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"Topic": models, code, and papers

Backdoor Attacks on Facial Recognition in the Physical World

Jun 25, 2020
Emily Wenger, Josephine Passananti, Yuanshun Yao, Haitao Zheng, Ben Y. Zhao

Backdoor attacks embed hidden malicious behaviors inside deep neural networks (DNNs) that are only activated when a specific "trigger" is present on some input to the model. A variety of these attacks have been successfully proposed and evaluated, generally using digitally generated patterns or images as triggers. Despite significant prior work on the topic, a key question remains unanswered: "can backdoor attacks be physically realized in the real world, and what limitations do attackers face in executing them?" In this paper, we present results of a detailed study on DNN backdoor attacks in the physical world, specifically focused on the task of facial recognition. We take 3205 photographs of 10 volunteers in a variety of settings and backgrounds and train a facial recognition model using transfer learning from VGGFace. We evaluate the effectiveness of 9 accessories as potential triggers, and analyze impact from external factors such as lighting and image quality. First, we find that triggers vary significantly in efficacy and a key factor is that facial recognition models are heavily tuned to features on the face and less so to features around the periphery. Second, the efficacy of most trigger objects is. negatively impacted by lower image quality but unaffected by lighting. Third, most triggers suffer from false positives, where non-trigger objects unintentionally activate the backdoor. Finally, we evaluate 4 backdoor defenses against physical backdoors. We show that they all perform poorly because physical triggers break key assumptions they made based on triggers in the digital domain. Our key takeaway is that implementing physical backdoors is much more challenging than described in literature for both attackers and defenders and much more work is necessary to understand how backdoors work in the real world.

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The Effect of Moderation on Online Mental Health Conversations

Jun 10, 2020
David Wadden, Tal August, Qisheng Li, Tim Althoff

Many people struggling with mental health issues are unable to access adequate care due to high costs and a shortage of mental health professionals, leading to a global mental health crisis. Online mental health communities can help mitigate this crisis by offering a scalable, easily accessible alternative to in-person sessions with therapists or support groups. However, people seeking emotional or psychological support online may be especially vulnerable to the kinds of antisocial behavior that sometimes occur in online discussions. Moderation can improve online discourse quality, but we lack an understanding of its effects on online mental health conversations. In this work, we leveraged a natural experiment, occurring across 200,000 messages from 7,000 conversations hosted on a mental health mobile application, to evaluate the effects of moderation on online mental health discussions. We found that participation in group mental health discussions led to improvements in psychological perspective, and that these improvements were larger in moderated conversations. The presence of a moderator increased user engagement, encouraged users to discuss negative emotions more candidly, and dramatically reduced bad behavior among chat participants. Moderation also encouraged stronger linguistic coordination, which is indicative of trust building. In addition, moderators who remained active in conversations were especially successful in keeping conversations on topic. Our findings suggest that moderation can serve as a valuable tool to improve the efficacy and safety of online mental health conversations. Based on these findings, we discuss implications and trade-offs involved in designing effective online spaces for mental health support.

* 13 pages, 12 figures. 3 tables 

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Persistent Map Saving for Visual Localization for Autonomous Vehicles: An ORB-SLAM Extension

May 15, 2020
Felix Nobis, Odysseas Papanikolaou, Johannes Betz, Markus Lienkamp

Electric vhicles and autonomous driving dominate current research efforts in the automotive sector. The two topics go hand in hand in terms of enabling safer and more environmentally friendly driving. One fundamental building block of an autonomous vehicle is the ability to build a map of the environment and localize itself on such a map. In this paper, we make use of a stereo camera sensor in order to perceive the environment and create the map. With live Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), there is a risk of mislocalization, since no ground truth map is used as a reference and errors accumulate over time. Therefore, we first build up and save a map of visual features of the environment at low driving speeds with our extension to the ORB-SLAM\,2 package. In a second run, we reload the map and then localize on the previously built-up map. Loading and localizing on a previously built map can improve the continuous localization accuracy for autonomous vehicles in comparison to a full SLAM. This map saving feature is missing in the original ORB-SLAM\,2 implementation. We evaluate the localization accuracy for scenes of the KITTI dataset against the built up SLAM map. Furthermore, we test the localization on data recorded with our own small scale electric model car. We show that the relative translation error of the localization stays under 1\% for a vehicle travelling at an average longitudinal speed of 36 m/s in a feature-rich environment. The localization mode contributes to a better localization accuracy and lower computational load compared to a full SLAM. The source code of our contribution to the ORB-SLAM2 will be made public at:

* Accepted at 2020 Fifteenth International Conference on Ecological Vehicles and Renewable Energies (EVER) 

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Continuous Melody Generation via Disentangled Short-Term Representations and Structural Conditions

Feb 05, 2020
Ke Chen, Gus Xia, Shlomo Dubnov

Automatic music generation is an interdisciplinary research topic that combines computational creativity and semantic analysis of music to create automatic machine improvisations. An important property of such a system is allowing the user to specify conditions and desired properties of the generated music. In this paper we designed a model for composing melodies given a user specified symbolic scenario combined with a previous music context. We add manual labeled vectors denoting external music quality in terms of chord function that provides a low dimensional representation of the harmonic tension and resolution. Our model is capable of generating long melodies by regarding 8-beat note sequences as basic units, and shares consistent rhythm pattern structure with another specific song. The model contains two stages and requires separate training where the first stage adopts a Conditional Variational Autoencoder (C-VAE) to build a bijection between note sequences and their latent representations, and the second stage adopts long short-term memory networks (LSTM) with structural conditions to continue writing future melodies. We further exploit the disentanglement technique via C-VAE to allow melody generation based on pitch contour information separately from conditioning on rhythm patterns. Finally, we evaluate the proposed model using quantitative analysis of rhythm and the subjective listening study. Results show that the music generated by our model tends to have salient repetition structures, rich motives, and stable rhythm patterns. The ability to generate longer and more structural phrases from disentangled representations combined with semantic scenario specification conditions shows a broad application of our model.

* 9 pages, 12 figures, 4 tables. in 14th international conference on semantic computing, ICSC 2020 

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Individual Fairness in Sponsored Search Auctions

Jun 20, 2019
Shuchi Chawla, Christina Ilvento, Meena Jagadeesan

Fairness in advertising is a topic of particular interest in both the computer science and economics literatures, supported by theoretical and empirical observations. We initiate the study of tradeoffs between individual fairness and performance in online advertising, where advertisers place bids on ad slots for each user and the platform must determine which ads to display. Our main focus is to investigate the "cost of fairness": more specifically, whether a fair allocation mechanism can achieve utility close to that of a utility-optimal unfair mechanism. Motivated by practice, we consider both the case of many advertisers in a single category, e.g. sponsored results on a job search website, and ads spanning multiple categories, e.g. personalized display advertising on a social networking site, and show the tradeoffs are inherently different in these settings. We prove lower and upper bounds on the cost of fairness for each of these settings. For the single category setting, we show constraints on the "fairness" of advertisers' bids are necessary to achieve good utility. Moreover, with bid fairness constraints, we construct a mechanism that simultaneously achieves a high utility and a strengthening of typical fairness constraints that we call total variation fairness. For the multiple category setting, we show that fairness relaxations are necessary to achieve good utility. We consider a relaxed definition based on user-specified category preferences that we call user-directed fairness, and we show that with this fairness notion a high utility is achievable. Finally, we show that our mechanisms in the single and multiple category settings compose well, yielding a high utility combined mechanism that satisfies user-directed fairness across categories and conditional total variation fairness within categories.

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ZeLiC and ZeChipC: Time Series Interpolation Methods for Lebesgue or Event-based Sampling

Jun 06, 2019
Matthieu Bellucci, Luis Miralles, M. Atif Qureshi, Brian Mac Namee

Lebesgue sampling is based on collecting information depending on the values of the signal. Although the interpolation methods for periodic sampling have been a topic of research for a long time, there is a lack of study in methods capable of taking advantage of the Lebesgue sampling characteristics to reconstruct time series more accurately. Indeed, Lebesgue sampling contains additional information about the shape of the signal in-between two sampled points. Using this information would allow us to generate an interpolated signal closer to the original one. That is to say, the average distance between the interpolated signal and the original signal will be smaller than a signal interpolated with other interpolation methods. In this paper, we propose two novel time series interpolation methods specifically designed for Lebesgue sampling called ZeLiC and ZeChipC. ZeLiC is an algorithm that combines both Zero-order hold interpolation and Linear interpolation to reconstruct time series. ZeChipC is a similar idea, it is a combination of Zero-order hold and PCHIP interpolation. Zero-order hold interpolation is favourable for interpolating abrupt changes while Linear and PCHIP interpolation are more suitable for smooth transitions. In order to apply one method or the other, we have introduced a new concept called tolerated region. ZeLiC and ZeChipC include a new functionality to adapt the reconstructed signal to concave/convex regions. The proposed methods have been compared with the state-of-the-art interpolation methods using Lebesgue sampling and have offered higher average performance. Additionally, we have compared the performance of the methods using both Riemann and Lebesgue sampling using an approximate number of sampled points. The performance of the combination "Lebesgue sampling with ZeChipC interpolation method" is clearly much better than any other combination.

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Towards a More Practice-Aware Runtime Analysis of Evolutionary Algorithms

Dec 03, 2018
Eduardo Carvalho Pinto, Carola Doerr

Theory of evolutionary computation (EC) aims at providing mathematically founded statements about the performance of evolutionary algorithms (EAs). The predominant topic in this research domain is runtime analysis, which studies the time it takes a given EA to solve a given optimization problem. Runtime analysis has witnessed significant advances in the last couple of years, allowing us to compute precise runtime estimates for several EAs and several problems. Runtime analysis is, however (and unfortunately!), often judged by practitioners to be of little relevance for real applications of EAs. Several reasons for this claim exist. We address two of them in this present work: (1) EA implementations often differ from their vanilla pseudocode description, which, in turn, typically form the basis for runtime analysis. To close the resulting gap between empirically observed and theoretically derived performance estimates, we therefore suggest to take this discrepancy into account in the mathematical analysis and to adjust, for example, the cost assigned to the evaluation of search points that equal one of their direct parents (provided that this is easy to verify as is the case in almost all standard EAs). (2) Most runtime analysis results make statements about the expected time to reach an optimal solution (and possibly the distribution of this optimization time) only, thus explicitly or implicitly neglecting the importance of understanding how the function values evolve over time. We suggest to extend runtime statements to runtime profiles, covering the expected time needed to reach points of intermediate fitness values. As a direct consequence, we obtain a result showing that the greedy (2+1) GA of Sudholt [GECCO 2012] outperforms any unary unbiased black-box algorithm on OneMax.

* Internship report as of July 2017. Some references are outdated. Please get in touch if you are interested in a specific result and we will be happy to discuss the latest version 

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Understanding Editing Behaviors in Multilingual Wikipedia

Aug 28, 2015
Suin Kim, Sungjoon Park, Scott A. Hale, Sooyoung Kim, Jeongmin Byun, Alice Oh

Multilingualism is common offline, but we have a more limited understanding of the ways multilingualism is displayed online and the roles that multilinguals play in the spread of content between speakers of different languages. We take a computational approach to studying multilingualism using one of the largest user-generated content platforms, Wikipedia. We study multilingualism by collecting and analyzing a large dataset of the content written by multilingual editors of the English, German, and Spanish editions of Wikipedia. This dataset contains over two million paragraphs edited by over 15,000 multilingual users from July 8 to August 9, 2013. We analyze these multilingual editors in terms of their engagement, interests, and language proficiency in their primary and non-primary (secondary) languages and find that the English edition of Wikipedia displays different dynamics from the Spanish and German editions. Users primarily editing the Spanish and German editions make more complex edits than users who edit these editions as a second language. In contrast, users editing the English edition as a second language make edits that are just as complex as the edits by users who primarily edit the English edition. In this way, English serves a special role bringing together content written by multilinguals from many language editions. Nonetheless, language remains a formidable hurdle to the spread of content: we find evidence for a complexity barrier whereby editors are less likely to edit complex content in a second language. In addition, we find that multilinguals are less engaged and show lower levels of language proficiency in their second languages. We also examine the topical interests of multilingual editors and find that there is no significant difference between primary and non-primary editors in each language.

* 34 pages, 7 figures 

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Randomized Dimensionality Reduction for k-means Clustering

Nov 04, 2014
Christos Boutsidis, Anastasios Zouzias, Michael W. Mahoney, Petros Drineas

We study the topic of dimensionality reduction for $k$-means clustering. Dimensionality reduction encompasses the union of two approaches: \emph{feature selection} and \emph{feature extraction}. A feature selection based algorithm for $k$-means clustering selects a small subset of the input features and then applies $k$-means clustering on the selected features. A feature extraction based algorithm for $k$-means clustering constructs a small set of new artificial features and then applies $k$-means clustering on the constructed features. Despite the significance of $k$-means clustering as well as the wealth of heuristic methods addressing it, provably accurate feature selection methods for $k$-means clustering are not known. On the other hand, two provably accurate feature extraction methods for $k$-means clustering are known in the literature; one is based on random projections and the other is based on the singular value decomposition (SVD). This paper makes further progress towards a better understanding of dimensionality reduction for $k$-means clustering. Namely, we present the first provably accurate feature selection method for $k$-means clustering and, in addition, we present two feature extraction methods. The first feature extraction method is based on random projections and it improves upon the existing results in terms of time complexity and number of features needed to be extracted. The second feature extraction method is based on fast approximate SVD factorizations and it also improves upon the existing results in terms of time complexity. The proposed algorithms are randomized and provide constant-factor approximation guarantees with respect to the optimal $k$-means objective value.

* IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, to appear 

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