G-CSC Report 2010
- The present report gives a short summary of the research of the Goethe Center for Scientific Computing (G-CSC) of the Goethe University Frankfurt. G-CSC aims at developing and applying methods and tools for modelling and numerical simulation of problems from empirical science and technology. In particular, fast solvers for partial differential equations (i.e. pde) such as robust, parallel, and adaptive multigrid methods and numerical methods for stochastic differential equations are developed. These methods are highly adanvced and allow to solve complex problems..
The G-CSC is organised in departments and interdisciplinary research groups. Departments are localised directly at the G-CSC, while the task of interdisciplinary research groups is to bridge disciplines and to bring scientists form different departments together. Currently, G-CSC consists of the department Simulation and Modelling and the interdisciplinary research group Computational Finance.
Gender balance in the ECB's executive board
- The latest appointment to the ECB's Executive Board initiated a political dispute between the European Parliament and the Euro Group on the question of representation of females on the Executive Board and the Governing Council of the ECB. The dispute has raised awareness to the fact that a culture of equality and equal opportunity should be built from the ground up. A long term plan helping talented women to emerge and be prepared to take increasing responsibilities is necessary to make sure that there is a growing pool of qualified female candidates.
Comment on the European Parliament Draft Report on the proposal for a recovery and resolution directive : (Rapporteur: Gunnar Hökmark)
– Doc 2012/0150 (COD) of 11 October 2012 –
Jan Pieter Krahnen
- This present comment suggests an amendment to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council, establishing a framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms. The current proposal focuses on bail-in, but does not sufficiently take into account the pressure exerted on central bankers, supervisors and politicians by the fear of interbank contagion. The only way out of this hold-up type of situation can be found in bail-in bonds. Bail-in bonds are dedicated loss taking debt instruments, whose status of being first in line if it comes to default is clearly communicated from day one.
The Diversity Concept of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main 2011–2014
- he “Diversity Concept of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main 2011–2014” is based on the goals as laid down in the University Development Plan 2011. The Goethe University combined various instruments for working out the concept, not least in order to ensure adequate participation: on the one hand, guided interviews were conducted, for example, with employees in advisory functions, members of the AStA (General Students’ Commit-tee), etc. On the other hand, Internet research, an open space workshop, as well as four strategy and awareness-raising workshops on various topics were organized.
The concept was developed in close cooperation with the vice president responsible for gender and diversity, Prof. Dr. Roser Valenti, the Senate Commission “Advancement of Women, Equal Opportunity, and Diversity”, the “Project Supervision Group Diversity Poli-cies”, and the Equal Opportunities Office.
The Goethe University already has various concepts and target agreements on gender equal-ity and family support. The Diversity Concept therefore includes no measures on these top-ics. With the expiry of the Plan for the Advancement of Women in 2014, all of the other reports and measures related to equal opportunity and diversity will be consolidated in a central “Gender Equality & Diversity Action Plan of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main” (GEDAP) and updated every four years.
Library buildings around the world / compiled by Andreas J. Werner
- "Library Buildings around the World" is a survey based on researches of several years. The objective was to gather library buildings on an international level starting with 1990.
Policy Relevant Sustainability Research: Requirements Profiles for Research Funding Agencies, Researchers and Policymakers Regarding Improving and Ensuring Quality of Research – A Guide
- Research aimed at helping to solve pressing societal problems must meet specific quality requirements: The knowledge it produces must not only be sound but also useable. This is particularly true of research that aims at bringing specific knowledge to bear on policy issues relating to sustainable development. This guide provides detailed actor-specific requirements profiles for this type of “policy relevant sustainability research.”
This guide is aimed at research funding agencies and contracting entities, researchers themselves and policymakers1 who participate directly in the research process. It can be used both for cases where the research funding agency/contracting entity and the policymaker are different institutions or where they are identical. However, policy consulting by specialized agencies that do not perform original research is not addressed.
The requirements profiles serve two functions. First of all, they should function as a guide for the three stakeholder groups, aiding them in their efforts to increase and ensure the quality of research processes and research outcomes. And, secondly, they should improve the reflexive communication among stakeholders regarding the means and the goals of research...
The results presented here are part of a research and development project (Research Code Number: 3711 11 701) funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The project was carried out by the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE, project management), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research and the Environmental Policy Research Center for of the Freie Universität Berlin (FFU) (project duration: 09/2011-01/2013).
The aim of the project was to develop concepts that can be used to increase the relevance of sustainability research for the design of environmental policy in Germany. In addition to the requirements profiles for a policy relevant sustainability research presented in this guide, recommendations, based on empirical studies, have been developed regarding how the coordination between different government departments with respect to funding such research can be optimized. The project's final report will be available starting March 2013 from the UBA.
Improved space bounds for strongly competitive randomized paging algorithms
- Paging is one of the prominent problems in the field of on-line algorithms. While in the deterministic setting there exist simple and efficient strongly competitive algorithms, in the randomized setting a tradeoff between competitiveness and memory is still not settled. Bein et al.  conjectured that there exist strongly competitive randomized paging algorithms, using o(k) bookmarks, i.e. pages not in cache that the algorithm keeps track of. Also in  the first algorithm using O(k) bookmarks (2k more precisely), Equitable2, was introduced, proving in the affirmative a conjecture in .
We prove tighter bounds for Equitable2, showing that it requires less than k bookmarks, more precisely ≈ 0.62k. We then give a lower bound for Equitable2 showing that it cannot both be strongly competitive and use o(k) bookmarks. Nonetheless, we show that it can trade competitiveness for space. More precisely, if its competitive ratio is allowed to be (Hk + t), then it requires k/(1 + t) bookmarks.
Our main result proves the conjecture that there exist strongly competitive paging algorithms using o(k) bookmarks. We propose an algorithm, denoted Partition2, which is a variant of the Partition algorithm byMcGeoch and Sleator . While classical Partition is unbounded in its space requirements, Partition2 uses θ(k/ log k) bookmarks. Furthermore, we show that this result is asymptotically tight when the forgiveness steps are deterministic.
General cost analysis for scholarly communication in Germany : results of the "Houghton Report" for Germany
John W. Houghton
- Management Summary: Conducted within the project “Economic Implications of New Models for Information Supply for Science and Research in Germany”, the Houghton Report for Germany provides a general cost and benefit analysis for scientific communication in Germany comparing different scenarios according to their specific costs and explicitly including the German National License Program (NLP).
Basing on the scholarly lifecycle process model outlined by Björk (2007), the study compared the following scenarios according to their accounted costs:
- Traditional subscription publishing,
- Open access publishing (Gold Open Access; refers primarily to journal publishing where access is free of charge to readers, while the authors or funding organisations pay for publication)
- Open Access self-archiving (authors deposit their work in online open access institutional or subject-based repositories, making it freely available to anyone with Internet access; further divided into (i) CGreen Open Access’ self-archiving operating in parallel with subscription publishing; and (ii) the ‘overlay services’ model in which self-archiving provides the foundation for overlay services (e.g. peer review, branding and quality control services))
- the NLP.
Within all scenarios, five core activity elements (Fund research and research communication; perform research and communicate the results; publish scientific and scholarly works; facilitate dissemination, retrieval and preservation; study publications and apply the knowledge) were modeled and priced with all their including activities.
Modelling the impacts of an increase in accessibility and efficiency resulting from more open access on returns to R&D over a 20 year period and then comparing costs and benefits, we find that the benefits of open access publishing models are likely to substantially outweigh the costs and, while smaller, the benefits of the German NLP also exceed the costs.
This analysis of the potential benefits of more open access to research findings suggests that different publishing models can make a material difference to the benefits realised, as well as the costs faced. It seems likely that more Open Access would have substantial net benefits in the longer term and, while net benefits may be lower during a transitional period, they are likely to be positive for both ‘author-pays’ Open Access publishing and the ‘over-lay journals’ alternatives (‘Gold Open Access’), and for parallel subscription publishing and self-archiving (‘Green Open Access’). The NLP returns substantial benefits and savings at a modest cost, returning one of the highest benefit/cost ratios available from unilateral national policies during a transitional period (second to that of ‘Green Open Access’ self-archiving). Whether ‘Green Open Access’ self-archiving in parallel with subscriptions is a sustainable model over the longer term is debateable, and what impact the NLP may have on the take up of Open Access alternatives is also an important consideration. So too is the potential for developments in Open Access or other scholarly publishing business models to significantly change the relative cost-benefit of the NLP over time.
The results are comparable to those of previous studies from the UK and Netherlands. Green Open Access in parallel with the traditional model yields the best benefits/cost ratio. Beside its benefits/cost ratio, the meaningfulness of the NLP is given by its enforceability. The true costs of toll access publishing (beside the buyback” of information) is the prohibition of access to research and knowledge for society.
Lichens and their importance for the monitoring of environmental changes in Southern Africa
- Lichens are the object of investigation within the framework of the BIOTA Southern Africa project, subproject S04 (http://www.biota-africa.org). This interdisciplinary research project, installed in 2000, focuses on the analysis of biodiversity and its changes along climatic and vegetation gradients (transects) in Namibia and in the Republic of South Africa. In the context of this project, studies on the diversity of lichens are carriedout. Special reference is given to the monitoring of lichens growing on soil, which form the so called biological soil crusts.Lichen diversity is assessed and analysed with respect to its spatial and temporal changes. These are related to various abioticand biotic factors such as climate, soil features and land use. The indicator value of certain terricolouslichen taxaand/or lichen groups (communities) is investigated for the study area, and it is intended to use itin a future long-term monitoring programme in the region. In this brochure, we whish to explain what lichens are, how do they live and where do they grow, and why they are so important as bioindicatorsin arid and semi-arid areas of the world. The activities of the S04 subproject along the BIOTA transect are described, as well as the methods used for monitoring environmental changes in Southern Africa using soil-inhabiting lichens.
The Birds of the Highlands of South-West Saudi Arabia and adjacent parts of the Tihama: July 2010
Michael C. Jennings
Amar R. H. Al-Momen
Jabr S. Y. Haresi
- The objective of the survey was to compare habitats and bird life in the Asir region, particularly Jebal Souda and the Raydah escarpment protected area of the Saudi Wildlife Commission, and adjacent regions of the tihama, with those observed in July 1987 (Jennings, et al., 1988). The two surveys were approximately the same length and equal amounts of time were spent in the highlands and on the tihama. A number of walked censuses were carried out during 2010 on Jebal Souda, using the same methodology as walked censuses in 1987, and the results are compared. Broadly speaking the comparison of censuses revealed that in 2010 there were less birds and reduced diversity on the Jebal Souda plateau, compared to 1987. However in the Raydah reserve the estimates of breeding bird populations compiled in the mid 1990s was little changed as far as could be assessed in 2010. The highland region of south-west Saudi Arabia, especially Jebal Souda, has been much developed since the 1987 survey and is now an important internal recreation and resort area. This has lead to a reduction in the region’s importance for terraced agriculture. These changes may be a contributing factor to changes in bird numbers on the plateau. Subsidiary tasks that arose during the 2010 survey were to help locate satellite tagged Bald Ibises Geronticus eremita from Syria which were transiting Saudi Arabia at the time. Secondly to search for the Asir subspecies of the Eurasian Magpie Pica pica asirensis, which is endemic to the south-west Saudi Arabia highlands, and is reported to be in decline. A separate team searching for the Bald Ibis located some individuals and one was found dead. Few Magpies were located and it seems clear that this very scarce bird has declined further in numbers in recent years. A number of interesting records of birds were obtained, especially on the tihama, where two new birds for Saudi Arabia were observed, Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala and Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis and one species, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus was found breeding for the first time in the Arabian Peninsula. Some recommendations for the protection and management of the Raydah reserve are presented. A systematic list of all birds seen is provided.