The Best Paper Award from Mobimedia 2015

Liang Zhou from the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (Nanjing, China) won the Best Paper Award at the 8th International Conference on Mobile Multimedia Communications, which took place in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China on May 25–27, 2015.

The paper, entitled “QoE-Aware Device-to-Device Multimedia Communications” studies the performance properties of the mobile D2D communications in the framework of user satisfaction, and develops a fully distributed QoE multimedia communication scheme (QAMCS). Moreover, it translates the opportunistic multimedia communications issue into a stochastic optimization problem, which opens up a new degree of performance to exploit.

QoE communication is challenging principally for two varieties of reasons: the subjective measurement and opportunistic communication. Firstly, different users usually have diverse multimedia content demands, and even for the same multimedia service, its priority level for different users may be different as well, and the QoE of each user is usually distinct accordingly. Secondly, devices follow various and random mobility directions and velocities, thereby having opportunistic data transmission probability.

These two challenges principally determine the subjective communication quality or user satisfaction. For this reason, the paper extends existing data dissemination schemes in two critical aspects: the formulation of distributed multimedia dissemination problem based on real observed data popularity and priority, and the investigation of a general mobile D2D system with subjective measurement and opportunistic communication and then the set of D2D transmission range and D2D communication time in a precisely mathematical manner, and derive the optimal performance bounds for the proposed scheme.

To sum up, the paper advocates the method of distributed data dissemination to shed new light on traditionally challenging issues on system heterogeneity. More specifically, it investigates the relationship between the mobility and performance based on observed data popularity and priority from each device. Then it provides a general performance property bound for any distributed scheme. Importantly, by dynamically setting the transmission range, D2D time, and transmission fashion, it designs a class of distributed scheme to achieve the optimal performance in a fully distributed manner.

The paper will be published by Springer and made available through SpringerLink Digital Library, one of the world’s largest scientific libraries and in the EAI Endorsed Transactions on Mobile Communications and Applications.


The Best Paper Award from PervasiveHealth 2015

David C. MohrColleen Stiles-Shields, Christopher Brenner, Hannah Palac, Enid Montague, Eric Carty-Fickes, Jenna Duffecy from the Northwestern University (Evanston, IL, USA) and Susan M. Kaiser from the University of Illinois (Chicago, IL, USA), won the Best Paper Award at the 9th edition of the International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (PervasiveHealth 2015) which took place in Istanbul, Turkey on May 20–23, 2015, with the paper: ‘MedLink: A Mobile Intervention to Address Failure Points in the Treatment of Depression in General Medicine‘.

The study reports on the 4week pilot deployment of MedLink: a mobile intervention aimed at systemically addressing the failure points in depression therapy, such as: patient non-adherence, failure of physicians to optimize the treatment regimens, and lack of patient-physician communication. The researchers developed this mobile intervention, MedLink, to improve the quality of pharmacotherapy for depression in general medicine, based on a model of known person and system failure points. MedLink is intended to support the care of patients initiating a new prescription for an antidepressant and is intended to support the establishment of durable medication taking behaviors, communication between the patient and physician, and decision making for the physician.

The evaluation period was 4 weeks, as this allowed the researchers to evaluate all aspects of the system’s functionality, including the provision of information on symptoms, side effects, and adherence to physicians and patients, as well as the occurrence of follow-up visits. The MedLink app was subjected to in-lab usability testing with 23 patients taking medications, which have been recruited from Northwestern University’s General Internal Medicine Clinic. The app was installed on the patient’s phone for those who had an Android device. Patients who did not have an Android phone were provided one with a full data and call plan. Each week patients was notified to complete in-app assessments of depressive symptom severity using the Patient Health Questionnaire.

And finally, what about the evaluation of this app? Usability evaluation was generally favorable. Medication adherence rates in this first deployment were high with no patients discontinuing, and 84% of doses taken. Depressive symptom severity was significantly reduced. So, MedLink approaches pervasive health from a systems approach, addressing a comprehensive set of known failure points in processes of pharmacotherapy for depression in general medicine. These include improving patient knowledge and motivation, preventing forgetfulness, reporting and treatment recommendations to foster patientphysician communication, and prompting physicians and patients to ensure guideline concordant care, thereby improving medication adherence and depression outcomes.

The Best Paper will be published in the ICST’s own EU Digital Library (EUDL).


A formal approach to modeling self-adaptive behavior for swarm robotics

Two researchers from the Lero-the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, University of Limerick, (Limerick, Ireland) presented a formal approach to modeling self-adaptive behavior of swarm robotics.

The study won the Best Paper award at the last year’s edition of the International Conference on Nature of Computation and Communication (ICTCC 2014) which took place on November 24–25, 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Emil Vassev and Mike Hinchey presented an approach to capturing the requirements for, and modeling self-adaptive behavior, of swarm robotics. They used ‘KnowLang’: a formal framework under development under the mandate of the FP7 project, ASCENS. KnowLang’s notation is a formal language dedicated to knowledge representation for self-adaptive systems, so the framework provides both a notation and reasoning to deal with self-adaptation.

The research aimed to capture self-adaptive behavior so that it could be properly designed and subsequently implemented. To do so, it considered that self-adaptive behavior extends the regular objectives of a system upstream with special self-managing objectives, also called self-* objectives. The approach for capturing all of these requirements is called Autonomy Requirements Engineering (ARE). This approach aims to provide a complete and comprehensive solution to the problem of autonomy requirements elicitation and specification.

The ensemble of robots case study targets swarms of intelligent robots with selfawareness capabilities that help the entire swarm acquire the capacity to reason, plan, and autonomously act. The case study relies on the marXbot robotics platform, which is a modular research robot equipped with a set of devices that help the robot interact with other robots of the swarm or the robotic environment: an arena where special cuboid-shaped obstacles are present in arbitrary positions and orientations. Following this scenario, the researchers applied the ARE approach and derived the goals along with the self-* objectives assisting these goals when self-adaptation is required.

And finally, what are the expectations for the future? Future work is mainly concerned with further development of the Autonomy Requirements Engineering approach along with full implementation of KnowLang, involving tools and a test bed for autonomy requirements verification and validation.

To view and read the full paper you can click here.


A new application which helps students to actively construct new knowledge

Two researchers from North Dakota State University, USA have developed a novel multi-user tool for the identification and classification of real world objects.

The study won the best paper award at the last year’s edition of the International Conference on e-Learning, e-Education and Online Training (eLEOT 2014) which took place in Bethesda, MD, USA, September 18-20, 2014.

The mentioned multi-user tool CIRCLE (Classification, Identification, and Retrieval-based Collaborative Learning Environment), aims at being a useful support for group efforts at taxonomy building by providing the suitable framework in the field and scientific hypothesizing and debate in a virtual laboratory. More specifically, the study of Otto Borchert and Brian M. Slator shows the theoretical framework of CIRCLE, through a detailed definition of the tool and the procedure to use it.

CIRCLE is composed of five different activities, including content acquisition (fieldwork), trait elaboration, hypothesis formation, tree construction and game play. This last step allows students to identify and classify the object in game form, stimulating them to interact through a range of given multimedia, traits, observations, and experiments. Furthermore, observing students during each of these stages can help in defining the right role of them in order to motivate their own learning process. Students can afford to:

  • Learn how to identify objects in the real world within their discipline of interest;
  • Define the required observations and experiments to identify these objects;
  • Classify these objects for faster identifications;
  • Use retrieval learning to strengthen their knowledge;
  • Gain collaboration skills.

As confirmed by the two researchers: ‘CIRCLE will utilize effective learning science principles, harness the advantages and inherent motivation of user generated content, including images, videos, sound, and text, allow for synchronous and asynchronous collaborative interactions, create a system of juried peer review of results and hypotheses, and finally create computationally generated “flashcard” games to strengthen student learning’.

And finally, what were the expectation of the implementation of CIRCLE? The researcher informed that their aim is to keep implementing their tool through a pilot usability study and classroom experiments to determine the effectiveness of the approach towards learning the identification of rocks and minerals (in a geology lab), weeds (in a weed identification course), and animals (in an ecology class).

To view and read the full paper you can click here.


Portable sensors are helping monitor the victims of disasters

Victims trapped in collapsed buildings need to be monitored until a rescue team manages to extricate them. A solution for remote medical monitoring of vital signs of a victim with the help of wireless portable sensors, and the transmission of data to a remote healthcare system, was developed and tested by four researchers; George C. Pallis, Lars Hildebrand, Nuno Ferreira and Geert Seynaeve. The obtained data can be transmitted to a computer and viewed in real time, or stored on the device and analysed later.

The research and development of medical monitoring devices using non-invasive methods, such as breath and sweat analysis, is essential for telemedicine applications. Developing sensors for near-real time monitoring of vital signs of victims, adapting them so that they can be easily applied in human body during entrapment and able to work in harsh environments (high temperature, humidity, smoke, dust), and completing them with wireless transmission are the key tasks for effective performing during search and rescue operations.

The aim of the researchers was to test currently available commercial solutions that can be combined with innovative methods. The main challenge of the new technology is to find a way to strap the belt-like probe on victims’ body parts in difficult conditions. For the tests, researchers used the Zephyr BioHarness technology, which consists of a wireless portable bio-monitoring system. They also developed the software for supporting Zephyr device wireless communication and network of sensors. In the next phase of research, they intend to develop the practical method for placing sensors on the victim’s body in the limiting conditions of a collapsed building.

The research was presented at MobiHealth 2014, and can be found here.


An interesting problem of CSS with heterogeneous nodes having different capabilities

Shree Krishna Sharma, Symeon Chatzinotas, and Björn Ottersten from the University of Luxembourg have won the Best Paper Award at the 10th edition of the International Conference on Cognitive Radio Oriented Wireless Networks (CROWNCOM 2015), which took place April 21-23, 2015 in Doha, Qatar.

CROWNCOM 2015 was a great forum of discussion and networking for top researchers in the field and a valuable opportunity to enlarge the research network. For this reason, it was the right frame to submit the awarder paper “Cooperative Spectrum Sensing for Heterogeneous Sensor Networks Using Multiple Decision Statistics”, thanks to the quality of the discussions around various topics of interest within the field.

In this work the researchers have considered an interesting problem of CSS with heterogeneous nodes having different capabilities. The group of researchers have proposed a new decision statistics-based centralized Cooperative Spectrum Sensing (CSS) technique using the joint Probability Distribution Function (PDF) of the multiple decision statistics, resulting from different processing capabilities at the sensor nodes and have compared its performance with several existing cooperative schemes. More specifically, they have considered that multiple decision statistics come from the different processing capabilities of the heterogeneous cooperating nodes and have analyzed and compared the detection performance of the suggested approach with the already existing cooperative approaches.

Another interesting added value of the research consists in the fact that the group of researchers have suggested a design guideline for the network operators to facilitate decision making while upgrading a sensor network.

What to expect from researchers’ future works? Their aim is to extend this work for the CSS with more than two decision statistics and to explore suitable cooperative techniques for the scenarios with cooperating nodes having several heterogeneous features.

The Best Paper will be published in Springer’s LNICST series and will appear in the SpringerLink, one of the largest digital libraries online that covers a variety of scientific disciplines, as well as in the ICST’s own EU Digital Library (EUDL). Moreover, it will be invited for publication in the EAI Endorsed Transactions on Cognitive Communications.


Helping veterans reintegrate? There’s an app for that.

U.S. veterans returning from war zones are facing great difficulties during the reintegration process. They experience trauma and posttraumatic symptoms, 49% of them report problems with community activities participation, 42% find it difficult to reunite with partners, and 25% have issues at work. Other identified problems are difficulties with anger management, dangerous driving, domestic violence, and other legal issues. Dryhootch is a veteran-led community organization that provides an informal network of peer-mentor support for fresh veterans by veterans who went through difficulties in the past. This organization, however, works with old-fashioned paper-based methods, which cannot provide appropriate help.

Researchers Rizwana Rizia, Nadiyah Johnson, A.B.M.K. Patwary, G.M.T. Ahsan, S.I.Ahamed, Zeno Franco, Katinka Hooyer, Bob Curry and Mark Flower introduced a new, mobile-based peer-mentor support system for veterans at CollaborateCom 2014 . They use mobile-based applications for mentors and mentees to stay connected and update important information anytime. During the development process, the research team cooperated tightly with the veterans. This was necessary, as it is a very specific group of people with special needs, low frustration tolerance and high portion of suspiciousness towards electronics. The cooperation was succesful and the veterans contributed their own ideas. From them, the researchers have learnt about the importance of personalized care and attention, even in technology-based systems

Read the whole paper here.


A new solution for patients with epilepsy: Coming soon?

Epilepsy is a common neurologic disorder, affecting about 2% of the population. Due to its high prevalence, and the physical and social consequences it brings to those affected by it, looking for better ways to treat the disease is necessary.

And that´s exactly what Daniel Callegari, Endrigo Conte, Tiagro Ferreto, Denis Fernandes and Filipe Moraes from PUCRS in Porto Alegre, Brazil, together with Fernando Burmeister from Dell Computers, and Dr. Romulo Severino from Sao Lucas Hospital in Porto Alegre, are doing. Their aim is to develop a platform to assist epilepsy diagnosis based on mobile cloud computing, which enables the monitoring of a patient outside of the hospital. They presented their research at the MOBIHEALTH  2014, the 4th international conference on Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare.

Today, epilepsy is diagnosed and controlled by electroencephalogram exams (EEG). It requires manual analysis of a large amount of data, as well as prolonged hospital stays. Existing portable EEG systems require a neurophysiology expert to analyse hours of data, and are not able to transmit information to the hospital when accute crisis occures.

Aware that remote care and monitoring of patients is a globally expected trend, the research team are working on EpiCare, a smartphone- and cloud-based platform for long-term remote epileptic patient monitoring. They use specialized algorithms for automatic detection of epileptic spikes, which play a fundamental role in the diagnosis of epilepsy.

Read more about the research here.


Perfect information and perfect monitoring for signal transmission

How does the quality of information about past channel activity affect the secondary users´ long-term individual throughput? Researchers from CTVR Telecommunications Research Center at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, and from the Department of  Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech in the USA are trying to find an answer by analysing the impact of imperfect information on the performance of autonomous attempts of secondary users to opportunistically exploit spectrum resources. The work of Ji Wang, Irene Macaluso and Luiz A. daSilva is the first research project that devises channel selection strategies for secondary users under perfect monitoring and imperfect monitoring scenarios for homogenous channel occupancy.

Their theoretical findings have shown that both perfect and imperfect monitoring strategies converge to a static orthogonal allocation of the channels. The simulation results proved that under imperfect monitoring, the ambiguity about the type of activity observed in the channels reduced the rate of convergence, and the performance loss depended on the level of primary user activity, and the amount of competition between secondary users.

In future research, the team is planning to focus on the imperfect monitoring channel selection strategy design for non-homogenous channel occupancy.

The research was presented at CROWNCOM 2014, and the full paper is available here.


Defining games on the medium of a one-cell organism

The main vegetative phase of Physarum polycephalum – the plasmodium – is very sensible to the environment. Its behaviour is intelligent and can be controlled by different locations of chemical signals that attract and repel it. It can solve many tasks and be considered one of the biological models of natural computation. Crucially, however, the plasmodium is not a deterministic system, as its behaviour is not algorithmic – it can change its past decisions when looking for food. Designing a plasmodium chip therefore requires mathematics without conventional algorithms.

Having first shown that true slime mould is a natural transition system that can be considered a biological model for concurrent games, a group of researchers have introduced the notion of context-based games as a strong extension of concurrent games, and defined games on the medium of a one-cell organism, for the first time.

They presented this research at BICT 2014, the 8th International Conference on Bio-inspired Information and Communications Technologies, where they were awarded the Best Paper Award.

In their paper, Andrew Schumann and Krzysztof Pancerz from the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland, together with Andrew Adamatzky from the International Center of Unconventional Computing at UWE in Bristol, UK, and Martin Grube from the Institute of Plant Sciences at the University of Graz in Poland, explain that context-based games are ‘a generalization of incomplete information games, concurrent games, repeated games, reflexive games, and some other modern approaches to games.’ They can be regarded as fundamentals of bio-inspired game theory, and provide a simple example of non-well-founded mathematics that can be applied in programming the processors on any predictable behavioral systems, such as plasmodia.

In the future, they intend to design an abstract processor on plasmodia by using non-well-founded mathematics that has been illustrated by context-based games.

For more details, read their fascinating paper in full.