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Analyzing the dynamics of communication in online social networks

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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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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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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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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Low power, high throughput continuous flow PCR instruments for environmental applications

Description

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation.

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation. Currently, such analysis is performed by the collection of large sample volumes from over a wide area and transporting them to laboratory testing facilities, which fail to provide any real-time information. This dissertation evaluates the systems currently utilized for in-situ field analyses and the issues hampering the successful deployment of such bioanalytial instruments for environmental applications. The design and development of high throughput, low power, and autonomous Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) instruments, amenable for portable field operations capable of providing quantitative results is presented here as part of this dissertation. A number of novel innovations have been reported here as part of this work in microfluidic design, PCR thermocycler design, optical design and systems integration. Emulsion microfluidics in conjunction with fluorinated oils and Teflon tubing have been used for the fluidic module that reduces cross-contamination eliminating the need for disposable components or constant cleaning. A cylindrical heater has been designed with the tubing wrapped around fixed temperature zones enabling continuous operation. Fluorescence excitation and detection have been achieved by using a light emitting diode (LED) as the excitation source and a photomultiplier tube (PMT) as the detector. Real-time quantitative PCR results were obtained by using multi-channel fluorescence excitation and detection using LED, optical fibers and a 64-channel multi-anode PMT for measuring continuous real-time fluorescence. The instrument was evaluated by comparing the results obtained with those obtained from a commercial instrument and found to be comparable. To further improve the design and enhance its field portability, this dissertation also presents a framework for the instrumentation necessary for a portable digital PCR platform to achieve higher throughputs with lower power. Both systems were designed such that it can easily couple with any upstream platform capable of providing nucleic acid for analysis using standard fluidic connections. Consequently, these instruments can be used not only in environmental applications, but portable diagnostics applications as well.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Energy efficient RF transmitter design using enhanced breakdown voltage SOI-CMOS compatible MESFETs

Description

The high cut-off frequency of deep sub-micron CMOS technologies has enabled the integration of radio frequency (RF) transceivers with digital circuits. However, the challenging point is the integration of RF power amplifiers, mainly due to the low breakdown voltage of

The high cut-off frequency of deep sub-micron CMOS technologies has enabled the integration of radio frequency (RF) transceivers with digital circuits. However, the challenging point is the integration of RF power amplifiers, mainly due to the low breakdown voltage of CMOS transistors. Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) metal semiconductor field effect transistors (MESFETs) have been introduced to remedy the limited headroom concern in CMOS technologies. The MESFETs presented in this thesis have been fabricated on different SOI-CMOS processes without making any change to the standard fabrication steps and offer 2-30 times higher breakdown voltage than the MOSFETs on the same process. This thesis explains the design steps of high efficiency and wideband RF transmitters using the proposed SOI-CMOS compatible MESFETs. This task involves DC and RF characterization of MESFET devices, along with providing a compact Spice model for simulation purposes. This thesis presents the design of several SOI-MESFET RF power amplifiers operating at 433, 900 and 1800 MHz with ~40% bandwidth. Measurement results show a peak power added efficiency (PAE) of 55% and a peak output power of 22.5 dBm. The RF-PAs were designed to operate in Class-AB mode to minimize the linearity degradation. Class-AB power amplifiers lead to poor power added efficiency, especially when fed with signals with high peak to average power ratio (PAPR) such as wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA). Polar transmitters have been introduced to improve the efficiency of RF-PAs at backed-off powers. A MESFET based envelope tracking (ET) polar transmitter was designed and measured. A low drop-out voltage regulator (LDO) was used as the supply modulator of this polar transmitter. MESFETs are depletion mode devices; therefore, they can be configured in a source follower configuration to have better stability and higher bandwidth that MOSFET based LDOs. Measurement results show 350 MHz bandwidth while driving a 10 pF capacitive load. A novel polar transmitter is introduced in this thesis to alleviate some of the limitations associated with polar transmitters. The proposed architecture uses the backgate terminal of a partially depleted transistor on SOI process, which relaxes the bandwidth and efficiency requirements of the envelope amplifier in a polar transmitter. The measurement results of the proposed transmitter demonstrate more than three times PAE improvement at 6-dB backed-off output power, compared to the traditional RF transmitters.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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Biosensors and CMOS interface circuits

Description

Analysing and measuring of biological or biochemical processes are of utmost importance for medical, biological and biotechnological applications. Point of care diagnostic system, composing of biosensors, have promising applications for providing cheap, accurate and portable diagnosis. Owing to these expanding

Analysing and measuring of biological or biochemical processes are of utmost importance for medical, biological and biotechnological applications. Point of care diagnostic system, composing of biosensors, have promising applications for providing cheap, accurate and portable diagnosis. Owing to these expanding medical applications and advances made by semiconductor industry biosensors have seen a tremendous growth in the past few decades. Also emergence of microfluidics and non-invasive biosensing applications are other marker propellers. Analyzing biological signals using transducers is difficult due to the challenges in interfacing an electronic system to the biological environment. Detection limit, detection time, dynamic range, specificity to the analyte, sensitivity and reliability of these devices are some of the challenges in developing and integrating these devices. Significant amount of research in the field of biosensors has been focused on improving the design, fabrication process and their integration with microfluidics to address these challenges. This work presents new techniques, design and systems to improve the interface between the electronic system and the biological environment. This dissertation uses CMOS circuit design to improve the reliability of these devices. Also this work addresses the challenges in designing the electronic system used for processing the output of the transducer, which converts biological signal into electronic signal.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Evaluation and characterization of Silicon MESFETs in low dropout regulators

Description

The partially-depleted (PD) silicon Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) is becoming more and more attractive for analog and RF applications due to its high breakdown voltage. Compared to conventional CMOS high voltage transistors, the silicon MESFET can be fabricated

The partially-depleted (PD) silicon Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) is becoming more and more attractive for analog and RF applications due to its high breakdown voltage. Compared to conventional CMOS high voltage transistors, the silicon MESFET can be fabricated in commercial standard Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) CMOS foundries without any change to the process. The transition frequency of the device is demonstrated to be 45GHz, which makes the MESFET suitable for applications in high power RF power amplifier designs. Also, high breakdown voltage and low turn-on resistance make it the ideal choice for switches in the switching regulator designs. One of the anticipated applications of the MESFET is for the pass device for a low dropout linear regulator. Conventional NMOS and PMOS linear regulators suffer from high dropout voltage, low bandwidth and poor stability issues. In contrast, the N-MESFET pass transistor can provide an ultra-low dropout voltage and high bandwidth without the need for an external compensation capacitor to ensure stability. In this thesis, the design theory and problems of the conventional linear regulators are discussed. N-MESFET low dropout regulators are evaluated and characterized. The error amplifier used a folded cascode architecture with gain boosting. The source follower topology is utilized as the buffer to sink the gate leakage current from the MESFET. A shunt-feedback transistor is added to reduce the output impedance and provide the current adaptively. Measurement results show that the dropout voltage is less than 150 mV for a 1A load current at 1.8V output. Radiation measurements were done for discrete MESFET and fully integrated LDO regulators, which demonstrate their radiation tolerance ability for aerospace applications.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Codoped zinc oxide by a novel co-spray deposition technique for solar cells applications

Description

Zinc oxide (ZnO), a naturally n-type semiconductor has been identified as a promising candidate to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent electrode in solar cells, because of its wide bandgap (3.37 eV), abundant source materials and suitable refractive

Zinc oxide (ZnO), a naturally n-type semiconductor has been identified as a promising candidate to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent electrode in solar cells, because of its wide bandgap (3.37 eV), abundant source materials and suitable refractive index (2.0 at 600 nm). Spray deposition is a convenient and low cost technique for large area and uniform deposition of semiconductor thin films. In particular, it provides an easier way to dope the film by simply adding the dopant precursor into the starting solution. In order to reduce the resistivity of undoped ZnO, many works have been done by doping in the ZnO with either group IIIA elements or VIIA elements using spray pyrolysis. However, the resistivity is still too high to meet TCO's resistivity requirement. In the present work, a novel co-spray deposition technique is developed to bypass a fundamental limitation in the conventional spray deposition technique, i.e. the deposition of metal oxides from incompatible precursors in the starting solution. With this technique, ZnO films codoped with one cationic dopant, Al, Cr, or Fe, and an anionic dopant, F, have been successfully synthesized, in which F is incompatible with all these three cationic dopants. Two starting solutions were prepared and co-sprayed through two separate spray heads. One solution contained only the F precursor, NH 4F. The second solution contained the Zn and one cationic dopant precursors, Zn(O 2CCH 3) 2 and AlCl 3, CrCl 3, or FeCl 3. The deposition was carried out at 500 &degC; on soda-lime glass in air. Compared to singly-doped ZnO thin films, codoped ZnO samples showed better electrical properties. Besides, a minimum sheet resistance, 55.4 Ω/sq, was obtained for Al and F codoped ZnO films after vacuum annealing at 400 &degC;, which was lower than singly-doped ZnO with either Al or F. The transmittance for the Al and F codoped ZnO samples was above 90% in the visible range. This co-spray deposition technique provides a simple and cost-effective way to synthesize metal oxides from incompatible precursors with improved properties.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Resistance switching in chalcogenide based programmable metallization cells (PMC) and sensors under gamma-rays

Description

Chalcogenide glass (ChG) materials have gained wide attention because of their applications in conductive bridge random access memory (CBRAM), phase change memories (PC-RAM), optical rewritable disks (CD-RW and DVD-RW), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, and optical communications. One of the significant

Chalcogenide glass (ChG) materials have gained wide attention because of their applications in conductive bridge random access memory (CBRAM), phase change memories (PC-RAM), optical rewritable disks (CD-RW and DVD-RW), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, and optical communications. One of the significant properties of ChG materials is the change in the resistivity of the material when a metal such as Ag or Cu is added to it by diffusion. This study demonstrates the potential radiation-sensing capabilities of two metal/chalcogenide glass device configurations. Lateral and vertical device configurations sense the radiation-induced migration of Ag+ ions in germanium selenide glasses via changes in electrical resistance between electrodes on the ChG. Before irradiation, these devices exhibit a high-resistance `OFF-state' (in the order of 10E12) but following irradiation, with either 60-Co gamma-rays or UV light, their resistance drops to a low-resistance `ON-state' (around 10E3). Lateral devices have exhibited cyclical recovery with room temperature annealing of the Ag doped ChG, which suggests potential uses in reusable radiation sensor applications. The feasibility of producing inexpensive flexible radiation sensors has been demonstrated by studying the effects of mechanical strain and temperature stress on sensors formed on flexible polymer substrate. The mechanisms of radiation-induced Ag/Ag+ transport and reactions in ChG have been modeled using a finite element device simulator, ATLAS. The essential reactions captured by the simulator are radiation-induced carrier generation, combined with reduction/oxidation for Ag species in the chalcogenide film. Metal-doped ChGs are solid electrolytes that have both ionic and electronic conductivity. The ChG based Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC) is a technology platform that offers electric field dependent resistance switching mechanisms by formation and dissolution of nano sized conductive filaments in a ChG solid electrolyte between oxidizable and inert electrodes. This study identifies silver anode agglomeration in PMC devices following large radiation dose exposure and considers device failure mechanisms via electrical and material characterization. The results demonstrate that by changing device structural parameters, silver agglomeration in PMC devices can be suppressed and reliable resistance switching may be maintained for extremely high doses ranging from 4 Mrad(GeSe) to more than 10 Mrad (ChG).

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Created

Date Created
2013

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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