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Expert judgement is frequently used within general insurance. It tends to be a method of last resort and used where data is sparse, non-existent or non-applicable to the problem under consideration. Whilst such judgements can significantly influence the end results, their quality is highly variable. The use of the term “expert judgement” itself can lend a generous impression of credibility to what may be a little more than a guess. Despite the increased emphasis placed on the importance of robust expert judgements in regulation, actuarial research to date has focussed on the more technical or data-driven methods, with less emphasis on how to use and incorporate softer information or how best to elicit judgements from others in a way that reduces cognitive biases. This paper highlights the research that the Getting Better Judgement Working Party has conducted in this area. Specifically, it covers the variable quality of expert judgement, both within and outside the regulatory context, and presents methods that may be applied to improve its formation. The aim of this paper is to arm the insurance practitioner with tools to distinguish between low-quality and high-quality judgements and improve the robustness of judgements accordingly, particularly for highly material circumstances.
This paper briefly describes the principle of operation and science goals of the AMANDA high energy neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, Antarctica. Results from an earlier phase of the telescope, called AMANDA-BIO, demonstrate both reliable operation and the broad astrophysical reach of this device, which includes searches for a variety of sources of ultrahigh energy neutrinos: generic point sources, Gamma-Ray Bursts and diffuse sources. The predicted sensitivity and angular resolution of the telescope were confirmed by studies of atmospheric muon and neutrino backgrounds. We also report on the status of the analysis from AMANDA-II, a larger version with far greater capabilities. At this stage of analysis, details of the ice properties and other systematic uncertainties of the AMANDA-II telescope are under study, but we have made progress toward critical science objectives. In particular, we present the first preliminary flux limits from AMANDA-II on the search for continuous emission from astrophysical point sources, and report on the search for correlated neutrino emission from Gamma Ray Bursts detected by BATSE before decommissioning in May 2000. During the next two years, we expect to exploit the full potential of AMANDA-II with the installation of a new data acquisition system that records full waveforms from the in-ice optical sensors.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) will give us an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the transient sky at radio wavelengths. In this paper we present VAST, an ASKAP survey for Variables and Slow Transients. VAST will exploit the wide-field survey capabilities of ASKAP to enable the discovery and investigation of variable and transient phenomena from the local to the cosmological, including flare stars, intermittent pulsars, X-ray binaries, magnetars, extreme scattering events, interstellar scintillation, radio supernovae, and orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. In addition, it will allow us to probe unexplored regions of parameter space where new classes of transient sources may be detected. In this paper we review the known radio transient and variable populations and the current results from blind radio surveys. We outline a comprehensive program based on a multi-tiered survey strategy to characterise the radio transient sky through detection and monitoring of transient and variable sources on the ASKAP imaging timescales of 5 s and greater. We also present an analysis of the expected source populations that we will be able to detect with VAST.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.
The effects of source field plates on AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor reliability under off-state stress conditions were investigated using step-stress cycling. The source field plate enhanced the drain breakdown voltage from 55V to 155V and the critical voltage for off-state gate stress from 40V to 65V, relative to devices without the field plate. Transmission electron microscopy was used to examine the degradation of the gate contacts. The presence of cracking that appeared on both source and drain side of the gate edges was attributed to the inverse piezoelectric effect. In addition, a thin oxide layer was observed between the Ni gate contact and the AlGaN layer, and both Ni and oxygen had diffused into the AlGaN layer. The critical degradation voltage of AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility Transistors during off-state electrical stress was determined as a function of Ni/Au gate dimensions (0.1-0.17μm). Devices with different gate length and gate-drain distances were found to exhibit the onset of degradation at different source-drain biases but similar electric field strengths, showing that the degradation mechanism is primarily field-driven. The temperature dependence of sub-threshold drain current versus gate voltage at a constant drain bias voltage were used to determine the trap densities in AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) before and after the off-state stress. Two different trap densities were obtained for the measurements conducted at 300-493K and 493-573K, respectively.
We propose a new approach, growth on compliant substrates, to achieve extended pseudomorphic limits. The compliant substrate can be approximately achieved with a corner supported membrane structure. Both thermal equilibrium model and dynamic model considering strain relaxation are used to analyze the relations between the extended critical thickness and the substrate thickness. Preliminary experimental results of InGaAs grown on GaAs membranes seem to support the theories.
The sputtering of In and Ga atoms from a “liquid” target composedof gallium coveredby a surface monolayer of indium by incident 5 keV Ar+ ions was simulated using the multiple interaction molecular dynamics technique. Yields, energy distributions, and angular distributions of sputtered atoms were obtained at a temperature above the melting point for the eutectic alloy. Similar information was obtained for a pure gallium and a pure indium target. Our results for layer yield ratios and angular distributions are in good qualitative agreement with Dumke's experimental data for the Ar+, In-Ga system. Absolute yields, however, were found to be sensitive to the detailed nature of the two-body potentials used to describe the atom-atom interactions.
We observed several H ii regions in the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 6822 using the infrared spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope. Our aim is twofold: first, to examine the neon to sulfur abundance ratio in order to determine how much it may vary and whether or not, it is fairly ‘universal’; second, to discriminate and test the predicted ionizing spectral energy distribution between various stellar atmosphere models by comparing with our derivation of the ratio of fractional ionizations involving neon and sulfur. This work extends our previous similar studies of H ii regions in M83 and M33 to lower metallicities.
Twenty-one Candida albicans isolates from three HIV-infected patients were collected over a period of 3 years and characterized for fluconazole susceptibility, infectivity and genetic relatedness. Fluconazole resistance was found in five isolates, four exhibited dose-dependent susceptibility and the remainder were fully susceptible to this agent. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of SfiI restriction digests of the genomic DNA from the isolates revealed that isolates from the same swab specimen were identical despite differences in susceptibility to fluconazole and isolates recovered over time from the three patients retained clonally related DNA fingerprints within each patient. This small-scale study confirms the persistence of oral colonization of C. albicans strains in HIV-infected patients. Clinical data also suggests that the primary infecting strain may become a persistent colonist in the oral cavity once the immune function of the patient has been restored.
The characteristic inhomogeneous distribution of nonsuperconducting Y2BaCuO5 (211) inclusions in melt-processed YBa2Cu3O7−δ (123) grains has generally been attributed to 211 particle pushing by 123 growth fronts during peritectic solidification on the basis of reduced total surface free energy. Analysis of the morphology of the interfaces at the 211–211–123 and 211–211-liquid triple points in seeded melt-processed samples invalidates this assumption for the pure YBCO system and has implications of the mechanism of 211 particle segregation.
The quality and preparation of Sm–Ba–Cu–O (SmBCO) seeds, the level of Pt-doping, and the temperature distribution in the thermal processing system have been investigated in detail and identified as key processing factors in the fabrication of large melt processed Pt dope Y–Ba–Cu–O pseudocrystals. Optimization of these process variables and features has been performed to enable controlled processing of these materials up to several centimeters in diameter. Inhomogeneities and second phases present in the YBCO-Pt pseudocrystal microstructure have been analyzed and correlated with a variation of superconducting properties within the bulk of the sample. These observations have clear implications for the controlled processing of large YBCO-Pt pseudocrystals for electromagnetic applications.
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