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Comparative Analysis in Acquisition of Coding Skills

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Students learn in various ways \u2014 visualization, auditory, memorizing, or making analogies. Traditional lecturing in engineering courses and the learning styles of engineering students are inharmonious causing students to be at a disadvantage based on their learning style (Felder &

Students learn in various ways \u2014 visualization, auditory, memorizing, or making analogies. Traditional lecturing in engineering courses and the learning styles of engineering students are inharmonious causing students to be at a disadvantage based on their learning style (Felder & Silverman, 1988). My study analyzes the traditional approach to learning coding skills which is unnatural to engineering students with no previous exposure and examining if visual learning enhances introductory computer science education. Visual and text-based learning are evaluated to determine how students learn introductory coding skills and associated problem solving skills. My study was conducted to observe how the two types of learning aid the students in learning how to problem solve as well as how much knowledge can be obtained in a short period of time. The application used for visual learning was Scratch and Repl.it was used for text-based learning. Two exams were made to measure the progress made by each student. The topics covered by the exam were initialization, variable reassignment, output, if statements, if else statements, nested if statements, logical operators, arrays/lists, while loop, type casting, functions, object orientation, and sorting. Analysis of the data collected in the study allow us to observe whether the traditional method of teaching programming or block-based programming is more beneficial and in what topics of introductory computer science concepts.

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2018-05

Enhancing Student Learning Through Adaptive Sentence Generation

Description

Education of any skill based subject, such as mathematics or language, involves a significant amount of repetition and pratice. According to the National Survey of Student Engagements, students spend on average 17 hours per week reviewing and practicing material previously

Education of any skill based subject, such as mathematics or language, involves a significant amount of repetition and pratice. According to the National Survey of Student Engagements, students spend on average 17 hours per week reviewing and practicing material previously learned in a classroom, with higher performing students showing a tendency to spend more time practicing. As such, learning software has emerged in the past several decades focusing on providing a wide range of examples, practice problems, and situations for users to exercise their skills. Notably, math students have benefited from software that procedurally generates a virtually infinite number of practice problems and their corresponding solutions. This allows for instantaneous feedback and automatic generation of tests and quizzes. Of course, this is only possible because software is capable of generating and verifying a virtually endless supply of sample problems across a wide range of topics within mathematics. While English learning software has progressed in a similar manner, it faces a series of hurdles distinctly different from those of mathematics. In particular, there is a wide range of exception cases present in English grammar. Some words have unique spellings for their plural forms, some words have identical spelling for plural forms, and some words are conjugated differently for only one particular tense or person-of-speech. These issues combined make the problem of generating grammatically correct sentences complicated. To compound to this problem, the grammar rules in English are vast, and often depend on the context in which they are used. Verb-tense agreement (e.g. "I eat" vs "he eats"), and conjugation of irregular verbs (e.g. swim -> swam) are common examples. This thesis presents an algorithm designed to randomly generate a virtually infinite number of practice problems for students of English as a second language. This approach differs from other generation approaches by generating based on a context set by educators, so that problems can be generated in the context of what students are currently learning. The algorithm is validated through a study in which over 35 000 sentences generated by the algorithm are verified by multiple grammar checking algorithms, and a subset of the sentences are validated against 3 education standards by a subject matter expert in the field. The study found that this approach has a significantly reduced grammar error ratio compared to other generation algorithms, and shows potential where context specification is concerned.

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2016-05

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Moving Target Defense: Defending against Adversarial Defense

Description

A defense-by-randomization framework is proposed as an effective defense mechanism against different types of adversarial attacks on neural networks. Experiments were conducted by selecting a combination of differently constructed image classification neural networks to observe which combinations applied to this

A defense-by-randomization framework is proposed as an effective defense mechanism against different types of adversarial attacks on neural networks. Experiments were conducted by selecting a combination of differently constructed image classification neural networks to observe which combinations applied to this framework were most effective in maximizing classification accuracy. Furthermore, the reasons why particular combinations were more effective than others is explored.

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2019-05

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Computationally Efficient Object Detection Strategy from Water Surfaces with Specularity Removal

Description

Floating trash objects are very commonly seen on water bodies such as lakes, canals and rivers. With the increase of plastic goods and human activities near the water bodies, these trash objects can pile up and cause great harm to

Floating trash objects are very commonly seen on water bodies such as lakes, canals and rivers. With the increase of plastic goods and human activities near the water bodies, these trash objects can pile up and cause great harm to the surrounding environment. Using human workers to clear out these trash is a hazardous and time-consuming task. Employing autonomous robots for these tasks is a better approach since it is more efficient and faster than humans. However, for a robot to clean the trash objects, a good detection algorithm is required. Real-time object detection on water surfaces is a challenging issue due to nature of the environment and the volatility of the water surface. In addition to this, running an object detection algorithm on an on-board processor of a robot limits the amount of CPU consumption that the algorithm can utilize. In this thesis, a computationally low cost object detection approach for robust detection of trash objects that was run on an on-board processor of a multirotor is presented. To account for specular reflections on the water surface, we use a polarization filter and integrate a specularity removal algorithm on our approach as well. The challenges faced during testing and the means taken to eliminate those challenges are also discussed. The algorithm was compared with two other object detectors using 4 different metrics. The testing was carried out using videos of 5 different objects collected at different illumination conditions over a lake using a multirotor. The results indicate that our algorithm is much suitable to be employed in real-time since it had the highest processing speed of 21 FPS, the lowest CPU consumption of 37.5\% and considerably high precision and recall values in detecting the object.

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2021

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Weakly-Supervised Visual-Retriever-Reader Pipeline for Knowledge-Based VQA Tasks

Description

Visual question answering (VQA) is a task that answers the questions by giving an image, and thus involves both language and vision methods to solve, which make the VQA tasks a frontier interdisciplinary field. In recent years, as the great

Visual question answering (VQA) is a task that answers the questions by giving an image, and thus involves both language and vision methods to solve, which make the VQA tasks a frontier interdisciplinary field. In recent years, as the great progress made in simple question tasks (e.g. object recognition), researchers start to shift their interests to the questions that require knowledge and reasoning. Knowledge-based VQA requires answering questions with external knowledge in addition to the content of images. One dataset that is mostly used in evaluating knowledge-based VQA is OK-VQA, but it lacks a gold standard knowledge corpus for retrieval. Existing work leverages different knowledge bases (e.g., ConceptNet and Wikipedia) to obtain external knowledge. Because of varying knowledge bases, it is hard to fairly compare models' performance. To address this issue, this paper collects a natural language knowledge base that can be used for any question answering (QA) system. Moreover, a Visual Retriever-Reader pipeline is proposed to approach knowledge-based VQA, where the visual retriever aims to retrieve relevant knowledge, and the visual reader seeks to predict answers based on given knowledge. The retriever is constructed with two versions: term based retriever which uses best matching 25 (BM25), and neural based retriever where the latest dense passage retriever (DPR) is introduced. To encode the visual information, the image and caption are encoded separately in the two kinds of neural based retriever: Image-DPR and Caption-DPR. There are also two styles of readers, classification reader and extraction reader. Both the retriever and reader are trained with weak supervision. The experimental results show that a good retriever can significantly improve the reader's performance on the OK-VQA challenge.

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2021

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Perturbation Robust Representations of Topological Persistence Diagrams

Description

Topological methods for data analysis present opportunities for enforcing certain invariances of broad interest in computer vision: including view-point in activity analysis, articulation in shape analysis, and measurement invariance in non-linear dynamical modeling. The increasing success of these methods is

Topological methods for data analysis present opportunities for enforcing certain invariances of broad interest in computer vision: including view-point in activity analysis, articulation in shape analysis, and measurement invariance in non-linear dynamical modeling. The increasing success of these methods is attributed to the complementary information that topology provides, as well as availability of tools for computing topological summaries such as persistence diagrams. However, persistence diagrams are multi-sets of points and hence it is not straightforward to fuse them with features used for contemporary machine learning tools like deep-nets. In this paper theoretically well-grounded approaches to develop novel perturbation robust topological representations are presented, with the long-term view of making them amenable to fusion with contemporary learning architectures. The proposed representation lives on a Grassmann manifold and hence can be efficiently used in machine learning pipelines.

The proposed representation.The efficacy of the proposed descriptor was explored on three applications: view-invariant activity analysis, 3D shape analysis, and non-linear dynamical modeling. Favorable results in both high-level recognition performance and improved performance in reduction of time-complexity when compared to other baseline methods are obtained.

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2017

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Novel Image Representations and Learning Tasks

Description

Computer Vision as a eld has gone through signicant changes in the last decade.

The eld has seen tremendous success in designing learning systems with hand-crafted

features and in using representation learning to extract better features. In this dissertation

some novel approaches to

Computer Vision as a eld has gone through signicant changes in the last decade.

The eld has seen tremendous success in designing learning systems with hand-crafted

features and in using representation learning to extract better features. In this dissertation

some novel approaches to representation learning and task learning are studied.

Multiple-instance learning which is generalization of supervised learning, is one

example of task learning that is discussed. In particular, a novel non-parametric k-

NN-based multiple-instance learning is proposed, which is shown to outperform other

existing approaches. This solution is applied to a diabetic retinopathy pathology

detection problem eectively.

In cases of representation learning, generality of neural features are investigated

rst. This investigation leads to some critical understanding and results in feature

generality among datasets. The possibility of learning from a mentor network instead

of from labels is then investigated. Distillation of dark knowledge is used to eciently

mentor a small network from a pre-trained large mentor network. These studies help

in understanding representation learning with smaller and compressed networks.

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2017

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Automatic Programming Code Explanation Generation with Structured Translation Models

Description

Learning programming involves a variety of complex cognitive activities, from abstract knowledge construction to structural operations, which include program design,modifying, debugging, and documenting tasks. In this work, the objective was to explore and investigate the barriers and obstacles that programming

Learning programming involves a variety of complex cognitive activities, from abstract knowledge construction to structural operations, which include program design,modifying, debugging, and documenting tasks. In this work, the objective was to explore and investigate the barriers and obstacles that programming novice learners encountered and how the learners overcome them. Several lab and classroom studies were designed and conducted, the results showed that novice students had different behavior patterns compared to experienced learners, which indicates obstacles encountered. The studies also proved that proper assistance could help novices find helpful materials to read. However, novices still suffered from the lack of background knowledge and the limited cognitive load while learning, which resulted in challenges in understanding programming related materials, especially code examples. Therefore, I further proposed to use the natural language generator (NLG) to generate code explanations for educational purposes. The natural language generator is designed based on Long Short Term Memory (LSTM), a deep-learning translation model. To establish the model, a data set was collected from Amazon Mechanical Turks (AMT) recording explanations from human experts for programming code lines.

To evaluate the model, a pilot study was conducted and proved that the readability of the machine generated (MG) explanation was compatible with human explanations, while its accuracy is still not ideal, especially for complicated code lines. Furthermore, a code-example based learning platform was developed to utilize the explanation generating model in programming teaching. To examine the effect of code example explanations on different learners, two lab-class experiments were conducted separately ii in a programming novices’ class and an advanced students’ class. The experiment result indicated that when learning programming concepts, the MG code explanations significantly improved the learning Predictability for novices compared to control group, and the explanations also extended the novices’ learning time by generating more material to read, which potentially lead to a better learning gain. Besides, a completed correlation model was constructed according to the experiment result to illustrate the connections between different factors and the learning effect.

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2020

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Asymmetric Error Control for Classification in Medical Disease Diagnosis

Description

In classification applications, such as medical disease diagnosis, the cost of one type of error (false negative) could greatly outweigh the other (false positive) enabling the need of asymmetric error control. Due to this unique nature of the problem, traditional

In classification applications, such as medical disease diagnosis, the cost of one type of error (false negative) could greatly outweigh the other (false positive) enabling the need of asymmetric error control. Due to this unique nature of the problem, traditional machine learning techniques, even with much improved accuracy, may not be ideal as they do not provide a way to control the false negatives below a certain threshold. To address this need, a classification algorithm that can provide asymmetric error control is proposed. The theoretical foundation for this algorithm is based on Neyman-Pearson (NP) Lemma and it is complemented with sample splitting and order statistics to pick a threshold that enables an upper bound on the number of false negatives. Additionally, this classifier addresses the imbalance of the data, which is common in medical datasets, by using Hellinger distance as the splitting criterion. This eliminates the need of sampling methods, which add complexity and the need for parameter selection. This approach is used to create a novel tree-based classifier that enables asymmetric error control. Applications, such as prediction of the severity of cardiac arrhythmia, require classification over multiple classes. The NP oracle inequalities for binary classes are not immediately applicable for the multiclass NP classification, leading to a multi-step procedure proposed in this dissertation to extend the algorithm in the context of multiple classes. This classifier is used in predicting various forms of cardiac disease for both binary and multi-class classification problems with not only comparable accuracy metrics but also with full control over the number of false negatives. Moreover, this research allows us to pick the threshold for the classifier in a data adaptive way. This dissertation also shows that this methodology can be extended to non medical applications that require classification with asymmetric error control.

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2021

Language Conditioned Self-Driving Cars Using Environmental Object Descriptions For Controlling Cars

Description

Self-Driving cars are a long-lasting ambition for many AI scientists and engineers. In the last decade alone, many self-driving cars like Google Waymo, Tesla Autopilot, Uber, etc. have been roaming the streets of many cities. As a rapidly expanding field,

Self-Driving cars are a long-lasting ambition for many AI scientists and engineers. In the last decade alone, many self-driving cars like Google Waymo, Tesla Autopilot, Uber, etc. have been roaming the streets of many cities. As a rapidly expanding field, researchers all over the world are attempting to develop more safe and efficient AI agents that can navigate through our cities. However, driving is a very complex task to master even for a human, let alone the challenges in developing robots to do the same. It requires attention and inputs from the surroundings of the car, and it is nearly impossible for us to program all the possible factors affecting this complex task. As a solution, imitation learning was introduced, wherein the agents learn a policy, mapping the observations to the actions through demonstrations given by humans. Through imitation learning, one could easily teach self-driving cars the expected behavior in many scenarios. Despite their autonomous nature, it is undeniable that humans play a vital role in the development and execution of safe and trustworthy self-driving cars and hence form the strongest link in this application of Human-Robot Interaction. Several approaches were taken to incorporate this link between humans and self-driving cars, one of which involves the communication of human's navigational instruction to self-driving cars. The communicative channel provides humans with control over the agent’s decisions as well as the ability to guide them in real-time. In this work, the abilities of imitation learning in creating a self-driving agent that can follow natural language instructions given by humans based on environmental objects’ descriptions were explored. The proposed model architecture is capable of handling latent temporal context in these instructions thus making the agent capable of taking multiple decisions along its course. The work shows promising results that push the boundaries of natural language instructions and their complexities in navigating self-driving cars through towns.

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2021