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Communications of the ACM

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Proceedings from and future plans for the Symposium for Communicating Complex Information (SCCI): guest editor's introduction

This special issue contains proceedings from the 6th Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (SCCI), which ran from February 27th through 28th 2017 at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. The program chair was Michael Albers, who, as usual at SCCI, did a fantastic job at collecting and curating two days of stimulating conversations generated by speakers from a broad range of fields---rhetoric, technical communication, medical and regulatory writing, user experience, information science, and design---and a broad range or institutions and workspaces, including Duke's Network Analysis Center, The Medical University of South Carolina, Mälardalen University in Sweden, and Michigan State University, to name just a few. The keynote---titled "Faulty by Design: A Psychological Examination of User Decision-Making"---was given by Bill Gribbons, director of Bentley University's Graduate User Experience Program. Overall, the diversity and depth of the scholars and their research combined with the single-room presentation space facilitated conversation and networking in ways not typically found at other conferences.

Visual simulation of ice and frost with sketch input

Visual effects (called "VFX" in this poster) have expanded the range of expression and been necessary to enhance the mood for the story in films and videos. A variety of software tools which support producing VFX has been developed.

A Novelty Network Attack Detection Model based on Immunology

An artificial immune system can protect itself from foreign invasions, similarly to the process of intrusion detection. This paper presents a new network attack detection model based on the principles of bionics and immunology to explore problems such as inaccurate features, low detection accuracy, high false alarm rate, and inability to cope with changing network environments in a timely manner. The paper is devoted to the detection of network attacks with the goals of accurate features, a low false alarm rate and efficient network attack detection. A novel network attack detection model based on immunology (NADI) is proposed. In the signature generation module (SGM), the hybrid signature generation method combining the F-score and particle swarm optimization algorithm (PSOA) is proposed and applied innovatively in an artificial immune system model. The artificial immune system module (AISM) innovatively uses a multilevel detector component including temporal logic detectors operating in parallel to detect attacks. Experimental results show that the proposed model significantly reduced the false alarm rate and increased the detection rate.

OpenAlerts: A Software System to Evaluate Smart Emergency Alerts and Notifications

Alerts and notifications are increasingly being used in emergency situations. However, notifying users when an alert is not contextually useful results in those users opting out of this mode of alerting. There is a need to extensively evaluate such notifications and understand their utility before adopting them in real-world alert systems.

In this paper, we describe OpenAlerts, an open-source software that allows creating and evaluating the impact of simulated alerts and notifications. The proposed system is an extension to a testbed that was used by over two-hundred users across two university campuses to evaluate potential improvements to the US-based Wireless Emergency Alerts. The system allows A/B-type user testing of many potential enhancements including embedding maps, fine geo-targeting of alerts, embedding URLS, and speech-to-text.

An Application for Wrist Rehabilitation Using Smartphones

In this paper, we propose a wrist rehabilitation support system using a smartphone app. There are several issues with the conventional wrist rehabilitation systems, primarily that there is no method for quantitatively evaluating whether it has been appropriately carried out or not, that it is difficult for doctors to observe the condition of patients at home, and that the content is often boring. In our system, using a smartphone means that we can easily introduce it to homes and have medical doctors observe the condition of patients by accessing their data on the cloud. We also aim to help patients maintain their motivation for rehabilitation by playing a game using their wrist and a smartphone.

Understanding Online News Behaviors

The news landscape has been changing dramatically over the past few years. Whereas news once came from a small set of highly edited sources, now people can find news from thousands of news sites online, through a variety of channels such as web search, social media, email newsletters, or direct browsing. We set out to understand how Americans read news online using web browser logs collected from 174 diverse participants. We found that 20% of all news sessions started with a web search, that 16% started from social media, that 61% of news sessions only involved a single news domain, and that 47% of our participants read news from both sides of the political spectrum. We conclude with key implications for online news, social media, and search sites to encourage more balanced news browsing.

Exploring Invisible Disability Disclosure in the Sharing Economy

Sharing economy platforms enable people-including those with disabilities-to engage in flexible work outside of traditional workplaces. Though gender and race have been studied, discrimination against service providers with disabilities has not been explored. In this poster, we conducted a 2 - 3 between-group experiment to study whether disability status and work type would affect perceptions of credibility and hiring. We found mixed results: there is no significant statistical difference on credibility perception of service providers and hiring decisions. In the open-end response analysis, we grouped three important factors impacting customers' hiring decision toward service providers with disabilities, including platform, work-related attributes, and personal traits.

On an Effective Hierarchical Clustering Based Model for Data Fragmentation and Allocation in Relational DDBS: Review and Proposal

In this paper, as integral part for our previous efforts, a heuristic model is proposed. The basic objective of this model is to partition data vertically in Distributed Database System (DDBS). Driven by the running queries along with using hierarchical clustering algorithm, the presented model pursues to find a method by which an efficient data fragmentation and allocation is set to be made. The prime focus of this paper is oriented towards shedding the light on previous studies as well as presenting greedy based transmission costs-reducing data allocation algorithm. Data replication is also investigated to produce a comprehensive solution. Moreover, the site clustering has been integrated into this work. Moreover, data replication is carefully considered in such a way that cost is to be essentially minimized.

A Study on Optimizing MarkDuplicate in Genome Sequencing Pipeline

MarkDuplicate is typically one of the most time-consuming operations in the whole genome sequencing pipeline. Picard tool, which is widely used by biologists to sort reads in genome data and mark duplicate reads in sorted genome data, has relatively low performance on MarkDuplicate due to its single-thread sequential Java implementation, which has caused serious impact on nowadays bioinformatic researches. To accelerate MarkDuplicate in Picard, we present our two-stage optimization solution as a preliminary study on next generation bioinformatic software tools to better serve bioinformatic researches. In the first stage, we improve the original algorithm of tracking optical duplicate reads by eliminating large redundant operations. As a consequence, we achieve up to 50X speedup for the second step only and 9.57X overall process speedup. At the next stage, we redesign the I/O processing mechanism of MarkDuplicate as transforming between on-disk genome file and in-memory genome data by using ADAM format instead of previous SAM format, and implement cloud-scale MarkDuplicate application by Scala. Our evaluation is performed on top of Spark cluster with 25 worker nodes and Hadoop distributed file system. According to the evaluation results, our cloudscale MarkDuplicate can provide not only the same output but also better performance compared with the original Picard tool and other existing similar tools. Specifically, among the 13 sets of real whole genome data we used for evaluation at both stages, the best improvement we gain is reducing runtime by 92 hours in total. Average improvement reaches 48.69 decreasing hours.

Hydroinformatics and the web: analytics and dissemination of hydrology data for climate change and sustainability

Climate change and global sustainability are among the most urgent concerns facing humanity. One important aspect of this is hydrology, i.e., the scientific study of the movement, distribution and management of water. In light of the pervasiveness of Web technology and more broadly of information and communication technology (ICT), this article presents an overview of recent advances in Web data analytics for hydrology and hydroinformatics, via scientific perspectives, experiments, and tools pertaining to hydrology data and its relevance to areas such as climate change. Researchers have conducted studies on hydrological problems that are spreading globally, and the role of the Web is crucial here for providing ubiquitous access to information, enabling its efficient analysis and adequately disseminating the results via websites and apps. This aids in predictive analytics and decision support. We address the management, mining, and dissemination of hydrology data with the long-term goal of global sustainability. We survey classical and state-of-the-art works in hydroinformatics and the Web, also including recent COVID-19 related issues, and discuss notable open avenues for future research both with regard to climate change as well as the future of the Web.