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Predicting college retention rates from Google Street View images of campuses

Dileep et al. | Jan 02, 2024

Predicting college retention rates from Google Street View images of campuses
Image credit: Dileep et al. 2024

Every year, around 40% of undergraduate students in the United States discontinue their studies, resulting in a loss of valuable education for students and a loss of money for colleges. Even so, colleges across the nation struggle to discover the underlying causes of these high dropout rates. In this paper, the authors discuss the use of machine learning to find correlations between the built environment factors and the retention rates of colleges. They hypothesized that one way for colleges to improve their retention rates could be to improve the physical characteristics of their campus to be more pleasing. The authors used image classification techniques to look at images of colleges and correlate certain features like colors, cars, and people to higher or lower retention rates. With three possible options of high, medium, and low retention rates, the probability that their models reached the right conclusion if they simply chose randomly was 33%. After finding that this 33%, or 0.33 mark, always fell outside of the 99% confidence intervals built around their models’ accuracies, the authors concluded that their machine learning techniques can be used to find correlations between certain environmental factors and retention rates.

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Recognition of animal body parts via supervised learning

Kreiman et al. | Oct 28, 2023

Recognition of animal body parts via supervised learning
Image credit: Kreiman et al. 2023

The application of machine learning techniques has facilitated the automatic annotation of behavior in video sequences, offering a promising approach for ethological studies by reducing the manual effort required for annotating each video frame. Nevertheless, before solely relying on machine-generated annotations, it is essential to evaluate the accuracy of these annotations to ensure their reliability and applicability. While it is conventionally accepted that there cannot be a perfect annotation, the degree of error associated with machine-generated annotations should be commensurate with the error between different human annotators. We hypothesized that machine learning supervised with adequate human annotations would be able to accurately predict body parts from video sequences. Here, we conducted a comparative analysis of the quality of annotations generated by humans and machines for the body parts of sheep during treadmill walking. For human annotation, two annotators manually labeled six body parts of sheep in 300 frames. To generate machine annotations, we employed the state-of-the-art pose-estimating library, DeepLabCut, which was trained using the frames annotated by human annotators. As expected, the human annotations demonstrated high consistency between annotators. Notably, the machine learning algorithm also generated accurate predictions, with errors comparable to those between humans. We also observed that abnormal annotations with a high error could be revised by introducing Kalman Filtering, which interpolates the trajectory of body parts over the time series, enhancing robustness. Our results suggest that conventional transfer learning methods can generate behavior annotations as accurate as those made by humans, presenting great potential for further research.

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An improved video fingerprinting attack on users of the Tor network

Srikanth et al. | Mar 31, 2022

An improved video fingerprinting attack on users of the Tor network

The Tor network allows individuals to secure their online identities by encrypting their traffic, however it is vulnerable to fingerprinting attacks that threaten users' online privacy. In this paper, the authors develop a new video fingerprinting model to explore how well video streaming can be fingerprinted in Tor. They found that their model could distinguish which one of 50 videos a user was hypothetically watching on the Tor network with 85% accuracy, demonstrating that video fingerprinting is a serious threat to the privacy of Tor users.

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Differential privacy in machine learning for traffic forecasting

Vinay et al. | Dec 21, 2022

Differential privacy in machine learning for traffic forecasting

In this paper, we measured the privacy budgets and utilities of different differentially private mechanisms combined with different machine learning models that forecast traffic congestion at future timestamps. We expected the ANNs combined with the Staircase mechanism to perform the best with every value in the privacy budget range, especially with the medium high values of the privacy budget. In this study, we used the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) and neural network models to forecast and then added differentially private Laplacian, Gaussian, and Staircase noise to our datasets. We tested two real traffic congestion datasets, experimented with the different models, and examined their utility for different privacy budgets. We found that a favorable combination for this application was neural networks with the Staircase mechanism. Our findings identify the optimal models when dealing with tricky time series forecasting and can be used in non-traffic applications like disease tracking and population growth.

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Comparison of three large language models as middle school math tutoring assistants

Ramanathan et al. | May 02, 2024

Comparison of three large language models as middle school math tutoring assistants
Image credit: Thirdman

Middle school math forms the basis for advanced mathematical courses leading up to the university level. Large language models (LLMs) have the potential to power next-generation educational technologies, acting as digital tutors to students. The main objective of this study was to determine whether LLMs like ChatGPT, Bard, and Llama 2 can serve as reliable middle school math tutoring assistants on three tutoring tasks: hint generation, comprehensive solution, and exercise creation.

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Developing a neural network to model the mechanical properties of 13-8 PH stainless steel alloy

Zeng et al. | Sep 10, 2023

Developing a neural network to model the mechanical properties of 13-8 PH stainless steel alloy
Image credit: Pixabay

We systematically evaluated the effects of raw material composition, heat treatment, and mechanical properties on 13-8PH stainless steel alloy. The results of the neural network models were in agreement with experimental results and aided in the evaluation of the effects of aging temperature on double shear strength. The data suggests that this model can be used to determine the appropriate 13-8PH alloy aging temperature needed to achieve the desired mechanical properties, eliminating the need for many costly trials and errors through re-heat treatments.

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The effect of activation function choice on the performance of convolutional neural networks

Wang et al. | Sep 15, 2023

The effect of activation function choice on the performance of convolutional neural networks
Image credit: Tara Winstead

With the advance of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) is now applied widely in society. In the study of AI, machine learning (ML) is a subfield in which a machine learns to be better at performing certain tasks through experience. This work focuses on the convolutional neural network (CNN), a framework of ML, applied to an image classification task. Specifically, we analyzed the performance of the CNN as the type of neural activation function changes.

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A novel filtration model for microplastics using natural oils and its application to the environment

Park et al. | Jun 27, 2022

A novel filtration model for microplastics using natural oils and its application to the environment

Recognizing the need for a method to filter microplastics from polluted water the authors sought to use nonpolar solvents, palm oil and palm kernel oil, to filter microplastics out of model seawater. By relying on the separation of polar and nonpolar solvents followed by freezing the nonpolar solvent, they reported that microplastics could be extracted with percentages ranging from 96.2% to 94.2%. They also provided an estimation to use this method as part of container ships to clean the Pacific Ocean of microplastics.

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