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MASS: Multi-task anthropomorphic speech synthesis framework

Text-to-Speech (TTS) synthesis plays an important role in human-computer interaction. Currently, most TTS technologies focus on the naturalness of speech, namely, making the speeches sound like humans. However, the key tasks of the expression of emotion and the speaker identity are ignored, which limits the application scenarios of TTS synthesis technology. To make the synthesized speech more realistic and expand the application scenarios, we propose a multi-task anthropomorphic speech synthesis framework (MASS), which can synthesize speeches from text with specified emotion and speaker identity. The MASS framework consists of a base TTS module and two novel voice conversion modules: the emotional voice conversion module and the speaker voice conversion module. We propose deep emotion voice conversion model (DEVC) and deep speaker voice conversion model (DSVC) based on convolution residual networks. It solves the problem of feature loss during voice conversion. The model trainings are independent of parallel datasets, and are capable of many-to-many voice conversion. In the emotional voice conversion, speaker voice conversion experiments, as well as the multi-task speech synthesis experiments, experimental results show DEVC and DSVC convert speech effectively. The quantitative and qualitative evaluation results of multi-task speech synthesis experiments show MASS can effectively synthesis speech with specified text, emotion and speaker identity.

Computer speech & language (Print) EI,SCIE | 2021 | 70

Influence of length and effective stiffness of an attached flexible foil for flow over a square cylinder

The effect of length and stiffness of an attached flexible foil on the flow field of a square cylinder is studied. The intermediate Reynolds numbers are considered in the study. For flow diagnosis, particle image velocimetry, constant temperature anemometry, and flow visualization techniques are used. The increase in the length of the foil modifies the Strouhal frequency and mean drag coefficient non-monotonically, which owes to the different wake regimes. Three different stiffness ranges are selected to see its effects on the wake characteristics of the bluff body and the dynamic response of the foil. The dynamic response of the foil depends on the wake frequency and the structural natural frequency of the foil. With an increase in the flexibility of the foil, the bending mode excitation increases, and the fluid–structure interaction becomes complex. The lock-in between the wake frequency and the natural flapping frequency adversely affects the drag coefficient of the bluff body.

Journal of fluids and structures EI,SCI,SCIE | 2021 | 104

Lack of association between proton pump inhibitor use and brain aging: a cross-sectional study

Due to conflicting scientific evidence for an increased risk of dementia by intake of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), this study investigates associations between PPI use and brain volumes, estimated brain age, and cognitive function in the general population. Two surveys of the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) conducted in Northeast Germany were used. In total, 2653 participants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and were included in the primary analysis. They were divided into two groups according to their PPI intake and compared with regard to their brain volumes (gray matter, white matter, total brain, and hippocampus) and estimated brain age. Multiple regression was used to adjust for confounding factors. Cognitive function was evaluated by the Verbal Learning and Memory Test (VLMT) and the Nuremberg Age Inventory (NAI) and put in relation to PPI use. No association was found between PPI use and brain volumes or the estimated brain age. The VLMT score was 1.11 lower (95% confidence interval: − 2.06 to − 0.16) in immediate recall, and 0.72 lower (95% CI: − 1.22 to − 0.22) in delayed recall in PPI users than in non-users. PPI use was unrelated to the NAI score. The present study does not support a relationship between PPI use and brain aging.

European journal of clinical pharmacology SCI,SCIE | 2021 | 77 (7)

Adaptive governance of autonomous vehicles: Accelerating the adoption of disruptive technologies in Singapore

Despite their promise, there have been discussions surrounding the technological risks of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and the extent to which AVs are ready for large-scale deployment. Using a case study approach, this article examines the development and implementation of AVs in Singapore. Our findings reveal that AV regulatory sandboxes, the formalisation of safety assessments and the release of technical guidelines are some of the most adaptive and innovative instruments that have been adopted to govern AVs in Singapore. Furthermore, Singapore's approach to AVs has applied an adaptive strategy that is both pre-emptive and responsive. The accelerated expansion of trials and regulatory provisions for AVs demonstrates Singapore's aspiration to be nimble, and showcases the simultaneous adoption of two contrasting implementation approaches – prescriptive and experimentalist – to guide AV adoption. The regulatory lessons derived from the governance of AVs in Singapore could provide useful policy guidance, and could inform policy discussions of AVs as well as other autonomous systems.

Government Information Quarterly SSCI | 2021 | 38 (2)

Extraction and Characterization of Microcrystalline Cellulose from Date Palm Fibers using Successive Chemical Treatments

The aim of present study is to extract microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) from fruit bunch branches fibers of Algerian date palm trees (phoenix dactylifera L) as biofiber for reinforcing green composite and thus replace synthetic fibers in various applications. The extraction of MCC from date palm fibers passed via serial chemical treatments, including alkali, bleaching and acid hydrolysis process. Subsequently, several analyses were implemented to determine the characteristics of each sample prepared at different stages of treatment. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis revealed the effectiveness in removing substantial amorphous components of lignin and hemicellulose from date palm fibers. Altered and irregular shaped morphology of microfibrils with slightly rougher surface was observed for microcrystalline date palm fibers (MCC-DP) through scanning electron microscope (SEM) examination. Furthermore, X-ray diffraction (XRD) presents the increasing of the crystallinity from 55% in raw date palm (R-DP) to 76.26% in MCC-DP. Also, the results of TGA and DSC indicate the MCC-DP has greater thermal stability than that of R-DP, A-DP and B-DP fibers. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using date palm waste (fruit bunch branches fibers) to extract a good reinforcing material (MCC) with high properties and low cost, which qualifies its use in composite materials. Also, it can be transformed into nano-scale for isolating nanocrystalline cellulose with the aim of using it, in the future to produce ecofriendly bionanocomposites in different fields of applications, biomedical, pharmaceutical and packaging.

Journal of Polymers and the Environment EI,SCIE | 2021 | 29 (6)