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Privacy Preserving EEG-based Authentication Using Perceptual Hashing

Description: The use of electroencephalogram (EEG), an electrophysiological monitoring method for recording the brain activity, for authentication has attracted the interest of researchers for over a decade. In addition to exhibiting qualities of biometric-based authentication, they are revocable, impossible to mimic, and resistant to coercion attacks. However, EEG signals carry a wealth of information about an individual and can reveal private information about the user. This brings significant privacy issues to EEG-based authentication systems as they have access to raw EEG signals. This thesis proposes a privacy-preserving EEG-based authentication system that preserves the privacy of the user by not revealing the raw EEG signals while allowing the system to authenticate the user accurately. In that, perceptual hashing is utilized and instead of raw EEG signals, their perceptually hashed values are used in the authentication process. In addition to describing the authentication process, algorithms to compute the perceptual hash are developed based on two feature extraction techniques. Experimental results show that an authentication system using perceptual hashing can achieve performance comparable to a system that has access to raw EEG signals if enough EEG channels are used in the process. This thesis also presents a security analysis to show that perceptual hashing can prevent information leakage.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Koppikar, Samir Dilip

Data-Driven Decision-Making Framework for Large-Scale Dynamical Systems under Uncertainty

Description: Managing large-scale dynamical systems (e.g., transportation systems, complex information systems, and power networks, etc.) in real-time is very challenging considering their complicated system dynamics, intricate network interactions, large scale, and especially the existence of various uncertainties. To address this issue, intelligent techniques which can quickly design decision-making strategies that are robust to uncertainties are needed. This dissertation aims to conquer these challenges by exploring a data-driven decision-making framework, which leverages big-data techniques and scalable uncertainty evaluation approaches to quickly solve optimal control problems. In particular, following techniques have been developed along this direction: 1) system modeling approaches to simplify the system analysis and design procedures for multiple applications; 2) effective simulation and analytical based approaches to efficiently evaluate system performance and design control strategies under uncertainty; and 3) big-data techniques that allow some computations of control strategies to be completed offline. These techniques and tools for analysis, design and control contribute to a wide range of applications including air traffic flow management, complex information systems, and airborne networks.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Xie, Junfei

Modeling and Simulation of the Vector-Borne Dengue Disease and the Effects of Regional Variation of Temperature in the Disease Prevalence in Homogenous and Heterogeneous Human Populations

Description: The history of mitigation programs to contain vector-borne diseases is a story of successes and failures. Due to the complex interplay among multiple factors that determine disease dynamics, the general principles for timely and specific intervention for incidence reduction or eradication of life-threatening diseases has yet to be determined. This research discusses computational methods developed to assist in the understanding of complex relationships affecting vector-borne disease dynamics. A computational framework to assist public health practitioners with exploring the dynamics of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue in homogenous and heterogeneous populations, has been conceived, designed, and implemented. The framework integrates a stochastic computational model of interactions to simulate horizontal disease transmission. The intent of the computational modeling has been the integration of stochasticity during simulation of the disease progression while reducing the number of necessary interactions to simulate a disease outbreak. While there are improvements in the computational time reducing the number of interactions needed for simulating disease dynamics, the realization of interactions can remain computationally expensive. Using multi-threading technology to improve performance upon the original computational model, multi-threading experimental results have been tested and reported. In addition, to the contact model, the modeling of biological processes specific to the corresponding pathogen-carrier vector to increase the specificity of the vector-borne disease has been integrated. Last, automation for requesting, retrieving, parsing, and storing specific weather data and geospatial information from federal agencies to study the differences between homogenous and heterogeneous populations has been implemented.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Bravo-Salgado, Angel D

Network Security Tool for a Novice

Description: Network security is a complex field that is handled by security professionals who need certain expertise and experience to configure security systems. With the ever increasing size of the networks, managing them is going to be a daunting task. What kind of solution can be used to generate effective security configurations by both security professionals and nonprofessionals alike? In this thesis, a web tool is developed to simplify the process of configuring security systems by translating direct human language input into meaningful, working security rules. These human language inputs yield the security rules that the individual wants to implement in their network. The human language input can be as simple as, "Block Facebook to my son's PC". This tool will translate these inputs into specific security rules and install the translated rules into security equipment such as virtualized Cisco FWSM network firewall, Netfilter host-based firewall, and Snort Network Intrusion Detection. This tool is implemented and tested in both a traditional network and a cloud environment. One thousand input policies were collected from various users such as staff from UNT departments' and health science, including individuals with network security background as well as students with a non-computer science background to analyze the tool's performance. The tool is tested for its accuracy (91%) in generating a security rule. It is also tested for accuracy of the translated rule (86%) compared to a standard rule written by security professionals. Nevertheless, the network security tool built has shown promise to both experienced and inexperienced people in network security field by simplifying the provisioning process to result in accurate and effective network security rules.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Ganduri, Rajasekhar

An Empirical Study of How Novice Programmers Use the Web

Description: Students often use the web as a source of help for problems that they encounter on programming assignments.In this work, we seek to understand how students use the web to search for help on their assignments.We used a mixed methods approach with 344 students who complete a survey and 41 students who participate in a focus group meetings and helped in recording data about their search habits.The survey reveals data about student reported search habits while the focus group uses a web browser plug-in to record actual search patterns.We examine the results collectively and as broken down by class year.Survey results show that at least 2/3 of the students from each class year rely on search engines to locate resources for help with their programming bugs in at least half of their assignments;search habits vary by class year;and the value of different types of resources such as tutorials and forums varies by class year.Focus group results exposes the high frequency web sites used by the students in solving their programming assignments.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Tula, Naveen

Learning from small data set for object recognition in mobile platforms.

Description: Did you stand at a door with a bunch of keys and tried to find the right one to unlock the door? Did you hold a flower and wonder the name of it? A need of object recognition could rise anytime and any where in our daily lives. With the development of mobile devices object recognition applications become possible to provide immediate assistance. However, performing complex tasks in even the most advanced mobile platforms still faces great challenges due to the limited computing resources and computing power. In this thesis, we present an object recognition system that resides and executes within a mobile device, which can efficiently extract image features and perform learning and classification. To account for the computing constraint, a novel feature extraction method that minimizes the data size and maintains data consistency is proposed. This system leverages principal component analysis method and is able to update the trained classifier when new examples become available . Our system relieves users from creating a lot of examples and makes it user friendly. The experimental results demonstrate that a learning method trained with a very small number of examples can achieve recognition accuracy above 90% in various acquisition conditions. In addition, the system is able to perform learning efficiently.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Liu, Siyuan

Detection of Ulcerative Colitis Severity and Enhancement of Informative Frame Filtering Using Texture Analysis in Colonoscopy Videos

Description: There are several types of disorders that affect our colon’s ability to function properly such as colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome and colonic polyps. Automatic detection of these diseases would inform the endoscopist of possible sub-optimal inspection during the colonoscopy procedure as well as save time during post-procedure evaluation. But existing systems only detects few of those disorders like colonic polyps. In this dissertation, we address the automatic detection of another important disorder called ulcerative colitis. We propose a novel texture feature extraction technique to detect the severity of ulcerative colitis in block, image, and video levels. We also enhance the current informative frame filtering methods by detecting water and bubble frames using our proposed technique. Our feature extraction algorithm based on accumulation of pixel value difference provides better accuracy at faster speed than the existing methods making it highly suitable for real-time systems. We also propose a hybrid approach in which our feature method is combined with existing feature method(s) to provide even better accuracy. We extend the block and image level detection method to video level severity score calculation and shot segmentation. Also, the proposed novel feature extraction method can detect water and bubble frames in colonoscopy videos with very high accuracy in significantly less processing time even when clustering is used to reduce the training size by 10 times.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Dahal, Ashok

Algorithm Optimizations in Genomic Analysis Using Entropic Dissection

Description: In recent years, the collection of genomic data has skyrocketed and databases of genomic data are growing at a faster rate than ever before. Although many computational methods have been developed to interpret these data, they tend to struggle to process the ever increasing file sizes that are being produced and fail to take advantage of the advances in multi-core processors by using parallel processing. In some instances, loss of accuracy has been a necessary trade off to allow faster computation of the data. This thesis discusses one such algorithm that has been developed and how changes were made to allow larger input file sizes and reduce the time required to achieve a result without sacrificing accuracy. An information entropy based algorithm was used as a basis to demonstrate these techniques. The algorithm dissects the distinctive patterns underlying genomic data efficiently requiring no a priori knowledge, and thus is applicable in a variety of biological research applications. This research describes how parallel processing and object-oriented programming techniques were used to process larger files in less time and achieve a more accurate result from the algorithm. Through object oriented techniques, the maximum allowable input file size was significantly increased from 200 mb to 2000 mb. Using parallel processing techniques allowed the program to finish processing data in less than half the time of the sequential version. The accuracy of the algorithm was improved by reducing data loss throughout the algorithm. Finally, adding user-friendly options enabled the program to use requests more effectively and further customize the logic used within the algorithm.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Danks, Jacob R.

Automatic Removal of Complex Shadows From Indoor Videos

Description: Shadows in indoor scenarios are usually characterized with multiple light sources that produce complex shadow patterns of a single object. Without removing shadow, the foreground object tends to be erroneously segmented. The inconsistent hue and intensity of shadows make automatic removal a challenging task. In this thesis, a dynamic thresholding and transfer learning-based method for removing shadows is proposed. The method suppresses light shadows with a dynamically computed threshold and removes dark shadows using an online learning strategy that is built upon a base classifier trained with manually annotated examples and refined with the automatically identified examples in the new videos. Experimental results demonstrate that despite variation of lighting conditions in videos our proposed method is able to adapt to the videos and remove shadows effectively. The sensitivity of shadow detection changes slightly with different confidence levels used in example selection for classifier retraining and high confidence level usually yields better performance with less retraining iterations.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Mohapatra, Deepankar

Computational Methods for Discovering and Analyzing Causal Relationships in Health Data

Description: Publicly available datasets in health science are often large and observational, in contrast to experimental datasets where a small number of data are collected in controlled experiments. Variables' causal relationships in the observational dataset are yet to be determined. However, there is a significant interest in health science to discover and analyze causal relationships from health data since identified causal relationships will greatly facilitate medical professionals to prevent diseases or to mitigate the negative effects of the disease. Recent advances in Computer Science, particularly in Bayesian networks, has initiated a renewed interest for causality research. Causal relationships can be possibly discovered through learning the network structures from data. However, the number of candidate graphs grows in a more than exponential rate with the increase of variables. Exact learning for obtaining the optimal structure is thus computationally infeasible in practice. As a result, heuristic approaches are imperative to alleviate the difficulty of computations. This research provides effective and efficient learning tools for local causal discoveries and novel methods of learning causal structures with a combination of background knowledge. Specifically in the direction of constraint based structural learning, polynomial-time algorithms for constructing causal structures are designed with first-order conditional independence. Algorithms of efficiently discovering non-causal factors are developed and proved. In addition, when the background knowledge is partially known, methods of graph decomposition are provided so as to reduce the number of conditioned variables. Experiments on both synthetic data and real epidemiological data indicate the provided methods are applicable to large-scale datasets and scalable for causal analysis in health data. Followed by the research methods and experiments, this dissertation gives thoughtful discussions on the reliability of causal discoveries computational health science research, complexity, and implications in health science research.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Liang, Yiheng

Computational Methods for Vulnerability Analysis and Resource Allocation in Public Health Emergencies

Description: POD (Point of Dispensing)-based emergency response plans involving mass prophylaxis may seem feasible when considering the choice of dispensing points within a region, overall population density, and estimated traffic demands. However, the plan may fail to serve particular vulnerable sub-populations, resulting in access disparities during emergency response. Federal authorities emphasize on the need to identify sub-populations that cannot avail regular services during an emergency due to their special needs to ensure effective response. Vulnerable individuals require the targeted allocation of appropriate resources to serve their special needs. Devising schemes to address the needs of vulnerable sub-populations is essential for the effectiveness of response plans. This research focuses on data-driven computational methods to quantify and address vulnerabilities in response plans that require the allocation of targeted resources. Data-driven methods to identify and quantify vulnerabilities in response plans are developed as part of this research. Addressing vulnerabilities requires the targeted allocation of appropriate resources to PODs. The problem of resource allocation to PODs during public health emergencies is introduced and the variants of the resource allocation problem such as the spatial allocation, spatio-temporal allocation and optimal resource subset variants are formulated. Generating optimal resource allocation and scheduling solutions can be computationally hard problems. The application of metaheuristic techniques to find near-optimal solutions to the resource allocation problem in response plans is investigated. A vulnerability analysis and resource allocation framework that facilitates the demographic analysis of population data in the context of response plans, and the optimal allocation of resources with respect to the analysis are described.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Indrakanti, Saratchandra

An Empirical Study of Software Debugging Games with Introductory Students

Description: Bug Fixer is a web-based application that complements lectures with hands-on exercises that encourage students to think about the logic in programs. Bug Fixer presents students with code that has several bugs that they must fix. The process of fixing the bugs forces students to conceptually think about the code and reinforces their understanding of the logic behind algorithms. In this work, we conducted a study using Bug Fixer with undergraduate students in the CSCE1040 course at University of North Texas to evaluate whether the system increases their conceptual understanding of the algorithms and improves their Software Testing skills. Students participated in weekly activities to fix bugs in code. Most students enjoyed Bug Fixer and recommend the system for future use. Students typically reported a better understanding of the algorithms used in class. We observed a slight increase of passing grades for students who participated in our study compared to students in other sections of the course with the same instructor who did not participate in our study. The students who did not report a positive experience provide comments for future improvements that we plan to address in future work.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Reynolds, Lisa Marie

Freeform Cursive Handwriting Recognition Using a Clustered Neural Network

Description: Optical character recognition (OCR) software has advanced greatly in recent years. Machine-printed text can be scanned and converted to searchable text with word accuracy rates around 98%. Reasonably neat hand-printed text can be recognized with about 85% word accuracy. However, cursive handwriting still remains a challenge, with state-of-the-art performance still around 75%. Algorithms based on hidden Markov models have been only moderately successful, while recurrent neural networks have delivered the best results to date. This thesis explored the feasibility of using a special type of feedforward neural network to convert freeform cursive handwriting to searchable text. The hidden nodes in this network were grouped into clusters, with each cluster being trained to recognize a unique character bigram. The network was trained on writing samples that were pre-segmented and annotated. Post-processing was facilitated in part by using the network to identify overlapping bigrams that were then linked together to form words and sentences. With dictionary assisted post-processing, the network achieved word accuracy of 66.5% on a small, proprietary corpus. The contributions in this thesis are threefold: 1) the novel clustered architecture of the feed-forward neural network, 2) the development of an expanded set of observers combining image masks, modifiers, and feature characterizations, and 3) the use of overlapping bigrams as the textual working unit to assist in context analysis and reconstruction.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Bristow, Kelly H.

Integrity Verification of Applications on Radium Architecture

Description: Trusted Computing capability has become ubiquitous these days, and it is being widely deployed into consumer devices as well as enterprise platforms. As the number of threats is increasing at an exponential rate, it is becoming a daunting task to secure the systems against them. In this context, the software integrity measurement at runtime with the support of trusted platforms can be a better security strategy. Trusted Computing devices like TPM secure the evidence of a breach or an attack. These devices remain tamper proof if the hardware platform is physically secured. This type of trusted security is crucial for forensic analysis in the aftermath of a breach. The advantages of trusted platforms can be further leveraged if they can be used wisely. RADIUM (Race-free on-demand Integrity Measurement Architecture) is one such architecture, which is built on the strength of TPM. RADIUM provides an asynchronous root of trust to overcome the TOC condition of DRTM. Even though the underlying architecture is trusted, attacks can still compromise applications during runtime by exploiting their vulnerabilities. I propose an application-level integrity measurement solution that fits into RADIUM, to expand the trusted computing capability to the application layer. This is based on the concept of program invariants that can be used to learn the correct behavior of an application. I used Daikon, a tool to obtain dynamic likely invariants, and developed a method of observing these properties at runtime to verify the integrity. The integrity measurement component was implemented as a Python module on top of Volatility, a virtual machine introspection tool. My approach is a first step towards integrity attestation, using hypervisor-based introspection on RADIUM and a proof of concept of application-level measurement capability.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Tarigopula, Mohan Krishna

Maintaining Web Applications Integrity Running on Radium

Description: Computer security attacks take place due to the presence of vulnerabilities and bugs in software applications. Bugs and vulnerabilities are the result of weak software architecture and lack of standard software development practices. Despite the fact that software companies are investing millions of dollars in the research and development of software designs security risks are still at large. In some cases software applications are found to carry vulnerabilities for many years before being identified. A recent such example is the popular Heart Bleed Bug in the Open SSL/TSL. In today’s world, where new software application are continuously being developed for a varied community of users; it’s highly unlikely to have software applications running without flaws. Attackers on computer system securities exploit these vulnerabilities and bugs and cause threat to privacy without leaving any trace. The most critical vulnerabilities are those which are related to the integrity of the software applications. Because integrity is directly linked to the credibility of software application and data it contains. Here I am giving solution of maintaining web applications integrity running on RADIUM by using daikon. Daikon generates invariants, these invariants are used to maintain the integrity of the web application and also check the correct behavior of web application at run time on RADIUM architecture in case of any attack or malware. I used data invariants and program flow invariants in my solution to maintain the integrity of web-application against such attack or malware. I check the behavior of my proposed invariants at run-time using Lib-VMI/Volatility memory introspection tool. This is a novel approach and proof of concept toward maintaining web application integrity on RADIUM.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ur-Rehman, Wasi

Radium: Secure Policy Engine in Hypervisor

Description: The basis of today’s security systems is the trust and confidence that the system will behave as expected and are in a known good trusted state. The trust is built from hardware and software elements that generates a chain of trust that originates from a trusted known entity. Leveraging hardware, software and a mandatory access control policy technology is needed to create a trusted measurement environment. Employing a control layer (hypervisor or microkernel) with the ability to enforce a fine grained access control policy with hyper call granularity across multiple guest virtual domains can ensure that any malicious environment to be contained. In my research, I propose the use of radium's Asynchronous Root of Trust Measurement (ARTM) capability incorporated with a secure mandatory access control policy engine that would mitigate the limitations of the current hardware TPM solutions. By employing ARTM we can leverage asynchronous use of boot, launch, and use with the hypervisor proving its state and the integrity of the secure policy. My solution is using Radium (Race free on demand integrity architecture) architecture that will allow a more detailed measurement of applications at run time with greater semantic knowledge of the measured environments. Radium incorporation of a secure access control policy engine will give it the ability to limit or empower a virtual domain system. It can also enable the creation of a service oriented model of guest virtual domains that have the ability to perform certain operations such as introspecting other virtual domain systems to determine the integrity or system state and report it to a remote entity.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Shah, Tawfiq M

Towards Resistance Detection in Health Behavior Change Dialogue Systems

Description: One of the challenges fairly common in motivational interviewing is patient resistance to health behavior change. Hence, automated dialog systems aimed at counseling patients need to be capable of detecting resistance and appropriately altering dialog. This thesis focusses primarily on the development of such a system for automatic identification of patient resistance to behavioral change. This enables the dialogue system to direct the discourse towards a more agreeable ground and helping the patient overcome the obstacles in his or her way to change. This thesis also proposes a dialogue system framework for health behavior change via natural language analysis and generation. The proposed framework facilitates automated motivational interviewing from clinical psychology and involves three broad stages: rapport building and health topic identification, assessment of the patient’s opinion about making a change, and developing a plan. Using this framework patients can be encouraged to reflect on the options available and choose the best for a healthier life.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Sarma, Bandita

Unique Channel Email System

Description: Email connects 85% of the world. This paper explores the pattern of information overload encountered by majority of email users and examine what steps key email providers are taking to combat the problem. Besides fighting spam, popular email providers offer very limited tools to reduce the amount of unwanted incoming email. Rather, there has been a trend to expand storage space and aid the organization of email. Storing email is very costly and harmful to the environment. Additionally, information overload can be detrimental to productivity. We propose a simple solution that results in drastic reduction of unwanted mail, also known as graymail.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Balakchiev, Milko

Classifying Pairwise Object Interactions: A Trajectory Analytics Approach

Description: We have a huge amount of video data from extensively available surveillance cameras and increasingly growing technology to record the motion of a moving object in the form of trajectory data. With proliferation of location-enabled devices and ongoing growth in smartphone penetration as well as advancements in exploiting image processing techniques, tracking moving objects is more flawlessly achievable. In this work, we explore some domain-independent qualitative and quantitative features in raw trajectory (spatio-temporal) data in videos captured by a fixed single wide-angle view camera sensor in outdoor areas. We study the efficacy of those features in classifying four basic high level actions by employing two supervised learning algorithms and show how each of the features affect the learning algorithms’ overall accuracy as a single factor or confounded with others.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Janmohammadi, Siamak

Distributed Frameworks Towards Building an Open Data Architecture

Description: Data is everywhere. The current Technological advancements in Digital, Social media and the ease at which the availability of different application services to interact with variety of systems are causing to generate tremendous volumes of data. Due to such varied services, Data format is now not restricted to only structure type like text but can generate unstructured content like social media data, videos and images etc. The generated Data is of no use unless been stored and analyzed to derive some Value. Traditional Database systems comes with limitations on the type of data format schema, access rates and storage sizes etc. Hadoop is an Apache open source distributed framework that support storing huge datasets of different formatted data reliably on its file system named Hadoop File System (HDFS) and to process the data stored on HDFS using MapReduce programming model. This thesis study is about building a Data Architecture using Hadoop and its related open source distributed frameworks to support a Data flow pipeline on a low commodity hardware. The Data flow components are, sourcing data, storage management on HDFS and data access layer. This study also discuss about a use case to utilize the architecture components. Sqoop, a framework to ingest the structured data from database onto Hadoop and Flume is used to ingest the semi-structured Twitter streaming json data on to HDFS for analysis. The data sourced using Sqoop and Flume have been analyzed using Hive for SQL like analytics and at a higher level of data access layer, Hadoop has been compared with an in memory computing system using Spark. Significant differences in query execution performances have been analyzed when working with Hadoop and Spark frameworks. This integration helps for ingesting huge Volumes of streaming json Variety data to derive better Value based analytics using Hive and ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Venumuddala, Ramu Reddy

Investigation on Segmentation, Recognition and 3D Reconstruction of Objects Based on Lidar Data Or Mri

Description: Segmentation, recognition and 3D reconstruction of objects have been cutting-edge research topics, which have many applications ranging from environmental and medical to geographical applications as well as intelligent transportation. In this dissertation, I focus on the study of segmentation, recognition and 3D reconstruction of objects using LiDAR data/MRI. Three main works are that (I). Feature extraction algorithm based on sparse LiDAR data. A novel method has been proposed for feature extraction from sparse LiDAR data. The algorithm and the related principles have been described. Also, I have tested and discussed the choices and roles of parameters. By using correlation of neighboring points directly, statistic distribution of normal vectors at each point has been effectively used to determine the category of the selected point. (II). Segmentation and 3D reconstruction of objects based on LiDAR/MRI. The proposed method includes that the 3D LiDAR data are layered, that different categories are segmented, and that 3D canopy surfaces of individual tree crowns and clusters of trees are reconstructed from LiDAR point data based on a region active contour model. The proposed method allows for delineations of 3D forest canopy naturally from the contours of raw LiDAR point clouds. The proposed model is suitable not only for a series of ideal cone shapes, but also for other kinds of 3D shapes as well as other kinds dataset such as MRI. (III). Novel algorithms for recognition of objects based on LiDAR/MRI. Aimed to the sparse LiDAR data, the feature extraction algorithm has been proposed and applied to classify the building and trees. More importantly, the novel algorithms based on level set methods have been provided and employed to recognize not only the buildings and trees, the different trees (e.g. Oak trees and Douglas firs), but also the subthalamus nuclei (STNs). By using the novel algorithms based ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Tang, Shijun

SEM Predicting Success of Student Global Software Development Teams

Description: The extensive use of global teams to develop software has prompted researchers to investigate various factors that can enhance a team’s performance. While a significant body of research exists on global software teams, previous research has not fully explored the interrelationships and collective impact of various factors on team performance. This study explored a model that added the characteristics of a team’s culture, ability, communication frequencies, response rates, and linguistic categories to a central framework of team performance. Data was collected from two student software development projects that occurred between teams located in the United States, Panama, and Turkey. The data was obtained through online surveys and recorded postings of team activities that occurred throughout the global software development projects. Partial least squares path modeling (PLS-PM) was chosen as the analytic technique to test the model and identify the most influential factors. Individual factors associated with response rates and linguistic characteristics proved to significantly affect a team’s activity related to grade on the project, group cohesion, and the number of messages received and sent. Moreover, an examination of possible latent homogeneous segments in the model supported the existence of differences among groups based on leadership style. Teams with assigned leaders tended to have stronger relationships between linguistic characteristics and team performance factors, while teams with emergent leaders had stronger. Relationships between response rates and team performance factors. The contributions in this dissertation are three fold. 1) Novel analysis techniques using PLS-PM and clustering, 2) Use of new, quantifiable variables in analyzing team activity, 3) Identification of plausible causal indicators for team performance and analysis of the same.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Brooks, Ian Robert

Video Analytics with Spatio-Temporal Characteristics of Activities

Description: As video capturing devices become more ubiquitous from surveillance cameras to smart phones, the demand of automated video analysis is increasing as never before. One obstacle in this process is to efficiently locate where a human operator’s attention should be, and another is to determine the specific types of activities or actions without ambiguity. It is the special interest of this dissertation to locate spatial and temporal regions of interest in videos and to develop a better action representation for video-based activity analysis. This dissertation follows the scheme of “locating then recognizing” activities of interest in videos, i.e., locations of potentially interesting activities are estimated before performing in-depth analysis. Theoretical properties of regions of interest in videos are first exploited, based on which a unifying framework is proposed to locate both spatial and temporal regions of interest with the same settings of parameters. The approach estimates the distribution of motion based on 3D structure tensors, and locates regions of interest according to persistent occurrences of low probability. Two contributions are further made to better represent the actions. The first is to construct a unifying model of spatio-temporal relationships between reusable mid-level actions which bridge low-level pixels and high-level activities. Dense trajectories are clustered to construct mid-level actionlets, and the temporal relationships between actionlets are modeled as Action Graphs based on Allen interval predicates. The second is an effort for a novel and efficient representation of action graphs based on a sparse coding framework. Action graphs are first represented using Laplacian matrices and then decomposed as a linear combination of primitive dictionary items following sparse coding scheme. The optimization is eventually formulated and solved as a determinant maximization problem, and 1-nearest neighbor is used for action classification. The experiments have shown better results than existing approaches for regions-of-interest detection and action ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Cheng, Guangchun

Smartphone-based Household Travel Survey - a Literature Review, an App, and a Pilot Survey

Description: High precision data from household travel survey (HTS) is extremely important for the transportation research, traffic models and policy formulation. Traditional methods of data collection were imprecise because they relied on people’s memories of trip information, such as date and location, and the remainder data had to be obtained by certain supplemental tools. The traditional methods suffered from intensive labor, large time consumption, and unsatisfactory data precision. Recent research trends to employ smartphone apps to collect HTS data. In this study, there are two goals to be addressed. First, a smartphone app is developed to realize a smartphone-based method only for data collection. Second, the researcher evaluates whether this method can supply or replace the traditional tools of HTS. Based on this premise, the smartphone app, TravelSurvey, is specially developed and used for this study. TravelSurvey is currently compatible with iPhone 4 or higher and iPhone Operating System (iOS) 6 or higher, except iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus and iOS 8. To evaluate the feasibility, eight individuals are recruited to participate in a pilot HTS. Afterwards, seven of them are involved in a semi-structured interview. The interview is designed to collect interviewees’ feedback directly, so the interview mainly concerns the users’ experience of TravelSurvey. Generally, the feedback is positive. In this study, the pilot HTS data is successfully uploaded to the server by the participants, and the interviewees prefer this smartphone-based method. Therefore, as a new tool, the smartphone-based method feasibly supports a typical HTS for data collection.
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Wang, Qian