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A general purpose semantic parser using FrameNet and WordNet®.

Description: Syntactic parsing is one of the best understood language processing applications. Since language and grammar have been formally defined, it is easy for computers to parse the syntactic structure of natural language text. Does meaning have structure as well? If it has, how can we analyze the structure? Previous systems rely on a one-to-one correspondence between syntactic rules and semantic rules. But such systems can only be applied to limited fragments of English. In this thesis, we propose a general-purpose shallow semantic parser which utilizes a semantic network (WordNet), and a frame dataset (FrameNet). Semantic relations recognized by the parser are based on how human beings represent knowledge of the world. Parsing semantic structure allows semantic units and constituents to be accessed and processed in a more meaningful way than syntactic parsing, moving the automation of understanding natural language text to a higher level.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Shi, Lei

Evaluating the Scalability of SDF Single-chip Multiprocessor Architecture Using Automatically Parallelizing Code

Description: Advances in integrated circuit technology continue to provide more and more transistors on a chip. Computer architects are faced with the challenge of finding the best way to translate these resources into high performance. The challenge in the design of next generation CPU (central processing unit) lies not on trying to use up the silicon area, but on finding smart ways to make use of the wealth of transistors now available. In addition, the next generation architecture should offer high throughout performance, scalability, modularity, and low energy consumption, instead of an architecture that is suitable for only one class of applications or users, or only emphasize faster clock rate. A program exhibits different types of parallelism: instruction level parallelism (ILP), thread level parallelism (TLP), or data level parallelism (DLP). Likewise, architectures can be designed to exploit one or more of these types of parallelism. It is generally not possible to design architectures that can take advantage of all three types of parallelism without using very complex hardware structures and complex compiler optimizations. We present the state-of-art architecture SDF (scheduled data flowed) which explores the TLP parallelism as much as that is supplied by that application. We implement a SDF single-chip multiprocessor constructed from simpler processors and execute the automatically parallelizing application on the single-chip multiprocessor. SDF has many desirable features such as high throughput, scalability, and low power consumption, which meet the requirements of the next generation of CPU design. Compared with superscalar, VLIW (very long instruction word), and SMT (simultaneous multithreading), the experiment results show that for application with very little parallelism SDF is comparable to other architectures, for applications with large amounts of parallelism SDF outperforms other architectures.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Zhang, Yuhua

A Comparison of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering Frameworks and Methodologies

Description: Agent-oriented software engineering (AOSE) covers issues on developing systems with software agents. There are many techniques, mostly agent-oriented and object-oriented, ready to be chosen as building blocks to create agent-based systems. There have been several AOSE methodologies proposed intending to show engineers guidelines on how these elements are constituted in having agents achieve the overall system goals. Although these solutions are promising, most of them are designed in ad-hoc manner without truly obeying software developing life-cycle fully, as well as lacking of examinations on agent-oriented features. To address these issues, we investigated state-of-the-art techniques and AOSE methodologies. By examining them in different respects, we commented on the strength and weakness of them. Toward a formal study, a comparison framework has been set up regarding four aspects, including concepts and properties, notations and modeling techniques, process, and pragmatics. Under these criteria, we conducted the comparison in both overview and detailed level. The comparison helped us with empirical and analytical study, to inspect the issues on how an ideal agent-based system will be formed.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Lin, Chia-En

Intelligent Memory Manager: Towards improving the locality behavior of allocation-intensive applications.

Description: Dynamic memory management required by allocation-intensive (i.e., Object Oriented and linked data structured) applications has led to a large number of research trends. Memory performance due to the cache misses in these applications continues to lag in terms of execution cycles as ever increasing CPU-Memory speed gap continues to grow. Sophisticated prefetcing techniques, data relocations, and multithreaded architectures have tried to address memory latency. These techniques are not completely successful since they require either extra hardware/software in the system or special properties in the applications. Software needed for prefetching and data relocation strategies, aimed to improve cache performance, pollutes the cache so that the technique itself becomes counter-productive. On the other hand, extra hardware complexity needed in multithreaded architectures decelerates CPU's clock, since "Simpler is Faster." This dissertation, directed to seek the cause of poor locality behavior of allocation--intensive applications, studies allocators and their impact on the cache performance of these applications. Our study concludes that service functions, in general, and memory management functions, in particular, entangle with application's code and become the major cause of cache pollution. In this dissertation, we present a novel technique that transfers the allocation and de-allocation functions entirely to a separate processor residing in chip with DRAM (Intelligent Memory Manager). Our empirical results show that, on average, 60% of the cache misses caused by allocation and de-allocation service functions are eliminated using our technique.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Rezaei, Mehran

Embedded monitors for detecting and preventing intrusions in cryptographic and application protocols.

Description: There are two main approaches for intrusion detection: signature-based and anomaly-based. Signature-based detection employs pattern matching to match attack signatures with observed data making it ideal for detecting known attacks. However, it cannot detect unknown attacks for which there is no signature available. Anomaly-based detection builds a profile of normal system behavior to detect known and unknown attacks as behavioral deviations. However, it has a drawback of a high false alarm rate. In this thesis, we describe our anomaly-based IDS designed for detecting intrusions in cryptographic and application-level protocols. Our system has several unique characteristics, such as the ability to monitor cryptographic protocols and application-level protocols embedded in encrypted sessions, a very lightweight monitoring process, and the ability to react to protocol misuse by modifying protocol response directly.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Joglekar, Sachin P.

Graph-Based Keyphrase Extraction Using Wikipedia

Description: Keyphrases describe a document in a coherent and simple way, giving the prospective reader a way to quickly determine whether the document satisfies their information needs. The pervasion of huge amount of information on Web, with only a small amount of documents have keyphrases extracted, there is a definite need to discover automatic keyphrase extraction systems. Typically, a document written by human develops around one or more general concepts or sub-concepts. These concepts or sub-concepts should be structured and semantically related with each other, so that they can form the meaningful representation of a document. Considering the fact, the phrases or concepts in a document are related to each other, a new approach for keyphrase extraction is introduced that exploits the semantic relations in the document. For measuring the semantic relations between concepts or sub-concepts in the document, I present a comprehensive study aimed at using collaboratively constructed semantic resources like Wikipedia and its link structure. In particular, I introduce a graph-based keyphrase extraction system that exploits the semantic relations in the document and features such as term frequency. I evaluated the proposed system using novel measures and the results obtained compare favorably with previously published results on established benchmarks.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Dandala, Bharath

Group-EDF: A New Approach and an Efficient Non-Preemptive Algorithm for Soft Real-Time Systems

Description: Hard real-time systems in robotics, space and military missions, and control devices are specified with stringent and critical time constraints. On the other hand, soft real-time applications arising from multimedia, telecommunications, Internet web services, and games are specified with more lenient constraints. Real-time systems can also be distinguished in terms of their implementation into preemptive and non-preemptive systems. In preemptive systems, tasks are often preempted by higher priority tasks. Non-preemptive systems are gaining interest for implementing soft-real applications on multithreaded platforms. In this dissertation, I propose a new algorithm that uses a two-level scheduling strategy for scheduling non-preemptive soft real-time tasks. Our goal is to improve the success ratios of the well-known earliest deadline first (EDF) approach when the load on the system is very high and to improve the overall performance in both underloaded and overloaded conditions. Our approach, known as group-EDF (gEDF), is based on dynamic grouping of tasks with deadlines that are very close to each other, and using a shortest job first (SJF) technique to schedule tasks within the group. I believe that grouping tasks dynamically with similar deadlines and utilizing secondary criteria, such as minimizing the total execution time can lead to new and more efficient real-time scheduling algorithms. I present results comparing gEDF with other real-time algorithms including, EDF, best-effort, and guarantee scheme, by using randomly generated tasks with varying execution times, release times, deadlines and tolerances to missing deadlines, under varying workloads. Furthermore, I implemented the gEDF algorithm in the Linux kernel and evaluated gEDF for scheduling real applications.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Li, Wenming

Modeling Infectious Disease Spread Using Global Stochastic Field Simulation

Description: Susceptibles-infectives-removals (SIR) and its derivatives are the classic mathematical models for the study of infectious diseases in epidemiology. In order to model and simulate epidemics of an infectious disease, a global stochastic field simulation paradigm (GSFS) is proposed, which incorporates geographic and demographic based interactions. The interaction measure between regions is a function of population density and geographical distance, and has been extended to include demographic and migratory constraints. The progression of diseases using GSFS is analyzed, and similar behavior to the SIR model is exhibited by GSFS, using the geographic information systems (GIS) gravity model for interactions. The limitations of the SIR and similar models of homogeneous population with uniform mixing are addressed by the GSFS model. The GSFS model is oriented to heterogeneous population, and can incorporate interactions based on geography, demography, environment and migration patterns. The progression of diseases can be modeled at higher levels of fidelity using the GSFS model, and facilitates optimal deployment of public health resources for prevention, control and surveillance of infectious diseases.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Venkatachalam, Sangeeta

Impact of actual interference on capacity and call admission control in a CDMA network.

Description: An overwhelming number of models in the literature use average inter-cell interference for the calculation of capacity of a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network. The advantage gained in terms of simplicity by using such models comes at the cost of rendering the exact location of a user within a cell irrelevant. We calculate the actual per-user interference and analyze the effect of user-distribution within a cell on the capacity of a CDMA network. We show that even though the capacity obtained using average interference is a good approximation to the capacity calculated using actual interference for a uniform user distribution, the deviation can be tremendously large for non-uniform user distributions. Call admission control (CAC) algorithms are responsible for efficient management of a network's resources while guaranteeing the quality of service and grade of service, i.e., accepting the maximum number of calls without affecting the quality of service of calls already present in the network. We design and implement global and local CAC algorithms, and through simulations compare their network throughput and blocking probabilities for varying mobility scenarios. We show that even though our global CAC is better at resource management, the lack of substantial gain in network throughput and exponential increase in complexity makes our optimized local CAC algorithm a much better choice for a given traffic distribution profile.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Parvez, Asad

Bayesian Probabilistic Reasoning Applied to Mathematical Epidemiology for Predictive Spatiotemporal Analysis of Infectious Diseases

Description: Abstract Probabilistic reasoning under uncertainty suits well to analysis of disease dynamics. The stochastic nature of disease progression is modeled by applying the principles of Bayesian learning. Bayesian learning predicts the disease progression, including prevalence and incidence, for a geographic region and demographic composition. Public health resources, prioritized by the order of risk levels of the population, will efficiently minimize the disease spread and curtail the epidemic at the earliest. A Bayesian network representing the outbreak of influenza and pneumonia in a geographic region is ported to a newer region with different demographic composition. Upon analysis for the newer region, the corresponding prevalence of influenza and pneumonia among the different demographic subgroups is inferred for the newer region. Bayesian reasoning coupled with disease timeline is used to reverse engineer an influenza outbreak for a given geographic and demographic setting. The temporal flow of the epidemic among the different sections of the population is analyzed to identify the corresponding risk levels. In comparison to spread vaccination, prioritizing the limited vaccination resources to the higher risk groups results in relatively lower influenza prevalence. HIV incidence in Texas from 1989-2002 is analyzed using demographic based epidemic curves. Dynamic Bayesian networks are integrated with probability distributions of HIV surveillance data coupled with the census population data to estimate the proportion of HIV incidence among the different demographic subgroups. Demographic based risk analysis lends to observation of varied spectrum of HIV risk among the different demographic subgroups. A methodology using hidden Markov models is introduced that enables to investigate the impact of social behavioral interactions in the incidence and prevalence of infectious diseases. The methodology is presented in the context of simulated disease outbreak data for influenza. Probabilistic reasoning analysis enhances the understanding of disease progression in order to identify the critical points of surveillance, ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Abbas, Kaja Moinudeen

An Integrated Architecture for Ad Hoc Grids

Description: Extensive research has been conducted by the grid community to enable large-scale collaborations in pre-configured environments. grid collaborations can vary in scale and motivation resulting in a coarse classification of grids: national grid, project grid, enterprise grid, and volunteer grid. Despite the differences in scope and scale, all the traditional grids in practice share some common assumptions. They support mutually collaborative communities, adopt a centralized control for membership, and assume a well-defined non-changing collaboration. To support grid applications that do not confirm to these assumptions, we propose the concept of ad hoc grids. In the context of this research, we propose a novel architecture for ad hoc grids that integrates a suite of component frameworks. Specifically, our architecture combines the community management framework, security framework, abstraction framework, quality of service framework, and reputation framework. The overarching objective of our integrated architecture is to support a variety of grid applications in a self-controlled fashion with the help of a self-organizing ad hoc community. We introduce mechanisms in our architecture that successfully isolates malicious elements from the community, inherently improving the quality of grid services and extracting deterministic quality assurances from the underlying infrastructure. We also emphasize on the technology-independence of our architecture, thereby offering the requisite platform for technology interoperability. The feasibility of the proposed architecture is verified with a high-quality ad hoc grid implementation. Additionally, we have analyzed the performance and behavior of ad hoc grids with respect to several control parameters.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Amin, Kaizar Abdul Husain

Measuring Semantic Relatedness Using Salient Encyclopedic Concepts

Description: While pragmatics, through its integration of situational awareness and real world relevant knowledge, offers a high level of analysis that is suitable for real interpretation of natural dialogue, semantics, on the other end, represents a lower yet more tractable and affordable linguistic level of analysis using current technologies. Generally, the understanding of semantic meaning in literature has revolved around the famous quote ``You shall know a word by the company it keeps''. In this thesis we investigate the role of context constituents in decoding the semantic meaning of the engulfing context; specifically we probe the role of salient concepts, defined as content-bearing expressions which afford encyclopedic definitions, as a suitable source of semantic clues to an unambiguous interpretation of context. Furthermore, we integrate this world knowledge in building a new and robust unsupervised semantic model and apply it to entail semantic relatedness between textual pairs, whether they are words, sentences or paragraphs. Moreover, we explore the abstraction of semantics across languages and utilize our findings into building a novel multi-lingual semantic relatedness model exploiting information acquired from various languages. We demonstrate the effectiveness and the superiority of our mono-lingual and multi-lingual models through a comprehensive set of evaluations on specialized synthetic datasets for semantic relatedness as well as real world applications such as paraphrase detection and short answer grading. Our work represents a novel approach to integrate world-knowledge into current semantic models and a means to cross the language boundary for a better and more robust semantic relatedness representation, thus opening the door for an improved abstraction of meaning that carries the potential of ultimately imparting understanding of natural language to machines.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Hassan, Samer

Performance comparison of data distribution management strategies in large-scale distributed simulation.

Description: Data distribution management (DDM) is a High Level Architecture/Run-time Infrastructure (HLA/RTI) service that manages the distribution of state updates and interaction information in large-scale distributed simulations. The key to efficient DDM is to limit and control the volume of data exchanged during the simulation, to relay data to only those hosts requiring the data. This thesis focuses upon different DDM implementations and strategies. This thesis includes analysis of three DDM methods including the fixed grid-based, dynamic grid-based, and region-based methods. Also included is the use of multi-resolution modeling with various DDM strategies and analysis of the performance effects of aggregation/disaggregation with these strategies. Running numerous federation executions, I simulate four different scenarios on a cluster of workstations with a mini-RTI Kit framework and propose a set of benchmarks for a comparison of the DDM schemes. The goals of this work are to determine the most efficient model for applying each DDM scheme, discover the limitations of the scalability of the various DDM methods, evaluate the effects of aggregation/disaggregation on performance and resource usage, and present accepted benchmarks for use in future research.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Dzermajko, Caron

An Empirical Evaluation of Communication and Coordination Effectiveness in Autonomous Reactive Multiagent Systems

Description: This thesis describes experiments designed to measure the effect of collaborative communication on task performance of a multiagent system. A discrete event simulation was developed to model a multi-agent system completing a task to find and collect food resources, with the ability to substitute various communication and coordination methods. Experiments were conducted to find the effects of the various communication methods on completion of the task to find and harvest the food resources. Results show that communication decreases the time required to complete the task. However, all communication methods do not fare equally well. In particular, results indicate that the communication model of the bee is a particularly effective method of agent communication and collaboration. Furthermore, results indicate that direct communication with additional information content provides better completion results. Cost-benefit models show some conflicting information, indicating that the increased performance may not offset the additional cost of achieving that performance.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Hurt, David

Investigating the Extractive Summarization of Literary Novels

Description: Abstract Due to the vast amount of information we are faced with, summarization has become a critical necessity of everyday human life. Given that a large fraction of the electronic documents available online and elsewhere consist of short texts such as Web pages, news articles, scientific reports, and others, the focus of natural language processing techniques to date has been on the automation of methods targeting short documents. We are witnessing however a change: an increasingly larger number of books become available in electronic format. This means that the need for language processing techniques able to handle very large documents such as books is becoming increasingly important. This thesis addresses the problem of summarization of novels, which are long and complex literary narratives. While there is a significant body of research that has been carried out on the task of automatic text summarization, most of this work has been concerned with the summarization of short documents, with a particular focus on news stories. However, novels are different in both length and genre, and consequently different summarization techniques are required. This thesis attempts to close this gap by analyzing a new domain for summarization, and by building unsupervised and supervised systems that effectively take into account the properties of long documents, and outperform the traditional extractive summarization systems typically addressing news genre.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Ceylan, Hakan

The enhancement of machine translation for low-density languages using Web-gathered parallel texts.

Description: The majority of the world's languages are poorly represented in informational media like radio, television, newspapers, and the Internet. Translation into and out of these languages may offer a way for speakers of these languages to interact with the wider world, but current statistical machine translation models are only effective with a large corpus of parallel texts - texts in two languages that are translations of one another - which most languages lack. This thesis describes the Babylon project which attempts to alleviate this shortage by supplementing existing parallel texts with texts gathered automatically from the Web -- specifically targeting pages that contain text in a pair of languages. Results indicate that parallel texts gathered from the Web can be effectively used as a source of training data for machine translation and can significantly improve the translation quality for text in a similar domain. However, the small quantity of high-quality low-density language parallel texts on the Web remains a significant obstacle.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Mohler, Michael Augustine Gaylord

Procedural content creation and technologies for 3D graphics applications and games.

Description: The recent transformation of consumer graphics (CG) cards into powerful 3D rendering processors is due in large measure to the success of game developers in delivering mass market entertainment software that feature highly immersive and captivating virtual environments. Despite this success, 3D CG application development is becoming increasingly handicapped by the inability of traditional content creation methods to keep up with the demand for content. The term content is used here to refer to any data operated on by application code that is meant for viewing, including 3D models, textures, animation sequences and maps or other data-intensive descriptions of virtual environments. Traditionally, content has been handcrafted by humans. A serious problem facing the interactive graphics software development community is how to increase the rate at which content can be produced to keep up with the increasingly rapid pace at which software for interactive applications can now be developed. Research addressing this problem centers around procedural content creation systems. By moving away from purely human content creation toward systems in which humans play a substantially less time-intensive but no less creative part in the process, procedural content creation opens new doors. From a qualitative standpoint, these types of systems will not rely less on human intervention but rather more since they will depend heavily on direction from a human in order to synthesize the desired content. This research draws heavily from the entertainment software domain but the research is broadly relevant to 3D graphics applications in general.
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Date: May 2005
Creator: Roden, Timothy E.

FP-tree Based Spatial Co-location Pattern Mining

Description: A co-location pattern is a set of spatial features frequently located together in space. A frequent pattern is a set of items that frequently appears in a transaction database. Since its introduction, the paradigm of frequent pattern mining has undergone a shift from candidate generation-and-test based approaches to projection based approaches. Co-location patterns resemble frequent patterns in many aspects. However, the lack of transaction concept, which is crucial in frequent pattern mining, makes the similar shift of paradigm in co-location pattern mining very difficult. This thesis investigates a projection based co-location pattern mining paradigm. In particular, a FP-tree based co-location mining framework and an algorithm called FP-CM, for FP-tree based co-location miner, are proposed. It is proved that FP-CM is complete, correct, and only requires a small constant number of database scans. The experimental results show that FP-CM outperforms candidate generation-and-test based co-location miner by an order of magnitude.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Yu, Ping

Automated Syndromic Surveillance using Intelligent Mobile Agents

Description: Current syndromic surveillance systems utilize centralized databases that are neither scalable in storage space nor in computing power. Such systems are limited in the amount of syndromic data that may be collected and analyzed for the early detection of infectious disease outbreaks. However, with the increased prevalence of international travel, public health monitoring must extend beyond the borders of municipalities or states which will require the ability to store vasts amount of data and significant computing power for analyzing the data. Intelligent mobile agents may be used to create a distributed surveillance system that will utilize the hard drives and computer processing unit (CPU) power of the hosts on the agent network where the syndromic information is located. This thesis proposes the design of a mobile agent-based syndromic surveillance system and an agent decision model for outbreak detection. Simulation results indicate that mobile agents are capable of detecting an outbreak that occurs at all hosts the agent is monitoring. Further study of agent decision models is required to account for localized epidemics and variable agent movement rates.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Miller, Paul

High Performance Architecture using Speculative Threads and Dynamic Memory Management Hardware

Description: With the advances in very large scale integration (VLSI) technology, hundreds of billions of transistors can be packed into a single chip. With the increased hardware budget, how to take advantage of available hardware resources becomes an important research area. Some researchers have shifted from control flow Von-Neumann architecture back to dataflow architecture again in order to explore scalable architectures leading to multi-core systems with several hundreds of processing elements. In this dissertation, I address how the performance of modern processing systems can be improved, while attempting to reduce hardware complexity and energy consumptions. My research described here tackles both central processing unit (CPU) performance and memory subsystem performance. More specifically I will describe my research related to the design of an innovative decoupled multithreaded architecture that can be used in multi-core processor implementations. I also address how memory management functions can be off-loaded from processing pipelines to further improve system performance and eliminate cache pollution caused by runtime management functions.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Li, Wentong

System and Methods for Detecting Unwanted Voice Calls

Description: Voice over IP (VoIP) is a key enabling technology for the migration of circuit-switched PSTN architectures to packet-based IP networks. However, this migration is successful only if the present problems in IP networks are addressed before deploying VoIP infrastructure on a large scale. One of the important issues that the present VoIP networks face is the problem of unwanted calls commonly referred to as SPIT (spam over Internet telephony). Mostly, these SPIT calls are from unknown callers who broadcast unwanted calls. There may be unwanted calls from legitimate and known people too. In this case, the unwantedness depends on social proximity of the communicating parties. For detecting these unwanted calls, I propose a framework that analyzes incoming calls for unwanted behavior. The framework includes a VoIP spam detector (VSD) that analyzes incoming VoIP calls for spam behavior using trust and reputation techniques. The framework also includes a nuisance detector (ND) that proactively infers the nuisance (or reluctance of the end user) to receive incoming calls. This inference is based on past mutual behavior between the calling and the called party (i.e., caller and callee), the callee's presence (mood or state of mind) and tolerance in receiving voice calls from the caller, and the social closeness between the caller and the callee. The VSD and ND learn the behavior of callers over time and estimate the possibility of the call to be unwanted based on predetermined thresholds configured by the callee (or the filter administrators). These threshold values have to be automatically updated for integrating dynamic behavioral changes of the communicating parties. For updating these threshold values, I propose an automatic calibration mechanism using receiver operating characteristics curves (ROC). The VSD and ND use this mechanism for dynamically updating thresholds for optimizing their accuracy of detection. In addition to unwanted calls ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Kolan, Prakash

Memory Management and Garbage Collection Algorithms for Java-Based Prolog

Description: Implementing a Prolog Runtime System in a language like Java which provides its own automatic memory management and safety features such as built--in index checking and array initialization requires a consistent approach to memory management based on a simple ultimate goal: minimizing total memory management time and extra space involved. The total memory management time for Jinni is made up of garbage collection time both for Java and Jinni itself. Extra space is usually requested at Jinni's garbage collection. This goal motivates us to find a simple and practical garbage collection algorithm and implementation for our Prolog engine. In this thesis we survey various algorithms already proposed and offer our own contribution to the study of garbage collection by improvements and optimizations for some classic algorithms. We implemented these algorithms based on the dynamic array algorithm for an all--dynamic Prolog engine (JINNI 2000). The comparisons of our implementations versus the originally proposed algorithm allow us to draw informative conclusions on their theoretical complexity model and their empirical effectiveness.
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Date: August 2001
Creator: Zhou, Qinan

Design and Implementation of Large-Scale Wireless Sensor Networks for Environmental Monitoring Applications

Description: Environmental monitoring represents a major application domain for wireless sensor networks (WSN). However, despite significant advances in recent years, there are still many challenging issues to be addressed to exploit the full potential of the emerging WSN technology. In this dissertation, we introduce the design and implementation of low-power wireless sensor networks for long-term, autonomous, and near-real-time environmental monitoring applications. We have developed an out-of-box solution consisting of a suite of software, protocols and algorithms to provide reliable data collection with extremely low power consumption. Two wireless sensor networks based on the proposed solution have been deployed in remote field stations to monitor soil moisture along with other environmental parameters. As parts of the ever-growing environmental monitoring cyberinfrastructure, these networks have been integrated into the Texas Environmental Observatory system for long-term operation. Environmental measurement and network performance results are presented to demonstrate the capability, reliability and energy-efficiency of the network.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Yang, Jue

Computational Epidemiology - Analyzing Exposure Risk: A Deterministic, Agent-Based Approach

Description: Many infectious diseases are spread through interactions between susceptible and infectious individuals. Keeping track of where each exposure to the disease took place, when it took place, and which individuals were involved in the exposure can give public health officials important information that they may use to formulate their interventions. Further, knowing which individuals in the population are at the highest risk of becoming infected with the disease may prove to be a useful tool for public health officials trying to curtail the spread of the disease. Epidemiological models are needed to allow epidemiologists to study the population dynamics of transmission of infectious agents and the potential impact of infectious disease control programs. While many agent-based computational epidemiological models exist in the literature, they focus on the spread of disease rather than exposure risk. These models are designed to simulate very large populations, representing individuals as agents, and using random experiments and probabilities in an attempt to more realistically guide the course of the modeled disease outbreak. The work presented in this thesis focuses on tracking exposure risk to chickenpox in an elementary school setting. This setting is chosen due to the high level of detailed information realistically available to school administrators regarding individuals' schedules and movements. Using an agent-based approach, contacts between individuals are tracked and analyzed with respect to both individuals and locations. The results are then analyzed using a combination of tools from computer science and geographic information science.
Date: August 2009
Creator: O'Neill II, Martin Joseph