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Analyzing the dynamics of communication in online social networks

Description

This thesis deals with the analysis of interpersonal communication dynamics in online social networks and social media. Our central hypothesis is that communication dynamics between individuals manifest themselves via three key aspects: the information that is the content of communication,

This thesis deals with the analysis of interpersonal communication dynamics in online social networks and social media. Our central hypothesis is that communication dynamics between individuals manifest themselves via three key aspects: the information that is the content of communication, the social engagement i.e. the sociological framework emergent of the communication process, and the channel i.e. the media via which communication takes place. Communication dynamics have been of interest to researchers from multi-faceted domains over the past several decades. However, today we are faced with several modern capabilities encompassing a host of social media websites. These sites feature variegated interactional affordances, ranging from blogging, micro-blogging, sharing media elements as well as a rich set of social actions such as tagging, voting, commenting and so on. Consequently, these communication tools have begun to redefine the ways in which we exchange information, our modes of social engagement, and mechanisms of how the media characteristics impact our interactional behavior. The outcomes of this research are manifold. We present our contributions in three parts, corresponding to the three key organizing ideas. First, we have observed that user context is key to characterizing communication between a pair of individuals. However interestingly, the probability of future communication seems to be more sensitive to the context compared to the delay, which appears to be rather habitual. Further, we observe that diffusion of social actions in a network can be indicative of future information cascades; that might be attributed to social influence or homophily depending on the nature of the social action. Second, we have observed that different modes of social engagement lead to evolution of groups that have considerable predictive capability in characterizing external-world temporal occurrences, such as stock market dynamics as well as collective political sentiments. Finally, characterization of communication on rich media sites have shown that conversations that are deemed "interesting" appear to have consequential impact on the properties of the social network they are associated with: in terms of degree of participation of the individuals in future conversations, thematic diffusion as well as emergent cohesiveness in activity among the concerned participants in the network. Based on all these outcomes, we believe that this research can make significant contribution into a better understanding of how we communicate online and how it is redefining our collective sociological behavior.

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Date Created
2011

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Molecular electronic transducer-based seismometer and accelerometer fabricated with micro-electro-mechanical systems techniques

Description

This thesis presents approaches to develop micro seismometers and accelerometers based on molecular electronic transducers (MET) technology using MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) techniques. MET is a technology applied in seismic instrumentation that proves highly beneficial to planetary seismology. It consists of

This thesis presents approaches to develop micro seismometers and accelerometers based on molecular electronic transducers (MET) technology using MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) techniques. MET is a technology applied in seismic instrumentation that proves highly beneficial to planetary seismology. It consists of an electrochemical cell that senses the movement of liquid electrolyte between electrodes by converting it to the output current. MET seismometers have advantages of high sensitivity, low noise floor, small size, absence of fragile mechanical moving parts and independence on the direction of sensitivity axis. By using MEMS techniques, a micro MET seismometer is developed with inter-electrode spacing close to 1μm, which improves the sensitivity of fabricated device to above 3000 V/(m/s^2) under operating bias of 600 mV and input acceleration of 400 μG (G=9.81m/s^2) at 0.32 Hz. The lowered hydrodynamic resistance by increasing the number of channels improves the self-noise to -127 dB equivalent to 44 nG/√Hz at 1 Hz. An alternative approach to build the sensing element of MEMS MET seismometer using SOI process is also presented in this thesis. The significantly increased number of channels is expected to improve the noise performance. Inspired by the advantages of combining MET and MEMS technologies on the development of seismometer, a low frequency accelerometer utilizing MET technology with post-CMOS-compatible fabrication processes is developed. In the fabricated accelerometer, the complicated fabrication of mass-spring system in solid-state MEMS accelerometer is replaced with a much simpler post-CMOS-compatible process containing only deposition of a four-electrode MET structure on a planar substrate, and a liquid inertia mass of an electrolyte droplet encapsulated by oil film. The fabrication process does not involve focused ion beam milling which is used in the micro MET seismometer fabrication, thus the cost is lowered. Furthermore, the planar structure and the novel idea of using an oil film as the sealing diaphragm eliminate the complicated three-dimensional packaging of the seismometer. The fabricated device achieves 10.8 V/G sensitivity at 20 Hz with nearly flat response over the frequency range from 1 Hz to 50 Hz, and a low noise floor of 75 μG/√Hz at 20 Hz.

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Date Created
2014

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RAProp: ranking tweets by exploiting the tweet/user/web ecosystem

Description

The increasing popularity of Twitter renders improved trustworthiness and relevance assessment of tweets much more important for search. However, given the limitations on the size of tweets, it is hard to extract measures for ranking from the tweet's content alone.

The increasing popularity of Twitter renders improved trustworthiness and relevance assessment of tweets much more important for search. However, given the limitations on the size of tweets, it is hard to extract measures for ranking from the tweet's content alone. I propose a method of ranking tweets by generating a reputation score for each tweet that is based not just on content, but also additional information from the Twitter ecosystem that consists of users, tweets, and the web pages that tweets link to. This information is obtained by modeling the Twitter ecosystem as a three-layer graph. The reputation score is used to power two novel methods of ranking tweets by propagating the reputation over an agreement graph based on tweets' content similarity. Additionally, I show how the agreement graph helps counter tweet spam. An evaluation of my method on 16~million tweets from the TREC 2011 Microblog Dataset shows that it doubles the precision over baseline Twitter Search and achieves higher precision than current state of the art method. I present a detailed internal empirical evaluation of RAProp in comparison to several alternative approaches proposed by me, as well as external evaluation in comparison to the current state of the art method.

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Date Created
2013

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Mechanics of silicon electrodes in lithium ion batteries

Description

As one of the most promising materials for high capacity electrode in next generation of lithium ion batteries, silicon has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. Advanced characterization techniques and atomic simulations helped to depict that the

As one of the most promising materials for high capacity electrode in next generation of lithium ion batteries, silicon has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. Advanced characterization techniques and atomic simulations helped to depict that the lithiation/delithiation of silicon electrode involves processes including large volume change (anisotropic for the initial lithiation of crystal silicon), plastic flow or softening of material dependent on composition, electrochemically driven phase transformation between solid states, anisotropic or isotropic migration of atomic sharp interface, and mass diffusion of lithium atoms. Motivated by the promising prospect of the application and underlying interesting physics, mechanics coupled with multi-physics of silicon electrodes in lithium ion batteries is studied in this dissertation. For silicon electrodes with large size, diffusion controlled kinetics is assumed, and the coupled large deformation and mass transportation is studied. For crystal silicon with small size, interface controlled kinetics is assumed, and anisotropic interface reaction is studied, with a geometry design principle proposed. As a preliminary experimental validation, enhanced lithiation and fracture behavior of silicon pillars via atomic layer coatings and geometry design is studied, with results supporting the geometry design principle we proposed based on our simulations. Through the work documented here, a consistent description and understanding of the behavior of silicon electrode is given at continuum level and some insights for the future development of the silicon electrode are provided.

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Date Created
2014

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IISS a framework to influence individuals through social signals on a social network

Description

Contemporary online social platforms present individuals with social signals in the form of news feed on their peers' activities. On networks such as Facebook, Quora, network operator decides how that information is shown to an individual. Then the user, with

Contemporary online social platforms present individuals with social signals in the form of news feed on their peers' activities. On networks such as Facebook, Quora, network operator decides how that information is shown to an individual. Then the user, with her own interests and resource constraints selectively acts on a subset of items presented to her. The network operator again, shows that activity to a selection of peers, and thus creating a behavioral loop. That mechanism of interaction and information flow raises some very interesting questions such as: can network operator design social signals to promote a particular activity like sustainability, public health care awareness, or to promote a specific product? The focus of my thesis is to answer that question. In this thesis, I develop a framework to personalize social signals for users to guide their activities on an online platform. As the result, we gradually nudge the activity distribution on the platform from the initial distribution p to the target distribution q. My work is particularly applicable to guiding collaborations, guiding collective actions, and online advertising. In particular, I first propose a probabilistic model on how users behave and how information flows on the platform. The main part of this thesis after that discusses the Influence Individuals through Social Signals (IISS) framework. IISS consists of four main components: (1) Learner: it learns users' interests and characteristics from their historical activities using Bayesian model, (2) Calculator: it uses gradient descent method to compute the intermediate activity distributions, (3) Selector: it selects users who can be influenced to adopt or drop specific activities, (4) Designer: it personalizes social signals for each user. I evaluate the performance of IISS framework by simulation on several network topologies such as preferential attachment, small world, and random. I show that the framework gradually nudges users' activities to approach the target distribution. I use both simulation and mathematical method to analyse convergence properties such as how fast and how close we can approach the target distribution. When the number of activities is 3, I show that for about 45% of target distributions, we can achieve KL-divergence as low as 0.05. But for some other distributions KL-divergence can be as large as 0.5.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Making thin data thick: user behavior analysis with minimum information

Description

With the rise of social media, user-generated content has become available at an unprecedented scale. On Twitter, 1 billion tweets are posted every 5 days and on Facebook, 20 million links are shared every 20 minutes. These massive collections of

With the rise of social media, user-generated content has become available at an unprecedented scale. On Twitter, 1 billion tweets are posted every 5 days and on Facebook, 20 million links are shared every 20 minutes. These massive collections of user-generated content have introduced the human behavior's big-data.

This big data has brought about countless opportunities for analyzing human behavior at scale. However, is this data enough? Unfortunately, the data available at the individual-level is limited for most users. This limited individual-level data is often referred to as thin data. Hence, researchers face a big-data paradox, where this big-data is a large collection of mostly limited individual-level information. Researchers are often constrained to derive meaningful insights regarding online user behavior with this limited information. Simply put, they have to make thin data thick.

In this dissertation, how human behavior's thin data can be made thick is investigated. The chief objective of this dissertation is to demonstrate how traces of human behavior can be efficiently gleaned from the, often limited, individual-level information; hence, introducing an all-inclusive user behavior analysis methodology that considers social media users with different levels of information availability. To that end, the absolute minimum information in terms of both link or content data that is available for any social media user is determined. Utilizing only minimum information in different applications on social media such as prediction or recommendation tasks allows for solutions that are (1) generalizable to all social media users and that are (2) easy to implement. However, are applications that employ only minimum information as effective or comparable to applications that use more information?

In this dissertation, it is shown that common research challenges such as detecting malicious users or friend recommendation (i.e., link prediction) can be effectively performed using only minimum information. More importantly, it is demonstrated that unique user identification can be achieved using minimum information. Theoretical boundaries of unique user identification are obtained by introducing social signatures. Social signatures allow for user identification in any large-scale network on social media. The results on single-site user identification are generalized to multiple sites and it is shown how the same user can be uniquely identified across multiple sites using only minimum link or content information.

The findings in this dissertation allows finding the same user across multiple sites, which in turn has multiple implications. In particular, by identifying the same users across sites, (1) patterns that users exhibit across sites are identified, (2) how user behavior varies across sites is determined, and (3) activities that are observed only across sites are identified and studied.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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A comprehensive study of impact of growth conditions on structural and magnetic properties of CZTB thin films

Description

Soft magnetic materials have been studied extensively in the recent past due to their applications in micro-transformers, micro-inductors, spin dependent memories etc. The unique features of these materials are the high frequency operability and high magnetic anisotropy. High uniaxial anisotropy

Soft magnetic materials have been studied extensively in the recent past due to their applications in micro-transformers, micro-inductors, spin dependent memories etc. The unique features of these materials are the high frequency operability and high magnetic anisotropy. High uniaxial anisotropy is one of the most important properties for these materials. There are many methods to achieve high anisotropy energy (Hk) which include sputtering with presence of magnetic field, exchange bias and oblique angle sputtering.

This research project focuses on analyzing different growth techniques of thin films of Cobalt, Zirconium Tantalum Boron (CZTB) and the quality of the films resulted. The measurements include magnetic moment measurements using a Vibrating Sample Magnetometer, electrical measurements using 4 point resistivity methods and structural characterization using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Subtle changes in the growth mechanism result in different properties of these films and they are most suited for certain applications.

The growth methods presented in this research are oblique angled sputtering with localized magnetic field and oblique sputtering without presence of magnetic field. The uniaxial anisotropy can be controlled by changing the angle during sputtering. The resulting film of CZTB is tested for magnetic anisotropy and soft magnetism at room temperature by using Lakeshore 7500 Vibrating Sample Magnetometer. The results are presented, analyzed and explained using characterization techniques. Future work includes magnetic field presence during deposition, magnetic devices of this film with giga hertz range operating frequencies.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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Role of impurities on deformation of HCP crystal: a multiscale approach

Description

Commercially pure (CP) and extra low interstitial (ELI) grade Ti-alloys present excellent corrosion resistance, lightweight, and formability making them attractive materials for expanded use in transportation and medical applications. However, the strength and toughness of CP titanium are affected by

Commercially pure (CP) and extra low interstitial (ELI) grade Ti-alloys present excellent corrosion resistance, lightweight, and formability making them attractive materials for expanded use in transportation and medical applications. However, the strength and toughness of CP titanium are affected by relatively small variations in their impurity/solute content (IC), e.g., O, Al, and V. This increase in strength is due to the fact that the solute either increases the critical stress required for the prismatic slip systems ({10-10}<1-210>) or activates another slip system ((0001)<11-20>, {10-11}<11-20>). In particular, solute additions such as O can effectively strengthen the alloy but with an attendant loss in ductility by changing the behavior from wavy (cross slip) to planar nature. In order to understand the underlying behavior of strengthening by solutes, it is important to understand the atomic scale mechanism. This dissertation aims to address this knowledge gap through a synergistic combination of density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics. Further, due to the long-range strain fields of the dislocations and the periodicity of the DFT simulation cells, it is difficult to apply ab initio simulations to study the dislocation core structure. To alleviate this issue we developed a multiscale quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics approach (QM/MM) to study the dislocation core. We use the developed QM/MM method to study the pipe diffusion along a prismatic edge dislocation core. Complementary to the atomistic simulations, the Semi-discrete Variational Peierls-Nabarro model (SVPN) was also used to analyze the dislocation core structure and mobility. The chemical interaction between the solute/impurity and the dislocation core is captured by the so-called generalized stacking fault energy (GSFE) surface which was determined from DFT-VASP calculations. By taking the chemical interaction into consideration the SVPN model can predict the dislocation core structure and mobility in the presence and absence of the solute/impurity and thus reveal the effect of impurity/solute on the softening/hardening behavior in alpha-Ti. Finally, to study the interaction of the dislocation core with other planar defects such as grain boundaries (GB), we develop an automated method to theoretically generate GBs in HCP type materials.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Planning challenges in human-robot teaming

Description

As robotic technology and its various uses grow steadily more complex and ubiquitous, humans are coming into increasing contact with robotic agents. A large portion of such contact is cooperative interaction, where both humans and robots are required to work

As robotic technology and its various uses grow steadily more complex and ubiquitous, humans are coming into increasing contact with robotic agents. A large portion of such contact is cooperative interaction, where both humans and robots are required to work on the same application towards achieving common goals. These application scenarios are characterized by a need to leverage the strengths of each agent as part of a unified team to reach those common goals. To ensure that the robotic agent is truly a contributing team-member, it must exhibit some degree of autonomy in achieving goals that have been delegated to it. Indeed, a significant portion of the utility of such human-robot teams derives from the delegation of goals to the robot, and autonomy on the part of the robot in achieving those goals. In order to be considered truly autonomous, the robot must be able to make its own plans to achieve the goals assigned to it, with only minimal direction and assistance from the human.

Automated planning provides the solution to this problem -- indeed, one of the main motivations that underpinned the beginnings of the field of automated planning was to provide planning support for Shakey the robot with the STRIPS system. For long, however, automated planners suffered from scalability issues that precluded their application to real world, real time robotic systems. Recent decades have seen a gradual abeyance of those issues, and fast planning systems are now the norm rather than the exception. However, some of these advances in speedup and scalability have been achieved by ignoring or abstracting out challenges that real world integrated robotic systems must confront.

In this work, the problem of planning for human-hobot teaming is introduced. The central idea -- the use of automated planning systems as mediators in such human-robot teaming scenarios -- and the main challenges inspired from real world scenarios that must be addressed in order to make such planning seamless are presented: (i) Goals which can be specified or changed at execution time, after the planning process has completed; (ii) Worlds and scenarios where the state changes dynamically while a previous plan is executing; (iii) Models that are incomplete and can be changed during execution; and (iv) Information about the human agent's plan and intentions that can be used for coordination. These challenges are compounded by the fact that the human-robot team must execute in an open world, rife with dynamic events and other agents; and in a manner that encourages the exchange of information between the human and the robot. As an answer to these challenges, implemented solutions and a fielded prototype that combines all of those solutions into one planning system are discussed. Results from running this prototype in real world scenarios are presented, and extensions to some of the solutions are offered as appropriate.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Leveraging collective wisdom in a multilabeled blog categorization environment

Description

One of the most remarkable outcomes resulting from the evolution of the web into Web 2.0, has been the propelling of blogging into a widely adopted and globally accepted phenomenon. While the unprecedented growth of the Blogosphere has added diversity

One of the most remarkable outcomes resulting from the evolution of the web into Web 2.0, has been the propelling of blogging into a widely adopted and globally accepted phenomenon. While the unprecedented growth of the Blogosphere has added diversity and enriched the media, it has also added complexity. To cope with the relentless expansion, many enthusiastic bloggers have embarked on voluntarily writing, tagging, labeling, and cataloguing their posts in hopes of reaching the widest possible audience. Unbeknown to them, this reaching-for-others process triggers the generation of a new kind of collective wisdom, a result of shared collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, purpose, and objectives, through the formation of associations, links, and relations. Mastering an understanding of the Blogosphere can greatly help facilitate the needs of the ever growing number of these users, as well as producers, service providers, and advertisers into facilitation of the categorization and navigation of this vast environment. This work explores a novel method to leverage the collective wisdom from the infused label space for blog search and discovery. The work demonstrates that the wisdom space can provide a most unique and desirable framework to which to discover the highly sought after background information that could aid in the building of classifiers. This work incorporates this insight into the construction of a better clustering of blogs which boosts the performance of classifiers for identifying more relevant labels for blogs, and offers a mechanism that can be incorporated into replacing spurious labels and mislabels in a multi-labeled space.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015