Indoor environmental quality has been found to impact employees' productivity in the long run, yet it is unclear its meeting-level impact in the short term. We studied the relationship between sensorial pleasantness of a meeting's room and the meeting's productivity. By administering a 28-item questionnaire to 363 online participants, we indeed found that three factors captured 62% of people's experience of meetings: (a) productivity; (b) psychological safety; and (c) room pleasantness. To measure room pleasantness, we developed and deployed ComFeel, an indoor environmental sensing infrastructure, which captures light, temperature, and gas resistance readings through miniaturized and unobtrusive devices we built and named 'Geckos'. Across 29 real-world meetings, using ComFeel, we collected 1373 minutes of readings. For each of these meetings, we also collected whether each participant felt the meeting to have been productive, the setting to be psychologically safe, and the meeting room to be pleasant. As one expects, we found that, on average, the probability of a meeting being productive increased by 35% for each standard deviation increase in the psychological safety participants experienced. Importantly, that probability increased by as much as 25% for each increase in room pleasantness, confirming the significant short-term impact of the indoor environment on meetings' productivity.
Representative sampling appears rare in empirical software engineering research. Not all studies need representative samples, but a general lack of representative sampling undermines a scientific field. This article therefore reports a critical review of the state of sampling in recent, high-quality software engineering research. The key findings are: (1) random sampling is rare; (2) sophisticated sampling strategies are very rare; (3) sampling, representativeness and randomness often appear misunderstood. These findings suggest that software engineering research has a generalizability crisis. To address these problems, this paper synthesizes existing knowledge of sampling into a succinct primer and proposes extensive guidelines for improving the conduct, presentation and evaluation of sampling in software engineering research. It is further recommended that while researchers should strive for more representative samples, disparaging non-probability sampling is generally capricious and particularly misguided for predominately qualitative research.
Truly real-life data presents a strong, but exciting challenge for sentiment and emotion research. The high variety of possible `in-the-wild' properties makes large datasets such as these indispensable with respect to building robust machine learning models. A sufficient quantity of data covering a deep variety in the challenges of each modality to force the exploratory analysis of the interplay of all modalities has not yet been made available in this context. In this contribution, we present MuSe-CaR, a first of its kind multimodal dataset. The data is publicly available as it recently served as the testing bed for the 1st Multimodal Sentiment Analysis Challenge, and focused on the tasks of emotion, emotion-target engagement, and trustworthiness recognition by means of comprehensively integrating the audio-visual and language modalities. Furthermore, we give a thorough overview of the dataset in terms of collection and annotation, including annotation tiers not used in this year's MuSe 2020. In addition, for one of the sub-challenges - predicting the level of trustworthiness - no participant outperformed the baseline model, and so we propose a simple, but highly efficient Multi-Head-Attention network that exceeds using multimodal fusion the baseline by around 0.2 CCC (almost 50 % improvement).
Artificial agents that support people in their daily activities (e.g., virtual coaches and personal assistants) are increasingly prevalent. Since many daily activities are social in nature, support agents should understand a user's social situation to offer comprehensive support. However, there are no systematic approaches for developing support agents that are social situation aware. We identify key requirements for a support agent to be social situation aware and propose steps to realize those requirements. These steps are presented through a conceptual architecture that centers around two key ideas: (1) conceptualizing social situation awareness as an instantiation of `general' situation awareness, and (2) using situation taxonomies as the key element of such instantiation. This enables support agents to represent a user's social situation, comprehend its meaning, and assess its impact on the user's behavior. We discuss empirical results supporting that the proposed approach can be effective and illustrate how the architecture can be used in support agents through a use case.
Mobile apps have become indispensable for daily life, not only for individuals but also for companies/organizations that offer their services digitally. Inherited by the mobility of devices, there are no limitations regarding the locations or conditions in which apps are being used. For example, apps can be used where no internet connection is available. Therefore, offline-first is a highly desired quality of mobile apps. Accordingly, inappropriate handling of connectivity issues and miss-implementation of good practices lead to bugs and crashes occurrences that reduce the confidence of users on the apps' quality. In this paper, we present the first study on Eventual Connectivity (ECn) issues exhibited by Android apps, by manually inspecting 971 scenarios related to 50 open-source apps. We found 304 instances of ECn issues (6 issues per app, on average) that we organized in a taxonomy of 10 categories. We found that the majority of ECn issues are related to the use of messages not providing correct information to the user about the connectivity status and to the improper use of external libraries/apps to which the check of the connectivity status is delegated. Based on our findings, we distill a list of lessons learned for both practitioners and researchers, indicating directions for future work.
Mobile health systems in recent times, have notably improved the healthcare sector by empowering patients to actively participate in their health, and by facilitating access to healthcare professionals. Effective operation of these mobile systems nonetheless, requires high level of intelligence and expertise implemented in the form of decision support systems (DSS). However, common challenges in the implementation include generalization and reliability, due to the dynamics and incompleteness of information presented to the inference models. In this paper, we advance the use of ad hoc mobile decision support system to monitor and detect triggers and early symptoms of respiratory distress provoked by strenuous physical exertion. The focus is on the application of certainty theory to model inexact reasoning by the mobile monitoring system. The aim is to develop a mobile tool to assist patients in managing their conditions, and to provide objective clinical data to aid physicians in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of the respiratory ailments. We present the proposed model architecture and then describe an application scenario in a clinical setting. We also show implementation of an aspect of the system that enables patients in the self-management of their conditions.
Visual Place Recognition (VPR) is the process of recognising a previously visited place using visual information, often under varying appearance conditions and viewpoint changes and with computational constraints. VPR is related to the concepts of localisation, loop closure, image retrieval and is a critical component of many autonomous navigation systems ranging from autonomous vehicles to drones and computer vision systems. While the concept of place recognition has been around for many years, VPR research has grown rapidly as a field over the past decade due to improving camera hardware and its potential for deep learning-based techniques, and has become a widely studied topic in both the computer vision and robotics communities. This growth however has led to fragmentation and a lack of standardisation in the field, especially concerning performance evaluation. Moreover, the notion of viewpoint and illumination invariance of VPR techniques has largely been assessed qualitatively and hence ambiguously in the past. In this paper, we address these gaps through a new comprehensive open-source framework for assessing the performance of VPR techniques, dubbed "VPR-Bench". VPR-Bench (Open-sourced at: https://github.com/MubarizZaffar/VPR-Bench) introduces two much-needed capabilities for VPR researchers: firstly, it contains a benchmark of 12 fully-integrated datasets and 10 VPR techniques, and secondly, it integrates a comprehensive variation-quantified dataset for quantifying viewpoint and illumination invariance. We apply and analyse popular evaluation metrics for VPR from both the computer vision and robotics communities, and discuss how these different metrics complement and/or replace each other, depending upon the underlying applications and system requirements.
AI is undergoing a paradigm shift with the rise of models (e.g., BERT, DALL-E, GPT-3) that are trained on broad data at scale and are adaptable to a wide range of downstream tasks. We call these models foundation models to underscore their critically central yet incomplete character. This report provides a thorough account of the opportunities and risks of foundation models, ranging from their capabilities (e.g., language, vision, robotics, reasoning, human interaction) and technical principles(e.g., model architectures, training procedures, data, systems, security, evaluation, theory) to their applications (e.g., law, healthcare, education) and societal impact (e.g., inequity, misuse, economic and environmental impact, legal and ethical considerations). Though foundation models are based on standard deep learning and transfer learning, their scale results in new emergent capabilities,and their effectiveness across so many tasks incentivizes homogenization. Homogenization provides powerful leverage but demands caution, as the defects of the foundation model are inherited by all the adapted models downstream. Despite the impending widespread deployment of foundation models, we currently lack a clear understanding of how they work, when they fail, and what they are even capable of due to their emergent properties. To tackle these questions, we believe much of the critical research on foundation models will require deep interdisciplinary collaboration commensurate with their fundamentally sociotechnical nature.
The cataclysmic contagion based calamity -- Covid-19 has shown us a clear need for a comprehensive community based strategy that overcomes the sheer complexity of controlling it and the caveats of current methods. In this regard, as seen in earlier epidemics, testing has always been an integral part of containment policy. But one has to consider the optimality of a testing scheme based on the resultant disease spread in the community and not based on purely increasing testing efficiency. Therefore, taking a decision is no easy feat and must consider the community utility constrained by its priorities, budget, risks, collateral and abilities which can be encoded into the optimization of the strategy. We thus propose a simple pooling strategy that is easy to customize and practical to implement, unlike other complex and computationally intensive methods.
The increasing population of elderly people is associated with the need to meet their increasing requirements and to provide solutions that can improve their quality of life in a smart home. In addition to fear and anxiety towards interfacing with systems; cognitive disabilities, weakened memory, disorganized behavior and even physical limitations are some of the problems that elderly people tend to face with increasing age. The essence of providing technology-based solutions to address these needs of elderly people and to create smart and assisted living spaces for the elderly; lies in developing systems that can adapt by addressing their diversity and can augment their performances in the context of their day to day goals. Therefore, this work proposes a framework for development of a Personalized Intelligent Assistant to help elderly people perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) in a smart and connected Internet of Things (IoT) based environment. This Personalized Intelligent Assistant can analyze different tasks performed by the user and recommend activities by considering their daily routine, current affective state and the underlining user experience. To uphold the efficacy of this proposed framework, it has been tested on a couple of datasets for modelling an average user and a specific user respectively. The results presented show that the model achieves a performance accuracy of 73.12% when modelling a specific user, which is considerably higher than its performance while modelling an average user, this upholds the relevance for development and implementation of this proposed framework.
The advent of IoT has enabled the design of connected and integrated smart health monitoring systems. These smart health monitoring systems could be realized in a smart home context to render long-term care to the elderly population. In this paper, we present the design of a wearable health monitoring system suitable for older adults in a smart home context. The proposed system offers solutions to monitor the stress, blood pressure, and location of an individual within a smart home environment. The stress detection model proposed in this work uses Electrodermal Activity (EDA), Photoplethysmogram (PPG), and Skin Temperature (ST) sensors embedded in a smart wristband for detecting physiological stress. The stress detection model is trained and tested using stress labels obtained from salivary cortisol which is a clinically established biomarker for physiological stress. A voice-based prototype is also implemented and the feasibility of the proposed system for integration in a smart home environment is analyzed by simulating a data acquisition and streaming scenario. We have also proposed a blood pressure estimation model using PPG signal and advanced regression techniques for integration with the stress detection model in the wearable health monitoring system. Finally, the design of a voice-assisted indoor location system is proposed for integration with the proposed system within a smart home environment. The proposed wearable health monitoring system is an important direction to realize a smart home environment with extensive diagnostic capabilities so that such a system could be useful for rendering long-term and personalized care to the aging population in the comfort of their home.