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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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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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Date Created
2013

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A CMOS analog front-end circuit for micro-fluxgate sensors

Description

Fluxgate sensors are magnetic field sensors that can measure DC and low frequency AC magnetic fields. They can measure much lower magnetic fields than other magnetic sensors like Hall effect sensors, magnetoresistive sensors etc. They also have high linearity, high

Fluxgate sensors are magnetic field sensors that can measure DC and low frequency AC magnetic fields. They can measure much lower magnetic fields than other magnetic sensors like Hall effect sensors, magnetoresistive sensors etc. They also have high linearity, high sensitivity and low noise. The major application of fluxgate sensors is in magnetometers for the measurement of earth's magnetic field. Magnetometers are used in navigation systems and electronic compasses. Fluxgate sensors can also be used to measure high DC currents. Integrated micro-fluxgate sensors have been developed in recent years. These sensors have much lower power consumption and area compared to their PCB counterparts. The output voltage of micro-fluxgate sensors is very low which makes the analog front end more complex and results in an increase in power consumption of the system. In this thesis a new analog front-end circuit for micro-fluxgate sensors is developed. This analog front-end circuit uses charge pump based excitation circuit and phase delay based read-out chain. With these two features the power consumption of analog front-end is reduced. The output is digital and it is immune to amplitude noise at the output of the sensor. Digital output is produced without using an ADC. A SPICE model of micro-fluxgate sensor is used to verify the operation of the analog front-end and the simulation results show very good linearity.

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Date Created
2013

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Design of a twelve bit, four hundred mega-samples-per-second, interpolating dual channel digital to analog converter featuring digital modulation

Description

Digital to analog converters (DACs) find widespread use in communications equipment. Most commercially available DAC's which are intended to be used in transmitter applications come in a dual configuration for carrying the in phase (I) and quadrature (Q) data and

Digital to analog converters (DACs) find widespread use in communications equipment. Most commercially available DAC's which are intended to be used in transmitter applications come in a dual configuration for carrying the in phase (I) and quadrature (Q) data and feature on chip digital mixing. Digital mixing offers many benefits concerning I and Q matching but has one major drawback; the update rate of the DAC must be higher than the intermediate frequency (IF) which is most commonly a factor of 4. This drawback motivates the need for interpolation so that a low update rate can be used for components preceding the DACs. In this thesis the design of an interpolating DAC integrated circuit (IC) to be used in a transmitter application for generating a 100MHz IF is presented. Many of the transistor level implementations are provided. The tradeoffs in the design are analyzed and various options are discussed. This thesis provides a basic foundation for designing an IC of this nature and will give the reader insight into potential areas of further research. At the time of this writing the chip is in fabrication therefore this document does not contain test results.

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Date Created
2013

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Integrated inductors with micro-patterned magnetic thin films for RF and power applications

Description

With increasing demand for System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) design in computer and communication technologies, integrated inductor which is an essential passive component has been widely used in numerous integrated circuits (ICs) such as in voltage

With increasing demand for System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) design in computer and communication technologies, integrated inductor which is an essential passive component has been widely used in numerous integrated circuits (ICs) such as in voltage regulators and RF circuits. In this work, soft ferromagnetic core material, amorphous Co-Zr-Ta-B, was incorporated into on-chip and in-package inductors in order to scale down inductors and improve inductors performance in both inductance density and quality factor. With two layers of 500 nm Co-Zr-Ta-B films a 3.5X increase in inductance and a 3.9X increase in quality factor over inductors without magnetic films were measured at frequencies as high as 1 GHz. By laminating technology, up to 9.1X increase in inductance and more than 5X increase in quality factor (Q) were obtained from stripline inductors incorporated with 50 nm by 10 laminated films with a peak Q at 300 MHz. It was also demonstrated that this peak Q can be pushed towards high frequency as far as 1GHz by a combination of patterning magnetic films into fine bars and laminations. The role of magnetic vias in magnetic flux and eddy current control was investigated by both simulation and experiment using different patterning techniques and by altering the magnetic via width. Finger-shaped magnetic vias were designed and integrated into on-chip RF inductors improving the frequency of peak quality factor from 400 MHz to 800 MHz without sacrificing inductance enhancement. Eddy current and magnetic flux density in different areas of magnetic vias were analyzed by HFSS 3D EM simulation. With optimized magnetic vias, high frequency response of up to 2 GHz was achieved. Furthermore, the effect of applied magnetic field on on-chip inductors was investigated for high power applications. It was observed that as applied magnetic field along the hard axis (HA) increases, inductance maintains similar value initially at low fields, but decreases at larger fields until the magnetic films become saturated. The high frequency quality factor showed an opposite trend which is correlated to the reduction of ferromagnetic resonant absorption in the magnetic film. In addition, experiments showed that this field-dependent inductance change varied with different patterned magnetic film structures, including bars/slots and fingers structures. Magnetic properties of Co-Zr-Ta-B films on standard organic package substrates including ABF and polyimide were also characterized. Effects of substrate roughness and stress were analyzed and simulated which provide strategies for integrating Co-Zr-Ta-B into package inductors and improving inductors performance. Stripline and spiral inductors with Co-Zr-Ta-B films were fabricated on both ABF and polyimide substrates. Maximum 90% inductance increase in hundreds MHz frequency range were achieved in stripline inductors which are suitable for power delivery applications. Spiral inductors with Co-Zr-Ta-B films showed 18% inductance increase with quality factor of 4 at frequency up to 3 GHz.

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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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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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Date Created
2014

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Modelling and simulation of plasmonic waveguides and nanolasers

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This thesis summarizes modeling and simulation of plasmonic waveguides and nanolasers. The research includes modeling of dielectric constants of doped semiconductor as a potential plasmonic material, simulation of plasmonic waveguides with different configurations and geometries, simulation and design of plasmonic

This thesis summarizes modeling and simulation of plasmonic waveguides and nanolasers. The research includes modeling of dielectric constants of doped semiconductor as a potential plasmonic material, simulation of plasmonic waveguides with different configurations and geometries, simulation and design of plasmonic nanolasers. In the doped semiconductor part, a more accurate model accounting for dielectric constant of doped InAs was proposed. In the model, Interband transitions accounted for by Adachi's model considering Burstein-Moss effect and free electron effect governed by Drude model dominate in different spectral regions. For plasmonic waveguide part, Insulator-Metal-Insulator (IMI) waveguide, silver nanowire waveguide with and without substrate, Metal-Semiconductor-Metal (MSM) waveguide and Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor-Insulator-Metal (MISIM) waveguide were investigated respectively. Modal analysis was given for each part. Lastly, a comparative study of plasmonic and optical modes in an MSM disk cavity was performed by FDTD simulation for room temperature at the telecommunication wavelength. The results show quantitatively that plasmonic modes have advantages over optical modes in the scalability down to small size and the cavity Quantum Electrodynamics(QED) effects due to the possibility of breaking the diffraction limit. Surprisingly for lasing characteristics, though plasmonic modes have large loss as expected, minimal achievable threshold can be attained for whispering gallery plasmonic modes with azimuthal number of 2 by optimizing cavity design at 1.55µm due to interplay of metal loss and radiation loss.

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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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Date Created
2015

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Growth and characterization of multisegment chalcogenide alloy nanostructures for photonic applications in a wide spectral range

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In this dissertation, I described my research on the growth and characterization of various nanostructures, such as nanowires, nanobelts and nanosheets, of different semiconductors in a Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) system.

In the first part of my research, I selected

In this dissertation, I described my research on the growth and characterization of various nanostructures, such as nanowires, nanobelts and nanosheets, of different semiconductors in a Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) system.

In the first part of my research, I selected chalcogenides (such as CdS and CdSe) for a comprehensive study in growing two-segment axial nanowires and radial nanobelts/sheets using the ternary CdSxSe1-x alloys. I demonstrated simultaneous red (from CdSe-rich) and green (from CdS-rich) light emission from a single monolithic heterostructure with a maximum wavelength separation of 160 nm. I also demonstrated the first simultaneous two-color lasing from a single nanosheet heterostructure with a wavelength separation of 91 nm under sufficiently strong pumping power.

In the second part, I considered several combinations of source materials with different growth methods in order to extend the spectral coverage of previously demonstrated structures towards shorter wavelengths to achieve full-color emissions. I achieved this with the growth of multisegment heterostructure nanosheets (MSHNs), using ZnS and CdSe chalcogenides, via our novel growth method. By utilizing this method, I demonstrated the first growth of ZnCdSSe MSHNs with an overall lattice mismatch of 6.6%, emitting red, green and blue light simultaneously, in a single furnace run using a simple CVD system. The key to this growth method is the dual ion exchange process which converts nanosheets rich in CdSe to nanosheets rich in ZnS, demonstrated for the first time in this work. Tri-chromatic white light emission with different correlated color temperature values was achieved under different growth conditions. We demonstrated multicolor (191 nm total wavelength separation) laser from a single monolithic semiconductor nanostructure for the first time. Due to the difficulties associated with growing semiconductor materials of differing composition on a given substrate using traditional planar epitaxial technology, our nanostructures and growth method are very promising for various device applications, including but not limited to: illumination, multicolor displays, photodetectors, spectrometers and monolithic multicolor lasers.

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Date Created
2015