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Accurate Joint Detection from Depth Videos towards Pose Analysis

Description: Joint detection is vital for characterizing human pose and serves as a foundation for a wide range of computer vision applications such as physical training, health care, entertainment. This dissertation proposed two methods to detect joints in the human body for pose analysis. The first method detects joints by combining body model and automatic feature points detection together. The human body model maps the detected extreme points to the corresponding body parts of the model and detects the position of implicit joints. The dominant joints are detected after implicit joints and extreme points are located by a shortest path based methods. The main contribution of this work is a hybrid framework to detect joints on the human body to achieve robustness to different body shapes or proportions, pose variations and occlusions. Another contribution of this work is the idea of using geodesic features of the human body to build a model for guiding the human pose detection and estimation. The second proposed method detects joints by segmenting human body into parts first and then detect joints by making the detection algorithm focusing on each limb. The advantage of applying body part segmentation first is that the body segmentation method narrows down the searching area for each joint so that the joint detection method can provide more stable and accurate results.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Kong, Longbo

Adaptive Power Management for Autonomic Resource Configuration in Large-scale Computer Systems

Description: In order to run and manage resource-intensive high-performance applications, large-scale computing and storage platforms have been evolving rapidly in various domains in both academia and industry. The energy expenditure consumed to operate and maintain these cloud computing infrastructures is a major factor to influence the overall profit and efficiency for most cloud service providers. Moreover, considering the mitigation of environmental damage from excessive carbon dioxide emission, the amount of power consumed by enterprise-scale data centers should be constrained for protection of the environment.Generally speaking, there exists a trade-off between power consumption and application performance in large-scale computing systems and how to balance these two factors has become an important topic for researchers and engineers in cloud and HPC communities. Therefore, minimizing the power usage while satisfying the Service Level Agreements have become one of the most desirable objectives in cloud computing research and implementation. Since the fundamental feature of the cloud computing platform is hosting workloads with a variety of characteristics in a consolidated and on-demand manner, it is demanding to explore the inherent relationship between power usage and machine configurations. Subsequently, with an understanding of these inherent relationships, researchers are able to develop effective power management policies to optimize productivity by balancing power usage and system performance. In this dissertation, we develop an autonomic power-aware system management framework for large-scale computer systems. We propose a series of techniques including coarse-grain power profiling, VM power modelling, power-aware resource auto-configuration and full-system power usage simulator. These techniques help us to understand the characteristics of power consumption of various system components. Based on these techniques, we are able to test various job scheduling strategies and develop resource management approaches to enhance the systems' power efficiency.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Zhang, Ziming

Advanced Power Amplifiers Design for Modern Wireless Communication

Description: Modern wireless communication systems use spectrally efficient modulation schemes to reach high data rate transmission. These schemes are generally involved with signals with high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR). Moreover, the development of next generation wireless communication systems requires the power amplifiers to operate over a wide frequency band or multiple frequency bands to support different applications. These wide-band and multi-band solutions will lead to reductions in both the size and cost of the whole system. This dissertation presents several advanced power amplifier solutions to provide wide-band and multi-band operations with efficiency improvement at power back-offs.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Shao, Jin

Application-Specific Things Architectures for IoT-Based Smart Healthcare Solutions

Description: Human body is a complex system organized at different levels such as cells, tissues and organs, which contributes to 11 important organ systems. The functional efficiency of this complex system is evaluated as health. Traditional healthcare is unable to accommodate everyone's need due to the ever-increasing population and medical costs. With advancements in technology and medical research, traditional healthcare applications are shaping into smart healthcare solutions. Smart healthcare helps in continuously monitoring our body parameters, which helps in keeping people health-aware. It provides the ability for remote assistance, which helps in utilizing the available resources to maximum potential. The backbone of smart healthcare solutions is Internet of Things (IoT) which increases the computing capacity of the real-world components by using cloud-based solutions. The basic elements of these IoT based smart healthcare solutions are called "things." Things are simple sensors or actuators, which have the capacity to wirelessly connect with each other and to the internet. The research for this dissertation aims in developing architectures for these things, focusing on IoT-based smart healthcare solutions. The core for this dissertation is to contribute to the research in smart healthcare by identifying applications which can be monitored remotely. For this, application-specific thing architectures were proposed based on monitoring a specific body parameter; monitoring physical health for family and friends; and optimizing the power budget of IoT body sensor network using human body communications. The experimental results show promising scope towards improving the quality of life, through needle-less and cost-effective smart healthcare solutions.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Sundaravadivel, Prabha

Automated Real-time Objects Detection in Colonoscopy Videos for Quality Measurements

Description: The effectiveness of colonoscopy depends on the quality of the inspection of the colon. There was no automated measurement method to evaluate the quality of the inspection. This thesis addresses this issue by investigating an automated post-procedure quality measurement technique and proposing a novel approach automatically deciding a percentage of stool areas in images of digitized colonoscopy video files. It involves the classification of image pixels based on their color features using a new method of planes on RGB (red, green and blue) color space. The limitation of post-procedure quality measurement is that quality measurements are available long after the procedure was done and the patient was released. A better approach is to inform any sub-optimal inspection immediately so that the endoscopist can improve the quality in real-time during the procedure. This thesis also proposes an extension to post-procedure method to detect stool, bite-block, and blood regions in real-time using color features in HSV color space. These three objects play a major role in quality measurements in colonoscopy. The proposed method partitions very large positive examples of each of these objects into a number of groups. These groups are formed by taking intersection of positive examples with a hyper plane. This hyper plane is named as 'positive plane'. 'Convex hulls' are used to model positive planes. Comparisons with traditional classifiers such as K-nearest neighbor (K-NN) and support vector machines (SVM) proves the soundness of the proposed method in terms of accuracy and speed that are critical in the targeted real-time quality measurement system.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Kumara, Muthukudage Jayantha

Computational Approaches for Analyzing Social Support in Online Health Communities

Description: Online health communities (OHCs) have become a medium for patients to share their personal experiences and interact with peers on topics related to a disease, medication, side effects, and therapeutic processes. Many studies show that using OHCs regularly decreases mortality and improves patients mental health. As a result of their benefits, OHCs are a popular place for patients to refer to, especially patients with a severe disease, and to receive emotional and informational support. The main reasons for developing OHCs are to present valid and high-quality information and to understand the mechanism of social support in changing patients' mental health. Given the purpose of OHC moderators for developing OHCs applications and the purpose of patients for using OHCs, there is no facility, feature, or sub-application in OHCs to satisfy patient and moderator goals. OHCs are only equipped with a primary search engine that is a keyword-based search tool. In other words, if a patient wants to obtain information about a side-effect, he/she needs to browse many threads in the hope that he/she can find several related comments. In the same way, OHC moderators cannot browse all information which is exchanged among patients to validate their accuracy. Thus, it is critical for OHCs to be equipped with computational tools which are supported by several sophisticated computational models that provide moderators and patients with the collection of messages that they need for making decisions or predictions. We present multiple computational models to alleviate the problem of OHCs in providing specific types of messages in response to the specific moderator and patient needs. Specifically, we focused on proposing computational models for the following tasks: identifying emotional support, which presents OHCs moderators, psychologists, and sociologists with insightful views on the emotional states of individuals and groups, and identifying informational support, which provides patients with ...
Date: May 2018
Creator: Khan Pour, Hamed

A Computational Methodology for Addressing Differentiated Access of Vulnerable Populations During Biological Emergencies

Description: Mitigation response plans must be created to protect affected populations during biological emergencies resulting from the release of harmful biochemical substances. Medical countermeasures have been stockpiled by the federal government for such emergencies. However, it is the responsibility of local governments to maintain solid, functional plans to apply these countermeasures to the entire target population within short, mandated time frames. Further, vulnerabilities in the population may serve as barriers preventing certain individuals from participating in mitigation activities. Therefore, functional response plans must be capable of reaching vulnerable populations.Transportation vulnerability results from lack of access to transportation. Transportation vulnerable populations located too far from mitigation resources are at-risk of not being able to participate in mitigation activities. Quantification of these populations requires the development of computational methods to integrate spatial demographic data and transportation resource data from disparate sources into the context of planned mitigation efforts. Research described in this dissertation focuses on quantifying transportation vulnerable populations and maximizing participation in response efforts. Algorithms developed as part of this research are integrated into a computational framework to promote a transition from research and development to deployment and use by biological emergency planners.
Date: August 2014
Creator: O’Neill II, Martin Joseph

Content and Temporal Analysis of Communications to Predict Task Cohesion in Software Development Global Teams

Description: Virtual teams in industry are increasingly being used to develop software, create products, and accomplish tasks. However, analyzing those collaborations under same-time/different-place conditions is well-known to be difficult. In order to overcome some of these challenges, this research was concerned with the study of collaboration-based, content-based and temporal measures and their ability to predict cohesion within global software development projects. Messages were collected from three software development projects that involved students from two different countries. The similarities and quantities of these interactions were computed and analyzed at individual and group levels. Results of interaction-based metrics showed that the collaboration variables most related to Task Cohesion were Linguistic Style Matching and Information Exchange. The study also found that Information Exchange rate and Reply rate have a significant and positive correlation to Task Cohesion, a factor used to describe participants' engagement in the global software development process. This relation was also found at the Group level. All these results suggest that metrics based on rate can be very useful for predicting cohesion in virtual groups. Similarly, content features based on communication categories were used to improve the identification of Task Cohesion levels. This model showed mixed results, since only Work similarity and Social rate were found to be correlated with Task Cohesion. This result can be explained by how a group's cohesiveness is often associated with fairness and trust, and that these two factors are often achieved by increased social and work communications. Also, at a group-level, all models were found correlated to Task Cohesion, specifically, Similarity+Rate, which suggests that models that include social and work communication categories are also good predictors of team cohesiveness. Finally, temporal interaction similarity measures were calculated to assess their prediction capabilities in a global setting. Results showed a significant negative correlation between the Pacing Rate and ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Castro Hernandez, Alberto

Detection of Temporal Events and Abnormal Images for Quality Analysis in Endoscopy Videos

Description: Recent reports suggest that measuring the objective quality is very essential towards the success of colonoscopy. Several quality indicators (i.e. metrics) proposed in recent studies are implemented in software systems that compute real-time quality scores for routine screening colonoscopy. Most quality metrics are derived based on various temporal events occurred during the colonoscopy procedure. The location of the phase boundary between the insertion and the withdrawal phases and the amount of circumferential inspection are two such important temporal events. These two temporal events can be determined by analyzing various camera motions of the colonoscope. This dissertation put forward a novel method to estimate X, Y and Z directional motions of the colonoscope using motion vector templates. Since abnormalities of a WCE or a colonoscopy video can be found in a small number of frames (around 5% out of total frames), it is very helpful if a computer system can decide whether a frame has any mucosal abnormalities. Also, the number of detected abnormal lesions during a procedure is used as a quality indicator. Majority of the existing abnormal detection methods focus on detecting only one type of abnormality or the overall accuracies are somewhat low if the method tries to detect multiple abnormalities. Most abnormalities in endoscopy images have unique textures which are clearly distinguishable from normal textures. In this dissertation a new method is proposed that achieves the objective of detecting multiple abnormalities with a higher accuracy using a multi-texture analysis technique. The multi-texture analysis method is designed by representing WCE and colonoscopy image textures as textons.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Nawarathna, Ruwan D.

Evaluating Appropriateness of Emg and Flex Sensors for Classifying Hand Gestures

Description: Hand and arm gestures are a great way of communication when you don't want to be heard, quieter and often more reliable than whispering into a radio mike. In recent years hand gesture identification became a major active area of research due its use in various applications. The objective of my work is to develop an integrated sensor system, which will enable tactical squads and SWAT teams to communicate when there is absence of a Line of Sight or in the presence of any obstacles. The gesture set involved in this work is the standardized hand signals for close range engagement operations used by military and SWAT teams. The gesture sets involved in this work are broadly divided into finger movements and arm movements. The core components of the integrated sensor system are: Surface EMG sensors, Flex sensors and accelerometers. Surface EMG is the electrical activity produced by muscle contractions and measured by sensors directly attached to the skin. Bend Sensors use a piezo resistive material to detect the bend. The sensor output is determined by both the angle between the ends of the sensor as well as the flex radius. Accelerometers sense the dynamic acceleration and inclination in 3 directions simultaneously. EMG sensors are placed on the upper and lower forearm and assist in the classification of the finger and wrist movements. Bend sensors are mounted on a glove that is worn on the hand. The sensors are located over the first knuckle of each figure and can determine if the finger is bent or not. An accelerometer is attached to the glove at the base of the wrist and determines the speed and direction of the arm movement. Classification algorithm SVM is used to classify the gestures.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Akumalla, Sarath Chandra

Evaluation of Call Mobility on Network Productivity in Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) Femtocells

Description: The demand for higher data rates for indoor and cell-edge users led to evolution of small cells. LTE femtocells, one of the small cell categories, are low-power low-cost mobile base stations, which are deployed within the coverage area of the traditional macro base station. The cross-tier and co-tier interferences occur only when the macrocell and femtocell share the same frequency channels. Open access (OSG), closed access (CSG), and hybrid access are the three existing access-control methods that decide users' connectivity to the femtocell access point (FAP). We define a network performance function, network productivity, to measure the traffic that is carried successfully. In this dissertation, we evaluate call mobility in LTE integrated network and determine optimized network productivity with variable call arrival rate in given LTE deployment with femtocell access modes (OSG, CSG, HYBRID) for a given call blocking vector. The solution to the optimization is maximum network productivity and call arrival rates for all cells. In the second scenario, we evaluate call mobility in LTE integrated network with increasing femtocells and maximize network productivity with variable femtocells distribution per macrocell with constant call arrival rate in uniform LTE deployment with femtocell access modes (OSG, CSG, HYBRID) for a given call blocking vector. The solution to the optimization is maximum network productivity and call arrival rates for all cells for network deployment where peak productivity is identified. We analyze the effects of call mobility on network productivity by simulating low, high, and no mobility scenarios and study the impact based on offered load, handover traffic and blocking probabilities. Finally, we evaluate and optimize performance of fractional frequency reuse (FFR) mechanism and study the impact of proposed metric weighted user satisfaction with sectorized FFR configuration.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Sawant, Uttara

Evaluation Techniques and Graph-Based Algorithms for Automatic Summarization and Keyphrase Extraction

Description: Automatic text summarization and keyphrase extraction are two interesting areas of research which extend along natural language processing and information retrieval. They have recently become very popular because of their wide applicability. Devising generic techniques for these tasks is challenging due to several issues. Yet we have a good number of intelligent systems performing the tasks. As different systems are designed with different perspectives, evaluating their performances with a generic strategy is crucial. It has also become immensely important to evaluate the performances with minimal human effort. In our work, we focus on designing a relativized scale for evaluating different algorithms. This is our major contribution which challenges the traditional approach of working with an absolute scale. We consider the impact of some of the environment variables (length of the document, references, and system-generated outputs) on the performance. Instead of defining some rigid lengths, we show how to adjust to their variations. We prove a mathematically sound baseline that should work for all kinds of documents. We emphasize automatically determining the syntactic well-formedness of the structures (sentences). We also propose defining an equivalence class for each unit (e.g. word) instead of the exact string matching strategy. We show an evaluation approach that considers the weighted relatedness of multiple references to adjust to the degree of disagreements between the gold standards. We publish the proposed approach as a free tool so that other systems can use it. We have also accumulated a dataset (scientific articles) with a reference summary and keyphrases for each document. Our approach is applicable not only for evaluating single-document based tasks but also for evaluating multiple-document based tasks. We have tested our evaluation method for three intrinsic tasks (taken from DUC 2004 conference), and in all three cases, it correlates positively with ROUGE. Based on our experiments ...
Date: August 2016
Creator: Hamid, Fahmida

Exploring Privacy in Location-based Services Using Cryptographic Protocols

Description: Location-based services (LBS) are available on a variety of mobile platforms like cell phones, PDA's, etc. and an increasing number of users subscribe to and use these services. Two of the popular models of information flow in LBS are the client-server model and the peer-to-peer model, in both of which, existing approaches do not always provide privacy for all parties concerned. In this work, I study the feasibility of applying cryptographic protocols to design privacy-preserving solutions for LBS from an experimental and theoretical standpoint. In the client-server model, I construct a two-phase framework for processing nearest neighbor queries using combinations of cryptographic protocols such as oblivious transfer and private information retrieval. In the peer-to-peer model, I present privacy preserving solutions for processing group nearest neighbor queries in the semi-honest and dishonest adversarial models. I apply concepts from secure multi-party computation to realize our constructions and also leverage the capabilities of trusted computing technology, specifically TPM chips. My solution for the dishonest adversarial model is also of independent cryptographic interest. I prove my constructions secure under standard cryptographic assumptions and design experiments for testing the feasibility or practicability of our constructions and benchmark key operations. My experiments show that the proposed constructions are practical to implement and have reasonable costs, while providing strong privacy assurances.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Vishwanathan, Roopa

Extrapolating Subjectivity Research to Other Languages

Description: Socrates articulated it best, "Speak, so I may see you." Indeed, language represents an invisible probe into the mind. It is the medium through which we express our deepest thoughts, our aspirations, our views, our feelings, our inner reality. From the beginning of artificial intelligence, researchers have sought to impart human like understanding to machines. As much of our language represents a form of self expression, capturing thoughts, beliefs, evaluations, opinions, and emotions which are not available for scrutiny by an outside observer, in the field of natural language, research involving these aspects has crystallized under the name of subjectivity and sentiment analysis. While subjectivity classification labels text as either subjective or objective, sentiment classification further divides subjective text into either positive, negative or neutral. In this thesis, I investigate techniques of generating tools and resources for subjectivity analysis that do not rely on an existing natural language processing infrastructure in a given language. This constraint is motivated by the fact that the vast majority of human languages are scarce from an electronic point of view: they lack basic tools such as part-of-speech taggers, parsers, or basic resources such as electronic text, annotated corpora or lexica. This severely limits the implementation of techniques on par with those developed for English, and by applying methods that are lighter in the usage of text processing infrastructure, we are able to conduct multilingual subjectivity research in these languages as well. Since my aim is also to minimize the amount of manual work required to develop lexica or corpora in these languages, the techniques proposed employ a lever approach, where English often acts as the donor language (the fulcrum in a lever) and allows through a relatively minimal amount of effort to establish preliminary subjectivity research in a target language.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Banea, Carmen

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

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

Location Estimation and Geo-Correlated Information Trends

Description: A tremendous amount of information is being shared every day on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+. However, only a small portion of users provide their location information, which can be helpful in targeted advertising and many other services. Current methods in location estimation using social relationships consider social friendship as a simple binary relationship. However, social closeness between users and structure of friends have strong implications on geographic distances. In the first task, we introduce new measures to evaluate the social closeness between users and structure of friends. Then we propose models that use them for location estimation. Compared with the models which take the friend relation as a binary feature, social closeness can help identify which friend of a user is more important and friend structure can help to determine significance level of locations, thus improving the accuracy of the location estimation models. A confidence iteration method is further introduced to improve estimation accuracy and overcome the problem of scarce location information. We evaluate our methods on two different datasets, Twitter and Gowalla. The results show that our model can improve the estimation accuracy by 5% - 20% compared with state-of-the-art friend-based models. In the second task, we also propose a Local Event Discovery and Summarization (LEDS) framework to detect local events from Twitter. Many existing algorithms for event detection focus on larger-scale events and are not sensitive to smaller-scale local events. Most of the local events detected by these methods are major events like important sports, shows, or big natural disasters. In this work, we propose the LEDS framework to detect both bigger and smaller events. LEDS contains three key steps: 1) Detecting possible event related terms by monitoring abnormal distribution in different locations and times; 2) Clustering tweets based on their key terms, ...
Date: December 2017
Creator: Liu, Zhi