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Finding Meaning in Context Using Graph Algorithms in Mono- and Cross-lingual Settings

Description: Making computers automatically find the appropriate meaning of words in context is an interesting problem that has proven to be one of the most challenging tasks in natural language processing (NLP). Widespread potential applications of a possible solution to the problem could be envisaged in several NLP tasks such as text simplification, language learning, machine translation, query expansion, information retrieval and text summarization. Ambiguity of words has always been a challenge in these applications, and the traditional endeavor to solve the problem of this ambiguity, namely doing word sense disambiguation using resources like WordNet, has been fraught with debate about the feasibility of the granularity that exists in WordNet senses. The recent trend has therefore been to move away from enforcing any given lexical resource upon automated systems from which to pick potential candidate senses,and to instead encourage them to pick and choose their own resources. Given a sentence with a target ambiguous word, an alternative solution consists of picking potential candidate substitutes for the target, filtering the list of the candidates to a much shorter list using various heuristics, and trying to match these system predictions against a human generated gold standard, with a view to ensuring that the meaning of the sentence does not change after the substitutions. This solution has manifested itself in the SemEval 2007 task of lexical substitution and the more recent SemEval 2010 task of cross-lingual lexical substitution (which I helped organize), where given an English context and a target word within that context, the systems are required to provide between one and ten appropriate substitutes (in English) or translations (in Spanish) for the target word. In this dissertation, I present a comprehensive overview of state-of-the-art research and describe new experiments to tackle the tasks of lexical substitution and cross-lingual lexical substitution. In particular ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Sinha, Ravi Som

Geostatistical Inspired Metamodeling and Optimization of Nanoscale Analog Circuits

Description: The current trend towards miniaturization of modern consumer electronic devices significantly affects their design. The demand for efficient all-in-one appliances leads to smaller, yet more complex and powerful nanoelectronic devices. The increasing complexity in the design of such nanoscale Analog/Mixed-Signal Systems-on-Chip (AMS-SoCs) presents difficult challenges to designers. One promising design method used to mitigate the burden of this design effort is the use of metamodeling (surrogate) modeling techniques. Their use significantly reduces the time for computer simulation and design space exploration and optimization. This dissertation addresses several issues of metamodeling based nanoelectronic based AMS design exploration. A surrogate modeling technique which uses geostatistical based Kriging prediction methods in creating metamodels is proposed. Kriging prediction techniques take into account the correlation effects between input parameters for performance point prediction. We propose the use of Kriging to utilize this property for the accurate modeling of process variation effects of designs in the deep nanometer region. Different Kriging methods have been explored for this work such as simple and ordinary Kriging. We also propose another metamodeling technique Kriging-Bootstrapped Neural Network that combines the accuracy and process variation awareness of Kriging with artificial neural network models for ultra-fast and accurate process aware metamodeling design. The proposed methodologies combine Kriging metamodels with selected algorithms for ultra-fast layout optimization. The selected algorithms explored are: Gravitational Search Algorithm (GSA), Simulated Annealing Optimization (SAO), and Ant Colony Optimization (ACO). Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed Kriging metamodel based methodologies can perform the optimizations with minimal computational burden compared to traditional (SPICE-based) design flows.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Okobiah, Oghenekarho

Incremental Learning with Large Datasets

Description: This dissertation focuses on the novel learning strategy based on geometric support vector machines to address the difficulties of processing immense data set. Support vector machines find the hyper-plane that maximizes the margin between two classes, and the decision boundary is represented with a few training samples it becomes a favorable choice for incremental learning. The dissertation presents a novel method Geometric Incremental Support Vector Machines (GISVMs) to address both efficiency and accuracy issues in handling massive data sets. In GISVM, skin of convex hulls is defined and an efficient method is designed to find the best skin approximation given available examples. The set of extreme points are found by recursively searching along the direction defined by a pair of known extreme points. By identifying the skin of the convex hulls, the incremental learning will only employ a much smaller number of samples with comparable or even better accuracy. When additional samples are provided, they will be used together with the skin of the convex hull constructed from previous dataset. This results in a small number of instances used in incremental steps of the training process. Based on the experimental results with synthetic data sets, public benchmark data sets from UCI and endoscopy videos, it is evident that the GISVM achieved satisfactory classifiers that closely model the underlying data distribution. GISVM improves the performance in sensitivity in the incremental steps, significantly reduced the demand for memory space, and demonstrates the ability of recovery from temporary performance degradation.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Giritharan, Balathasan

Indoor Localization Using Magnetic Fields

Description: Indoor localization consists of locating oneself inside new buildings. GPS does not work indoors due to multipath reflection and signal blockage. WiFi based systems assume ubiquitous availability and infrastructure based systems require expensive installations, hence making indoor localization an open problem. This dissertation consists of solving the problem of indoor localization by thoroughly exploiting the indoor ambient magnetic fields comprising mainly of disturbances termed as anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by pillars, doors and elevators in hallways which are ferromagnetic in nature. By observing uniqueness in magnetic signatures collected from different campus buildings, the work presents the identification of landmarks and guideposts from these signatures and further develops magnetic maps of buildings - all of which can be used to locate and navigate people indoors. To understand the reason behind these anomalies, first a comparison between the measured and model generated Earth’s magnetic field is made, verifying the presence of a constant field without any disturbances. Then by modeling the magnetic field behavior of different pillars such as steel reinforced concrete, solid steel, and other structures like doors and elevators, the interaction of the Earth’s field with the ferromagnetic fields is described thereby explaining the causes of the uniqueness in the signatures that comprise these disturbances. Next, by employing the dynamic time warping algorithm to account for time differences in signatures obtained from users walking at different speeds, an indoor localization application capable of classifying locations using the magnetic signatures is developed solely on the smart phone. The application required users to walk short distances of 3-6 m anywhere in hallway to be located with accuracies of 80-99%. The classification framework was further validated with over 90% accuracies using model generated magnetic signatures representing hallways with different kinds of pillars, doors and elevators. All in all, this dissertation ...
Date: December 2011
Creator: Pathapati Subbu, Kalyan Sasidhar

Inferring Social and Internal Context Using a Mobile Phone

Description: This dissertation is composed of research studies that contribute to three research areas including social context-aware computing, internal context-aware computing, and human behavioral data mining. In social context-aware computing, four studies are conducted. First, mobile phone user calling behavioral patterns are characterized in forms of randomness level where relationships among them are then identified. Next, a study is conducted to investigate the relationship between the calling behavior and organizational groups. Third, a method is presented to quantitatively define mobile social closeness and social groups, which are then used to identify social group sizes and scaling ratio. Last, based on the mobile social grouping framework, the significant role of social ties in communication patterns is revealed. In internal context-aware computing, two studies are conducted where the notions of internal context are intention and situation. For intentional context, the goal is to sense the intention of the user in placing calls. A model is thus presented for predicting future calls envisaged as a call predicted list (CPL), which makes use of call history to build a probabilistic model of calling behavior. As an incoming call predictor, CPL is a list of numbers/contacts that are the most likely to be the callers within the next hour(s), which is useful for scheduling and daily planning. As an outgoing call predictor, CPL is generated as a list of numbers/contacts that are the most likely to be dialed when the user attempts to make an outgoing call (e.g., by flipping open or unlocking the phone). This feature helps save time from having to search through a lengthy phone book. For situational context, a model is presented for sensing the user's situation (e.g., in a library, driving a car, etc.) based on embedded sensors. The sensed context is then used to switch the phone into a suitable ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Phithakkitnukoon, Santi

The Influence of Social Network Graph Structure on Disease Dynamics in a Simulated Environment

Description: The fight against epidemics/pandemics is one of man versus nature. Technological advances have not only improved existing methods for monitoring and controlling disease outbreaks, but have also provided new means for investigation, such as through modeling and simulation. This dissertation explores the relationship between social structure and disease dynamics. Social structures are modeled as graphs, and outbreaks are simulated based on a well-recognized standard, the susceptible-infectious-removed (SIR) paradigm. Two independent, but related, studies are presented. The first involves measuring the severity of outbreaks as social network parameters are altered. The second study investigates the efficacy of various vaccination policies based on social structure. Three disease-related centrality measures are introduced, contact, transmission, and spread centrality, which are related to previously established centrality measures degree, betweenness, and closeness, respectively. The results of experiments presented in this dissertation indicate that reducing the neighborhood size along with outside-of-neighborhood contacts diminishes the severity of disease outbreaks. Vaccination strategies can effectively reduce these parameters. Additionally, vaccination policies that target individuals with high centrality are generally shown to be slightly more effective than a random vaccination policy. These results combined with past and future studies will assist public health officials in their effort to minimize the effects of inevitable disease epidemics/pandemics.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Johnson, Tina V.

Influence of Underlying Random Walk Types in Population Models on Resulting Social Network Types and Epidemiological Dynamics

Description: Epidemiologists rely on human interaction networks for determining states and dynamics of disease propagations in populations. However, such networks are empirical snapshots of the past. It will greatly benefit if human interaction networks are statistically predicted and dynamically created while an epidemic is in progress. We develop an application framework for the generation of human interaction networks and running epidemiological processes utilizing research on human mobility patterns and agent-based modeling. The interaction networks are dynamically constructed by incorporating different types of Random Walks and human rules of engagements. We explore the characteristics of the created network and compare them with the known theoretical and empirical graphs. The dependencies of epidemic dynamics and their outcomes on patterns and parameters of human motion and motives are encountered and presented through this research. This work specifically describes how the types and parameters of random walks define properties of generated graphs. We show that some configurations of the system of agents in random walk can produce network topologies with properties similar to small-world networks. Our goal is to find sets of mobility patterns that lead to empirical-like networks. The possibility of phase transitions in the graphs due to changes in the parameterization of agent walks is the focus of this research as this knowledge can lead to the possibility of disruptions to disease diffusions in populations. This research shall facilitate work of public health researchers to predict the magnitude of an epidemic and estimate resources required for mitigation.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Kolgushev, Oleg Mikhailovich

Infusing Automatic Question Generation with Natural Language Understanding

Description: Automatically generating questions from text for educational purposes is an active research area in natural language processing. The automatic question generation system accompanying this dissertation is MARGE, which is a recursive acronym for: MARGE automatically reads generates and evaluates. MARGE generates questions from both individual sentences and the passage as a whole, and is the first question generation system to successfully generate meaningful questions from textual units larger than a sentence. Prior work in automatic question generation from text treats a sentence as a string of constituents to be rearranged into as many questions as allowed by English grammar rules. Consequently, such systems overgenerate and create mainly trivial questions. Further, none of these systems to date has been able to automatically determine which questions are meaningful and which are trivial. This is because the research focus has been placed on NLG at the expense of NLU. In contrast, the work presented here infuses the questions generation process with natural language understanding. From the input text, MARGE creates a meaning analysis representation for each sentence in a passage via the DeconStructure algorithm presented in this work. Questions are generated from sentence meaning analysis representations using templates. The generated questions are automatically evaluated for question quality and importance via a ranking algorithm.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Mazidi, Karen

Joint Schemes for Physical Layer Security and Error Correction

Description: The major challenges facing resource constraint wireless devices are error resilience, security and speed. Three joint schemes are presented in this research which could be broadly divided into error correction based and cipher based. The error correction based ciphers take advantage of the properties of LDPC codes and Nordstrom Robinson code. A cipher-based cryptosystem is also presented in this research. The complexity of this scheme is reduced compared to conventional schemes. The securities of the ciphers are analyzed against known-plaintext and chosen-plaintext attacks and are found to be secure. Randomization test was also conducted on these schemes and the results are presented. For the proof of concept, the schemes were implemented in software and hardware and these shows a reduction in hardware usage compared to conventional schemes. As a result, joint schemes for error correction and security provide security to the physical layer of wireless communication systems, a layer in the protocol stack where currently little or no security is implemented. In this physical layer security approach, the properties of powerful error correcting codes are exploited to deliver reliability to the intended parties, high security against eavesdroppers and efficiency in communication system. The notion of a highly secure and reliable physical layer has the potential to significantly change how communication system designers and users think of the physical layer since the error control codes employed in this work will have the dual roles of both reliability and security.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Adamo, Oluwayomi Bamidele

Layout-accurate Ultra-fast System-level Design Exploration Through Verilog-ams

Description: This research addresses problems in designing analog and mixed-signal (AMS) systems by bridging the gap between system-level and circuit-level simulation by making simulations fast like system-level and accurate like circuit-level. The tools proposed include metamodel integrated Verilog-AMS based design exploration flows. The research involves design centering, metamodel generation flows for creating efficient behavioral models, and Verilog-AMS integration techniques for model realization. The core of the proposed solution is transistor-level and layout-level metamodeling and their incorporation in Verilog-AMS. Metamodeling is used to construct efficient and layout-accurate surrogate models for AMS system building blocks. Verilog-AMS, an AMS hardware description language, is employed to build surrogate model implementations that can be simulated with industrial standard simulators. The case-study circuits and systems include an operational amplifier (OP-AMP), a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), a charge-pump phase-locked loop (PLL), and a continuous-time delta-sigma modulator (DSM). The minimum and maximum error rates of the proposed OP-AMP model are 0.11 % and 2.86 %, respectively. The error rates for the PLL lock time and power estimation are 0.7 % and 3.0 %, respectively. The OP-AMP optimization using the proposed approach is ~17000× faster than the transistor-level model based approach. The optimization achieves a ~4× power reduction for the OP-AMP design. The PLL parasitic-aware optimization achieves a 10× speedup and a 147 µW power reduction. Thus the experimental results validate the effectiveness of the proposed solution.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Zheng, Geng

Metamodeling-based Fast Optimization of Nanoscale Ams-socs

Description: Modern consumer electronic systems are mostly based on analog and digital circuits and are designed as analog/mixed-signal systems on chip (AMS-SoCs). the integration of analog and digital circuits on the same die makes the system cost effective. in AMS-SoCs, analog and mixed-signal portions have not traditionally received much attention due to their complexity. As the fabrication technology advances, the simulation times for AMS-SoC circuits become more complex and take significant amounts of time. the time allocated for the circuit design and optimization creates a need to reduce the simulation time. the time constraints placed on designers are imposed by the ever-shortening time to market and non-recurrent cost of the chip. This dissertation proposes the use of a novel method, called metamodeling, and intelligent optimization algorithms to reduce the design time. Metamodel-based ultra-fast design flows are proposed and investigated. Metamodel creation is a one time process and relies on fast sampling through accurate parasitic-aware simulations. One of the targets of this dissertation is to minimize the sample size while retaining the accuracy of the model. in order to achieve this goal, different statistical sampling techniques are explored and applied to various AMS-SoC circuits. Also, different metamodel functions are explored for their accuracy and application to AMS-SoCs. Several different optimization algorithms are compared for global optimization accuracy and convergence. Three different AMS circuits, ring oscillator, inductor-capacitor voltage-controlled oscillator (LC-VCO) and phase locked loop (PLL) that are present in many AMS-SoC are used in this study for design flow application. Metamodels created in this dissertation provide accuracy with an error of less than 2% from the physical layout simulations. After optimal sampling investigation, metamodel functions and optimization algorithms are ranked in terms of speed and accuracy. Experimental results show that the proposed design flow provides roughly 5,000x speedup over conventional design flows. Thus, ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Garitselov, Oleg

Modeling and Analysis of Intentional And Unintentional Security Vulnerabilities in a Mobile Platform

Description: Mobile phones are one of the essential parts of modern life. Making a phone call is not the main purpose of a smart phone anymore, but merely one of many other features. Online social networking, chatting, short messaging, web browsing, navigating, and photography are some of the other features users enjoy in modern smartphones, most of which are provided by mobile apps. However, with this advancement, many security vulnerabilities have opened up in these devices. Malicious apps are a major threat for modern smartphones. According to Symantec Corp., by the middle of 2013, about 273,000 Android malware apps were identified. It is a complex issue to protect everyday users of mobile devices from the attacks of technologically competent hackers, illegitimate users, trolls, and eavesdroppers. This dissertation emphasizes the concept of intention identification. Then it looks into ways to utilize this intention identification concept to enforce security in a mobile phone platform. For instance, a battery monitoring app requiring SMS permissions indicates suspicious intention as battery monitoring usually does not need SMS permissions. Intention could be either the user's intention or the intention of an app. These intentions can be identified using their behavior or by using their source code. Regardless of the intention type, identifying it, evaluating it, and taking actions by using it to prevent any malicious intentions are the main goals of this research. The following four different security vulnerabilities are identified in this research: Malicious apps, spammers and lurkers in social networks, eavesdroppers in phone conversations, and compromised authentication. These four vulnerabilities are solved by detecting malware applications, identifying malicious users in a social network, enhancing the encryption system of a phone communication, and identifying user activities using electroencephalogram (EEG) for authentication. Each of these solutions are constructed using the idea of intention identification. Furthermore, many of ...
Date: December 2014
Creator: Fazeen, Mohamed & Issadeen, Mohamed

Modeling Epidemics on Structured Populations: Effects of Socio-demographic Characteristics and Immune Response Quality

Description: Epidemiologists engage in the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in human populations. Eventually, they will apply that study to prevent and control problems and contingencies associated with the health of the population. Due to the spread of new pathogens and the emergence of new bio-terrorism threats, it has become imperative to develop new and expand existing techniques to equip public health providers with robust tools to predict and control health-related crises. In this dissertation, I explore the effects caused in the disease dynamics by the differences in individuals’ physiology and social/behavioral characteristics. Multiple computational and mathematical models were developed to quantify the effect of those factors on spatial and temporal variations of the disease epidemics. I developed statistical methods to measure the effects caused in the outbreak dynamics by the incorporation of heterogeneous demographics and social interactions to the individuals of the population. Specifically, I studied the relationship between demographics and the physiological characteristics of an individual when preparing for an infectious disease epidemic.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Reyes Silveyra, Jorge A.

Modeling Synergistic Relationships Between Words and Images

Description: Texts and images provide alternative, yet orthogonal views of the same underlying cognitive concept. By uncovering synergistic, semantic relationships that exist between words and images, I am working to develop novel techniques that can help improve tasks in natural language processing, as well as effective models for text-to-image synthesis, image retrieval, and automatic image annotation. Specifically, in my dissertation, I will explore the interoperability of features between language and vision tasks. In the first part, I will show how it is possible to apply features generated using evidence gathered from text corpora to solve the image annotation problem in computer vision, without the use of any visual information. In the second part, I will address research in the reverse direction, and show how visual cues can be used to improve tasks in natural language processing. Importantly, I propose a novel metric to estimate the similarity of words by comparing the visual similarity of concepts invoked by these words, and show that it can be used further to advance the state-of-the-art methods that employ corpus-based and knowledge-based semantic similarity measures. Finally, I attempt to construct a joint semantic space connecting words with images, and synthesize an evaluation framework to quantify cross-modal semantic relationships that exist between arbitrary pairs of words and images. I study the effectiveness of unsupervised, corpus-based approaches to automatically derive the semantic relatedness between words and images, and perform empirical evaluations by measuring its correlation with human annotators.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Leong, Chee Wee

Monitoring Dengue Outbreaks Using Online Data

Description: Internet technology has affected humans' lives in many disciplines. The search engine is one of the most important Internet tools in that it allows people to search for what they want. Search queries entered in a web search engine can be used to predict dengue incidence. This vector borne disease causes severe illness and kills a large number of people every year. This dissertation utilizes the capabilities of search queries related to dengue and climate to forecast the number of dengue cases. Several machine learning techniques are applied for data analysis, including Multiple Linear Regression, Artificial Neural Networks, and the Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average. Predictive models produced from these machine learning methods are measured for their performance to find which technique generates the best model for dengue prediction. The results of experiments presented in this dissertation indicate that search query data related to dengue and climate can be used to forecast the number of dengue cases. The performance measurement of predictive models shows that Artificial Neural Networks outperform the others. These results will help public health officials in planning to deal with the outbreaks.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Chartree, Jedsada

New Frameworks for Secure Image Communication in the Internet of Things (IoT)

Description: The continuous expansion of technology, broadband connectivity and the wide range of new devices in the IoT cause serious concerns regarding privacy and security. In addition, in the IoT a key challenge is the storage and management of massive data streams. For example, there is always the demand for acceptable size with the highest quality possible for images to meet the rapidly increasing number of multimedia applications. The effort in this dissertation contributes to the resolution of concerns related to the security and compression functions in image communications in the Internet of Thing (IoT), due to the fast of evolution of IoT. This dissertation proposes frameworks for a secure digital camera in the IoT. The objectives of this dissertation are twofold. On the one hand, the proposed framework architecture offers a double-layer of protection: encryption and watermarking that will address all issues related to security, privacy, and digital rights management (DRM) by applying a hardware architecture of the state-of-the-art image compression technique Better Portable Graphics (BPG), which achieves high compression ratio with small size. On the other hand, the proposed framework of SBPG is integrated with the Digital Camera. Thus, the proposed framework of SBPG integrated with SDC is suitable for high performance imaging in the IoT, such as Intelligent Traffic Surveillance (ITS) and Telemedicine. Due to power consumption, which has become a major concern in any portable application, a low-power design of SBPG is proposed to achieve an energy- efficient SBPG design. As the visual quality of the watermarked and compressed images improves with larger values of PSNR, the results show that the proposed SBPG substantially increases the quality of the watermarked compressed images. Higher value of PSNR also shows how robust the algorithm is to different types of attack. From the results obtained for the energy- efficient SBPG ...
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Albalawi, Umar Abdalah S

A New Look at Retargetable Compilers

Description: Consumers demand new and innovative personal computing devices every 2 years when their cellular phone service contracts are renewed. Yet, a 2 year development cycle for the concurrent development of both hardware and software is nearly impossible. As more components and features are added to the devices, maintaining this 2 year cycle with current tools will become commensurately harder. This dissertation delves into the feasibility of simplifying the development of such systems by employing heterogeneous systems on a chip in conjunction with a retargetable compiler such as the hybrid computer retargetable compiler (Hy-C). An example of a simple architecture description of sufficient detail for use with a retargetable compiler like Hy-C is provided. As a software engineer with 30 years of experience, I have witnessed numerous system failures. A plethora of software development paradigms and tools have been employed to prevent software errors, but none have been completely successful. Much discussion centers on software development in the military contracting market, as that is my background. The dissertation reviews those tools, as well as some existing retargetable compilers, in an attempt to determine how those errors occurred and how a system like Hy-C could assist in reducing future software errors. In the end, the potential for a simple retargetable solution like Hy-C is shown to be very simple, yet powerful enough to provide a very capable product in a very fast-growing market.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Burke, Patrick William

Physical-Layer Network Coding for MIMO Systems

Description: The future wireless communication systems are required to meet the growing demands of reliability, bandwidth capacity, and mobility. However, as corruptions such as fading effects, thermal noise, are present in the channel, the occurrence of errors is unavoidable. Motivated by this, the work in this dissertation attempts to improve the system performance by way of exploiting schemes which statistically reduce the error rate, and in turn boost the system throughput. The network can be studied using a simplified model, the two-way relay channel, where two parties exchange messages via the assistance of a relay in between. In such scenarios, this dissertation performs theoretical analysis of the system, and derives closed-form and upper bound expressions of the error probability. These theoretical measurements are potentially helpful references for the practical system design. Additionally, several novel transmission methods including block relaying, permutation modulations for the physical-layer network coding, are proposed and discussed. Numerical simulation results are presented to support the validity of the conclusions.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Xu, Ning

Predictive Modeling for Persuasive Ambient Technology

Description: Computer scientists are increasingly aware of the power of ubiquitous computing systems that can display information in and about the user's environment. One sub category of ubiquitous computing is persuasive ambient information systems that involve an informative display transitioning between the periphery and center of attention. The goal of this ambient technology is to produce a behavior change, implying that a display must be informative, unobtrusive, and persuasive. While a significant body of research exists on ambient technology, previous research has not fully explored the different measures to identify behavior change, evaluation techniques for linking design characteristics to visual effectiveness, nor the use of short-term goals to affect long-term behavior change. This study uses the unique context of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among collegiate musicians to explore these issues through developing the MIHL Reduction Feedback System that collects real-time data, translates it into visuals for music classrooms, provides predictive outcomes for goalsetting persuasion, and provides statistical measures of behavior change.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Powell, Jason W

Procedural Generation of Content for Online Role Playing Games

Description: Video game players demand a volume of content far in excess of the ability of game designers to create it. For example, a single quest might take a week to develop and test, which means that companies such as Blizzard are spending millions of dollars each month on new content for their games. As a result, both players and developers are frustrated with the inability to meet the demand for new content. By generating content on-demand, it is possible to create custom content for each player based on player preferences. It is also possible to make use of the current world state during generation, something which cannot be done with current techniques. Using developers to create rules and assets for a content generator instead of creating content directly will lower development costs as well as reduce the development time for new game content to seconds rather than days. This work is part of the field of computational creativity, and involves the use of computers to create aesthetically pleasing game content, such as terrain, characters, and quests. I demonstrate agent-based terrain generation, and economic modeling of game spaces. I also demonstrate the autonomous generation of quests for online role playing games, and the ability to play these quests using an emulated Everquest server.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Doran, Jonathon

The Procedural Generation of Interesting Sokoban Levels

Description: As video games continue to become larger, more complex, and more costly to produce, research into methods to make game creation easier and faster becomes more valuable. One such research topic is procedural generation, which allows the computer to assist in the creation of content. This dissertation presents a new algorithm for the generation of Sokoban levels. Sokoban is a grid-based transport puzzle which is computational interesting due to being PSPACE-complete. Beyond just generating levels, the question of whether or not the levels created by this algorithm are interesting to human players is explored. A study was carried out comparing player attention while playing hand made levels versus their attention during procedurally generated levels. An auditory Stroop test was used to measure attention without disrupting play.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Taylor, Joshua

Process-Voltage-Temperature Aware Nanoscale Circuit Optimization

Description: Embedded systems which are targeted towards portable applications are required to have low power consumption because such portable devices are typically powered by batteries. During the memory accesses of such battery operated portable systems, including laptops, cell phones and other devices, a significant amount of power or energy is consumed which significantly affects the battery life. Therefore, efficient and leakage power saving cache designs are needed for longer operation of battery powered applications. Design engineers have limited control over many design parameters of the circuit and hence face many chal-lenges due to inherent process technology variations, particularly on static random access memory (SRAM) circuit design. As CMOS process technologies scale down deeper into the nanometer regime, the push for high performance and reliable systems becomes even more challenging. As a result, developing low-power designs while maintaining better performance of the circuit becomes a very difficult task. Furthermore, a major need for accurate analysis and optimization of various forms of total power dissipation and performance in nanoscale CMOS technologies, particularly in SRAMs, is another critical issue to be considered. This dissertation proposes power-leakage and static noise margin (SNM) analysis and methodologies to achieve optimized static random access memories (SRAMs). Alternate topologies of SRAMs, mainly a 7-transistor SRAM, are taken as a case study throughout this dissertation. The optimized cache designs are process-voltage-temperature (PVT) tolerant and consider individual cells as well as memory arrays.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Thakral, Garima

Real Time Assessment of a Video Game Player's State of Mind Using Off-the-Shelf Electroencephalography

Description: The focus of this research is on the development of a real time application that uses a low cost EEG headset to measure a player's state of mind while they play a video game. Using data collected using the Emotiv EPOC headset, various EEG processing techniques are tested to find ways of measuring a person's engagement and arousal levels. The ability to measure a person's engagement and arousal levels provide an opportunity to develop a model that monitor a person's flow while playing video games. Identifying when certain events occur, like when the player dies, will make it easier to identify when a player has left a state of flow. The real time application Brainwave captures data from the wireless Emotiv EPOC headset. Brainwave converts the raw EEG data into more meaningful brainwave band frequencies. Utilizing the brainwave frequencies the program trains multiple machine learning algorithms with data designed to identify when the player dies. Brainwave runs while the player plays through a video gaming monitoring their engagement and arousal levels for changes that cause the player to leave a state of flow. Brainwave reports to researchers and developers when the player dies along with the identification of the players exit of the state of flow.
Date: December 2016
Creator: McMahan, Timothy

Scene Analysis Using Scale Invariant Feature Extraction and Probabilistic Modeling

Description: Conventional pattern recognition systems have two components: feature analysis and pattern classification. For any object in an image, features could be considered as the major characteristic of the object either for object recognition or object tracking purpose. Features extracted from a training image, can be used to identify the object when attempting to locate the object in a test image containing many other objects. To perform reliable scene analysis, it is important that the features extracted from the training image are detectable even under changes in image scale, noise and illumination. Scale invariant feature has wide applications such as image classification, object recognition and object tracking in the image processing area. In this thesis, color feature and SIFT (scale invariant feature transform) are considered to be scale invariant feature. The classification, recognition and tracking result were evaluated with novel evaluation criterion and compared with some existing methods. I also studied different types of scale invariant feature for the purpose of solving scene analysis problems. I propose probabilistic models as the foundation of analysis scene scenario of images. In order to differential the content of image, I develop novel algorithms for the adaptive combination for multiple features extracted from images. I demonstrate the performance of the developed algorithm on several scene analysis tasks, including object tracking, video stabilization, medical video segmentation and scene classification.
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Date: August 2011
Creator: Shen, Yao