Featured Researches

Operating Systems

BPF for storage: an exokernel-inspired approach

The overhead of the kernel storage path accounts for half of the access latency for new NVMe storage devices. We explore using BPF to reduce this overhead, by injecting user-defined functions deep in the kernel's I/O processing stack. When issuing a series of dependent I/O requests, this approach can increase IOPS by over 2.5 ? and cut latency by half, by bypassing kernel layers and avoiding user-kernel boundary crossings. However, we must avoid losing important properties when bypassing the file system and block layer such as the safety guarantees of the file system and translation between physical blocks addresses and file offsets. We sketch potential solutions to these problems, inspired by exokernel file systems from the late 90s, whose time, we believe, has finally come!

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Symbolic Computation

On exact division and divisibility testing for sparse polynomials

No polynomial-time algorithm is known to test whether a sparse polynomial G divides another sparse polynomial F . While computing the quotient Q=F quo G can be done in polynomial time with respect to the sparsities of F, G and Q, this is not yet sufficient to get a polynomial-time divisibility test in general. Indeed, the sparsity of the quotient Q can be exponentially larger than the ones of F and G. In the favorable case where the sparsity #Q of the quotient is polynomial, the best known algorithm to compute Q has a non-linear factor #G#Q in the complexity, which is not optimal. In this work, we are interested in the two aspects of this problem. First, we propose a new randomized algorithm that computes the quotient of two sparse polynomials when the division is exact. Its complexity is quasi-linear in the sparsities of F, G and Q. Our approach relies on sparse interpolation and it works over any finite field or the ring of integers. Then, as a step toward faster divisibility testing, we provide a new polynomial-time algorithm when the divisor has a specific shape. More precisely, we reduce the problem to finding a polynomial S such that QS is sparse and testing divisibility by S can be done in polynomial time. We identify some structure patterns in the divisor G for which we can efficiently compute such a polynomial~S.

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Multiagent Systems

Multi-Agent Coordination in Adversarial Environments through Signal Mediated Strategies

Many real-world scenarios involve teams of agents that have to coordinate their actions to reach a shared goal. We focus on the setting in which a team of agents faces an opponent in a zero-sum, imperfect-information game. Team members can coordinate their strategies before the beginning of the game, but are unable to communicate during the playing phase of the game. This is the case, for example, in Bridge, collusion in poker, and collusion in bidding. In this setting, model-free RL methods are oftentimes unable to capture coordination because agents' policies are executed in a decentralized fashion. Our first contribution is a game-theoretic centralized training regimen to effectively perform trajectory sampling so as to foster team coordination. When team members can observe each other actions, we show that this approach provably yields equilibrium strategies. Then, we introduce a signaling-based framework to represent team coordinated strategies given a buffer of past experiences. Each team member's policy is parametrized as a neural network whose output is conditioned on a suitable exogenous signal, drawn from a learned probability distribution. By combining these two elements, we empirically show convergence to coordinated equilibria in cases where previous state-of-the-art multi-agent RL algorithms did not.

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Robotics

DARE-SLAM: Degeneracy-Aware and Resilient Loop Closing in Perceptually-Degraded Environments

Enabling fully autonomous robots capable of navigating and exploring large-scale, unknown and complex environments has been at the core of robotics research for several decades. A key requirement in autonomous exploration is building accurate and consistent maps of the unknown environment that can be used for reliable navigation. Loop closure detection, the ability to assert that a robot has returned to a previously visited location, is crucial for consistent mapping as it reduces the drift caused by error accumulation in the estimated robot trajectory. Moreover, in multi-robot systems, loop closures enable merging local maps obtained by a team of robots into a consistent global map of the environment. In this paper, we present a degeneracy-aware and drift-resilient loop closing method to improve place recognition and resolve 3D location ambiguities for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) in GPS-denied, large-scale and perceptually-degraded environments. More specifically, we focus on SLAM in subterranean environments (e.g., lava tubes, caves, and mines) that represent examples of complex and ambiguous environments where current methods have inadequate performance.

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Performance

DV-DVFS: Merging Data Variety and DVFS Technique to Manage the Energy Consumption of Big Data Processing

Data variety is one of the most important features of Big Data. Data variety is the result of aggregating data from multiple sources and uneven distribution of data. This feature of Big Data causes high variation in the consumption of processing resources such as CPU consumption. This issue has been overlooked in previous works. To overcome the mentioned problem, in the present work, we used Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) to reduce the energy consumption of computation. To this goal, we consider two types of deadlines as our constraint. Before applying the DVFS technique to computer nodes, we estimate the processing time and the frequency needed to meet the deadline. In the evaluation phase, we have used a set of data sets and applications. The experimental results show that our proposed approach surpasses the other scenarios in processing real datasets. Based on the experimental results in this paper, DV-DVFS can achieve up to 15% improvement in energy consumption.

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Computation and Language

Leveraging cross-platform data to improve automated hate speech detection

Hate speech is increasingly prevalent online, and its negative outcomes include increased prejudice, extremism, and even offline hate crime. Automatic detection of online hate speech can help us to better understand these impacts. However, while the field has recently progressed through advances in natural language processing, challenges still remain. In particular, most existing approaches for hate speech detection focus on a single social media platform in isolation. This limits both the use of these models and their validity, as the nature of language varies from platform to platform. Here we propose a new cross-platform approach to detect hate speech which leverages multiple datasets and classification models from different platforms and trains a superlearner that can combine existing and novel training data to improve detection and increase model applicability. We demonstrate how this approach outperforms existing models, and achieves good performance when tested on messages from novel social media platforms not included in the original training data.

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Programming Languages

NOELLE Offers Empowering LLVM Extensions

Modern and emerging architectures demand increasingly complex compiler analyses and transformations. As the emphasis on compiler infrastructure moves beyond support for peephole optimizations and the extraction of instruction-level parallelism, they should support custom tools designed to meet these demands with higher-level analysis-powered abstractions of wider program scope. This paper introduces NOELLE, a robust open-source domain-independent compilation layer built upon LLVM providing this support. NOELLE is modular and demand-driven, making it easy-to-extend and adaptable to custom-tool-specific needs without unduly wasting compile time and memory. This paper shows the power of NOELLE by presenting a diverse set of ten custom tools built upon it, with a 33.2% to 99.2% reduction in code size (LoC) compared to their counterparts without NOELLE.

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Digital Libraries

A Bayesian Two-part Hurdle Quantile Regression Model for Citation Analysis

Quantile regression is a technique to analyse the effects of a set of independent variables on the entire distribution of a continuous response variable. Quantile regression presents a complete picture of the effects on the location, scale, and shape of the dependent variable at all points, not just at the mean. This research focuses on two challenges for the analysis of citation counts by quantile regression: discontinuity and substantial mass points at lower counts, such as zero, one, two, and three. A Bayesian two-part hurdle quantile regression model was proposed by King and Song (2019) as a suitable candidate for modeling count data with a substantial mass point at zero. Their model allows the zeros and non-zeros to be modeled independently but simultaneously. It uses quantile regression for modeling the nonzero data and logistic regression for modeling the probability of zeros versus nonzeros. Nevertheless, the current paper shows that substantial mass points also at one, two, and three for citation counts will nearly certainly affect the estimation of parameters in the quantile regression part of the model in a similar manner to the mass point at zero. We update the King and Song model by shifting the hurdle point from zero to three, past the main mass points. The new model delivers more accurate quantile regression for moderately to highly cited articles, and enables estimates of the extent to which factors influence the chances that an article will be low cited. To illustrate the advantage and potential of this method, it is applied separately to both simulated citation counts and also seven Scopus fields with collaboration, title length, and journal internationality as independent variables.

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Data Structures and Algorithms

Deterministic Tree Embeddings with Copies for Algorithms Against Adaptive Adversaries

Embeddings of graphs into distributions of trees that preserve distances in expectation are a cornerstone of many optimization algorithms. Unfortunately, online or dynamic algorithms which use these embeddings seem inherently randomized and ill-suited against adaptive adversaries. In this paper we provide a new tree embedding which addresses these issues by deterministically embedding a graph into a single tree containing O(logn) copies of each vertex while preserving the connectivity structure of every subgraph and O( log 2 n) -approximating the cost of every subgraph. Using this embedding we obtain several new algorithmic results: We reduce an open question of Alon et al. [SODA 2004] -- the existence of a deterministic poly-log-competitive algorithm for online group Steiner tree on a general graph -- to its tree case. We give a poly-log-competitive deterministic algorithm for a closely related problem -- online partial group Steiner tree -- which, roughly, is a bicriteria version of online group Steiner tree. Lastly, we give the first poly-log approximations for demand-robust Steiner forest, group Steiner tree and group Steiner forest.

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Distributed Parallel and Cluster Computing

A High-Performance Sparse Tensor Algebra Compiler in Multi-Level IR

Tensor algebra is widely used in many applications, such as scientific computing, machine learning, and data analytics. The tensors represented real-world data are usually large and sparse. There are tens of storage formats designed for sparse matrices and/or tensors and the performance of sparse tensor operations depends on a particular architecture and/or selected sparse format, which makes it challenging to implement and optimize every tensor operation of interest and transfer the code from one architecture to another. We propose a tensor algebra domain-specific language (DSL) and compiler infrastructure to automatically generate kernels for mixed sparse-dense tensor algebra operations, named COMET. The proposed DSL provides high-level programming abstractions that resemble the familiar Einstein notation to represent tensor algebra operations. The compiler performs code optimizations and transformations for efficient code generation while covering a wide range of tensor storage formats. COMET compiler also leverages data reordering to improve spatial or temporal locality for better performance. Our results show that the performance of automatically generated kernels outperforms the state-of-the-art sparse tensor algebra compiler, with up to 20.92x, 6.39x, and 13.9x performance improvement, for parallel SpMV, SpMM, and TTM over TACO, respectively.

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Social and Information Networks

Measuring Global Multi-Scale Place Connectivity using Geotagged Social Media Data

Shaped by human movement, place connectivity is quantified by the strength of spatial interactions among locations. For decades, spatial scientists have researched place connectivity, applications, and metrics. The growing popularity of social media provides a new data stream where spatial social interaction measures are largely devoid of privacy issues, easily assessable, and harmonized. In this study, we introduced a global multi-scale place connectivity index (PCI) based on spatial interactions among places revealed by geotagged tweets as a spatiotemporal-continuous and easy-to-implement measurement. The multi-scale PCI, demonstrated at the US county level, exhibits a strong positive association with SafeGraph population movement records (10 percent penetration in the US population) and Facebook's social connectedness index (SCI), a popular connectivity index based on social networks. We found that PCI has a strong boundary effect and that it generally follows the distance decay, although this force is weaker in more urbanized counties with a denser population. Our investigation further suggests that PCI has great potential in addressing real-world problems that require place connectivity knowledge, exemplified with two applications: 1) modeling the spatial spread of COVID-19 during the early stage of the pandemic and 2) modeling hurricane evacuation destination choice. The methodological and contextual knowledge of PCI, together with the launched visualization platform and open-sourced PCI datasets at various geographic levels, are expected to support research fields requiring knowledge in human spatial interactions.

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Databases

Empowering Investigative Journalism with Graph-based Heterogeneous Data Management

Investigative Journalism (IJ, in short) is staple of modern, democratic societies. IJ often necessitates working with large, dynamic sets of heterogeneous, schema-less data sources, which can be structured, semi-structured, or textual, limiting the applicability of classical data integration approaches. In prior work, we have developed ConnectionLens, a system capable of integrating such sources into a single heterogeneous graph, leveraging Information Extraction (IE) techniques; users can then query the graph by means of keywords, and explore query results and their neighborhood using an interactive GUI. Our keyword search problem is complicated by the graph heterogeneity, and by the lack of a result score function that would allow to prune some of the search space. In this work, we describe an actual IJ application studying conflicts of interest in the biomedical domain, and we show how ConnectionLens supports it. Then, we present novel techniques addressing the scalability challenges raised by this application: one allows to reduce the significant IE costs while building the graph, while the other is a novel, parallel, in-memory keyword search engine, which achieves orders of magnitude speed-up over our previous engine. Our experimental study on the real-world IJ application data confirms the benefits of our contributions.

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Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

Train a One-Million-Way Instance Classifier for Unsupervised Visual Representation Learning

This paper presents a simple unsupervised visual representation learning method with a pretext task of discriminating all images in a dataset using a parametric, instance-level classifier. The overall framework is a replica of a supervised classification model, where semantic classes (e.g., dog, bird, and ship) are replaced by instance IDs. However, scaling up the classification task from thousands of semantic labels to millions of instance labels brings specific challenges including 1) the large-scale softmax computation; 2) the slow convergence due to the infrequent visiting of instance samples; and 3) the massive number of negative classes that can be noisy. This work presents several novel techniques to handle these difficulties. First, we introduce a hybrid parallel training framework to make large-scale training feasible. Second, we present a raw-feature initialization mechanism for classification weights, which we assume offers a contrastive prior for instance discrimination and can clearly speed up converge in our experiments. Finally, we propose to smooth the labels of a few hardest classes to avoid optimizing over very similar negative pairs. While being conceptually simple, our framework achieves competitive or superior performance compared to state-of-the-art unsupervised approaches, i.e., SimCLR, MoCoV2, and PIC under ImageNet linear evaluation protocol and on several downstream visual tasks, verifying that full instance classification is a strong pretraining technique for many semantic visual tasks.

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Machine Learning

Sparsification via Compressed Sensing for Automatic Speech Recognition

In order to achieve high accuracy for machine learning (ML) applications, it is essential to employ models with a large number of parameters. Certain applications, such as Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), however, require real-time interactions with users, hence compelling the model to have as low latency as possible. Deploying large scale ML applications thus necessitates model quantization and compression, especially when running ML models on resource constrained devices. For example, by forcing some of the model weight values into zero, it is possible to apply zero-weight compression, which reduces both the model size and model reading time from the memory. In the literature, such methods are referred to as sparse pruning. The fundamental questions are when and which weights should be forced to zero, i.e. be pruned. In this work, we propose a compressed sensing based pruning (CSP) approach to effectively address those questions. By reformulating sparse pruning as a sparsity inducing and compression-error reduction dual problem, we introduce the classic compressed sensing process into the ML model training process. Using ASR task as an example, we show that CSP consistently outperforms existing approaches in the literature.

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Networking and Internet Architecture

Content Placement in Networks of Similarity Caches

Similarity caching systems have recently attracted the attention of the scientific community, as they can be profitably used in many application contexts, like multimedia retrieval, advertising, object recognition, recommender systems and online content-match applications. In such systems, a user request for an object o , which is not in the cache, can be (partially) satisfied by a similar stored object o ', at the cost of a loss of user utility. In this paper we make a first step into the novel area of similarity caching networks, where requests can be forwarded along a path of caches to get the best efficiency-accuracy tradeoff. The offline problem of content placement can be easily shown to be NP-hard, while different polynomial algorithms can be devised to approach the optimal solution in discrete cases. As the content space grows large, we propose a continuous problem formulation whose solution exhibits a simple structure in a class of tree topologies. We verify our findings using synthetic and realistic request traces.

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Graphics

Meta-PU: An Arbitrary-Scale Upsampling Network for Point Cloud

Point cloud upsampling is vital for the quality of the mesh in three-dimensional reconstruction. Recent research on point cloud upsampling has achieved great success due to the development of deep learning. However, the existing methods regard point cloud upsampling of different scale factors as independent tasks. Thus, the methods need to train a specific model for each scale factor, which is both inefficient and impractical for storage and computation in real applications. To address this limitation, in this work, we propose a novel method called ``Meta-PU" to firstly support point cloud upsampling of arbitrary scale factors with a single model. In the Meta-PU method, besides the backbone network consisting of residual graph convolution (RGC) blocks, a meta-subnetwork is learned to adjust the weights of the RGC blocks dynamically, and a farthest sampling block is adopted to sample different numbers of points. Together, these two blocks enable our Meta-PU to continuously upsample the point cloud with arbitrary scale factors by using only a single model. In addition, the experiments reveal that training on multiple scales simultaneously is beneficial to each other. Thus, Meta-PU even outperforms the existing methods trained for a specific scale factor only.

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Computers and Society

Smart non-intrusive appliance identification using a novel local power histogramming descriptor with an improved k-nearest neighbors classifier

Non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) is a key cost-effective technology for monitoring power consumption and contributing to several challenges encountered when transiting to an efficient, sustainable, and competitive energy efficiency environment. This paper proposes a smart NILM system based on a novel local power histogramming (LPH) descriptor, in which appliance power signals are transformed into 2D space and short histograms are extracted to represent each device. Specifically, short local histograms are drawn to represent individual appliance consumption signatures and robustly extract appliance-level data from the aggregated power signal. Furthermore, an improved k-nearest neighbors (IKNN) algorithm is presented to reduce the learning computation time and improve the classification performance. This results in highly improving the discrimination ability between appliances belonging to distinct categories. A deep evaluation of the proposed LPH-IKNN based solution is investigated under different data sets, in which the proposed scheme leads to promising performance. An accuracy of up to 99.65% and 98.51% has been achieved on GREEND and UK-DALE data sets, respectively. While an accuracy of more than 96% has been attained on both WHITED and PLAID data sets. This proves the validity of using 2D descriptors to accurately identify appliances and create new perspectives for the NILM problem.

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Artificial Intelligence

The Factory Must Grow: Automation in Factorio

Efficient optimization of resources is paramount to success in many problems faced today. In the field of operational research the efficient scheduling of employees; packing of vans; routing of vehicles; logistics of airlines and transport of materials can be the difference between emission reduction or excess, profits or losses and feasibility or unworkable solutions. The video game Factorio, by Wube Software, has a myriad of problems which are analogous to such real-world problems, and is a useful simulator for developing solutions for these problems. In this paper we define the logistic transport belt problem and define mathematical integer programming model of it. We developed an interface to allow optimizers in any programming language to interact with Factorio, and we provide an initial benchmark of logistic transport belt problems. We present results for Simulated Annealing, quick Genetic Programming and Evolutionary Reinforcement Learning, three different meta-heuristic techniques to optimize this novel problem.

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Hardware Architecture

Feature Engineering for Scalable Application-Level Post-Silicon Debugging

We present systematic and efficient solutions for both observability enhancement and root-cause diagnosis of post-silicon System-on-Chips (SoCs) validation with diverse usage scenarios. We model specification of interacting flows in typical applications for message selection. Our method for message selection optimizes flow specification coverage and trace buffer utilization. We define the diagnosis problem as identifying buggy traces as outliers and bug-free traces as inliers/normal behaviors, for which we use unsupervised learning algorithms for outlier detection. Instead of direct application of machine learning algorithms over trace data using the signals as raw features, we use feature engineering to transform raw features into more sophisticated features using domain specific operations. The engineered features are highly relevant to the diagnosis task and are generic to be applied across any hardware designs. We present debugging and root cause analysis of subtle post-silicon bugs in industry-scale OpenSPARC T2 SoC. We achieve a trace buffer utilization of 98.96\% with a flow specification coverage of 94.3\% (average). Our diagnosis method was able to diagnose up to 66.7\% more bugs and took up to 847 ? less diagnosis time as compared to the manual debugging with a diagnosis precision of 0.769.

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Sound

A comparative study of two-dimensional vocal tract acoustic modeling based on Finite-Difference Time-Domain methods

The two-dimensional (2D) numerical approaches for vocal tract (VT) modelling can afford a better balance between the low computational cost and accurate rendering of acoustic wave propagation. However, they require a high spatio-temporal resolution in the numerical scheme for a precise estimation of acoustic formants at the simulation run-time expense. We have recently proposed a new VT acoustic modelling technique, known as the 2.5D Finite-Difference Time-Domain (2.5D FDTD), which extends the existing 2D FDTD approach by adding tube depth to its acoustic wave solver. In this work, first, the simulated acoustic outputs of our new model are shown to be comparable with the 2D FDTD and a realistic 3D FEM VT model at a low spatio-temporal resolution. Next, a radiation model is developed by including a circular baffle around the VT as head geometry. The transfer functions of the radiation model are analyzed using five different vocal tract shapes for vowel sounds /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/.

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Other Computer Science

Designing a Binary Clock using logic gates

Wristwatches have been a common fashion accessory addition for several people. However, the concept of using a seven-segment digital display or sometimes, even an analog indicator hasn't changed for a number of years. This project aims to test and design a binary clock, also referred to as 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1 clock or even 8, 4, 2, 1 clock (due to their display configuration), that could change this everlasting display for watches. Specifically, digital logic and design engineers would find interest in this topic due to the sophistication involved in reading-out the time. This project will do so using by showing each decimal digit of sexagesimal time as a binary value. This design will be primarily functioning on logic gates and would involve the use of several basic components that include, but are not limited to, integrated circuits (or ICs), Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and resistors.

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General Literature

From the digital data revolution to digital health and digital economy toward a digital society: Pervasiveness of Artificial Intelligence

Technological progress has led to powerful computers and communication technologies that penetrate nowadays all areas of science, industry and our private lives. As a consequence, all these areas are generating digital traces of data amounting to big data resources. This opens unprecedented opportunities but also challenges toward the analysis, management, interpretation and utilization of these data. Fortunately, recent breakthroughs in deep learning algorithms complement now machine learning and statistics methods for an efficient analysis of such data. Furthermore, advances in text mining and natural language processing, e.g., word-embedding methods, enable also the processing of large amounts of text data from diverse sources as governmental reports, blog entries in social media or clinical health records of patients. In this paper, we present a perspective on the role of artificial intelligence in these developments and discuss also potential problems we are facing in a digital society.

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Mathematical Software

FastAD: Expression Template-Based C++ Library for Fast and Memory-Efficient Automatic Differentiation

Automatic differentiation is a set of techniques to efficiently and accurately compute the derivative of a function represented by a computer program. Existing C++ libraries for automatic differentiation (e.g. Adept, Stan Math Library), however, exhibit large memory consumptions and runtime performance issues. This paper introduces FastAD, a new C++ template library for automatic differentiation, that overcomes all of these challenges in existing libraries by using vectorization, simpler memory management using a fully expression-template-based design, and other compile-time optimizations to remove some run-time overhead. Benchmarks show that FastAD performs 2-10 times faster than Adept and 2-19 times faster than Stan across various test cases including a few real-world examples.

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Computational Geometry

Throwing a Sofa Through the Window

We study several variants of the problem of moving a convex polytope K , with n edges, in three dimensions through a flat rectangular (and sometimes more general) window. Specifically: ??We study variants where the motion is restricted to translations only, discuss situations where such a motion can be reduced to sliding (translation in a fixed direction), and present efficient algorithms for those variants, which run in time close to O( n 8/3 ) . ??We consider the case of a `gate' (an unbounded window with two parallel infinite edges), and show that K can pass through such a window, by any collision-free rigid motion, if and only if it can slide through it. ??We consider arbitrary compact convex windows, and show that if K can pass through such a window W (by any motion) then K can slide through a gate of width equal to the diameter of W . ??We study the case of a circular window W , and show that, for the regular tetrahedron K of edge length 1 , there are two thresholds 1> δ 1 ??.901388> δ 2 ??.895611 , such that (a) K can slide through W if the diameter d of W is ?? , (b) K cannot slide through W but can pass through it by a purely translational motion when δ 1 ?�d<1 , (c) K cannot pass through W by a purely translational motion but can do it when rotations are allowed when δ 2 ?�d< δ 1 , and (d) K cannot pass through W at all when d< δ 2 . ??Finally, we explore the general setup, where we want to plan a general motion (with all six degrees of freedom) for K through a rectangular window W , and present an efficient algorithm for this problem, with running time close to O( n 4 ) .

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Human Computer Interaction

A Study on the Manifestation of Trust in Speech

Research has shown that trust is an essential aspect of human-computer interaction directly determining the degree to which the person is willing to use a system. An automatic prediction of the level of trust that a user has on a certain system could be used to attempt to correct potential distrust by having the system take relevant actions like, for example, apologizing or explaining its decisions. In this work, we explore the feasibility of automatically detecting the level of trust that a user has on a virtual assistant (VA) based on their speech. We developed a novel protocol for collecting speech data from subjects induced to have different degrees of trust in the skills of a VA. The protocol consists of an interactive session where the subject is asked to respond to a series of factual questions with the help of a virtual assistant. In order to induce subjects to either trust or distrust the VA's skills, they are first informed that the VA was previously rated by other users as being either good or bad; subsequently, the VA answers the subjects' questions consistently to its alleged abilities. All interactions are speech-based, with subjects and VAs communicating verbally, which allows the recording of speech produced under different trust conditions. Using this protocol, we collected a speech corpus in Argentine Spanish. We show clear evidence that the protocol effectively succeeded in influencing subjects into the desired mental state of either trusting or distrusting the agent's skills, and present results of a perceptual study of the degree of trust performed by expert listeners. Finally, we found that the subject's speech can be used to detect which type of VA they were using, which could be considered a proxy for the user's trust toward the VA's abilities, with an accuracy up to 76%, compared to a random baseline of 50%.

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Information Theory

Constrained Secrecy Capacity of Finite-Input Intersymbol Interference Wiretap Channels

We consider reliable and secure communication over intersymbol interference wiretap channels (ISI-WTCs). In particular, we first examine the setup where the source at the input of an ISI-WTC is unconstrained and then, based on a general achievability result for arbitrary wiretap channels, we derive an achievable secure information rate for this ISI-WTC. Afterwards, we examine the setup where the source at the input of an ISI-WTC is constrained to be a finite-state machine source (FSMS) of a certain order and structure. Optimizing the parameters of this FSMS toward maximizing the secure information rate is a computationally intractable problem in general, and so, toward finding a local maximum, we propose an iterative algorithm that at every iteration replaces the secure information rate function by a suitable surrogate function whose maximum can be found efficiently. Although the secure information rates achieved in the unconstrained setup are expected to be larger than the secure information rates achieved in the constrained setup, the latter setup has the advantage of leading to efficient algorithms for estimating achievable secure rates and also has the benefit of being the basis of efficient encoding and decoding schemes.

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Computational Engineering Finance and Science

Two-grid method on unstructured tetrahedra: Applying computational geometry to staggered solution of coupled flow and mechanics problems

We develop a computational framework that leverages the features of sophisticated software tools and numerics to tackle some of the pressing issues in the realm of earth sciences. The algorithms to handle the physics of multiphase flow, concomitant geomechanics all the way to the surface of the earth and the complex geometries of field cases with surfaces of discontinuity are stacked on top of each other in a modular fashion which allows for easy use to the end user. The current focus of the framework is to provide the user with tools for assessing seismic risks associated with energy technologies as well as for use in generating forward simulations in inversion analysis from data obtained using GPS and InSAR. In this work, we focus on one critical aspect in the development of the framework: the use of computational geometry in a two-grid method for unstructured tetrahedral meshes

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Information Retrieval

CNN Application in Detection of Privileged Documents in Legal Document Review

Protecting privileged communications and data from disclosure is paramount for legal teams. Legal advice, such as attorney-client communications or litigation strategy are typically exempt from disclosure in litigations or regulatory events and are vital to the attorney-client relationship. To protect this information from disclosure, companies and outside counsel often review vast amounts of documents to determine those that contain privileged material. This process is extremely costly and time consuming. As data volumes increase, legal counsel normally employs methods to reduce the number of documents requiring review while balancing the need to ensure the protection of privileged information. Keyword searching is relied upon as a method to target privileged information and reduce document review populations. Keyword searches are effective at casting a wide net but often return overly inclusive results - most of which do not contain privileged information. To overcome the weaknesses of keyword searching, legal teams increasingly are using machine learning techniques to target privileged information. In these studies, classic text classification techniques are applied to build classification models to identify privileged documents. In this paper, the authors propose a different method by applying machine learning / convolutional neural network techniques (CNN) to identify privileged documents. Our proposed method combines keyword searching with CNN. For each keyword term, a CNN model is created using the context of the occurrences of the keyword. In addition, a method was proposed to select reliable privileged (positive) training keyword occurrences from labeled positive training documents. Extensive experiments were conducted, and the results show that the proposed methods can significantly reduce false positives while still capturing most of the true positives.

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Logic in Computer Science

An Interactive Proof of Termination for a Concurrent λ -calculus with References and Explicit Substitutions

In this paper we introduce a typed, concurrent λ -calculus with references featuring explicit substitutions for variables and references. Alongside usual safety properties, we recover strong normalization. The proof is based on a reducibility technique and an original interactive property reminiscent of the Game Semantics approach.

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Formal Languages and Automata Theory

Regular Model Checking Approach to Knowledge Reasoning over Parameterized Systems (technical report)

We present a general framework for modelling and verifying epistemic properties over parameterized multi-agent systems that communicate by truthful public announcements. In our framework, the number of agents or the amount of certain resources are parameterized (i.e. not known a priori), and the corresponding verification problem asks whether a given epistemic property is true regardless of the instantiation of the parameters. For example, in a muddy children puzzle, one could ask whether each child will eventually find out whether (s)he is muddy, regardless of the number of children. Our framework is regular model checking (RMC)-based, wherein synchronous finite-state automata (equivalently, monadic second-order logic over words) are used to specify the systems. We propose an extension of public announcement logic as specification language. Of special interests is the addition of the so-called iterated public announcement operators, which are crucial for reasoning about knowledge in parameterized systems. Although the operators make the model checking problem undecidable, we show that this becomes decidable when an appropriate "disappearance relation" is given. Further, we show how Angluin's L*-algorithm for learning finite automata can be applied to find a disappearance relation, which is guaranteed to terminate if it is regular. We have implemented the algorithm and apply this to such examples as the Muddy Children Puzzle, the Russian Card Problem, and Large Number Challenge.

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Computer Science and Game Theory

A Game Theoretic Framework for Surplus Food Distribution in Smart Cities and Beyond

Food waste is a major challenge for the present world. It is the precursor to several socioeconomic problems that are plaguing the modern society. To counter the same and to, simultaneously, stand by the undernourished, surplus food redistribution has surfaced as a viable solution. Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-mediated food redistribution is a highly scalable approach and it percolates into the masses far better. Even if ICT is not brought into the picture, the presence of food surplus redistribution in developing countries like India is scarce and is limited to only a few of the major cities. The discussion of a surplus food redistribution framework under strategic settings is a less discussed topic around the globe. This paper aims at addressing a surplus food redistribution framework under strategic settings, thereby facilitating a smoother exchange of surplus food in the smart cities of developing countries, and beyond. As ICT is seamlessly available in smart cities, the paper aims to focus the framework in these cities. However, this can be extended beyond the smart cities to places with greater human involvement.

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Software Engineering

The Diversity of Gamification Evaluation in the Software Engineering Education and Industry: Trends, Comparisons and Gaps

Gamification has been used to motivate and engage participants in software engineering education and practice activities. There is a significant demand for empirical studies for the understanding of the impacts and efficacy of gamification. However, the lack of standard procedures and models for the evaluation of gamification is a challenge for the design, comparison, and report of results related to the assessment of gamification approaches and its effects. The goal of this study is to identify models and strategies for the evaluation of gamification reported in the literature. To achieve this goal, we conducted a systematic mapping study to investigate strategies for the evaluation of gamification in the context of software engineering. We selected 100 primary studies on gamification in software engineering (from 2011 to 2020). We categorized the studies regarding the presence of evaluation procedures or models for the evaluation of gamification, the purpose of the evaluation, the criteria used, the type of data, instruments, and procedures for data analysis. Our results show that 64 studies report procedures for the evaluation of gamification. However, only three studies actually propose evaluation models for gamification. We observed that the evaluation of gamification focuses on two aspects: the evaluation of the gamification strategy itself, related to the user experience and perceptions; and the evaluation of the outcomes and effects of gamification on its users and context. The most recurring criteria for the evaluation are 'engagement', 'motivation', 'satisfaction', and 'performance'. Finally, the evaluation of gamification requires a mix of subjective and objective inputs, and qualitative and quantitative data analysis approaches. Depending of the focus of the evaluation (the strategy or the outcomes), there is a predominance of a type of data and analysis.

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Cryptography and Security

Making Paper Reviewing Robust to Bid Manipulation Attacks

Most computer science conferences rely on paper bidding to assign reviewers to papers. Although paper bidding enables high-quality assignments in days of unprecedented submission numbers, it also opens the door for dishonest reviewers to adversarially influence paper reviewing assignments. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some reviewers bid on papers by "friends" or colluding authors, even though these papers are outside their area of expertise, and recommend them for acceptance without considering the merit of the work. In this paper, we study the efficacy of such bid manipulation attacks and find that, indeed, they can jeopardize the integrity of the review process. We develop a novel approach for paper bidding and assignment that is much more robust against such attacks. We show empirically that our approach provides robustness even when dishonest reviewers collude, have full knowledge of the assignment system's internal workings, and have access to the system's inputs. In addition to being more robust, the quality of our paper review assignments is comparable to that of current, non-robust assignment approaches.

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Emerging Technologies

Free-space optical neural network based on thermal atomic nonlinearity

As artificial neural networks (ANNs) continue to make strides in wide-ranging and diverse fields of technology, the search for more efficient hardware implementations beyond conventional electronics is gaining traction. In particular, optical implementations potentially offer extraordinary gains in terms of speed and reduced energy consumption due to intrinsic parallelism of free-space optics. At the same time, a physical nonlinearity, a crucial ingredient of an ANN, is not easy to realize in free-space optics, which restricts the potential of this platform. This problem is further exacerbated by the need to perform the nonlinear activation also in parallel for each data point to preserve the benefit of linear free-space optics. Here, we present a free-space optical ANN with diffraction-based linear weight summation and nonlinear activation enabled by the saturable absorption of thermal atoms. We demonstrate, via both simulation and experiment, image classification of handwritten digits using only a single layer and observed 6-percent improvement in classification accuracy due to the optical nonlinearity compared to a linear model. Our platform preserves the massive parallelism of free-space optics even with physical nonlinearity, and thus opens the way for novel designs and wider deployment of optical ANNs.

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Neural and Evolutionary Computing

Optimal Static Mutation Strength Distributions for the (1+λ) Evolutionary Algorithm on OneMax

Most evolutionary algorithms have parameters, which allow a great flexibility in controlling their behavior and adapting them to new problems. To achieve the best performance, it is often needed to control some of the parameters during optimization, which gave rise to various parameter control methods. In recent works, however, similar advantages have been shown, and even proven, for sampling parameter values from certain, often heavy-tailed, fixed distributions. This produced a family of algorithms currently known as "fast evolution strategies" and "fast genetic algorithms". However, only little is known so far about the influence of these distributions on the performance of evolutionary algorithms, and about the relationships between (dynamic) parameter control and (static) parameter sampling. We contribute to the body of knowledge by presenting, for the first time, an algorithm that computes the optimal static distributions, which describe the mutation operator used in the well-known simple (1+λ) evolutionary algorithm on a classic benchmark problem OneMax. We show that, for large enough population sizes, such optimal distributions may be surprisingly complicated and counter-intuitive. We investigate certain properties of these distributions, and also evaluate the performance regrets of the (1+λ) evolutionary algorithm using commonly used mutation distributions.

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Multimedia

Multi-color balancing for correctly adjusting the intensity of target colors

In this paper, we propose a novel multi-color balance method for reducing color distortions caused by lighting effects. The proposed method allows us to adjust three target-colors chosen by a user in an input image so that each target color is the same as the corresponding destination (benchmark) one. In contrast, white balancing is a typical technique for reducing the color distortions, however, they cannot remove lighting effects on colors other than white. In an experiment, the proposed method is demonstrated to be able to remove lighting effects on selected three colors, and is compared with existing white balance adjustments.

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Computational Complexity

On the Power and Limitations of Branch and Cut

The Stabbing Planes proof system was introduced to model the reasoning carried out in practical mixed integer programming solvers. As a proof system, it is powerful enough to simulate Cutting Planes and to refute the Tseitin formulas -- certain unsatisfiable systems of linear equations mod 2 -- which are canonical hard examples for many algebraic proof systems. In a recent (and surprising) result, Dadush and Tiwari showed that these short refutations of the Tseitin formulas could be translated into quasi-polynomial size and depth Cutting Planes proofs, refuting a long-standing conjecture. This translation raises several interesting questions. First, whether all Stabbing Planes proofs can be efficiently simulated by Cutting Planes. This would allow for the substantial analysis done on the Cutting Planes system to be lifted to practical mixed integer programming solvers. Second, whether the quasi-polynomial depth of these proofs is inherent to Cutting Planes. In this paper we make progress towards answering both of these questions. First, we show that any Stabbing Planes proof with bounded coefficients SP* can be translated into Cutting Planes. As a consequence of the known lower bounds for Cutting Planes, this establishes the first exponential lower bounds on SP*. Using this translation, we extend the result of Dadush and Tiwari to show that Cutting Planes has short refutations of any unsatisfiable system of linear equations over a finite field. Like the Cutting Planes proofs of Dadush and Tiwari, our refutations also incur a quasi-polynomial blow-up in depth, and we conjecture that this is inherent. As a step towards this conjecture, we develop a new geometric technique for proving lower bounds on the depth of Cutting Planes proofs. This allows us to establish the first lower bounds on the depth of Semantic Cutting Planes proofs of the Tseitin formulas.

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Discrete Mathematics

Prophet Inequality Matching Meets Probing with Commitment

Within the context of stochastic probing with commitment, we consider the online stochastic matching problem for bipartite graphs where edges adjacent to an online node must be probed to determine if they exist, based on known edge probabilities. If a probed edge exists, it must be used in the matching (if possible). In addition to improving upon existing stochastic bipartite matching results, our results can also be seen as extensions to multi-item prophet inequalities. We study this matching problem for given constraints on the allowable sequences of probes adjacent to an online node. Our setting generalizes the patience (or time-out) constraint which limits the number of probes that can be made to edges. The generality of our setting leads to some modelling and computational efficiency issues that are not encountered in previous works. We establish new competitive bounds all of which generalize the standard non-stochastic setting when edges do not need to be probed (i.e., exist with certainty). Specifically, we establish the following competitive ratio results for a general formulation of edge constraints, arbitrary edge weights, and arbitrary edge probabilities: (1) A tight 1 2 ratio when the stochastic graph is generated from a known stochastic type graph where the ?(i ) th online node is drawn independently from a known distribution D ?(i) and ? is chosen adversarially. We refer to this setting as the known i.d. stochastic matching problem with adversarial arrivals. (2) A 1??/e ratio when the stochastic graph is generated from a known stochastic type graph where the ?(i ) th online node is drawn independently from a known distribution D ?(i) and ? is a random permutation. This is referred to as the known i.d. stochastic matching problem with random order arrivals.

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Operating Systems

BPF for storage: an exokernel-inspired approach

The overhead of the kernel storage path accounts for half of the access latency for new NVMe storage devices. We explore using BPF to reduce this overhead, by injecting user-defined functions deep in the kernel's I/O processing stack. When issuing a series of dependent I/O requests, this approach can increase IOPS by over 2.5 ? and cut latency by half, by bypassing kernel layers and avoiding user-kernel boundary crossings. However, we must avoid losing important properties when bypassing the file system and block layer such as the safety guarantees of the file system and translation between physical blocks addresses and file offsets. We sketch potential solutions to these problems, inspired by exokernel file systems from the late 90s, whose time, we believe, has finally come!

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Enhancing Application Performance by Memory Partitioning in Android Platforms

This paper suggests a new memory partitioning scheme that can enhance process lifecycle, while avoiding Low Memory Killer and Out-of-Memory Killer operations on mobile devices. Our proposed scheme offers the complete concept of virtual memory nodes in operating systems of Android devices.

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Thread Evolution Kit for Optimizing Thread Operations on CE/IoT Devices

Most modern operating systems have adopted the one-to-one thread model to support fast execution of threads in both multi-core and single-core systems. This thread model, which maps the kernel-space and user-space threads in a one-to-one manner, supports quick thread creation and termination in high-performance server environments. However, the performance of time-critical threads is degraded when multiple threads are being run in low-end CE devices with limited system resources. When a CE device runs many threads to support diverse application functionalities, low-level hardware specifications often lead to significant resource contention among the threads trying to obtain system resources. As a result, the operating system encounters challenges, such as excessive thread context switching overhead, execution delay of time-critical threads, and a lack of virtual memory for thread stacks. This paper proposes a state-of-the-art Thread Evolution Kit (TEK) that consists of three primary components: a CPU Mediator, Stack Tuner, and Enhanced Thread Identifier. From the experiment, we can see that the proposed scheme significantly improves user responsiveness (7x faster) under high CPU contention compared to the traditional thread model. Also, TEK solves the segmentation fault problem that frequently occurs when a CE application increases the number of threads during its execution.

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Symbolic Computation

On exact division and divisibility testing for sparse polynomials

No polynomial-time algorithm is known to test whether a sparse polynomial G divides another sparse polynomial F . While computing the quotient Q=F quo G can be done in polynomial time with respect to the sparsities of F, G and Q, this is not yet sufficient to get a polynomial-time divisibility test in general. Indeed, the sparsity of the quotient Q can be exponentially larger than the ones of F and G. In the favorable case where the sparsity #Q of the quotient is polynomial, the best known algorithm to compute Q has a non-linear factor #G#Q in the complexity, which is not optimal. In this work, we are interested in the two aspects of this problem. First, we propose a new randomized algorithm that computes the quotient of two sparse polynomials when the division is exact. Its complexity is quasi-linear in the sparsities of F, G and Q. Our approach relies on sparse interpolation and it works over any finite field or the ring of integers. Then, as a step toward faster divisibility testing, we provide a new polynomial-time algorithm when the divisor has a specific shape. More precisely, we reduce the problem to finding a polynomial S such that QS is sparse and testing divisibility by S can be done in polynomial time. We identify some structure patterns in the divisor G for which we can efficiently compute such a polynomial~S.

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Polynomial Linear System Solving with Random Errors: new bounds and early termination technique

This paper deals with the polynomial linear system solving with errors (PLSwE) problem. Specifically, we focus on the evaluation-interpolation technique for solving polynomial linear systems and we assume that errors can occur in the evaluation step. In this framework, the number of evaluations needed to recover the solution of the linear system is crucial since it affects the number of computations. It depends on the parameters of the linear system (degrees, size) and on a bound on the number of errors. Our work is part of a series of papers about PLSwE aiming to reduce this number of evaluations. We proved in [Guerrini et al., Proc. ISIT'19] that if errors are randomly distributed, the bound of the number of evaluations can be lowered for large error rate. In this paper, following the approach of [Kaltofen et al., Proc. ISSAC'17], we improve the results of [Guerrini et al., Proc. ISIT'19] in two directions. First, we propose a new bound of the number of evaluations, lowering the dependency on the parameters of the linear system, based on work of [Cabay, Proc. SYMSAC'71]. Second, we introduce an early termination strategy in order to handle the unnecessary increase of the number of evaluations due to overestimation of the parameters of the system and on the bound on the number of errors.

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Symbolic computation of hypergeometric type and non-holonomic power series

A term a n is m -fold hypergeometric, for a given positive integer m , if the ratio a n+m / a n is a rational function over a field K of characteristic zero. We establish the structure of holonomic recurrence equation, i.e. linear and homogeneous recurrence equations having polynomial coefficients, that have m -fold hypergeometric term solutions over K , for any positive integer m . Consequently, we describe an algorithm, say mfoldHyper , that extends van Hoeij's algorithm (1998) which computes a basis of the subspace of hypergeometric (m=1) term solutions of holonomic recurrence equations to the more general case of m -fold hypergeometric terms. We generalize the concept of hypergeometric type power series introduced by Koepf (1992), by considering linear combinations of Laurent-Puiseux series whose coefficients are m -fold hypergeometric terms. Thus thanks to mfoldHyper , we deduce a complete procedure to compute these power series; indeed, it turns out that every linear combination of power series with m -fold hypergeometric term coefficients, for finitely many values of m , is detected. On the other hand, we investigate an algorithm to represent power series of non-holonomic functions. The algorithm follows the same steps of Koepf's algorithm, but instead of seeking holonomic differential equations, quadratic differential equations are computed and the Cauchy product rule is used to deduce recurrence equations for the power series coefficients. This algorithm defines a normal function that yields together with enough initial values normal forms for many power series of non-holonomic functions. Therefore, non-trivial identities are automatically proved using this approach. This paper is accompanied by implementations in the Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) Maxima 5.44.0 and Maple 2019.

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Multiagent Systems

Multi-Agent Coordination in Adversarial Environments through Signal Mediated Strategies

Many real-world scenarios involve teams of agents that have to coordinate their actions to reach a shared goal. We focus on the setting in which a team of agents faces an opponent in a zero-sum, imperfect-information game. Team members can coordinate their strategies before the beginning of the game, but are unable to communicate during the playing phase of the game. This is the case, for example, in Bridge, collusion in poker, and collusion in bidding. In this setting, model-free RL methods are oftentimes unable to capture coordination because agents' policies are executed in a decentralized fashion. Our first contribution is a game-theoretic centralized training regimen to effectively perform trajectory sampling so as to foster team coordination. When team members can observe each other actions, we show that this approach provably yields equilibrium strategies. Then, we introduce a signaling-based framework to represent team coordinated strategies given a buffer of past experiences. Each team member's policy is parametrized as a neural network whose output is conditioned on a suitable exogenous signal, drawn from a learned probability distribution. By combining these two elements, we empirically show convergence to coordinated equilibria in cases where previous state-of-the-art multi-agent RL algorithms did not.

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Equilibrium Refinements for Multi-Agent Influence Diagrams: Theory and Practice

Multi-agent influence diagrams (MAIDs) are a popular form of graphical model that, for certain classes of games, have been shown to offer key complexity and explainability advantages over traditional extensive form game (EFG) representations. In this paper, we extend previous work on MAIDs by introducing the concept of a MAID subgame, as well as subgame perfect and trembling hand perfect equilibrium refinements. We then prove several equivalence results between MAIDs and EFGs. Finally, we describe an open source implementation for reasoning about MAIDs and computing their equilibria.

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Promoting Fair Proposers, Fair Responders or Both? Cost-Efficient Interference in the Spatial Ultimatum Game

Institutions and investors face the constant challenge of making accurate decisions and predictions regarding how best they should distribute their endowments. The problem of achieving an optimal outcome at minimal cost has been extensively studied and resolved using several heuristics. However, these works usually fail to address how an external party can target different types of fair behaviour or do not take into account how limited information can shape this complex interplay. Here, we consider the well-known Ultimatum game in a spatial setting and propose a hierarchy of interference mechanisms based on the amount of information available to an external decision-maker and desired standards of fairness. Our analysis reveals that monitoring the population at a macroscopic level requires more strict information gathering in order to obtain an optimal outcome and that local observations can mediate this requirement. Moreover, we identify the conditions which must be met for an individual to be eligible for investment in order to avoid unnecessary spending. We further explore the effects of varying mutation or behavioural exploration rates on the choice of investment strategy and total accumulated costs to the investor. Overall, our analysis provides new insights about efficient heuristics for cost-efficient promotion of fairness in societies. Finally, we discuss the differences between our findings and previous work done on the PD and present our suggestions for promoting fairness as an external decision-maker.

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Robotics

DARE-SLAM: Degeneracy-Aware and Resilient Loop Closing in Perceptually-Degraded Environments

Enabling fully autonomous robots capable of navigating and exploring large-scale, unknown and complex environments has been at the core of robotics research for several decades. A key requirement in autonomous exploration is building accurate and consistent maps of the unknown environment that can be used for reliable navigation. Loop closure detection, the ability to assert that a robot has returned to a previously visited location, is crucial for consistent mapping as it reduces the drift caused by error accumulation in the estimated robot trajectory. Moreover, in multi-robot systems, loop closures enable merging local maps obtained by a team of robots into a consistent global map of the environment. In this paper, we present a degeneracy-aware and drift-resilient loop closing method to improve place recognition and resolve 3D location ambiguities for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) in GPS-denied, large-scale and perceptually-degraded environments. More specifically, we focus on SLAM in subterranean environments (e.g., lava tubes, caves, and mines) that represent examples of complex and ambiguous environments where current methods have inadequate performance.

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Toward Safe and Efficient Human-Robot Interaction via Behavior-Driven Danger Signaling

This paper introduces the notion of danger awareness in the context of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), which decodes whether a human is aware of the existence of the robot, and illuminates whether the human is willing to engage in enforcing the safety. This paper also proposes a method to quantify this notion as a single binary variable, so-called danger awareness coefficient. By analyzing the effect of this coefficient on the human's actions, an online Bayesian learning method is proposed to update the belief about the value of the coefficient. It is shown that based upon the danger awareness coefficient and the proposed learning method, the robot can build a predictive human model to anticipate the human's future actions. In order to create a communication channel between the human and the robot, to enrich the observations and get informative data about the human, and to improve the efficiency of the robot, the robot is equipped with a danger signaling system. A predictive planning scheme, coupled with the predictive human model, is also proposed to provide an efficient and Probabilistically safe plan for the robot. The effectiveness of the proposed scheme is demonstrated through simulation studies on an interaction between a self-driving car and a pedestrian.

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Affordance-Based Mobile Robot Navigation Among Movable Obstacles

Avoiding obstacles in the perceived world has been the classical approach to autonomous mobile robot navigation. However, this usually leads to unnatural and inefficient motions that significantly differ from the way humans move in tight and dynamic spaces, as we do not refrain interacting with the environment around us when necessary. Inspired by this observation, we propose a framework for autonomous robot navigation among movable obstacles (NAMO) that is based on the theory of affordances and contact-implicit motion planning. We consider a realistic scenario in which a mobile service robot negotiates unknown obstacles in the environment while navigating to a goal state. An affordance extraction procedure is performed for novel obstacles to detect their movability, and a contact-implicit trajectory optimization method is used to enable the robot to interact with movable obstacles to improve the task performance or to complete an otherwise infeasible task. We demonstrate the performance of the proposed framework by hardware experiments with Toyota's Human Support Robot.

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Performance

DV-DVFS: Merging Data Variety and DVFS Technique to Manage the Energy Consumption of Big Data Processing

Data variety is one of the most important features of Big Data. Data variety is the result of aggregating data from multiple sources and uneven distribution of data. This feature of Big Data causes high variation in the consumption of processing resources such as CPU consumption. This issue has been overlooked in previous works. To overcome the mentioned problem, in the present work, we used Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) to reduce the energy consumption of computation. To this goal, we consider two types of deadlines as our constraint. Before applying the DVFS technique to computer nodes, we estimate the processing time and the frequency needed to meet the deadline. In the evaluation phase, we have used a set of data sets and applications. The experimental results show that our proposed approach surpasses the other scenarios in processing real datasets. Based on the experimental results in this paper, DV-DVFS can achieve up to 15% improvement in energy consumption.

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HPC AI500: Representative, Repeatable and Simple HPC AI Benchmarking

Recent years witness a trend of applying large-scale distributed deep learning algorithms (HPC AI) in both business and scientific computing areas, whose goal is to speed up the training time to achieve a state-of-the-art quality. The HPC AI benchmarks accelerate the process. Unfortunately, benchmarking HPC AI systems at scale raises serious challenges. This paper presents a representative, repeatable and simple HPC AI benchmarking methodology. Among the seventeen AI workloads of AIBench Training -- by far the most comprehensive AI Training benchmarks suite -- we choose two representative and repeatable AI workloads. The selected HPC AI benchmarks include both business and scientific computing: Image Classification and Extreme Weather Analytics. To rank HPC AI systems, we present a new metric named Valid FLOPS, emphasizing both throughput performance and a target quality. The specification, source code, datasets, and HPC AI500 ranking numbers are publicly available from \url{this https URL}.

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Performance Comparison for Scientific Computations on the Edge via Relative Performance

In a typical Internet-of-Things setting that involves scientific applications, a target computation can be evaluated in many different ways depending on the split of computations among various devices. On the one hand, different implementations (or algorithms)--equivalent from a mathematical perspective--might exhibit significant difference in terms of performance. On the other hand, some of the implementations are likely to show similar performance characteristics. In this paper, we focus on analyzing the performance of a given set of algorithms by clustering them into performance classes. To this end, we use a measurement-based approach to evaluate and score algorithms based on pair-wise comparisons; we refer to this approach as"Relative performance analysis". Each comparison yields one of three outcomes: one algorithm can be "better", "worse", or "equivalent" to another; those algorithms evaluating to have equivalent performance are merged into the same performance class. We show that our clustering methodology facilitates algorithm selection with respect to more than one metric; for instance, from the subset of equivalently fast algorithms, one could then select an algorithm that consumes the least energy on a certain device.

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Computation and Language

Leveraging cross-platform data to improve automated hate speech detection

Hate speech is increasingly prevalent online, and its negative outcomes include increased prejudice, extremism, and even offline hate crime. Automatic detection of online hate speech can help us to better understand these impacts. However, while the field has recently progressed through advances in natural language processing, challenges still remain. In particular, most existing approaches for hate speech detection focus on a single social media platform in isolation. This limits both the use of these models and their validity, as the nature of language varies from platform to platform. Here we propose a new cross-platform approach to detect hate speech which leverages multiple datasets and classification models from different platforms and trains a superlearner that can combine existing and novel training data to improve detection and increase model applicability. We demonstrate how this approach outperforms existing models, and achieves good performance when tested on messages from novel social media platforms not included in the original training data.

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Learning Modality-Specific Representations with Self-Supervised Multi-Task Learning for Multimodal Sentiment Analysis

Representation Learning is a significant and challenging task in multimodal learning. Effective modality representations should contain two parts of characteristics: the consistency and the difference. Due to the unified multimodal annotation, existing methods are restricted in capturing differentiated information. However, additional uni-modal annotations are high time- and labor-cost. In this paper, we design a label generation module based on the self-supervised learning strategy to acquire independent unimodal supervisions. Then, joint training the multi-modal and uni-modal tasks to learn the consistency and difference, respectively. Moreover, during the training stage, we design a weight-adjustment strategy to balance the learning progress among different subtasks. That is to guide the subtasks to focus on samples with a larger difference between modality supervisions. Last, we conduct extensive experiments on three public multimodal baseline datasets. The experimental results validate the reliability and stability of auto-generated unimodal supervisions. On MOSI and MOSEI datasets, our method surpasses the current state-of-the-art methods. On the SIMS dataset, our method achieves comparable performance than human-annotated unimodal labels. The full codes are available at this https URL.

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Transfer Learning Approach for Arabic Offensive Language Detection System -- BERT-Based Model

Developing a system to detect online offensive language is very important to the health and the security of online users. Studies have shown that cyberhate, online harassment and other misuses of technology are on the rise, particularly during the global Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. According to the latest report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 35% of online users reported online harassment related to their identity-based characteristics, which is a 3% increase over 2019. Applying advanced techniques from the Natural Language Processing (NLP) field to support the development of an online hate-free community is a critical task for social justice. Transfer learning enhances the performance of the classifier by allowing the transfer of knowledge from one domain or one dataset to others that have not been seen before, thus, supporting the classifier to be more generalizable. In our study, we apply the principles of transfer learning cross multiple Arabic offensive language datasets to compare the effects on system performance. This study aims at investigating the effects of fine-tuning and training Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) model on multiple Arabic offensive language datasets individually and testing it using other datasets individually. Our experiment starts with a comparison among multiple BERT models to guide the selection of the main model that is used for our study. The study also investigates the effects of concatenating all datasets to be used for fine-tuning and training BERT model. Our results demonstrate the limited effects of transfer learning on the performance of the classifiers, particularly for highly dialectic comments.

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Programming Languages

NOELLE Offers Empowering LLVM Extensions

Modern and emerging architectures demand increasingly complex compiler analyses and transformations. As the emphasis on compiler infrastructure moves beyond support for peephole optimizations and the extraction of instruction-level parallelism, they should support custom tools designed to meet these demands with higher-level analysis-powered abstractions of wider program scope. This paper introduces NOELLE, a robust open-source domain-independent compilation layer built upon LLVM providing this support. NOELLE is modular and demand-driven, making it easy-to-extend and adaptable to custom-tool-specific needs without unduly wasting compile time and memory. This paper shows the power of NOELLE by presenting a diverse set of ten custom tools built upon it, with a 33.2% to 99.2% reduction in code size (LoC) compared to their counterparts without NOELLE.

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Operational Semantics with Hierarchical Abstract Syntax Graphs

This is a motivating tutorial introduction to a semantic analysis of programming languages using a graphical language as the representation of terms, and graph rewriting as a representation of reduction rules. We show how the graphical language automatically incorporates desirable features, such as alpha-equivalence and how it can describe pure computation, imperative store, and control features in a uniform framework. The graph semantics combines some of the best features of structural operational semantics and abstract machines, while offering powerful new methods for reasoning about contextual equivalence. All technical details are available in an extended technical report by Muroya and the author and in Muroya's doctoral dissertation.

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Compact Native Code Generation for Dynamic Languages on Micro-core Architectures

Micro-core architectures combine many simple, low memory, low power-consuming CPU cores onto a single chip. Potentially providing significant performance and low power consumption, this technology is not only of great interest in embedded, edge, and IoT uses, but also potentially as accelerators for data-center workloads. Due to the restricted nature of such CPUs, these architectures have traditionally been challenging to program, not least due to the very constrained amounts of memory (often around 32KB) and idiosyncrasies of the technology. However, more recently, dynamic languages such as Python have been ported to a number of micro-cores, but these are often delivered as interpreters which have an associated performance limitation. Targeting the four objectives of performance, unlimited code-size, portability between architectures, and maintaining the programmer productivity benefits of dynamic languages, the limited memory available means that classic techniques employed by dynamic language compilers, such as just-in-time (JIT), are simply not feasible. In this paper we describe the construction of a compilation approach for dynamic languages on micro-core architectures which aims to meet these four objectives, and use Python as a vehicle for exploring the application of this in replacing the existing micro-core interpreter. Our experiments focus on the metrics of performance, architecture portability, minimum memory size, and programmer productivity, comparing our approach against that of writing native C code. The outcome of this work is the identification of a series of techniques that are not only suitable for compiling Python code, but also applicable to a wide variety of dynamic languages on micro-cores.

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Digital Libraries

A Bayesian Two-part Hurdle Quantile Regression Model for Citation Analysis

Quantile regression is a technique to analyse the effects of a set of independent variables on the entire distribution of a continuous response variable. Quantile regression presents a complete picture of the effects on the location, scale, and shape of the dependent variable at all points, not just at the mean. This research focuses on two challenges for the analysis of citation counts by quantile regression: discontinuity and substantial mass points at lower counts, such as zero, one, two, and three. A Bayesian two-part hurdle quantile regression model was proposed by King and Song (2019) as a suitable candidate for modeling count data with a substantial mass point at zero. Their model allows the zeros and non-zeros to be modeled independently but simultaneously. It uses quantile regression for modeling the nonzero data and logistic regression for modeling the probability of zeros versus nonzeros. Nevertheless, the current paper shows that substantial mass points also at one, two, and three for citation counts will nearly certainly affect the estimation of parameters in the quantile regression part of the model in a similar manner to the mass point at zero. We update the King and Song model by shifting the hurdle point from zero to three, past the main mass points. The new model delivers more accurate quantile regression for moderately to highly cited articles, and enables estimates of the extent to which factors influence the chances that an article will be low cited. To illustrate the advantage and potential of this method, it is applied separately to both simulated citation counts and also seven Scopus fields with collaboration, title length, and journal internationality as independent variables.

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ORCID-linked labeled data for evaluating author name disambiguation at scale

How can we evaluate the performance of a disambiguation method implemented on big bibliographic data? This study suggests that the open researcher profile system, ORCID, can be used as an authority source to label name instances at scale. This study demonstrates the potential by evaluating the disambiguation performances of Author-ity2009 (which algorithmically disambiguates author names in MEDLINE) using 3 million name instances that are automatically labeled through linkage to 5 million ORCID researcher profiles. Results show that although ORCID-linked labeled data do not effectively represent the population of name instances in Author-ity2009, they do effectively capture the 'high precision over high recall' performances of Author-ity2009. In addition, ORCID-linked labeled data can provide nuanced details about the Author-ity2009's performance when name instances are evaluated within and across ethnicity categories. As ORCID continues to be expanded to include more researchers, labeled data via ORCID-linkage can be improved in representing the population of a whole disambiguated data and updated on a regular basis. This can benefit author name disambiguation researchers and practitioners who need large-scale labeled data but lack resources for manual labeling or access to other authority sources for linkage-based labeling. The ORCID-linked labeled data for Author-tiy2009 are publicly available for validation and reuse.

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Generating automatically labeled data for author name disambiguation: An iterative clustering method

To train algorithms for supervised author name disambiguation, many studies have relied on hand-labeled truth data that are very laborious to generate. This paper shows that labeled training data can be automatically generated using information features such as email address, coauthor names, and cited references that are available from publication records. For this purpose, high-precision rules for matching name instances on each feature are decided using an external-authority database. Then, selected name instances in target ambiguous data go through the process of pairwise matching based on the rules. Next, they are merged into clusters by a generic entity resolution algorithm. The clustering procedure is repeated over other features until further merging is impossible. Tested on 26,566 instances out of the population of 228K author name instances, this iterative clustering produced accurately labeled data with pairwise F1 = 0.99. The labeled data represented the population data in terms of name ethnicity and co-disambiguating name group size distributions. In addition, trained on the labeled data, machine learning algorithms disambiguated 24K names in test data with performance of pairwise F1 = 0.90 ~ 0.92. Several challenges are discussed for applying this method to resolving author name ambiguity in large-scale scholarly data.

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Data Structures and Algorithms

Deterministic Tree Embeddings with Copies for Algorithms Against Adaptive Adversaries

Embeddings of graphs into distributions of trees that preserve distances in expectation are a cornerstone of many optimization algorithms. Unfortunately, online or dynamic algorithms which use these embeddings seem inherently randomized and ill-suited against adaptive adversaries. In this paper we provide a new tree embedding which addresses these issues by deterministically embedding a graph into a single tree containing O(logn) copies of each vertex while preserving the connectivity structure of every subgraph and O( log 2 n) -approximating the cost of every subgraph. Using this embedding we obtain several new algorithmic results: We reduce an open question of Alon et al. [SODA 2004] -- the existence of a deterministic poly-log-competitive algorithm for online group Steiner tree on a general graph -- to its tree case. We give a poly-log-competitive deterministic algorithm for a closely related problem -- online partial group Steiner tree -- which, roughly, is a bicriteria version of online group Steiner tree. Lastly, we give the first poly-log approximations for demand-robust Steiner forest, group Steiner tree and group Steiner forest.

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Approximately counting independent sets of a given size in bounded-degree graphs

We determine the computational complexity of approximately counting and sampling independent sets of a given size in bounded-degree graphs. That is, we identify a critical density α c (?) and provide (i) for α< α c (?) randomized polynomial-time algorithms for approximately sampling and counting independent sets of given size at most αn in n -vertex graphs of maximum degree ? ; and (ii) a proof that unless NP=RP, no such algorithms exist for α> α c (?) . The critical density is the occupancy fraction of hard core model on the clique K ?+1 at the uniqueness threshold on the infinite ? -regular tree, giving α c (?)??e 1+e 1 ? as ??��? .

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Balanced Districting on Grid Graphs with Provable Compactness and Contiguity

Given a graph G=(V,E) with vertex weights w(v) and a desired number of parts k , the goal in graph partitioning problems is to partition the vertex set V into parts V 1 ,?? V k . Metrics for compactness, contiguity, and balance of the parts V i are frequent objectives, with much existing literature focusing on compactness and balance. Revisiting an old method known as striping, we give the first polynomial-time algorithms with guaranteed contiguity and provable bicriteria approximations for compactness and balance for planar grid graphs. We consider several types of graph partitioning, including when vertex weights vary smoothly or are stochastic, reflecting concerns in various real-world instances. We show significant improvements in experiments for balancing workloads for the fire department and reducing over-policing using 911 call data from South Fulton, GA.

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Distributed Parallel and Cluster Computing

A High-Performance Sparse Tensor Algebra Compiler in Multi-Level IR

Tensor algebra is widely used in many applications, such as scientific computing, machine learning, and data analytics. The tensors represented real-world data are usually large and sparse. There are tens of storage formats designed for sparse matrices and/or tensors and the performance of sparse tensor operations depends on a particular architecture and/or selected sparse format, which makes it challenging to implement and optimize every tensor operation of interest and transfer the code from one architecture to another. We propose a tensor algebra domain-specific language (DSL) and compiler infrastructure to automatically generate kernels for mixed sparse-dense tensor algebra operations, named COMET. The proposed DSL provides high-level programming abstractions that resemble the familiar Einstein notation to represent tensor algebra operations. The compiler performs code optimizations and transformations for efficient code generation while covering a wide range of tensor storage formats. COMET compiler also leverages data reordering to improve spatial or temporal locality for better performance. Our results show that the performance of automatically generated kernels outperforms the state-of-the-art sparse tensor algebra compiler, with up to 20.92x, 6.39x, and 13.9x performance improvement, for parallel SpMV, SpMM, and TTM over TACO, respectively.

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OptSmart: A Space Efficient Optimistic Concurrent Execution of Smart Contracts

Popular blockchains such as Ethereum and several others execute complex transactions in blocks through user-defined scripts known as smart contracts. Serial execution of smart contract transactions/atomic-units (AUs) fails to harness the multiprocessing power offered by the prevalence of multi-core processors. By adding concurrency to the execution of AUs, we can achieve better efficiency and higher throughput. In this paper, we develop a concurrent miner that proposes a block by executing the AUs concurrently using optimistic Software Transactional Memory systems (STMs). It captures the independent AUs in a concurrent bin and dependent AUs in the block graph (BG) efficiently. Later, we propose a concurrent validator that re-executes the same AUs concurrently and deterministically using a concurrent bin followed by a BG given by the miner to verify the proposed block. We rigorously prove the correctness of concurrent execution of AUs and achieve significant performance gain over the state-of-the-art.

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DHLink: A Microservice Platform supporting Rapid Application Development and Secure Real-time Data Sharing in Digital Health

Digital health applications that leverage multiple sources of patient data for insights to patients' behaviours or disease symptoms as well as remote patient monitoring, nudging and treatments are becoming increasingly popular in various medical practices and research. One common issue among these applications is that they are generally based on project-specific solutions and developed from scratch. Such application development fashion results in large amounts of repetitive effort, for example, in building study specific websites and mobile frontends, deploying customised infrastructures, and collecting data that may have already been collected in other studies and projects. What is worse, the data collected, and functions built cannot be easily reused by other applications. In this paper, we present an event-driven microservice platform, namely DHLink, to address this issue. DHLink securely links existing digital health applications of different projects, facilitates real-time data sharing, and supports rapid application development by reusing data and functions of existing digital health applications. In addition, comes with DHLink, a set of highly generic and reusable microservices is provided, which allows developers to rapidly create a typical above-mentioned digital health application by only developing the core algorithms. Two use cases outlined in this paper have shown the use of DHLink and the set of microservices for application collaboration and new application development to be efficient and practical.

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Social and Information Networks

Measuring Global Multi-Scale Place Connectivity using Geotagged Social Media Data

Shaped by human movement, place connectivity is quantified by the strength of spatial interactions among locations. For decades, spatial scientists have researched place connectivity, applications, and metrics. The growing popularity of social media provides a new data stream where spatial social interaction measures are largely devoid of privacy issues, easily assessable, and harmonized. In this study, we introduced a global multi-scale place connectivity index (PCI) based on spatial interactions among places revealed by geotagged tweets as a spatiotemporal-continuous and easy-to-implement measurement. The multi-scale PCI, demonstrated at the US county level, exhibits a strong positive association with SafeGraph population movement records (10 percent penetration in the US population) and Facebook's social connectedness index (SCI), a popular connectivity index based on social networks. We found that PCI has a strong boundary effect and that it generally follows the distance decay, although this force is weaker in more urbanized counties with a denser population. Our investigation further suggests that PCI has great potential in addressing real-world problems that require place connectivity knowledge, exemplified with two applications: 1) modeling the spatial spread of COVID-19 during the early stage of the pandemic and 2) modeling hurricane evacuation destination choice. The methodological and contextual knowledge of PCI, together with the launched visualization platform and open-sourced PCI datasets at various geographic levels, are expected to support research fields requiring knowledge in human spatial interactions.

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Rihanna versus Bollywood: Twitter Influencers and the Indian Farmers' Protest

A tweet from popular entertainer and businesswoman, Rihanna, bringing attention to farmers' protests around Delhi set off heightened activity on Indian social media. An immediate consequence was the weighing in by Indian politicians, entertainers, media and other influencers on the issue. In this paper, we use data from Twitter and an archive of debunked misinformation stories to understand some of the patterns around influencer engagement with a political issue. We found that more followed influencers were less likely to come out in support of the tweet. We also find that the later engagement of major influencers on the side of the government's position shows suggestion's of collusion. Irrespective of their position on the issue, influencers who engaged saw a significant rise in their following after their tweets. While a number of tweets thanked Rihanna for raising awareness on the issue, she was systematically trolled on the grounds of her gender, race, nationality and religion. Finally, we observed how misinformation existing prior to the tweet set up the grounds for alternative narratives that emerged.

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Tracking e-cigarette warning label compliance on Instagram with deep learning

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires that e-cigarette advertisements include a prominent warning label that reminds consumers that nicotine is addictive. However, the high volume of vaping-related posts on social media makes compliance auditing expensive and time-consuming, suggesting that an automated, scalable method is needed. We sought to develop and evaluate a deep learning system designed to automatically determine if an Instagram post promotes vaping, and if so, if an FDA-compliant warning label was included or if a non-compliant warning label was visible in the image. We compiled and labeled a dataset of 4,363 Instagram images, of which 44% were vaping-related, 3% contained FDA-compliant warning labels, and 4% contained non-compliant labels. Using a 20% test set for evaluation, we tested multiple neural network variations: image processing backbone model (Inceptionv3, ResNet50, EfficientNet), data augmentation, progressive layer unfreezing, output bias initialization designed for class imbalance, and multitask learning. Our final model achieved an area under the curve (AUC) and [accuracy] of 0.97 [92%] on vaping classification, 0.99 [99%] on FDA-compliant warning labels, and 0.94 [97%] on non-compliant warning labels. We conclude that deep learning models can effectively identify vaping posts on Instagram and track compliance with FDA warning label requirements.

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Databases

Empowering Investigative Journalism with Graph-based Heterogeneous Data Management

Investigative Journalism (IJ, in short) is staple of modern, democratic societies. IJ often necessitates working with large, dynamic sets of heterogeneous, schema-less data sources, which can be structured, semi-structured, or textual, limiting the applicability of classical data integration approaches. In prior work, we have developed ConnectionLens, a system capable of integrating such sources into a single heterogeneous graph, leveraging Information Extraction (IE) techniques; users can then query the graph by means of keywords, and explore query results and their neighborhood using an interactive GUI. Our keyword search problem is complicated by the graph heterogeneity, and by the lack of a result score function that would allow to prune some of the search space. In this work, we describe an actual IJ application studying conflicts of interest in the biomedical domain, and we show how ConnectionLens supports it. Then, we present novel techniques addressing the scalability challenges raised by this application: one allows to reduce the significant IE costs while building the graph, while the other is a novel, parallel, in-memory keyword search engine, which achieves orders of magnitude speed-up over our previous engine. Our experimental study on the real-world IJ application data confirms the benefits of our contributions.

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Approximating Happiness Maximizing Set Problems

A Happiness Maximizing Set (HMS) is a useful concept in which a smaller subset of a database is selected while mostly preserving the best scores along every possible utility function. In this paper, we study the k -Happiness Maximizing Sets ( k -HMS) and Average Happiness Maximizing Sets (AHMS) problems. Specifically, k -HMS selects r records from the database such that the minimum happiness ratio between the k -th best score in the database and the best score in the selected records for any possible utility function is maximized. Meanwhile, AHMS maximizes the average of this ratio within a distribution of utility functions. k -HMS and AHMS are equivalent to the more established k -Regret Minimizing Sets ( k -RMS) and Average Regret Minimizing Sets (ARMS) problems, but allow for the derivation of stronger theoretical results and more natural approximation schemes. In this paper, we show that the problem of approximating k -HMS within any finite factor is NP-Hard when the dimensionality of the database is unconstrained and extend the result to an inapproximability proof of k -RMS. We then provide approximation algorithms for AHMS with better approximation ratios and time complexities than known algorithms for ARMS. Finally, we provide dataset reduction schemes which can be used to reduce the runtime of existing heuristic based algorithms, as well as to derive polynomial-time approximation schemes for both k -HMS and AHMS when dimensionality is fixed. Finally, we provide experimental validation showing that our AHMS algorithm achieves the same happiness as the existing Greedy Shrink FAM algorithm while running faster by over 2 orders of magnitude on even a small dataset of 17265 data points while our reduction scheme was able to reduce runtimes by up to 93% (from 4.2 hours to 16.7 minutes) while keeping happiness within 90\% of the original on the largest tested settings.

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A Framework for Federated SPARQL Query Processing over Heterogeneous Linked Data Fragments

Linked Data Fragments (LDFs) refer to Web interfaces that allow for accessing and querying Knowledge Graphs on the Web. These interfaces, such as SPARQL endpoints or Triple Pattern Fragment servers, differ in the SPARQL expressions they can evaluate and the metadata they provide. Client-side query processing approaches have been proposed and are tailored to evaluate queries over individual interfaces. Moreover, federated query processing has focused on federations with a single type of LDF interface, typically SPARQL endpoints. In this work, we address the challenges of SPARQL query processing over federations with heterogeneous LDF interfaces. To this end, we formalize the concept of federations of Linked Data Fragment and propose a framework for federated querying over heterogeneous federations with different LDF interfaces. The framework comprises query decomposition, query planning, and physical operators adapted to the particularities of different LDF interfaces. Further, we propose an approach for each component of our framework and evaluate them in an experimental study on the well-known FedBench benchmark. The results show a substantial improvement in performance achieved by devising these interface-aware approaches exploiting the capabilities of heterogeneous interfaces in federations.

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Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

Train a One-Million-Way Instance Classifier for Unsupervised Visual Representation Learning

This paper presents a simple unsupervised visual representation learning method with a pretext task of discriminating all images in a dataset using a parametric, instance-level classifier. The overall framework is a replica of a supervised classification model, where semantic classes (e.g., dog, bird, and ship) are replaced by instance IDs. However, scaling up the classification task from thousands of semantic labels to millions of instance labels brings specific challenges including 1) the large-scale softmax computation; 2) the slow convergence due to the infrequent visiting of instance samples; and 3) the massive number of negative classes that can be noisy. This work presents several novel techniques to handle these difficulties. First, we introduce a hybrid parallel training framework to make large-scale training feasible. Second, we present a raw-feature initialization mechanism for classification weights, which we assume offers a contrastive prior for instance discrimination and can clearly speed up converge in our experiments. Finally, we propose to smooth the labels of a few hardest classes to avoid optimizing over very similar negative pairs. While being conceptually simple, our framework achieves competitive or superior performance compared to state-of-the-art unsupervised approaches, i.e., SimCLR, MoCoV2, and PIC under ImageNet linear evaluation protocol and on several downstream visual tasks, verifying that full instance classification is a strong pretraining technique for many semantic visual tasks.

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Classification of Handwritten Names of Cities and Handwritten Text Recognition using Various Deep Learning Models

This article discusses the problem of handwriting recognition in Kazakh and Russian languages. This area is poorly studied since in the literature there are almost no works in this direction. We have tried to describe various approaches and achievements of recent years in the development of handwritten recognition models in relation to Cyrillic graphics. The first model uses deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for feature extraction and a fully connected multilayer perceptron neural network (MLP) for word classification. The second model, called SimpleHTR, uses CNN and recurrent neural network (RNN) layers to extract information from images. We also proposed the Bluechet and Puchserver models to compare the results. Due to the lack of available open datasets in Russian and Kazakh languages, we carried out work to collect data that included handwritten names of countries and cities from 42 different Cyrillic words, written more than 500 times in different handwriting. We also used a handwritten database of Kazakh and Russian languages (HKR). This is a new database of Cyrillic words (not only countries and cities) for the Russian and Kazakh languages, created by the authors of this work.

More from Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
Negative Data Augmentation

Data augmentation is often used to enlarge datasets with synthetic samples generated in accordance with the underlying data distribution. To enable a wider range of augmentations, we explore negative data augmentation strategies (NDA)that intentionally create out-of-distribution samples. We show that such negative out-of-distribution samples provide information on the support of the data distribution, and can be leveraged for generative modeling and representation learning. We introduce a new GAN training objective where we use NDA as an additional source of synthetic data for the discriminator. We prove that under suitable conditions, optimizing the resulting objective still recovers the true data distribution but can directly bias the generator towards avoiding samples that lack the desired structure. Empirically, models trained with our method achieve improved conditional/unconditional image generation along with improved anomaly detection capabilities. Further, we incorporate the same negative data augmentation strategy in a contrastive learning framework for self-supervised representation learning on images and videos, achieving improved performance on downstream image classification, object detection, and action recognition tasks. These results suggest that prior knowledge on what does not constitute valid data is an effective form of weak supervision across a range of unsupervised learning tasks.

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Machine Learning

Sparsification via Compressed Sensing for Automatic Speech Recognition

In order to achieve high accuracy for machine learning (ML) applications, it is essential to employ models with a large number of parameters. Certain applications, such as Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), however, require real-time interactions with users, hence compelling the model to have as low latency as possible. Deploying large scale ML applications thus necessitates model quantization and compression, especially when running ML models on resource constrained devices. For example, by forcing some of the model weight values into zero, it is possible to apply zero-weight compression, which reduces both the model size and model reading time from the memory. In the literature, such methods are referred to as sparse pruning. The fundamental questions are when and which weights should be forced to zero, i.e. be pruned. In this work, we propose a compressed sensing based pruning (CSP) approach to effectively address those questions. By reformulating sparse pruning as a sparsity inducing and compression-error reduction dual problem, we introduce the classic compressed sensing process into the ML model training process. Using ASR task as an example, we show that CSP consistently outperforms existing approaches in the literature.

More from Machine Learning
Automatic variational inference with cascading flows

The automation of probabilistic reasoning is one of the primary aims of machine learning. Recently, the confluence of variational inference and deep learning has led to powerful and flexible automatic inference methods that can be trained by stochastic gradient descent. In particular, normalizing flows are highly parameterized deep models that can fit arbitrarily complex posterior densities. However, normalizing flows struggle in highly structured probabilistic programs as they need to relearn the forward-pass of the program. Automatic structured variational inference (ASVI) remedies this problem by constructing variational programs that embed the forward-pass. Here, we combine the flexibility of normalizing flows and the prior-embedding property of ASVI in a new family of variational programs, which we named cascading flows. A cascading flows program interposes a newly designed highway flow architecture in between the conditional distributions of the prior program such as to steer it toward the observed data. These programs can be constructed automatically from an input probabilistic program and can also be amortized automatically. We evaluate the performance of the new variational programs in a series of structured inference problems. We find that cascading flows have much higher performance than both normalizing flows and ASVI in a large set of structured inference problems.

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CaPC Learning: Confidential and Private Collaborative Learning

Machine learning benefits from large training datasets, which may not always be possible to collect by any single entity, especially when using privacy-sensitive data. In many contexts, such as healthcare and finance, separate parties may wish to collaborate and learn from each other's data but are prevented from doing so due to privacy regulations. Some regulations prevent explicit sharing of data between parties by joining datasets in a central location (confidentiality). Others also limit implicit sharing of data, e.g., through model predictions (privacy). There is currently no method that enables machine learning in such a setting, where both confidentiality and privacy need to be preserved, to prevent both explicit and implicit sharing of data. Federated learning only provides confidentiality, not privacy, since gradients shared still contain private information. Differentially private learning assumes unreasonably large datasets. Furthermore, both of these learning paradigms produce a central model whose architecture was previously agreed upon by all parties rather than enabling collaborative learning where each party learns and improves their own local model. We introduce Confidential and Private Collaborative (CaPC) learning, the first method provably achieving both confidentiality and privacy in a collaborative setting. We leverage secure multi-party computation (MPC), homomorphic encryption (HE), and other techniques in combination with privately aggregated teacher models. We demonstrate how CaPC allows participants to collaborate without having to explicitly join their training sets or train a central model. Each party is able to improve the accuracy and fairness of their model, even in settings where each party has a model that performs well on their own dataset or when datasets are not IID and model architectures are heterogeneous across parties.

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Networking and Internet Architecture

Content Placement in Networks of Similarity Caches

Similarity caching systems have recently attracted the attention of the scientific community, as they can be profitably used in many application contexts, like multimedia retrieval, advertising, object recognition, recommender systems and online content-match applications. In such systems, a user request for an object o , which is not in the cache, can be (partially) satisfied by a similar stored object o ', at the cost of a loss of user utility. In this paper we make a first step into the novel area of similarity caching networks, where requests can be forwarded along a path of caches to get the best efficiency-accuracy tradeoff. The offline problem of content placement can be easily shown to be NP-hard, while different polynomial algorithms can be devised to approach the optimal solution in discrete cases. As the content space grows large, we propose a continuous problem formulation whose solution exhibits a simple structure in a class of tree topologies. We verify our findings using synthetic and realistic request traces.

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Distributed Learning for Proportional-Fair Resource Allocation in Coexisting WiFi Networks

In this paper, we revisit the widely known performance anomaly that results in severe network utility degradation in WiFi networks when nodes use diverse modulation and coding schemes. The proportional-fair allocation was shown to mitigate this anomaly and provide a good throughput to the stations. It can be achieved through the selection of contention window values based on the explicit solution of an optimization problem or, as proposed recently, by following a learning-based approach that uses a centralized gradient descent algorithm. In this paper, we leverage our recent theoretical work on asynchronous distributed optimization and propose a simple algorithm that allows WiFi nodes to independently tune their contention window to achieve proportional fairness. We compare the throughputs and air-time allocation that this algorithm achieves to those of the standard WiFi binary exponential back-off and show the improvements.

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The case for model-driven interpretability of delay-based congestion control protocols

Analyzing and interpreting the exact behavior of new delay-based congestion control protocols with complex non-linear control loops is exceptionally difficult in highly variable networks such as cellular networks. This paper proposes a Model-Driven Interpretability (MDI) congestion control framework, which derives a model version of a delay-based protocol by simplifying a congestion control protocol's response into a guided random walk over a two-dimensional Markov model. We demonstrate the case for the MDI framework by using MDI to analyze and interpret the behavior of two delay-based protocols over cellular channels: Verus and Copa. Our results show a successful approximation of throughput and delay characteristics of the protocols' model versions across variable network conditions. The learned model of a protocol provides key insights into an algorithm's convergence properties.

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Graphics

Meta-PU: An Arbitrary-Scale Upsampling Network for Point Cloud

Point cloud upsampling is vital for the quality of the mesh in three-dimensional reconstruction. Recent research on point cloud upsampling has achieved great success due to the development of deep learning. However, the existing methods regard point cloud upsampling of different scale factors as independent tasks. Thus, the methods need to train a specific model for each scale factor, which is both inefficient and impractical for storage and computation in real applications. To address this limitation, in this work, we propose a novel method called ``Meta-PU" to firstly support point cloud upsampling of arbitrary scale factors with a single model. In the Meta-PU method, besides the backbone network consisting of residual graph convolution (RGC) blocks, a meta-subnetwork is learned to adjust the weights of the RGC blocks dynamically, and a farthest sampling block is adopted to sample different numbers of points. Together, these two blocks enable our Meta-PU to continuously upsample the point cloud with arbitrary scale factors by using only a single model. In addition, the experiments reveal that training on multiple scales simultaneously is beneficial to each other. Thus, Meta-PU even outperforms the existing methods trained for a specific scale factor only.

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Blue Noise Plots

We propose Blue Noise Plots, two-dimensional dot plots that depict data points of univariate data sets. While often one-dimensional strip plots are used to depict such data, one of their main problems is visual clutter which results from overlap. To reduce this overlap, jitter plots were introduced, whereby an additional, non-encoding plot dimension is introduced, along which the data point representing dots are randomly perturbed. Unfortunately, this randomness can suggest non-existent clusters, and often leads to visually unappealing plots, in which overlap might still occur. To overcome these shortcomings, we introduce BlueNoise Plots where random jitter along the non-encoding plot dimension is replaced by optimizing all dots to keep a minimum distance in 2D i. e., Blue Noise. We evaluate the effectiveness as well as the aesthetics of Blue Noise Plots through both, a quantitative and a qualitative user study. The Python implementation of Blue Noise Plots is available here.

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Length Learning for Planar Euclidean Curves

In this work, we used deep neural networks (DNNs) to solve a fundamental problem in differential geometry. One can find many closed-form expressions for calculating curvature, length, and other geometric properties in the literature. As we know these concepts, we are highly motivated to reconstruct them by using deep neural networks. In this framework, our goal is to learn geometric properties from examples. The simplest geometric object is a curve. Therefore, this work focuses on learning the length of planar sampled curves created by a sine waves dataset. For this reason, the fundamental length axioms were reconstructed using a supervised learning approach. Following these axioms a simplified DNN model, we call ArcLengthNet, was established. The robustness to additive noise and discretization errors were tested.

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Computers and Society

Smart non-intrusive appliance identification using a novel local power histogramming descriptor with an improved k-nearest neighbors classifier

Non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) is a key cost-effective technology for monitoring power consumption and contributing to several challenges encountered when transiting to an efficient, sustainable, and competitive energy efficiency environment. This paper proposes a smart NILM system based on a novel local power histogramming (LPH) descriptor, in which appliance power signals are transformed into 2D space and short histograms are extracted to represent each device. Specifically, short local histograms are drawn to represent individual appliance consumption signatures and robustly extract appliance-level data from the aggregated power signal. Furthermore, an improved k-nearest neighbors (IKNN) algorithm is presented to reduce the learning computation time and improve the classification performance. This results in highly improving the discrimination ability between appliances belonging to distinct categories. A deep evaluation of the proposed LPH-IKNN based solution is investigated under different data sets, in which the proposed scheme leads to promising performance. An accuracy of up to 99.65% and 98.51% has been achieved on GREEND and UK-DALE data sets, respectively. While an accuracy of more than 96% has been attained on both WHITED and PLAID data sets. This proves the validity of using 2D descriptors to accurately identify appliances and create new perspectives for the NILM problem.

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Mobile Apps Prioritizing Privacy, Efficiency and Equity: A Decentralized Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination Coordination

In this early draft, we describe a decentralized, app-based approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution that facilitates zero knowledge verification, dynamic vaccine scheduling, continuous symptoms reporting, access to aggregate analytics based on population trends and more. To ensure equity, our solution is developed to work with limited internet access as well. In addition, we describe the six critical functions that we believe last mile vaccination management platforms must perform, examine existing vaccine management systems, and present a model for privacy-focused, individual-centric solutions.

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The Use and Misuse of Counterfactuals in Ethical Machine Learning

The use of counterfactuals for considerations of algorithmic fairness and explainability is gaining prominence within the machine learning community and industry. This paper argues for more caution with the use of counterfactuals when the facts to be considered are social categories such as race or gender. We review a broad body of papers from philosophy and social sciences on social ontology and the semantics of counterfactuals, and we conclude that the counterfactual approach in machine learning fairness and social explainability can require an incoherent theory of what social categories are. Our findings suggest that most often the social categories may not admit counterfactual manipulation, and hence may not appropriately satisfy the demands for evaluating the truth or falsity of counterfactuals. This is important because the widespread use of counterfactuals in machine learning can lead to misleading results when applied in high-stakes domains. Accordingly, we argue that even though counterfactuals play an essential part in some causal inferences, their use for questions of algorithmic fairness and social explanations can create more problems than they resolve. Our positive result is a set of tenets about using counterfactuals for fairness and explanations in machine learning.

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Artificial Intelligence

The Factory Must Grow: Automation in Factorio

Efficient optimization of resources is paramount to success in many problems faced today. In the field of operational research the efficient scheduling of employees; packing of vans; routing of vehicles; logistics of airlines and transport of materials can be the difference between emission reduction or excess, profits or losses and feasibility or unworkable solutions. The video game Factorio, by Wube Software, has a myriad of problems which are analogous to such real-world problems, and is a useful simulator for developing solutions for these problems. In this paper we define the logistic transport belt problem and define mathematical integer programming model of it. We developed an interface to allow optimizers in any programming language to interact with Factorio, and we provide an initial benchmark of logistic transport belt problems. We present results for Simulated Annealing, quick Genetic Programming and Evolutionary Reinforcement Learning, three different meta-heuristic techniques to optimize this novel problem.

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Uncertainty Quantification and Propagation for Airline Disruption Management

Disruption management during the airline scheduling process can be compartmentalized into proactive and reactive processes depending upon the time of schedule execution. The state of the art for decision-making in airline disruption management involves a heuristic human-centric approach that does not categorically study uncertainty in proactive and reactive processes for managing airline schedule disruptions. Hence, this paper introduces an uncertainty transfer function model (UTFM) framework that characterizes uncertainty for proactive airline disruption management before schedule execution, reactive airline disruption management during schedule execution, and proactive airline disruption management after schedule execution to enable the construction of quantitative tools that can allow an intelligent agent to rationalize complex interactions and procedures for robust airline disruption management. Specifically, we use historical scheduling and operations data from a major U.S. airline to facilitate the development and assessment of the UTFM, defined by hidden Markov models (a special class of probabilistic graphical models) that can efficiently perform pattern learning and inference on portions of large data sets.

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Principles of Explanation in Human-AI Systems

Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) has re-emerged in response to the development of modern AI and ML systems. These systems are complex and sometimes biased, but they nevertheless make decisions that impact our lives. XAI systems are frequently algorithm-focused; starting and ending with an algorithm that implements a basic untested idea about explainability. These systems are often not tested to determine whether the algorithm helps users accomplish any goals, and so their explainability remains unproven. We propose an alternative: to start with human-focused principles for the design, testing, and implementation of XAI systems, and implement algorithms to serve that purpose. In this paper, we review some of the basic concepts that have been used for user-centered XAI systems over the past 40 years of research. Based on these, we describe the "Self-Explanation Scorecard", which can help developers understand how they can empower users by enabling self-explanation. Finally, we present a set of empirically-grounded, user-centered design principles that may guide developers to create successful explainable systems.

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Hardware Architecture

Feature Engineering for Scalable Application-Level Post-Silicon Debugging

We present systematic and efficient solutions for both observability enhancement and root-cause diagnosis of post-silicon System-on-Chips (SoCs) validation with diverse usage scenarios. We model specification of interacting flows in typical applications for message selection. Our method for message selection optimizes flow specification coverage and trace buffer utilization. We define the diagnosis problem as identifying buggy traces as outliers and bug-free traces as inliers/normal behaviors, for which we use unsupervised learning algorithms for outlier detection. Instead of direct application of machine learning algorithms over trace data using the signals as raw features, we use feature engineering to transform raw features into more sophisticated features using domain specific operations. The engineered features are highly relevant to the diagnosis task and are generic to be applied across any hardware designs. We present debugging and root cause analysis of subtle post-silicon bugs in industry-scale OpenSPARC T2 SoC. We achieve a trace buffer utilization of 98.96\% with a flow specification coverage of 94.3\% (average). Our diagnosis method was able to diagnose up to 66.7\% more bugs and took up to 847 ? less diagnosis time as compared to the manual debugging with a diagnosis precision of 0.769.

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CrossStack: A 3-D Reconfigurable RRAM Crossbar Inference Engine

Deep neural network inference accelerators are rapidly growing in importance as we turn to massively parallelized processing beyond GPUs and ASICs. The dominant operation in feedforward inference is the multiply-and-accumlate process, where each column in a crossbar generates the current response of a single neuron. As a result, memristor crossbar arrays parallelize inference and image processing tasks very efficiently. In this brief, we present a 3-D active memristor crossbar array `CrossStack', which adopts stacked pairs of Al/TiO2/TiO2-x/Al devices with common middle electrodes. By designing CMOS-memristor hybrid cells used in the layout of the array, CrossStack can operate in one of two user-configurable modes as a reconfigurable inference engine: 1) expansion mode and 2) deep-net mode. In expansion mode, the resolution of the network is doubled by increasing the number of inputs for a given chip area, reducing IR drop by 22%. In deep-net mode, inference speed per-10-bit convolution is improved by 29\% by simultaneously using one TiO2/TiO2-x layer for read processes, and the other for write processes. We experimentally verify both modes on our 10?10?2 array.

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A Memory-Efficient FM-Index Constructor for Next-Generation Sequencing Applications on FPGAs

FM-index is an efficient data structure for string search and is widely used in next-generation sequencing (NGS) applications such as sequence alignment and de novo assembly. Recently, FM-indexing is even performed down to the read level, raising a demand of an efficient algorithm for FM-index construction. In this work, we propose a hardware-compatible Self-Aided Incremental Indexing (SAII) algorithm and its hardware architecture. This novel algorithm builds FM-index with no memory overhead, and the hardware system for realizing the algorithm can be very compact. Parallel architecture and a special prefetch controller is designed to enhance computational efficiency. An SAII-based FM-index constructor is implemented on an Altera Stratix V FPGA board. The presented constructor can support DNA sequences of sizes up to 131,072-bp, which is enough for small-scale references and reads obtained from current major platforms. Because the proposed constructor needs very few hardware resource, it can be easily integrated into different hardware accelerators designed for FM-index-based applications.

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Sound

A comparative study of two-dimensional vocal tract acoustic modeling based on Finite-Difference Time-Domain methods

The two-dimensional (2D) numerical approaches for vocal tract (VT) modelling can afford a better balance between the low computational cost and accurate rendering of acoustic wave propagation. However, they require a high spatio-temporal resolution in the numerical scheme for a precise estimation of acoustic formants at the simulation run-time expense. We have recently proposed a new VT acoustic modelling technique, known as the 2.5D Finite-Difference Time-Domain (2.5D FDTD), which extends the existing 2D FDTD approach by adding tube depth to its acoustic wave solver. In this work, first, the simulated acoustic outputs of our new model are shown to be comparable with the 2D FDTD and a realistic 3D FEM VT model at a low spatio-temporal resolution. Next, a radiation model is developed by including a circular baffle around the VT as head geometry. The transfer functions of the radiation model are analyzed using five different vocal tract shapes for vowel sounds /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/.

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On permutation invariant training for speech source separation

We study permutation invariant training (PIT), which targets at the permutation ambiguity problem for speaker independent source separation models. We extend two state-of-the-art PIT strategies. First, we look at the two-stage speaker separation and tracking algorithm based on frame level PIT (tPIT) and clustering, which was originally proposed for the STFT domain, and we adapt it to work with waveforms and over a learned latent space. Further, we propose an efficient clustering loss scalable to waveform models. Second, we extend a recently proposed auxiliary speaker-ID loss with a deep feature loss based on "problem agnostic speech features", to reduce the local permutation errors made by the utterance level PIT (uPIT). Our results show that the proposed extensions help reducing permutation ambiguity. However, we also note that the studied STFT-based models are more effective at reducing permutation errors than waveform-based models, a perspective overlooked in recent studies.

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Enhancing Audio Augmentation Methods with Consistency Learning

Data augmentation is an inexpensive way to increase training data diversity and is commonly achieved via transformations of existing data. For tasks such as classification, there is a good case for learning representations of the data that are invariant to such transformations, yet this is not explicitly enforced by classification losses such as the cross-entropy loss. This paper investigates the use of training objectives that explicitly impose this consistency constraint and how it can impact downstream audio classification tasks. In the context of deep convolutional neural networks in the supervised setting, we show empirically that certain measures of consistency are not implicitly captured by the cross-entropy loss and that incorporating such measures into the loss function can improve the performance of audio classification systems. Put another way, we demonstrate how existing augmentation methods can further improve learning by enforcing consistency.

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Other Computer Science

Designing a Binary Clock using logic gates

Wristwatches have been a common fashion accessory addition for several people. However, the concept of using a seven-segment digital display or sometimes, even an analog indicator hasn't changed for a number of years. This project aims to test and design a binary clock, also referred to as 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1 clock or even 8, 4, 2, 1 clock (due to their display configuration), that could change this everlasting display for watches. Specifically, digital logic and design engineers would find interest in this topic due to the sophistication involved in reading-out the time. This project will do so using by showing each decimal digit of sexagesimal time as a binary value. This design will be primarily functioning on logic gates and would involve the use of several basic components that include, but are not limited to, integrated circuits (or ICs), Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and resistors.

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Practical application of the multi-model approach in the study of complex systems

Different kinds of models are used to study various natural and technical phenomena. Usually, the researcher is limited to using a certain kind of model approach, not using others (or even not realizing the existence of other model approaches). The authors believe that a complete study of a certain phenomenon should cover several model approaches. The paper describes several model approaches which we used in the study of the random early detection algorithm for active queue management. Both the model approaches themselves and their implementation and the results obtained are described.

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The Future of Artificial Intelligence and its Social, Economic and Ethical Consequences

Recent development in AI has enabled the expansion of its application to multiple domains. From medical treatment, gaming, manufacturing to daily business processes. A huge amount of money has been poured into AI research due to its exciting discoveries. Technology giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Baidu are the driving forces in the field today. But the rapid growth and excitement that the technology offers obscure us from looking at the impact it brings on our society. This short paper gives a brief history of AI and summarizes various social, economic and ethical issues that are impacting our society today. We hope that this work will provide a useful starting point and perhaps reference for newcomers and stakeholders of the field.

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General Literature

From the digital data revolution to digital health and digital economy toward a digital society: Pervasiveness of Artificial Intelligence

Technological progress has led to powerful computers and communication technologies that penetrate nowadays all areas of science, industry and our private lives. As a consequence, all these areas are generating digital traces of data amounting to big data resources. This opens unprecedented opportunities but also challenges toward the analysis, management, interpretation and utilization of these data. Fortunately, recent breakthroughs in deep learning algorithms complement now machine learning and statistics methods for an efficient analysis of such data. Furthermore, advances in text mining and natural language processing, e.g., word-embedding methods, enable also the processing of large amounts of text data from diverse sources as governmental reports, blog entries in social media or clinical health records of patients. In this paper, we present a perspective on the role of artificial intelligence in these developments and discuss also potential problems we are facing in a digital society.

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Sulla decifratura di Enigma -- Come un reverendo del XVIII secolo contribuì alla sconfitta degli U-boot tedeschi durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale

This article, written in Italian language, explores the contribution given by Bayes' rule and by subjective probability in the work at Bletchley Park towards cracking Enigma cyphered messages during WWII. -- In questo articolo, scritto in Italiano, esploriamo il contributo dato dal teorema di Bayes e dalle idee della probabilità soggettiva nel lavoro compiuto a Bletchley Park che ha portato a decifrare i messaggi cifrati con macchine Enigma durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale.

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Kolmogorov's legacy: Algorithmic Theory of Informatics and Kolmogorov Programmable Technology

In this survey, we explore Andrei Nikolayevich Kolmogorov's seminal work in just one of his many facets: its influence Computer Science especially his viewpoint of what herein we call 'Algorithmic Theory of Informatics.' Can a computer file 'reduce' its 'size' if we add to it new symbols? Do equations of state like second Newton law in Physics exist in Computer Science? Can Leibniz' principle of identification by indistinguishability be formalized? In the computer, there are no coordinates, no distances, and no dimensions; most of traditional mathematical approaches do not work. The computer processes finite binary sequences i.e. the sequences of 0 and 1. A natural question arises: Should we continue today, as we have done for many years, to approach Computer Science problems by using classical mathematical apparatus such as 'mathematical modeling'? The first who drew attention to this question and gave insightful answers to it was Kolmogorov in 1960s. Kolmogorov's empirical postulate about existence of a program that translates 'a natural number into its binary record and the record into the number' formulated in 1958 represents a hint of Kolmogorov's approach to Computer Science. Following his ideas, we interpret Kolmogorov algorithm, Kolmogorov machine, and Kolmogorov complexity in the context of modern information technologies showing that they essentially represent fundamental elements of Algorithmic Theory of Informatics, Kolmogorov Programmable Technology, and new Komputer Mathematics i.e. Mathematics of computers.

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Mathematical Software

FastAD: Expression Template-Based C++ Library for Fast and Memory-Efficient Automatic Differentiation

Automatic differentiation is a set of techniques to efficiently and accurately compute the derivative of a function represented by a computer program. Existing C++ libraries for automatic differentiation (e.g. Adept, Stan Math Library), however, exhibit large memory consumptions and runtime performance issues. This paper introduces FastAD, a new C++ template library for automatic differentiation, that overcomes all of these challenges in existing libraries by using vectorization, simpler memory management using a fully expression-template-based design, and other compile-time optimizations to remove some run-time overhead. Benchmarks show that FastAD performs 2-10 times faster than Adept and 2-19 times faster than Stan across various test cases including a few real-world examples.

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Event-Based Automatic Differentiation of OpenMP with OpDiLib

We present the new software OpDiLib, a universal add-on for classical operator overloading AD tools that enables the automatic differentiation (AD) of OpenMP parallelized code. With it, we establish support for OpenMP features in a reverse mode operator overloading AD tool to an extent that was previously only reported on in source transformation tools. We achieve this with an event-based implementation ansatz that is unprecedented in AD. Combined with modern OpenMP features around OMPT, we demonstrate how it can be used to achieve differentiation without any additional modifications of the source code; neither do we impose a priori restrictions on the data access patterns, which makes OpDiLib highly applicable. For further performance optimizations, restrictions like atomic updates on the adjoint variables can be lifted in a fine-grained manner for any parts of the code. OpDiLib can also be applied in a semi-automatic fashion via a macro interface, which supports compilers that do not implement OMPT. In a detailed performance study, we demonstrate the applicability of OpDiLib for a pure operator overloading approach in a hybrid parallel environment. We quantify the cost of atomic updates on the adjoint vector and showcase the speedup and scaling that can be achieved with the different configurations of OpDiLib in both the forward and the reverse pass.

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An Empirical Analysis of the R Package Ecosystem

In this research, we present a comprehensive, longitudinal empirical summary of the R package ecosystem, including not just CRAN, but also Bioconductor and GitHub. We analyze more than 25,000 packages, 150,000 releases, and 15 million files across two decades, providing comprehensive counts and trends for common metrics across packages, releases, authors, licenses, and other important metadata. We find that the historical growth of the ecosystem has been robust under all measures, with a compound annual growth rate of 29% for active packages, 28% for new releases, and 26% for active maintainers. As with many similar social systems, we find a number of highly right-skewed distributions with practical implications, including the distribution of releases per package, packages and releases per author or maintainer, package and maintainer dependency in-degree, and size per package and release. For example, the top five packages are imported by nearly 25% of all packages, and the top ten maintainers support packages that are imported by over half of all packages. We also highlight the dynamic nature of the ecosystem, recording both dramatic acceleration and notable deceleration in the growth of R. From a licensing perspective, we find a notable majority of packages are distributed under copyleft licensing or omit licensing information entirely. The data, methods, and calculations herein provide an anchor for public discourse and industry decisions related to R and CRAN, serving as a foundation for future research on the R software ecosystem and "data science" more broadly.

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Computational Geometry

Throwing a Sofa Through the Window

We study several variants of the problem of moving a convex polytope K , with n edges, in three dimensions through a flat rectangular (and sometimes more general) window. Specifically: ??We study variants where the motion is restricted to translations only, discuss situations where such a motion can be reduced to sliding (translation in a fixed direction), and present efficient algorithms for those variants, which run in time close to O( n 8/3 ) . ??We consider the case of a `gate' (an unbounded window with two parallel infinite edges), and show that K can pass through such a window, by any collision-free rigid motion, if and only if it can slide through it. ??We consider arbitrary compact convex windows, and show that if K can pass through such a window W (by any motion) then K can slide through a gate of width equal to the diameter of W . ??We study the case of a circular window W , and show that, for the regular tetrahedron K of edge length 1 , there are two thresholds 1> δ 1 ??.901388> δ 2 ??.895611 , such that (a) K can slide through W if the diameter d of W is ?? , (b) K cannot slide through W but can pass through it by a purely translational motion when δ 1 ?�d<1 , (c) K cannot pass through W by a purely translational motion but can do it when rotations are allowed when δ 2 ?�d< δ 1 , and (d) K cannot pass through W at all when d< δ 2 . ??Finally, we explore the general setup, where we want to plan a general motion (with all six degrees of freedom) for K through a rectangular window W , and present an efficient algorithm for this problem, with running time close to O( n 4 ) .

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The Maximum Exposure Problem

Given a set of points P and axis-aligned rectangles R in the plane, a point p?�P is called \emph{exposed} if it lies outside all rectangles in R . In the \emph{max-exposure problem}, given an integer parameter k , we want to delete k rectangles from R so as to maximize the number of exposed points. We show that the problem is NP-hard and assuming plausible complexity conjectures is also hard to approximate even when rectangles in R are translates of two fixed rectangles. However, if R only consists of translates of a single rectangle, we present a polynomial-time approximation scheme. For range space defined by general rectangles, we present a simple O(k) bicriteria approximation algorithm; that is by deleting O( k 2 ) rectangles, we can expose at least Ω(1/k) of the optimal number of points.

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Foldover-free maps in 50 lines of code

Mapping a triangulated surface to 2D space (or a tetrahedral mesh to 3D space) is the most fundamental problem in geometry this http URL computational physics, untangling plays an important role in mesh generation: it takes a mesh as an input, and moves the vertices to get rid of this http URL fact, mesh untangling can be considered as a special case of mapping where the geometry of the object is to be defined in the map space and the geometric domain is not explicit, supposing that each element is this http URL this paper, we propose a mapping method inspired by the untangling problem and compare its performance to the state of the art.The main advantage of our method is that the untangling aims at producing locally injective maps, which is the major challenge of this http URL practice, our method produces locally injective maps in very difficult settings, and with less distortion than the previous work, both in 2D and 3D. We demonstrate it on a large reference database as well as on more difficult stress tests.For a better reproducibility, we publish the code in Python for a basic evaluation, and in C++ for more advanced applications.

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Human Computer Interaction

A Study on the Manifestation of Trust in Speech

Research has shown that trust is an essential aspect of human-computer interaction directly determining the degree to which the person is willing to use a system. An automatic prediction of the level of trust that a user has on a certain system could be used to attempt to correct potential distrust by having the system take relevant actions like, for example, apologizing or explaining its decisions. In this work, we explore the feasibility of automatically detecting the level of trust that a user has on a virtual assistant (VA) based on their speech. We developed a novel protocol for collecting speech data from subjects induced to have different degrees of trust in the skills of a VA. The protocol consists of an interactive session where the subject is asked to respond to a series of factual questions with the help of a virtual assistant. In order to induce subjects to either trust or distrust the VA's skills, they are first informed that the VA was previously rated by other users as being either good or bad; subsequently, the VA answers the subjects' questions consistently to its alleged abilities. All interactions are speech-based, with subjects and VAs communicating verbally, which allows the recording of speech produced under different trust conditions. Using this protocol, we collected a speech corpus in Argentine Spanish. We show clear evidence that the protocol effectively succeeded in influencing subjects into the desired mental state of either trusting or distrusting the agent's skills, and present results of a perceptual study of the degree of trust performed by expert listeners. Finally, we found that the subject's speech can be used to detect which type of VA they were using, which could be considered a proxy for the user's trust toward the VA's abilities, with an accuracy up to 76%, compared to a random baseline of 50%.

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Hallmarks of Human-Machine Collaboration: A framework for assessment in the DARPA Communicating with Computers Program

There is a growing desire to create computer systems that can communicate effectively to collaborate with humans on complex, open-ended activities. Assessing these systems presents significant challenges. We describe a framework for evaluating systems engaged in open-ended complex scenarios where evaluators do not have the luxury of comparing performance to a single right answer. This framework has been used to evaluate human-machine creative collaborations across story and music generation, interactive block building, and exploration of molecular mechanisms in cancer. These activities are fundamentally different from the more constrained tasks performed by most contemporary personal assistants as they are generally open-ended, with no single correct solution, and often no obvious completion criteria. We identified the Key Properties that must be exhibited by successful systems. From there we identified "Hallmarks" of success -- capabilities and features that evaluators can observe that would be indicative of progress toward achieving a Key Property. In addition to being a framework for assessment, the Key Properties and Hallmarks are intended to serve as goals in guiding research direction.

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HumanACGAN: conditional generative adversarial network with human-based auxiliary classifier and its evaluation in phoneme perception

We propose a conditional generative adversarial network (GAN) incorporating humans' perceptual evaluations. A deep neural network (DNN)-based generator of a GAN can represent a real-data distribution accurately but can never represent a human-acceptable distribution, which are ranges of data in which humans accept the naturalness regardless of whether the data are real or not. A HumanGAN was proposed to model the human-acceptable distribution. A DNN-based generator is trained using a human-based discriminator, i.e., humans' perceptual evaluations, instead of the GAN's DNN-based discriminator. However, the HumanGAN cannot represent conditional distributions. This paper proposes the HumanACGAN, a theoretical extension of the HumanGAN, to deal with conditional human-acceptable distributions. Our HumanACGAN trains a DNN-based conditional generator by regarding humans as not only a discriminator but also an auxiliary classifier. The generator is trained by deceiving the human-based discriminator that scores the unconditioned naturalness and the human-based classifier that scores the class-conditioned perceptual acceptability. The training can be executed using the backpropagation algorithm involving humans' perceptual evaluations. Our experimental results in phoneme perception demonstrate that our HumanACGAN can successfully train this conditional generator.

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Information Theory

Constrained Secrecy Capacity of Finite-Input Intersymbol Interference Wiretap Channels

We consider reliable and secure communication over intersymbol interference wiretap channels (ISI-WTCs). In particular, we first examine the setup where the source at the input of an ISI-WTC is unconstrained and then, based on a general achievability result for arbitrary wiretap channels, we derive an achievable secure information rate for this ISI-WTC. Afterwards, we examine the setup where the source at the input of an ISI-WTC is constrained to be a finite-state machine source (FSMS) of a certain order and structure. Optimizing the parameters of this FSMS toward maximizing the secure information rate is a computationally intractable problem in general, and so, toward finding a local maximum, we propose an iterative algorithm that at every iteration replaces the secure information rate function by a suitable surrogate function whose maximum can be found efficiently. Although the secure information rates achieved in the unconstrained setup are expected to be larger than the secure information rates achieved in the constrained setup, the latter setup has the advantage of leading to efficient algorithms for estimating achievable secure rates and also has the benefit of being the basis of efficient encoding and decoding schemes.

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The Exact Rate Memory Tradeoff for Small Caches with Coded Placement

The idea of coded caching was introduced by Maddah-Ali and Niesen who demonstrated the advantages of coding in caching problems. To capture the essence of the problem, they introduced the (N,K) canonical cache network in which K users with independent caches of size M request files from a server that has N files. Among other results, the caching scheme and lower bounds proposed by them led to a characterization of the exact rate memory tradeoff when M??N K (K??) . These lower bounds along with the caching scheme proposed by Chen et al. led to a characterization of the exact rate memory tradeoff when M??1 K . In this paper we focus on small caches where M?�[0, N K ] and derive new lower bounds. For the case when ??K+1 2 ?�≤N?�K and M?�[ 1 K , N K(N??) ] , our lower bounds demonstrate that the caching scheme introduced by G{ó}mez-Vilardeb{ó} is optimal and thus extend the characterization of the exact rate memory tradeoff. For the case 1?�N?��? K+1 2 ??, we show that the new lower bounds improve upon the previously known lower bounds.

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Moving Object Classification with a Sub-6 GHz Massive MIMO Array using Real Data

Classification between different activities in an indoor environment using wireless signals is an emerging technology for various applications, including intrusion detection, patient care, and smart home. Researchers have shown different methods to classify activities and their potential benefits by utilizing WiFi signals. In this paper, we analyze classification of moving objects by employing machine learning on real data from a massive multi-input-multi-output (MIMO) system in an indoor environment. We conduct measurements for different activities in both line-of-sight and non line-of-sight scenarios with a massive MIMO testbed operating at 3.7 GHz. We propose algorithms to exploit amplitude and phase-based features classification task. For the considered setup, we benchmark the classification performance and show that we can achieve up to 98% accuracy using real massive MIMO data, even with a small number of experiments. Furthermore, we demonstrate the gain in performance results with a massive MIMO system as compared with that of a limited number of antennas such as in WiFi devices.

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Computational Engineering Finance and Science

Two-grid method on unstructured tetrahedra: Applying computational geometry to staggered solution of coupled flow and mechanics problems

We develop a computational framework that leverages the features of sophisticated software tools and numerics to tackle some of the pressing issues in the realm of earth sciences. The algorithms to handle the physics of multiphase flow, concomitant geomechanics all the way to the surface of the earth and the complex geometries of field cases with surfaces of discontinuity are stacked on top of each other in a modular fashion which allows for easy use to the end user. The current focus of the framework is to provide the user with tools for assessing seismic risks associated with energy technologies as well as for use in generating forward simulations in inversion analysis from data obtained using GPS and InSAR. In this work, we focus on one critical aspect in the development of the framework: the use of computational geometry in a two-grid method for unstructured tetrahedral meshes

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A simple artificial damping method for total Lagrangian smoothed particle hydrodynamics

In this paper, we present a simple artificial damping method to enhance the robustness of total Lagrangian smoothed particle hydrodynamics (TL-SPH). Specifically, an artificial damping stress based on the Kelvin-Voigt type damper with a scaling factor imitating a von Neumann-Richtmyer type artificial viscosity is introduced in the constitutive equation to alleviate the spurious oscillation in the vicinity of the sharp spatial gradients. After validating the robustness and accuracy of the present method with a set of benchmark tests with very challenging cases, we demonstrate its potentials in the field of bio-mechanics by simulating the deformation of complex stent structures.

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A Data-Driven Approach to Violin Making

Of all the characteristics of a violin, those that concern its shape are probably the most important ones, as the violin maker has complete control over them. Contemporary violin making, however, is still based more on tradition than understanding, and a definitive scientific study of the specific relations that exist between shape and vibrational properties is yet to come and sorely missed. In this article, using standard statistical learning tools, we show that the modal frequencies of violin tops can, in fact, be predicted from geometric parameters, and that artificial intelligence can be successfully applied to traditional violin making. We also study how modal frequencies vary with the thicknesses of the plate (a process often referred to as {\em plate tuning}) and discuss the complexity of this dependency. Finally, we propose a predictive tool for plate tuning, which takes into account material and geometric parameters.

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Information Retrieval

CNN Application in Detection of Privileged Documents in Legal Document Review

Protecting privileged communications and data from disclosure is paramount for legal teams. Legal advice, such as attorney-client communications or litigation strategy are typically exempt from disclosure in litigations or regulatory events and are vital to the attorney-client relationship. To protect this information from disclosure, companies and outside counsel often review vast amounts of documents to determine those that contain privileged material. This process is extremely costly and time consuming. As data volumes increase, legal counsel normally employs methods to reduce the number of documents requiring review while balancing the need to ensure the protection of privileged information. Keyword searching is relied upon as a method to target privileged information and reduce document review populations. Keyword searches are effective at casting a wide net but often return overly inclusive results - most of which do not contain privileged information. To overcome the weaknesses of keyword searching, legal teams increasingly are using machine learning techniques to target privileged information. In these studies, classic text classification techniques are applied to build classification models to identify privileged documents. In this paper, the authors propose a different method by applying machine learning / convolutional neural network techniques (CNN) to identify privileged documents. Our proposed method combines keyword searching with CNN. For each keyword term, a CNN model is created using the context of the occurrences of the keyword. In addition, a method was proposed to select reliable privileged (positive) training keyword occurrences from labeled positive training documents. Extensive experiments were conducted, and the results show that the proposed methods can significantly reduce false positives while still capturing most of the true positives.

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MaskNet: Introducing Feature-Wise Multiplication to CTR Ranking Models by Instance-Guided Mask

Click-Through Rate(CTR) estimation has become one of the most fundamental tasks in many real-world applications and it's important for ranking models to effectively capture complex high-order features. Shallow feed-forward network is widely used in many state-of-the-art DNN models such as FNN, DeepFM and xDeepFM to implicitly capture high-order feature interactions. However, some research has proved that addictive feature interaction, particular feed-forward neural networks, is inefficient in capturing common feature interaction. To resolve this problem, we introduce specific multiplicative operation into DNN ranking system by proposing instance-guided mask which performs element-wise product both on the feature embedding and feed-forward layers guided by input instance. We also turn the feed-forward layer in DNN model into a mixture of addictive and multiplicative feature interactions by proposing MaskBlock in this paper. MaskBlock combines the layer normalization, instance-guided mask, and feed-forward layer and it is a basic building block to be used to design new ranking model under various configurations. The model consisting of MaskBlock is called MaskNet in this paper and two new MaskNet models are proposed to show the effectiveness of MaskBlock as basic building block for composing high performance ranking systems. The experiment results on three real-world datasets demonstrate that our proposed MaskNet models outperform state-of-the-art models such as DeepFM and xDeepFM significantly, which implies MaskBlock is an effective basic building unit for composing new high performance ranking systems.

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FedGNN: Federated Graph Neural Network for Privacy-Preserving Recommendation

Graph neural network (GNN) is widely used for recommendation to model high-order interactions between users and items. Existing GNN-based recommendation methods rely on centralized storage of user-item graphs and centralized model learning. However, user data is privacy-sensitive, and the centralized storage of user-item graphs may arouse privacy concerns and risk. In this paper, we propose a federated framework for privacy-preserving GNN-based recommendation, which can collectively train GNN models from decentralized user data and meanwhile exploit high-order user-item interaction information with privacy well protected. In our method, we locally train GNN model in each user client based on the user-item graph inferred from the local user-item interaction data. Each client uploads the local gradients of GNN to a server for aggregation, which are further sent to user clients for updating local GNN models. Since local gradients may contain private information, we apply local differential privacy techniques to the local gradients to protect user privacy. In addition, in order to protect the items that users have interactions with, we propose to incorporate randomly sampled items as pseudo interacted items for anonymity. To incorporate high-order user-item interactions, we propose a user-item graph expansion method that can find neighboring users with co-interacted items and exchange their embeddings for expanding the local user-item graphs in a privacy-preserving way. Extensive experiments on six benchmark datasets validate that our approach can achieve competitive results with existing centralized GNN-based recommendation methods and meanwhile effectively protect user privacy.

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Logic in Computer Science

An Interactive Proof of Termination for a Concurrent λ -calculus with References and Explicit Substitutions

In this paper we introduce a typed, concurrent λ -calculus with references featuring explicit substitutions for variables and references. Alongside usual safety properties, we recover strong normalization. The proof is based on a reducibility technique and an original interactive property reminiscent of the Game Semantics approach.

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From Matching Logic To Parallel Imperative Language Verification

Program verification is to develop the program's proof system, and to prove the proof system soundness with respect to a trusted operational semantics of the program. However, many practical program verifiers are not based on operational semantics and can't seriously validate the program. Matching logic is proposed to make program verification based on operational semantics. In this paper, following Grigore Ro{?}u 's work, we consider matching logic for parallel imperative language(PIMP). According to our investigation, this paper is the first study on matching logic for PIMP. In our matching logic, we redefine "interference-free" to character parallel rule and prove the soundness of matching logic to the operational semantics of PIMP. We also link PIMP's operational semantics and PIMP's verification formally by constructing a matching logic verifier for PIMP which executes rewriting logic semantics symbolically on configuration patterns and is sound and complete to matching logic for PIMP. That is our matching logic verifier for PIMP is sound to the operational semantics of PIMP. Finally, we also verify the matching logic verifier through an example which is a standard problem in parallel programming.

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Injective Objects and Fibered Codensity Liftings

Functor lifting along a fibration is used for several different purposes in computer science. In the theory of coalgebras, it is used to define coinductive predicates, such as simulation preorder and bisimilarity. Codensity lifting is a scheme to obtain a functor lifting along a fibration. It generalizes a few previous lifting schemes including the Kantorovich lifting. In this paper, we seek a property of functor lifting called fiberedness. Hinted by a known result for Kantorovich lifting, we identify a sufficient condition for a codensity lifting to be fibered. We see that this condition applies to many examples that have been studied. As an application, we derive some results on bisimilarity-like notions.

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Formal Languages and Automata Theory

Regular Model Checking Approach to Knowledge Reasoning over Parameterized Systems (technical report)

We present a general framework for modelling and verifying epistemic properties over parameterized multi-agent systems that communicate by truthful public announcements. In our framework, the number of agents or the amount of certain resources are parameterized (i.e. not known a priori), and the corresponding verification problem asks whether a given epistemic property is true regardless of the instantiation of the parameters. For example, in a muddy children puzzle, one could ask whether each child will eventually find out whether (s)he is muddy, regardless of the number of children. Our framework is regular model checking (RMC)-based, wherein synchronous finite-state automata (equivalently, monadic second-order logic over words) are used to specify the systems. We propose an extension of public announcement logic as specification language. Of special interests is the addition of the so-called iterated public announcement operators, which are crucial for reasoning about knowledge in parameterized systems. Although the operators make the model checking problem undecidable, we show that this becomes decidable when an appropriate "disappearance relation" is given. Further, we show how Angluin's L*-algorithm for learning finite automata can be applied to find a disappearance relation, which is guaranteed to terminate if it is regular. We have implemented the algorithm and apply this to such examples as the Muddy Children Puzzle, the Russian Card Problem, and Large Number Challenge.

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Lie complexity of words

Given a finite alphabet Σ and a right-infinite word w over Σ , we define the Lie complexity function L w :N?�N , whose value at n is the number of conjugacy classes (under cyclic shift) of length- n factors x of w with the property that every element of the conjugacy class appears in w . We show that the Lie complexity function is uniformly bounded for words with linear factor complexity, and as a result we show that words of linear factor complexity have at most finitely many primitive factors y with the property that y n is again a factor for every n . We then look at automatic sequences and show that the Lie complexity function of a k -automatic sequence is again k -automatic.

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Parallel Hyperedge Replacement String Languages

There are many open questions surrounding the characterisation of groups with context-sensitive word problem. Only in 2018 was it shown that all finitely generated virtually Abelian groups have multiple context-free word problems, and it is a long-standing open question as to where to place the word problems of hyperbolic groups in the formal language hierarchy. In this paper, we introduce a new language class called the parallel hyperedge replacement string languages, show that it contains all multiple context-free and ET0L languages, and lay down the foundations for future work that may be able to place the word problems of many hyperbolic groups in this class.

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Computer Science and Game Theory

A Game Theoretic Framework for Surplus Food Distribution in Smart Cities and Beyond

Food waste is a major challenge for the present world. It is the precursor to several socioeconomic problems that are plaguing the modern society. To counter the same and to, simultaneously, stand by the undernourished, surplus food redistribution has surfaced as a viable solution. Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-mediated food redistribution is a highly scalable approach and it percolates into the masses far better. Even if ICT is not brought into the picture, the presence of food surplus redistribution in developing countries like India is scarce and is limited to only a few of the major cities. The discussion of a surplus food redistribution framework under strategic settings is a less discussed topic around the globe. This paper aims at addressing a surplus food redistribution framework under strategic settings, thereby facilitating a smoother exchange of surplus food in the smart cities of developing countries, and beyond. As ICT is seamlessly available in smart cities, the paper aims to focus the framework in these cities. However, this can be extended beyond the smart cities to places with greater human involvement.

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Best-of-Both-Worlds Fair-Share Allocations

We consider the problem of fair allocation of indivisible items among n agents with additive valuations, when agents have equal entitlements to the goods, and there are no transfers. Best-of-Both-Worlds (BoBW) fairness mechanisms aim to give all agents both an ex-ante guarantee (such as getting the proportional share in expectation) and an ex-post guarantee. Prior BoBW results have focused on ex-post guarantees that are based on the "up to one item" paradigm, such as envy-free up to one item (EF1). In this work we attempt to give every agent a high value ex-post, and specifically, a constant fraction of his maximin share (MMS). The up to one item paradigm fails to give such a guarantee, and it is not difficult to present examples in which previous BoBW mechanisms give agents only a 1 n fraction of their MMS. Our main result is a deterministic polynomial time algorithm that computes a distribution over allocations that is ex-ante proportional, and ex-post, every allocation gives every agent at least his proportional share up to one item, and more importantly, at least half of his MMS. Moreover, this last ex-post guarantee holds even with respect to a more demanding notion of a share, introduced in this paper, that we refer to as the truncated proportional share (TPS). Our guarantees are nearly best possible, in the sense that one cannot guarantee agents more than their proportional share ex-ante, and one cannot guarantee agents more than a n 2n?? fraction of their TPS ex-post.

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A Generic Strategy Iteration Method for Simple Stochastic Games

We present a generic strategy iteration algorithm (GSIA) to find an optimal strategy of a simple stochastic game (SSG). We prove the correctness of GSIA, and derive a general complexity bound, which implies and improves on the results of several articles. First, we remove the assumption that the SSG is stopping, which is usually obtained by a polynomial blowup of the game. Second, we prove a tight bound on the denominator of the values associated to a strategy, and use it to prove that all strategy iteration algorithms are in fact fixed parameter tractable in the number of random vertices. All known strategy iteration algorithms can be seen as instances of GSIA, which allows to analyze the complexity of converge from below by Condon and to propose a class of algorithms generalising Gimbert and Horn's algorithm. These algorithms require less than r! iterations in general and less iterations than the current best deterministic algorithm for binary SSGs given by Ibsen-Jensen and Miltersen.

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Software Engineering

The Diversity of Gamification Evaluation in the Software Engineering Education and Industry: Trends, Comparisons and Gaps

Gamification has been used to motivate and engage participants in software engineering education and practice activities. There is a significant demand for empirical studies for the understanding of the impacts and efficacy of gamification. However, the lack of standard procedures and models for the evaluation of gamification is a challenge for the design, comparison, and report of results related to the assessment of gamification approaches and its effects. The goal of this study is to identify models and strategies for the evaluation of gamification reported in the literature. To achieve this goal, we conducted a systematic mapping study to investigate strategies for the evaluation of gamification in the context of software engineering. We selected 100 primary studies on gamification in software engineering (from 2011 to 2020). We categorized the studies regarding the presence of evaluation procedures or models for the evaluation of gamification, the purpose of the evaluation, the criteria used, the type of data, instruments, and procedures for data analysis. Our results show that 64 studies report procedures for the evaluation of gamification. However, only three studies actually propose evaluation models for gamification. We observed that the evaluation of gamification focuses on two aspects: the evaluation of the gamification strategy itself, related to the user experience and perceptions; and the evaluation of the outcomes and effects of gamification on its users and context. The most recurring criteria for the evaluation are 'engagement', 'motivation', 'satisfaction', and 'performance'. Finally, the evaluation of gamification requires a mix of subjective and objective inputs, and qualitative and quantitative data analysis approaches. Depending of the focus of the evaluation (the strategy or the outcomes), there is a predominance of a type of data and analysis.

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Learning How to Search: Generating Effective Test Cases Through Adaptive Fitness Function Selection

Search-based test generation is guided by feedback from one or more fitness functions - scoring functions that judge solution optimality. Choosing informative fitness functions is crucial to meeting the goals of a tester. Unfortunately, many goals - such as forcing the class-under-test to throw exceptions, increasing test suite diversity, and attaining Strong Mutation Coverage - do not have effective fitness function formulations. We propose that meeting such goals requires treating fitness function identification as a secondary optimization step. An adaptive algorithm that can vary the selection of fitness functions could adjust its selection throughout the generation process to maximize goal attainment, based on the current population of test suites. To test this hypothesis, we have implemented two reinforcement learning algorithms in the EvoSuite unit test generation framework, and used these algorithms to dynamically set the fitness functions used during generation for the three goals identified above. We have evaluated our framework, EvoSuiteFIT, on a set of real Java case examples. EvoSuiteFIT techniques attain significant improvements for two of the three goals, and show small improvements on the third when the number of generations of evolution is fixed. Additionally, for all goals, EvoSuiteFIT detects faults missed by the other techniques. The ability to adjust fitness functions allows EvoSuiteFIT to make strategic choices that efficiently produce more effective test suites, and examining its choices offers insight into how to attain our testing goals. We find that AFFS is a powerful technique to apply when an effective fitness function does not already exist for generating tests to achieve a testing goal.

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Academic Source Code Plagiarism Detection by Measuring Program Behavioural Similarity

Source code plagiarism is a long-standing issue in tertiary computer science education. Many source code plagiarism detection tools have been proposed to aid in the detection of source code plagiarism. However, existing detection tools are not robust to pervasive plagiarism-hiding transformations, and as a result can be inaccurate in the detection of plagiarised source code. This article presents BPlag, a behavioural approach to source code plagiarism detection. BPlag is designed to be both robust to pervasive plagiarism-hiding transformations, and accurate in the detection of plagiarised source code. Greater robustness and accuracy is afforded by analysing the behaviour of a program, as behaviour is perceived to be the least susceptible aspect of a program impacted upon by plagiarism-hiding transformations. BPlag applies symbolic execution to analyse execution behaviour and represent a program in a novel graph-based format. Plagiarism is then detected by comparing these graphs and evaluating similarity scores. BPlag is evaluated for robustness, accuracy and efficiency against 5 commonly used source code plagiarism detection tools. It is then shown that BPlag is more robust to plagiarism-hiding transformations and more accurate in the detection of plagiarised source code, but is less efficient than compared tools.

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Cryptography and Security

Making Paper Reviewing Robust to Bid Manipulation Attacks

Most computer science conferences rely on paper bidding to assign reviewers to papers. Although paper bidding enables high-quality assignments in days of unprecedented submission numbers, it also opens the door for dishonest reviewers to adversarially influence paper reviewing assignments. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some reviewers bid on papers by "friends" or colluding authors, even though these papers are outside their area of expertise, and recommend them for acceptance without considering the merit of the work. In this paper, we study the efficacy of such bid manipulation attacks and find that, indeed, they can jeopardize the integrity of the review process. We develop a novel approach for paper bidding and assignment that is much more robust against such attacks. We show empirically that our approach provides robustness even when dishonest reviewers collude, have full knowledge of the assignment system's internal workings, and have access to the system's inputs. In addition to being more robust, the quality of our paper review assignments is comparable to that of current, non-robust assignment approaches.

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AI-based Blackbox Code Deobfuscation: Understand, Improve and Mitigate

Code obfuscation aims at protecting Intellectual Property and other secrets embedded into software from being retrieved. Recent works leverage advances in artificial intelligence with the hope of getting blackbox deobfuscators completely immune to standard (whitebox) protection mechanisms. While promising, this new field of AI-based blackbox deobfuscation is still in its infancy. In this article we deepen the state of AI-based blackbox deobfuscation in three key directions: understand the current state-of-the-art, improve over it and design dedicated protection mechanisms. In particular, we define a novel generic framework for AI-based blackbox deobfuscation encompassing prior work and highlighting key components; we are the first to point out that the search space underlying code deobfuscation is too unstable for simulation-based methods (e.g., Monte Carlo Tres Search used in prior work) and advocate the use of robust methods such as S-metaheuritics; we propose the new optimized AI-based blackbox deobfuscator Xyntia which significantly outperforms prior work in terms of success rate (especially with small time budget) while being completely immune to the most recent anti-analysis code obfuscation methods; and finally we propose two novel protections against AI-based blackbox deobfuscation, allowing to counter Xyntia's powerful attacks.

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Synthesis of Winning Attacks on Communication Protocols using Supervisory Control Theory

There is an increasing need to study the vulnerability of communication protocols in distributed systems to malicious attacks that attempt to violate safety or liveness properties. In this paper, we propose a general methodology for formal synthesis of successful attacks against protocols where the attacker always eventually wins, called For-all attacks. This generalizes previous work on the synthesis of There-exists attacks, where the attacker can sometimes win. As we model protocols and system architectures by finite-state automata, our methodology employs the supervisory control theory of discrete event systems, which is well suited to pose and the synthesis of For-all attacks where the attacker has partial observability and controllability of the system events. We demonstrate our methodology using examples of man-in-the-middle attacks against the Alternating Bit Protocol and the Transmission Control Protocol.

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Emerging Technologies

Free-space optical neural network based on thermal atomic nonlinearity

As artificial neural networks (ANNs) continue to make strides in wide-ranging and diverse fields of technology, the search for more efficient hardware implementations beyond conventional electronics is gaining traction. In particular, optical implementations potentially offer extraordinary gains in terms of speed and reduced energy consumption due to intrinsic parallelism of free-space optics. At the same time, a physical nonlinearity, a crucial ingredient of an ANN, is not easy to realize in free-space optics, which restricts the potential of this platform. This problem is further exacerbated by the need to perform the nonlinear activation also in parallel for each data point to preserve the benefit of linear free-space optics. Here, we present a free-space optical ANN with diffraction-based linear weight summation and nonlinear activation enabled by the saturable absorption of thermal atoms. We demonstrate, via both simulation and experiment, image classification of handwritten digits using only a single layer and observed 6-percent improvement in classification accuracy due to the optical nonlinearity compared to a linear model. Our platform preserves the massive parallelism of free-space optics even with physical nonlinearity, and thus opens the way for novel designs and wider deployment of optical ANNs.

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Directed percolation and numerical stability of simulations of digital memcomputing machines

Digital memcomputing machines (DMMs) are a novel, non-Turing class of machines designed to solve combinatorial optimization problems. They can be physically realized with continuous-time, non-quantum dynamical systems with memory (time non-locality), whose ordinary differential equations (ODEs) can be numerically integrated on modern computers. Solutions of many hard problems have been reported by numerically integrating the ODEs of DMMs, showing substantial advantages over state-of-the-art solvers. To investigate the reasons behind the robustness and effectiveness of this method, we employ three explicit integration schemes (forward Euler, trapezoid and Runge-Kutta 4th order) with a constant time step, to solve 3-SAT instances with planted solutions. We show that, (i) even if most of the trajectories in the phase space are destroyed by numerical noise, the solution can still be achieved; (ii) the forward Euler method, although having the largest numerical error, solves the instances in the least amount of function evaluations; and (iii) when increasing the integration time step, the system undergoes a "solvable-unsolvable transition" at a critical threshold, which needs to decay at most as a power law with the problem size, to control the numerical errors. To explain these results, we model the dynamical behavior of DMMs as directed percolation of the state trajectory in the phase space in the presence of noise. This viewpoint clarifies the reasons behind their numerical robustness and provides an analytical understanding of the unsolvable-solvable transition. These results land further support to the usefulness of DMMs in the solution of hard combinatorial optimization problems.

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Multi-state MRAM cells for hardware neuromorphic computing

Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ) have been successfully applied in various sensing application and digital information storage technologies. Currently, a number of new potential applications of MTJs are being actively studied, including high-frequency electronics, energy harvesting or random number generators. Recently, MTJs have been also proposed in designs of a new platforms for unconventional or bio-inspired computing. In the present work, it is shown that serially connected MTJs forming a multi-state memory cell can be used in a hardware implementation of a neural computing device. A behavioral model of the multi-cell is proposed based on the experimentally determined MTJ parameters. The main purpose of the mutli-cell is the formation of the quantized weights of the network, which can be programmed using the proposed electronic circuit. Mutli-cells are connected to CMOS-based summing amplifier and sigmoid function generator, forming an artificial neuron. The operation of the designed network is tested using a recognition of the hand-written digits in 20x20 pixel matrix and shows detection ratio comparable to the software algorithm, using the weight stored in a multi-cell consisting of four MTJs or more.

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Neural and Evolutionary Computing

Optimal Static Mutation Strength Distributions for the (1+λ) Evolutionary Algorithm on OneMax

Most evolutionary algorithms have parameters, which allow a great flexibility in controlling their behavior and adapting them to new problems. To achieve the best performance, it is often needed to control some of the parameters during optimization, which gave rise to various parameter control methods. In recent works, however, similar advantages have been shown, and even proven, for sampling parameter values from certain, often heavy-tailed, fixed distributions. This produced a family of algorithms currently known as "fast evolution strategies" and "fast genetic algorithms". However, only little is known so far about the influence of these distributions on the performance of evolutionary algorithms, and about the relationships between (dynamic) parameter control and (static) parameter sampling. We contribute to the body of knowledge by presenting, for the first time, an algorithm that computes the optimal static distributions, which describe the mutation operator used in the well-known simple (1+λ) evolutionary algorithm on a classic benchmark problem OneMax. We show that, for large enough population sizes, such optimal distributions may be surprisingly complicated and counter-intuitive. We investigate certain properties of these distributions, and also evaluate the performance regrets of the (1+λ) evolutionary algorithm using commonly used mutation distributions.

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Evolving Neuronal Plasticity Rules using Cartesian Genetic Programming

We formulate the search for phenomenological models of synaptic plasticity as an optimization problem. We employ Cartesian genetic programming to evolve biologically plausible human-interpretable plasticity rules that allow a given network to successfully solve tasks from specific task families. While our evolving-to-learn approach can be applied to various learning paradigms, here we illustrate its power by evolving plasticity rules that allow a network to efficiently determine the first principal component of its input distribution. We demonstrate that the evolved rules perform competitively with known hand-designed solutions. We explore how the statistical properties of the datasets used during the evolutionary search influences the form of the plasticity rules and discover new rules which are adapted to the structure of the corresponding datasets.

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Deep Residual Learning in Spiking Neural Networks

Deep Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) present optimization difficulties for gradient-based approaches due to discrete binary activation and complex spatial-temporal dynamics. Considering the huge success of ResNet in deep learning, it would be natural to train deep SNNs with residual learning. Previous Spiking ResNet mimics the standard residual block in ANNs and simply replaces ReLU activation layers with spiking neurons, which suffers the degradation problem and can hardly implement residual learning. In this paper, we propose the spike-element-wise (SEW) ResNet to realize residual learning in deep SNNs. We prove that the SEW ResNet can easily implement identity mapping and overcome the vanishing/exploding gradient problems of Spiking ResNet. We evaluate our SEW ResNet on ImageNet and DVS Gesture datasets, and show that SEW ResNet outperforms the state-of-the-art directly trained SNNs in both accuracy and time-steps. Moreover, SEW ResNet can achieve higher performance by simply adding more layers, providing a simple method to train deep SNNs. To our best knowledge, this is the first time that directly training deep SNNs with more than 100 layers becomes possible.

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Multimedia

Multi-color balancing for correctly adjusting the intensity of target colors

In this paper, we propose a novel multi-color balance method for reducing color distortions caused by lighting effects. The proposed method allows us to adjust three target-colors chosen by a user in an input image so that each target color is the same as the corresponding destination (benchmark) one. In contrast, white balancing is a typical technique for reducing the color distortions, however, they cannot remove lighting effects on colors other than white. In an experiment, the proposed method is demonstrated to be able to remove lighting effects on selected three colors, and is compared with existing white balance adjustments.

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High-Capacity Reversible Data Hiding in Encrypted Image Using Pixel Predictions and Huffman Encoding

This paper proposes a high-capacity reversible data hiding scheme for encrypted images using pixel predictions and Huffman encoding. At the owner's side, we propose to generate the prediction-error histogram (PEH) of the original image using the median edge detector (MED). According to the prediction errors, we divide the pixels into independently encoding pixels and jointly encoding pixels. We then build an optimal Huffman tree to efficiently encode the prediction errors. Then the image is encrypted using the stream cipher and an image encryption key. We replace the lower bit-planes of the encrypted pixels with the Huffman codeword of their prediction error. The rest of the bit-planes are vacated as the embedding room. At the data hider's side, we locate the vacated room with the reference of the side information. We then encrypt the additional data using the data hiding key and embed it into the encrypted image. The proposed scheme is separable, namely, the receivers with different authentication can respectively conduct error-free data extraction and/or error-free image recovery. The results show that the embedding capacity of the proposed scheme is larger than previous RDHEI arts. Besides, the proposed scheme can provide high information security. Little detail of the original image can be discovered from the encrypted image by the unauthorized users.

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High-Capacity Reversible Data Hiding in Encrypted Images using Adaptive Encoding

With the popularization of digital information technology, the reversible data hiding in encrypted images (RDHEI) has gradually become the research hotspot of privacy protection in cloud storage. As a technology that can embed additional information in the encrypted domain, extract the embedded information correctly and recover the original image losslessly, RDHEI has received a lot of attention from researchers. To embed sufficient additional information in the encrypted image, a high-capacity RDHEI method using adaptive encoding is proposed in this paper. Firstly, the occurrence frequency of different prediction errors of the original image is calculated and the corresponding adaptive Huffman coding is generated. Then, the original image is encrypted and the encrypted pixels are marked with different Huffman codewords according to the prediction errors. Finally, additional information is embedded in the reserved room of marked pixels by bit substitution. Experimental results prove that the proposed method outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in embedding rate and can extract the embedded information correctly and recover the image losslessly.

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Computational Complexity

On the Power and Limitations of Branch and Cut

The Stabbing Planes proof system was introduced to model the reasoning carried out in practical mixed integer programming solvers. As a proof system, it is powerful enough to simulate Cutting Planes and to refute the Tseitin formulas -- certain unsatisfiable systems of linear equations mod 2 -- which are canonical hard examples for many algebraic proof systems. In a recent (and surprising) result, Dadush and Tiwari showed that these short refutations of the Tseitin formulas could be translated into quasi-polynomial size and depth Cutting Planes proofs, refuting a long-standing conjecture. This translation raises several interesting questions. First, whether all Stabbing Planes proofs can be efficiently simulated by Cutting Planes. This would allow for the substantial analysis done on the Cutting Planes system to be lifted to practical mixed integer programming solvers. Second, whether the quasi-polynomial depth of these proofs is inherent to Cutting Planes. In this paper we make progress towards answering both of these questions. First, we show that any Stabbing Planes proof with bounded coefficients SP* can be translated into Cutting Planes. As a consequence of the known lower bounds for Cutting Planes, this establishes the first exponential lower bounds on SP*. Using this translation, we extend the result of Dadush and Tiwari to show that Cutting Planes has short refutations of any unsatisfiable system of linear equations over a finite field. Like the Cutting Planes proofs of Dadush and Tiwari, our refutations also incur a quasi-polynomial blow-up in depth, and we conjecture that this is inherent. As a step towards this conjecture, we develop a new geometric technique for proving lower bounds on the depth of Cutting Planes proofs. This allows us to establish the first lower bounds on the depth of Semantic Cutting Planes proofs of the Tseitin formulas.

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Placing Green Bridges Optimally, with a Multivariate Analysis

We study the problem of placing wildlife crossings, such as green bridges, over human-made obstacles to challenge habitat fragmentation. The main task herein is, given a graph describing habitats or routes of wildlife animals and possibilities of building green bridges, to find a low-cost placement of green bridges that connects the habitats. We develop different problem models for this task and study them from a computational complexity and parameterized algorithmics perspective.

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A full complexity dichotomy for immanant families

Given an integer n?? and an irreducible character ? λ of S n for some partition λ of n , the immanant imm λ : C n?n ?�C maps matrices A??C n?n to imm λ (A)= ?????S n ? λ (?) ??n i=1 A i,?(i) . Important special cases include the determinant and permanent, which are the immanants associated with the sign and trivial character, respectively. It is known that immanants can be evaluated in polynomial time for characters that are close to the sign character: Given a partition λ of n with s parts, let b(λ):=n?�s count the boxes to the right of the first column in the Young diagram of λ . For a family of partitions ? , let b(?):= max λ?��?b(λ) and write Imm (?) for the problem of evaluating imm λ (A) on input A and λ?��?. If b(?)<??, then Imm (?) is known to be polynomial-time computable. This subsumes the case of the determinant. On the other hand, if b(?)=??, then previously known hardness results suggest that Imm (?) cannot be solved in polynomial time. However, these results only address certain restricted classes of families ? . In this paper, we show that the parameterized complexity assumption FPT ??#W[1] rules out polynomial-time algorithms for Imm (?) for any computationally reasonable family of partitions ? with b(?)=??. We give an analogous result in algebraic complexity under the assumption VFPT ??VW[1]. Furthermore, if b(λ) even grows polynomially in ? , we show that Imm (?) is hard for #P and VNP. This concludes a series of partial results on the complexity of immanants obtained over the last 35 years.

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Discrete Mathematics

Prophet Inequality Matching Meets Probing with Commitment

Within the context of stochastic probing with commitment, we consider the online stochastic matching problem for bipartite graphs where edges adjacent to an online node must be probed to determine if they exist, based on known edge probabilities. If a probed edge exists, it must be used in the matching (if possible). In addition to improving upon existing stochastic bipartite matching results, our results can also be seen as extensions to multi-item prophet inequalities. We study this matching problem for given constraints on the allowable sequences of probes adjacent to an online node. Our setting generalizes the patience (or time-out) constraint which limits the number of probes that can be made to edges. The generality of our setting leads to some modelling and computational efficiency issues that are not encountered in previous works. We establish new competitive bounds all of which generalize the standard non-stochastic setting when edges do not need to be probed (i.e., exist with certainty). Specifically, we establish the following competitive ratio results for a general formulation of edge constraints, arbitrary edge weights, and arbitrary edge probabilities: (1) A tight 1 2 ratio when the stochastic graph is generated from a known stochastic type graph where the ?(i ) th online node is drawn independently from a known distribution D ?(i) and ? is chosen adversarially. We refer to this setting as the known i.d. stochastic matching problem with adversarial arrivals. (2) A 1??/e ratio when the stochastic graph is generated from a known stochastic type graph where the ?(i ) th online node is drawn independently from a known distribution D ?(i) and ? is a random permutation. This is referred to as the known i.d. stochastic matching problem with random order arrivals.

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A strongly universal cellular automaton on the heptagrid with seven states

In this paper, we prove that there is a strongly universal cellular automaton on the heptagrid with seven states which is rotation invariant. This improves a previous paper of the author where the automaton required ten states.

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On the Broadcast Independence Number of Circulant Graphs

An independent broadcast on a graph G is a function f:V?�{0,??diam(G)} such that (i) f(v)?�e(v) for every vertex v?�V(G) , where diam(G) denotes the diameter of G and e(v) the eccentricity of vertex v , and (ii) d(u,v)>max{f(u),f(v)} for every two distinct vertices u and v with f(u)f(v)>0 . The broadcast independence number β b (G) of G is then the maximum value of ??v?�V f(v) , taken over all independent broadcasts on G . We prove that every circulant graph of the form C(n;1,a) , 3?�a?��? n 2 ??, admits an optimal 2 -bounded independent broadcast, that is, an independent broadcast~ f satisfying f(v)?? for every vertex v , except when n=2a+1 , or n=2a and a is even. We then determine the broadcast independence number of various classes of such circulant graphs, and prove that, for most of these classes, the equality β b (C(n;1,a))=α(C(n;1,a)) holds, where α(C(n;1,a)) denotes the independence number of C(n;1,a) .

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