitions, where people use it to experience art in a new way. While AR aims to realize the interaction between the virtual world [...] Read more.
Augmented reality (AR) technology has rapidly developed in recent years. This technology is widely used in various fields, including museum exhibitions, where people use it to experience art in a new way. While AR aims to realize the interaction between the virtual world and the real world, museums use AR to develop new digital artwork from artifacts. When text descriptions are no longer attractive to the audience, museums need to add more sound effects to images and video dynamics to develop a sustainable way for the industry’s future. For the continued use of such technology and the better development of the museum industry, this study used a structural equation model to explore the influences on the continuance intention of museum AR technology through experiments and questionnaires. Furthermore, it established a model with six dimensions: interaction quality, information quality, information richness, satisfaction, perceived playfulness, and continuance intention. Moreover, the results of this study can serve as a reference for managers to promote the extensive application of AR technology in museum construction, thereby providing visitors with better experiences and satisfying their needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extended Reality Application and Management Systems)
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22 pages, 787 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Digital Innovation for the Sustainable Transformation of Manufacturing Industry: A Pressure-State-Response System Framework to Perceptions of Digital Green Innovation and Its Performance for Green and Intelligent Manufacturing
Systems 2022, 10(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030072 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 92 | Viewed by 6088
Abstract
Low carbon and digitalization are the general trends of manufacturing upgrading and transformation. Digital technology enables the whole process of green manufacturing and breaks down the spatial barrier. To achieve the dual carbon goals, the pressure-state-response (PSR) model, in which digital technology enables [...] Read more.
Low carbon and digitalization are the general trends of manufacturing upgrading and transformation. Digital technology enables the whole process of green manufacturing and breaks down the spatial barrier. To achieve the dual carbon goals, the pressure-state-response (PSR) model, in which digital technology enables the green innovation of the manufacturing industry, was theoretically analyzed in this study. The measurement system of the digital green innovation (DGI) in the manufacturing industry was constructed according to the PSR framework. An evaluation model based on the analytic hierarchy process and the deviation maximization technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution method was constructed to measure the level of DGI. The results of this study from Chinese manufacturing are as follows. (i) The measurement system of the level of DGI in manufacturing industry includes a pressure system, state system and response system. (ii) In the past five years, the comprehensive index of the DGI in manufacturing industry has generally shown a trend of fluctuating rise. There are overall low and unbalanced phenomena in all regions. The gap decreased from 0.1320 to 0.1187, showing a gradually narrowing trend. (iii) Compared with other regions, the composite index of DGI is generally higher in the regions with a better ecological environment in the east and a more developed economy in the north. State parameters are higher than pressure and response parameters in most areas. (iv) Compared with other regions, the composite index of DGI in western and southern regions is lower, and the parameters of pressure, status and response are basically coordinated. (v) The application degree of digital technology, the emission intensity of waste water/exhaust gas of output value of one hundred million yuan and the expenditure intensity of digital technology adopted by enterprises are the key influencing factors of DGI in the manufacturing industry. This study not only proposed an evaluation index system of the digital green innovation level, but also puts forward policy guidance and practical guidance of digital technology to accelerate the green and intelligent manufacturing industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision-Making Process and Its Application to Business Analytic)
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42 pages, 3761 KiB  
Article
Relationships Organize Information in Mind and Nature: Empirical Findings of Action–Reaction Relationships (R) in Cognitive and Material Complexity
Systems 2022, 10(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030071 - 26 May 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1843
Abstract
Diverse phenomena such as feedback, interconnectedness, causality, network dynamics, and complexity are all born from Relationships. They are fundamentally important, as they are transdisciplinary and synonymous with connections, links, edges, and interconnections. The foundation of systems thinking and systems themselves consists of four [...] Read more.
Diverse phenomena such as feedback, interconnectedness, causality, network dynamics, and complexity are all born from Relationships. They are fundamentally important, as they are transdisciplinary and synonymous with connections, links, edges, and interconnections. The foundation of systems thinking and systems themselves consists of four universals, one of which is action–reaction Relationships. They are also foundational to the consilience of knowledge. This publication gives a formal description of and predictions of action–reaction Relationships (R) or “R-rule”. There are seven original empirical studies presented in this paper. For these seven studies, experiments for the subjects were created on software (unless otherwise noted). The experiments had the subjects complete a task and/or answer a question. The samples are generalizable to a normal distribution of the US population and they vary for each study (ranging from N = 407 to N = 34,398). With high statistical significance the studies support the predictions made by DSRP Theory regarding action–reaction Relationships including its universality as an observable phenomenon in both nature (ontological complexity) and mind (cognitive complexity); mutual dependencies on other universals (i.e., Distinctions, Systems, and Perspectives); role in structural predictions; internal structures and dynamics; efficacy as a metacognitive skill. In conclusion, these data suggest the observable and empirical existence, parallelism (between cognitive and ontological complexity), universality, and efficacy of action–reaction Relationships (R). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Complex Systems)
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55 pages, 1658 KiB  
Article
Viruses as Living Systems—A Metacybernetic View
Systems 2022, 10(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030070 - 25 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 6491
Abstract
The debate over whether viruses are living organisms tends to be paradigmatically determined. The metabolic paradigm denies that they are, while new research evidences the opposite. The purpose of this paper is to deliver a generic model for viral contexts that explains why [...] Read more.
The debate over whether viruses are living organisms tends to be paradigmatically determined. The metabolic paradigm denies that they are, while new research evidences the opposite. The purpose of this paper is to deliver a generic model for viral contexts that explains why viruses are alive. It will take a systems biology approach, with a qualitative part (using metacybernetics) to provide deeper explanations of viral contexts, and a quantitative part (using Fisher Information deriving from the variational principle of Extreme Physical Information) which is in principle able to take measurements and predict outcomes. The modelling process provides an extended view of the epigenetic processes of viruses. The generic systems biology model will depict viruses as autonomous entities with metaphysical processes of autopoietic self-organisation and adaptation, enabling them to maintain their physical viability and hence, within their populations, mutate and evolve. The autopoietic epigenetic processes are shown to describe their capability to change, and these are both qualitatively and quantitatively explored, the latter providing an approach to make measurements of physical phenomena under uncertainty. Viruses maintain their fitness when they are able to maintain their stability, and this is indicated by information flow efficacy. A brief case study is presented on the COVID-19 virus from the perspective that it is a living system, and this includes outcome predictions given Fisher Information conditions for known contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cybernetics)
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12 pages, 330 KiB  
Article
Embedded Researchers as Part of a Whole Systems Approach to Physical Activity: Reflections and Recommendations
Systems 2022, 10(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030069 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3704
Abstract
Whole systems approaches are increasingly being advocated as a way of responding to complex public health priorities such as obesity and physical inactivity. Due to the complex and adaptive nature of such systems, researchers are increasingly being embedded within host organisations (i.e., those [...] Read more.
Whole systems approaches are increasingly being advocated as a way of responding to complex public health priorities such as obesity and physical inactivity. Due to the complex and adaptive nature of such systems, researchers are increasingly being embedded within host organisations (i.e., those which facilitate the whole systems approach) to work with key stakeholders to illuminate and understand mechanisms of change and develop a culture of continuous improvement. While previous literature has reported on the benefits and challenges of embedded researchers in health care, little is known about the experiences and learnings of those situated within these complex whole systems approaches. In this paper, we present our reflections of being embedded researchers within four distinct whole systems approaches and outline recommendations and considerations for commissioners working with or seeking support from an embedded researcher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Practice in Public Health)
17 pages, 797 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Interventions in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak by Multiple-Criteria Decision-Making Models
Systems 2022, 10(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030068 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
The COVID-19 outbreak has currently led to serious social and economic consequences. In poor and developing countries, there are more challenges and barriers to tackling the pandemic. The study’s aim is to propose a hybrid approach to multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) models for determining [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 outbreak has currently led to serious social and economic consequences. In poor and developing countries, there are more challenges and barriers to tackling the pandemic. The study’s aim is to propose a hybrid approach to multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) models for determining the most efficient intervention strategies. The methodology is a combination between the Best-Worst Model (BWM) and Group Best-Worst Model (GBWM) to estimate the efficiency score of intervention. Based on the background of knowledge, five groups of stakeholders including Academicians, Entrepreneurs, Commons Residents, Social Workers, Health Workers are considered decision-makers (DMs). A set of nine potential strategies was evaluated and prioritized by all DMs. The findings have shown that different groups of stakeholders prioritized differently the importance of criteria due to their interests. In the context of Vietnam, however, the Availability of Health Systems is prioritized as the most important intervention. The results and proposed model of this paper contributed to MCDM literature as well as a good reference to apply practically in many different countries. Full article
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26 pages, 1450 KiB  
Article
Prioritization of Environmental Uncertainty and Manufacturing Flexibility for Labor-Intensive Industry: A Case Study on Ready-Made Garment Industries in Bangladesh
Systems 2022, 10(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030067 - 21 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2332
Abstract
Manufacturing flexibility is a widely accepted manufacturing strategy for mitigating the negative impacts of environmental uncertainty on firm performance and is also a required strategic attribute to acclimatize mass customization and agile manufacturing. Manufacturing flexibility has been adequately studied for technology-intensive industries but [...] Read more.
Manufacturing flexibility is a widely accepted manufacturing strategy for mitigating the negative impacts of environmental uncertainty on firm performance and is also a required strategic attribute to acclimatize mass customization and agile manufacturing. Manufacturing flexibility has been adequately studied for technology-intensive industries but remains inadequately addressed for labor-intensive industries. In this study, a framework is proposed for sorting the relevant manufacturing flexibility types for the relevant environmental uncertainty types as an initial step towards implementing manufacturing flexibility in labor-intensive industries. This study considered the RMG (ready-made garment) industries in Bangladesh, which are mostly labor-intensive, as a case. Different types of manufacturing flexibility and environmental uncertainty were identified through a deductive approach from the existing literature and theory. Then, final sorting was conducted through a focus group discussion using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and decision making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) techniques. This study revealed that demand, competitor, supplier, and technology uncertainty were ranked sequentially from first to fourth. This study also revealed that demand and competitor uncertainty would be the first-line focus, and supplier uncertainty the second-line focus, of decision makers. Similarly, new product, volume, workforce, and modification flexibility were ranked sequentially from first to fourth, and these would be considered first-line focuses by decision makers. This study also showed that all types of environmental uncertainties had an internal effect (one type affects another type within the types of environmental uncertainty). Internal effects among the different types of manufacturing flexibility were also identified. This study contributes to the theory of manufacturing flexibility for labor-intensive industries and will help decision makers gradually implement manufacturing flexibility based on their capacity and goal. Full article
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17 pages, 366 KiB  
Article
An Economic Evaluation of Targeted Reserve Requirement Ratio Reduction on Bank Ecosystem Development
Systems 2022, 10(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030066 - 15 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2154
Abstract
In China’s bank-centered financial and economic environment, bank risk attitudes have an important impact on the effective implementation of structural monetary policy, and monetary policy can have an impact on the corporate ecosystem through risk taking by banks. To make an economic assessment [...] Read more.
In China’s bank-centered financial and economic environment, bank risk attitudes have an important impact on the effective implementation of structural monetary policy, and monetary policy can have an impact on the corporate ecosystem through risk taking by banks. To make an economic assessment of the evolution of the banking ecosystem and empirically explore the correlation between targeted Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR) cuts and banks’ risk-taking levels in the context of financial supply-side structural reforms, this paper uses multiple regression analysis and a fixed-effects model to analyze the causal impact of targeted RRR reduction on the risk taking of Chinese commercial banks. In addition, it uses the mediation effect model to analyze the mechanism. Results show that targeted RRR cuts have significantly increased the level of risk taking of commercial banks. The findings are pronounced in urban commercial banks. However, the leverage ratio regulation has a restraining effect on the level of risk taking of banks. This study provides an effective economic evaluation for the benign development of the banking ecosystem under the environment of government policy supervision. Future research needs to expand the bank sample and further examine the changes in bank credit scale and credit investment. Full article
23 pages, 390 KiB  
Article
Market-Oriented Transformation and Development of Local Government Financing Platforms in China: Exploratory Research Based on Multiple Cases
Systems 2022, 10(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030065 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1740
Abstract
In recent years, the disorderly development of local government debt financing and local government financing platforms (GFP) in China has brought huge government debt risks. In order to control the debt increment caused by illegal financing of the GFP, the state has issued [...] Read more.
In recent years, the disorderly development of local government debt financing and local government financing platforms (GFP) in China has brought huge government debt risks. In order to control the debt increment caused by illegal financing of the GFP, the state has issued a series of documents. Under the new economic form, how to determine the position, choose the road, and plan the path of market-oriented development for high-quality economic development is critical to the GFP. This paper is committed to solving the key points and transformation paths of market-oriented transformation of the GFP. (1) On the basis of literature research, it analyzes the necessity, feasibility, and current transformation difficulties of market-oriented transformation of the GFP. (2) It defines the concept of the GFP and the concept of market-oriented transformation of the GFP. (3) It collates and analyzes the real cases of market-oriented transformation of four local government (county-level and above) financing platforms, studies the key points of transformation, and systematically summarizes the path of market-oriented transformation from three aspects: the goal, work plan, and implementation scheme of transformation and development. (4) Based on the idea of finding problems, diagnosing problems, optimizing, and improving, we put forward optimization strategy suggestions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Systems Theory and Methodology)
26 pages, 1118 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Impact of Institutional Improvement on Control of Corruption—A System Dynamics Approach
Systems 2022, 10(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030064 - 12 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4751
Abstract
Political and bureaucratic corruption is a societal threat in every country. It allows organised crime to flourish, slows economic growth, increases income inequality, reduces government effectiveness, and threatens citizens’ confidence in the rule of law. This study uses a “System Dynamics model” from [...] Read more.
Political and bureaucratic corruption is a societal threat in every country. It allows organised crime to flourish, slows economic growth, increases income inequality, reduces government effectiveness, and threatens citizens’ confidence in the rule of law. This study uses a “System Dynamics model” from a framework based on econometric analysis wherein the causal relationships between the economic and governance institutions were established. The calibrated model uses the data on institutional quality from 1996 to 2020 from “the World Bank and the World Economic Forum” to project institutional quality and control corruption in the future. The control of corruption was trending downward in the nations studied. The model shows that improving institutional quality can reverse this downward trend. However, improving institutional quality and controlling corruption requires a country-specific approach. This model suggests the most efficient ways that national leaders and policymakers can improve institutional quality and thereby control corruption in their country. Full article
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25 pages, 1080 KiB  
Article
Online Teaching Quality Evaluation of Business Statistics Course Utilizing Fermatean Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchy Process with Aggregation Operator
Systems 2022, 10(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030063 - 12 May 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2185
Abstract
Due to the full-scale outbreak of COVID-19, many universities have adopted the way of online teaching to ensure the orderly development of teaching plans and teaching contents. However, whether online and offline teaching can develop homogeneously and how to ensure the teaching effect [...] Read more.
Due to the full-scale outbreak of COVID-19, many universities have adopted the way of online teaching to ensure the orderly development of teaching plans and teaching contents. However, whether online and offline teaching can develop homogeneously and how to ensure the teaching effect is a major challenge for colleges and universities. Therefore, it is urgent to construct a reasonable index system and evaluation approach for the quality of network teaching. Combined with the influencing factors and characteristics of online teaching, this study first puts forward a multi-index evaluation index system and then proposes a novel evaluation method for online teaching based on the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and Dombi weighted partitioned Muirhead Mean (PMM) operator under Fermatean fuzzy (FF) environment. This presented method not only adapts to changeable evaluation information but also handles the elusive interrelationships among indexes, realizing the flexibility and comprehensiveness both in form and in the polyaddition process. The applicability and feasibility of this presented method are then discussed through the practical online teaching quality evaluation of a business statistics course case, and a group of tentative about the sensitivity analysis and comparative analysis further demonstrates the effectiveness and flexibility of the proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision-Making Process and Its Application to Business Analytic)
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25 pages, 534 KiB  
Article
Research on the Coupling between the Double Cycle Mode and Technological Innovation Systems: Empirical Evidence from Data Envelopment Analysis and Coupled Coordination
Systems 2022, 10(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030062 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2055
Abstract
China is striving to build a new dual-circulation development pattern with the aim of leading the coupling of science, technology, and innovation through the active role of financial factors, ultimately promoting the country’s optimal economic development. As a result, this paper constructs a [...] Read more.
China is striving to build a new dual-circulation development pattern with the aim of leading the coupling of science, technology, and innovation through the active role of financial factors, ultimately promoting the country’s optimal economic development. As a result, this paper constructs a coupled dual-circulation-STI (scientific and technological innovation) relationship model. The domestic and foreign components of the input–output relationship are used to portray the extent of the dual circulation, combined with Index DEA to measure the quality of science and technology innovation under the role of financial factors and the coupled coordination model to analyze the intrinsic correlation between the two. The study used an Index-DEA and value chain analysis model to measure each industry’s technological effectiveness and the degree of internal and external circulation, respectively. The coupled coordination model approach was used to measure the coordination relationship between the double-loop model and technological innovation. Based on the coordination assessment table, the degree of coupling and the natural state of science and technology innovation and dual cycle in each industry were assessed. The study found that the country’s dual-circulation pattern gradually strengthened from 2015–2019, with the financial element also driving an increase in STI. However, due to the twists and turns of the external environment, the coupling power of the dual-circulation STI weakened in some years. On this basis, the paper concludes that the quality of STI, driven by financial factors, has been increasing year on year, and the coupling with dual circulation has been trending upwards. Regarding policy implications, developing countries such as China should continue to invest more financially to create a healthy and sustainable innovation model. Through the innovation-dual-circulation development model, the country should eliminate the sloppy development model in construction and use the power of science and technology to lead social progress. Full article
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17 pages, 3851 KiB  
Article
Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration Based on Emergy Analysis and Two-Layer System Dynamics
Systems 2022, 10(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030061 - 08 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1944
Abstract
In the process of the economic development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration, ecological and environmental issues are still an important factor restricting high-quality development. The study of eco-efficiency is of great significance for coordinating the relationship between economy, resources and environment. This paper [...] Read more.
In the process of the economic development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration, ecological and environmental issues are still an important factor restricting high-quality development. The study of eco-efficiency is of great significance for coordinating the relationship between economy, resources and environment. This paper used a combinated method of two-layer system dynamics and emergy analysis to construct an emergy–system dynamics coupling model for eco-efficiency evaluation from the subsystems of resource flow, energy flow, currency flow and population flow of urban system, which is used to simulate and analyze the eco-efficiency of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration. The results show that the overall eco-efficiency of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration is not high, with an average value of 0.3786, and there is a trend of the value rising first and then falling from 2000 to 2035. The index values of emergy waste rate, contaminant emergy ratio, emergy output rate and environmental load rate after the decomposition of the eco-efficiency show that the high environmental pressure, the low re-use rate of pollutants and the low production efficiency of the system are important reasons for the low eco-efficiency in regional economic development. Finally, through scenario simulation, we propose that optimizing the economic structure, adjusting the population size and rationally arranging the fixed assets investment are conducive to improving the eco-efficiency of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration. Full article
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24 pages, 6848 KiB  
Article
Systemizing and Automating the Concept Development Process Based on Product Configuration and User Feedback: Case Study on Automating the Design Process of Creating Concepts for a Kitchen Stand Mixer
Systems 2022, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030060 - 08 May 2022
Viewed by 2123
Abstract
Optimizing the development and evaluation of concepts during the design of consumer products through, e.g., topology optimization, often excludes areas associated with user needs (e.g., usability). This paper reports on an exploratory study of developing a system which can create new product concepts [...] Read more.
Optimizing the development and evaluation of concepts during the design of consumer products through, e.g., topology optimization, often excludes areas associated with user needs (e.g., usability). This paper reports on an exploratory study of developing a system which can create new product concepts based on users’ preferences, requirements, and a clearly defined product structure. The 3D model of the product (structured using top-down design and resilient modeling) was integrated with calculations of the performance of the user needs (performance indicators). Different designs were developed based on design of experiment analyses and optimization analyses of the 3D model of the product (a kitchen stand mixer). The outcome of the analyses was a range of concepts which scored differently in the performance indicators. The best designs (based on Pareto front) were evaluated by six potential customers. Half of the participants preferred the same design, suggesting that this tool can be used to develop a design which a specific customer segment prefers. The process of creating the model and using it for customer interviews contributed a set of qualitative findings to the literature on combining parametric design, customization, and systematic design with user needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Systems Design)
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29 pages, 4756 KiB  
Article
Research on Supply and Demand of Aged Services Resource Allocation in China: A System Dynamics Model
Systems 2022, 10(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030059 - 02 May 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2338
Abstract
With the rapid growth of the elderly population of China in recent years, the service demands of older Chinese people continue to increase. The increasingly severe situation with respect to the elderly population is an important social problem that China will face for [...] Read more.
With the rapid growth of the elderly population of China in recent years, the service demands of older Chinese people continue to increase. The increasingly severe situation with respect to the elderly population is an important social problem that China will face for a long time into the future. It is urgent to solve the problem of how to scientifically carry out allocation planning of service resources for the aged and guide the effective supply of service resources. This paper analyzes the factors affecting service resources for the aged, divides China’s service resource supply and demand system into a supply subsystem, a demand subsystem, and a population and economy subsystem. Using system dynamics methods to analyze the causal relationship between variables and the state space method to build a mathematical model and perform simulation analysis, we research the the current situation of China’s service resources supply and demand balance for the aged. In addition, we put forward resource configuration optimization measures for the future allocation of service resources for the aged, providing a practical basis for future decision-making. Full article
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28 pages, 3663 KiB  
Article
The Blitz Canvas: A Business Model Innovation Framework for Software Startups
Systems 2022, 10(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030058 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3877
Abstract
Software startups are temporary organizations created with the purpose of bringing a profitable business idea to life. In the initial stages, the commercial viability of any product concept is yet to be proven and until the startup can generate revenue, resources are always [...] Read more.
Software startups are temporary organizations created with the purpose of bringing a profitable business idea to life. In the initial stages, the commercial viability of any product concept is yet to be proven and until the startup can generate revenue, resources are always in short supply. To this end, this research proposes a process-oriented, competition-aware, metric-driven business model development and innovation framework. The proposed framework is designed to aid this process, by supporting the creation and validation of the business model. A web-based tool is created to demonstrate the working of the proposed model and validation is performed using survey data collected from the usage experience of participants. The data is used to evaluate the research questions and the ability of the proposed framework to overcome the shortcomings of the business model canvas. The results showed that the tool (and by extension, the framework) made the task of business model creation a quick and easy process, while at the same time covering all the required areas to create a holistic business model. The framework contributes to startup success by creating a structured approach to business development, helping to visualize the avenues for product differentiation and planning growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Model–the Perspective of Systems Thinking and Innovation)
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18 pages, 1479 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Costs of Integrating Blockchain and IoT for Agri-Food Traceability Systems
Systems 2022, 10(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030057 - 25 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3618
Abstract
An increasing amount of research focuses on integrating the Internet of Things and blockchain technology to address the requirements of traceability applications for Industry 4.0. However, there has been little quantitative analysis of several aspects of these new blockchain-based traceability systems. For instance, [...] Read more.
An increasing amount of research focuses on integrating the Internet of Things and blockchain technology to address the requirements of traceability applications for Industry 4.0. However, there has been little quantitative analysis of several aspects of these new blockchain-based traceability systems. For instance, very few works have studied blockchain’s impact on the resources of constrained IoT sensors. Similarly, the infrastructure costs of these blockchain-based systems are not widely understood. This paper characterizes the resources of low-cost IoT sensors and provides a monetary cost model for blockchain infrastructure to support blockchain-based traceability systems. First, we describe and implement a farm-to-fork case study using public and private blockchain networks. Then, we analyze the impact of blockchain in six different resource-limited IoT devices in terms of disk and memory footprint, processing time, and energy consumption. Next, we present an infrastructure cost model and use it to identify the costs for the public and private networks. Finally, we evaluate the traceability of a product in different scenarios. Our results showed that low-cost sensors could directly interact with both types of blockchains with minimal energy overhead. Furthermore, our cost model showed that setting a private blockchain infrastructure costs approximately the same as that managing 50 products on a public blockchain network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers of Agents and Multiagent Systems)
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22 pages, 2681 KiB  
Review
A Literature Review of Social Commerce Research from a Systems Thinking Perspective
Systems 2022, 10(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030056 - 24 Apr 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5400
Abstract
The paper aims to investigate social commerce systems from a systems thinking perspective. It proposes to model the social commerce process and outlines how Following, Communicating, Purchasing, and Sharing are systematically connected with each other in the social commerce process. The paper describes [...] Read more.
The paper aims to investigate social commerce systems from a systems thinking perspective. It proposes to model the social commerce process and outlines how Following, Communicating, Purchasing, and Sharing are systematically connected with each other in the social commerce process. The paper describes an exploratory review study using the systematic literature review method, including 384 social commerce research papers, which were published from 2011 to 2021. The data are refined by documentary analysis, including Study Selection Criteria and Quality Assessment processes. The paper systematically develops a conceptual framework for understanding social commerce. Previous research on social commerce mainly focuses on one or more particular key success factors (such as trust) in social commerce, and a few of them investigate social commerce as an integral business system. This review provides a more comprehensive basis for future social commerce research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Business Model–the Perspective of Systems Thinking and Innovation)
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15 pages, 2247 KiB  
Article
Pricing Game between Customized Bus and Conventional Bus with Combined Operational Objectives
Systems 2022, 10(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems10030055 - 24 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
Social welfare and profit are two main factors to be included in the operational goal of bus services. It is assumed that conventional bus services are “welfare pro” with more consideration of social welfare, while customized bus services are “profit pro” with more [...] Read more.
Social welfare and profit are two main factors to be included in the operational goal of bus services. It is assumed that conventional bus services are “welfare pro” with more consideration of social welfare, while customized bus services are “profit pro” with more consideration of profit, and the goal of each bus service is to maximize the overall payoffs, namely, the weighted sum of social welfare and profit. A bi-level pricing game is proposed to shed light on the impact of two bus services’ pricing competition on the payoffs when the operational objectives with different weights of social welfare are adopted. A case study shows that the pricing strategies of conventional bus services have a significant impact on the customized bus services. The customized bus operator should consider more “social welfare” to attract customers and to achieve the overall payoffs when the conventional bus service takes a high price strategy, and the customized bus operator can take a strategy of a high price to maintain its overall payoffs when the conventional bus operator maximizes the social welfare. It is found that there exists a trade-off by which both sides obtain the balanced overall payoffs. Full article
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