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Communications of the ACM


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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.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3427481&dwn=1

A Privacy-Preserving Similarity Search Scheme over Encrypted Word Embeddings

Recent evolution in cloud computing platforms have attracted the largest amount of data than ever before. Today, even the most sensitive data are being outsourced, thus, protection is essential to ensure that privacy is not traded for the convenience provided by cloud platforms. Traditional symmetric encryption schemes provide good protection; however, they ruin the merits of cloud computing. Attempts have been made to obtain a scheme where both functionality and protection can be achieved. However, features provided in existing searchable encryption schemes tend to be left behind the latest findings in the information retrieval (IR) area.

In this study, we propose a privacy-preserving similar document search system based on Simhash. Our scheme is open to the latest machine-learning based IR schemes, and performance has been tuned utilizing a VP-tree based index, which is optimized for security. Analysis and various tests on real-world datasets demonstrate the scheme's security and efficiency on real-world datasets.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3366081&dwn=1

Designing a system with persuasive communication to improve diet compliance for elderly users

This paper introduces a system with persuasive communication to improve the diet compliance and adherence of participants of the PROMISS-project. For this persuasive communication different strategies and ways of personalisation are used, in accordance with existing literature. Furthermore, as the target group is elderly users, the design is tailored to their specific needs. A first prototype was created, based on seven functional requirements. During a pilot study, the prototype is evaluated with seven participants. Based on lessons learned during this pilot, as well as new requirements from the PROMISS dietitians, a refined design of the system was implemented. This refined design is briefly evaluated with four participants of the pilot during individual interviews. The changes made to the prototype were evaluated positively.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3329217&dwn=1

Cultivating the Cyberinfrastructure Workforce via an Intermediate/Advanced Virtual Residency Workshop

Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Facilitation is the process of helping researchers to use research computing systems and services to advance their computing-intensive/data-intensive research goals. The growing need for CI Facilitation isn't being met by traditional academic degree and certificate programs, so informal education is required. The Virtual Residency (VR) is a program that teaches key CI Facilitation skills to CI Facilitators. Using a combination of (a) workshops, (b) biweekly conference calls, (c) a Grant Proposal Writing Apprenticeship and (d) a new Paper Writing Apprenticeship, the VR has been teaching CI Facilitation since 2015. During the summers of 2015-17, the annual VR workshop was at an introductory level, driving demand for a higher level workshop. In 2018, the VR workshop was presented at a level described as intermediate, but in practice it included a great deal of advanced content, concentrated on institutional CI leadership. The 2018 focus areas were: (1) in-depth CI expertise in areas of rapidly changing technology; (2) CI leadership; (3) funding acquisition skills; (4) outreach strategies, techniques, and skills; (5) communication skills. The 2018 VR workshop served 216 participants from 147 institutions in 42 US states and 2 US territories plus 2 other countries.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3332204&dwn=1

Large-Scale Visual Search with Binary Distributed Graph at Alibaba

Graph-based approximate nearest neighbor search has attracted more and more attentions due to its online search advantages. Numbers of methods studying the enhancement of speed and recall have been put forward. However, few of them focus on the efficiency and scale of offline graph-construction. For a deployed visual search system with several billions of online images in total, building a billion-scale offline graph in hours is essential, which is almost unachievable by most existing methods.

In this paper, we propose a novel algorithm called Binary Distributed Graph to solve this problem. Specifically, we combine binary codes with graph structure to speedup both offline and online procedures, and achieve comparable performance with the ones that use real-value features, by recalling and reranking more binary candidates. Furthermore, the graph-construction is optimized to completely distributed implementation, which significantly accelerates the offline process and gets rid of the limitation of single machine, such as memory and storage. Experimental comparisons on Alibaba Commodity Data Set (more than three billion images) show that the proposed method outperforms the state-of-the-art with respect to the online/offline trade-off.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3357834&dwn=1

He Is Just Like Me: A Study of the Long-Term Use of Smart Speakers by Parents and Children

Over the past few years, the technological vision of the HCI and UbiComp communities regarding conversational devices has become manifest in the form of smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. Even though millions of households have adopted and integrated these devices into their daily lives, we lack a deep understanding of how different members of a household use such devices. To this end, we conducted interviews with 18 families and collected their Google Home Activity logs to understand the usage patterns of adults and children. Our findings reveal that there are substantial differences in the ways smart speakers are used by adults and children in families over an extended period of time. We report on how parents influence children's use and how different users perceive the devices. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings and provide guidelines for improving the design of future smart speakers and conversational agents.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3381002&dwn=1

Alexa, How Do I Build a VUI Curriculum?

As Voice User Interfaces (VUI) become more prominent in everyday life, there is an ever growing need to ensure that designers have the appropriate knowledge and tools to be able to build usable VUIs. To do this, we need to develop a curriculum for VUI design. However, there are few resources in academia and in industry to help ground the development of a new VUI-specific HCI curriculum. We discuss the limited approaches to VUI design, and particularly to preparing designers for this emerging interaction paradigm - both academia and industry training. Grounded in this, we then describe potential avenues for understanding what a VUI curriculum may entail, what would HCI educators need from it, and how such a curriculum would be validated.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3406137&dwn=1

SoK: a taxonomy for anomaly detection in wireless sensor networks focused on node-level techniques

Wireless sensor networks play an important role in today's world: When measuring physical conditions, the quality of the sensor readings ultimately impacts the quality of various data analytical services. To maintain data correctness and quality, run-time measures such as anomaly detection techniques are gaining significance. In particular, the detection of threatening node anomalies caused by sensor node faults has become a crucial task.

The detection of faulty sensor nodes is a non-trivial task because wireless sensor networks typically consist of low-cost embedded systems with strictly limited resources, especially regarding their energy budget. Thus, efficient and lightweight approaches that meet the requirements of sensor networks are required.

In this SoK paper, we contribute with a novel taxonomy of anomaly detection approaches focused on wireless sensor networks and a meta-survey of related classification schemes. To the best of our knowledge, our taxonomy is a comprehensive super-set of all previously published taxonomies in this field. Based on the taxonomy, we present new insights in node-level anomaly detection approaches and the applicability of immune-inspired techniques, and we lay out related research challenges.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3407027&dwn=1

Towards a Comprehensive Definition of Second Screen

Second screening is a widespread activity among users, although many are not aware of the term, and second screen applications are becoming increasingly popular in research and commercial use, from well-known examples such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or YouTube to applications that enable novel uses cases and have the potential to change the current usage behavior of the content on the first screen. Despite the increasing prevalence of this phenomenon, there are different interpretations in the relevant literature and in existing applications about what exactly is meant by the term second screen. In order to evaluate these different interpretations, we conducted a structured review of literature (SRL) on 65 publications in this area and reflected the results on an analysis of currently available second screen applications to precisely delineate the term and its characteristics. Furthermore, we derived a content and technical classification that will make it easier to manage the various benefits and characteristics of second screen applications in the future, to create a framework for the appropriate positioning of new research activities and reasoned basis for discussion.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3340781&dwn=1

Towards Participatory Video 2.0

Participatory video (PV) is an established practice for enabling communities to "speak truth to power" and has been widely used by local, national and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). However, the digital media landscape has changed dramatically since PV became widely accessible with the rise of the camcorder in the 1980s. Current media practices have evolved considerably since, yet PV remains essentially unchanged. We report on an investigation of current PV practices and reflect on these in terms of what the future for PV holds. We conducted interviews with staff at a global humanitarian network who directly and indirectly engage in community story capture; and explore their reflections on the potentials and barriers to PV use. We propose a new vision for PV that draws on current visual media production, consumption and distribution technologies and practices, and propose principles on which PV 2.0, a new generation of Participatory Video can be founded.

https://dl.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id=3376694&dwn=1