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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

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Knowledge and Reasoning for Image Understanding

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Image Understanding is a long-established discipline in computer vision, which encompasses a body of advanced image processing techniques, that are used to locate (“where”), characterize and recognize (“what”) objects, regions, and their attributes in the image. However, the notion of

Image Understanding is a long-established discipline in computer vision, which encompasses a body of advanced image processing techniques, that are used to locate (“where”), characterize and recognize (“what”) objects, regions, and their attributes in the image. However, the notion of “understanding” (and the goal of artificial intelligent machines) goes beyond factual recall of the recognized components and includes reasoning and thinking beyond what can be seen (or perceived). Understanding is often evaluated by asking questions of increasing difficulty. Thus, the expected functionalities of an intelligent Image Understanding system can be expressed in terms of the functionalities that are required to answer questions about an image. Answering questions about images require primarily three components: Image Understanding, question (natural language) understanding, and reasoning based on knowledge. Any question, asking beyond what can be directly seen, requires modeling of commonsense (or background/ontological/factual) knowledge and reasoning.

Knowledge and reasoning have seen scarce use in image understanding applications. In this thesis, we demonstrate the utilities of incorporating background knowledge and using explicit reasoning in image understanding applications. We first present a comprehensive survey of the previous work that utilized background knowledge and reasoning in understanding images. This survey outlines the limited use of commonsense knowledge in high-level applications. We then present a set of vision and reasoning-based methods to solve several applications and show that these approaches benefit in terms of accuracy and interpretability from the explicit use of knowledge and reasoning. We propose novel knowledge representations of image, knowledge acquisition methods, and a new implementation of an efficient probabilistic logical reasoning engine that can utilize publicly available commonsense knowledge to solve applications such as visual question answering, image puzzles. Additionally, we identify the need for new datasets that explicitly require external commonsense knowledge to solve. We propose the new task of Image Riddles, which requires a combination of vision, and reasoning based on ontological knowledge; and we collect a sufficiently large dataset to serve as an ideal testbed for vision and reasoning research. Lastly, we propose end-to-end deep architectures that can combine vision, knowledge and reasoning modules together and achieve large performance boosts over state-of-the-art methods.

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2018

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Towards understanding natural language: semantic parsing, commonsense knowledge acquisition, reasoning framework and applications

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Reasoning with commonsense knowledge is an integral component of human behavior. It is due to this capability that people know that a weak person may not be able to lift someone. It has been a long standing goal of the

Reasoning with commonsense knowledge is an integral component of human behavior. It is due to this capability that people know that a weak person may not be able to lift someone. It has been a long standing goal of the Artificial Intelligence community to simulate such commonsense reasoning abilities in machines. Over the years, many advances have been made and various challenges have been proposed to test their abilities. The Winograd Schema Challenge (WSC) is one such Natural Language Understanding (NLU) task which was also proposed as an alternative to the Turing Test. It is made up of textual question answering problems which require resolution of a pronoun to its correct antecedent.

In this thesis, two approaches of developing NLU systems to solve the Winograd Schema Challenge are demonstrated. To this end, a semantic parser is presented, various kinds of commonsense knowledge are identified, techniques to extract commonsense knowledge are developed and two commonsense reasoning algorithms are presented. The usefulness of the developed tools and techniques is shown by applying them to solve the challenge.

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2019