Dealing with information in modern times involves users to cope with hundreds of thousands of documents, such as articles, emails, Web pages, or News feeds.
Above all information sources, the World Wide Web presents information seekers with great challenges.
It offers more text in natural language than one is capable to read.
The key idea for this research intends to provide users with adaptable filtering techniques, supporting them in filtering out the specific information items they need.
Its realization focuses on developing an Information Extraction system,
which adapts to a domain of concern, by interpreting the contained formalized knowledge.
Utilizing the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which is the Semantic Web's formal language for exchanging information,
allows extending information extractors to incorporate the given domain knowledge.
Because of this, formal information items from the RDF source can be recognized in the text.
The application of RDF allows a further investigation of operations on recognized information items, such as disambiguating and rating the relevance of these.
Switching between different RDF sources allows changing the application scope of the Information Extraction system from one domain of concern to another.
An RDF-based Information Extraction system can be triggered to extract specific kinds of information entities by providing it with formal RDF queries in terms of the SPARQL query language.
Representing extracted information in RDF extends the coverage of the Semantic Web's information degree and provides a formal view on a text from the perspective of the RDF source.
In detail, this work presents the extension of existing Information Extraction approaches by incorporating the graph-based nature of RDF.
Hereby, the pre-processing of RDF sources allows extracting statistical information models dedicated to support specific information extractors.
These information extractors refine standard extraction tasks, such as the Named Entity Recognition, by using the information provided by the pre-processed models.
The post-processing of extracted information items enables representing these results in RDF format or lists, which can now be ranked or filtered by relevance.
Post-processing also comprises the enrichment of originating natural language text sources with extracted information items by using annotations in RDFa format.
The results of this research extend the state-of-the-art of the Semantic Web.
This work contributes approaches for computing customizable and adaptable RDF views on the natural language content of Web pages.
Finally, due to the formal nature of RDF, machines can interpret these views allowing developers to process the contained information in a variety of applications.
The goal of this work is to develop statistical natural language models and processing techniques
based on Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN), especially the recently introduced Long Short-
Term Memory (LSTM). Due to their adapting and predicting abilities, these methods are more
robust, and easier to train than traditional methods, i.e., words list and rule-based models. They
improve the output of recognition systems and make them more accessible to users for browsing
and reading. These techniques are required, especially for historical books which might take
years of effort and huge costs to manually transcribe them.
The contributions of this thesis are several new methods which have high-performance computing and accuracy. First, an error model for improving recognition results is designed. As
a second contribution, a hyphenation model for difficult transcription for alignment purposes
is suggested. Third, a dehyphenation model is used to classify the hyphens in noisy transcription. The fourth contribution is using LSTM networks for normalizing historical orthography.
A size normalization alignment is implemented to equal the size of strings, before the training
phase. Using the LSTM networks as a language model to improve the recognition results is
the fifth contribution. Finally, the sixth contribution is a combination of Weighted Finite-State
Transducers (WFSTs), and LSTM applied on multiple recognition systems. These contributions
will be elaborated in more detail.
Context-dependent confusion rules is a new technique to build an error model for Optical
Character Recognition (OCR) corrections. The rules are extracted from the OCR confusions
which appear in the recognition outputs and are translated into edit operations, e.g., insertions,
deletions, and substitutions using the Levenshtein edit distance algorithm. The edit operations
are extracted in a form of rules with respect to the context of the incorrect string to build an
error model using WFSTs. The context-dependent rules assist the language model to find the
best candidate corrections. They avoid the calculations that occur in searching the language
model and they also make the language model able to correct incorrect words by using context-
dependent confusion rules. The context-dependent error model is applied on the university of
Washington (UWIII) dataset and the Nastaleeq script in Urdu dataset. It improves the OCR
results from an error rate of 1.14% to an error rate of 0.68%. It performs better than the
state-of-the-art single rule-based which returns an error rate of 1.0%.
This thesis describes a new, simple, fast, and accurate system for generating correspondences
between real scanned historical books and their transcriptions. The alignment has many challenges, first, the transcriptions might have different modifications, and layout variations than the
original book. Second, the recognition of the historical books have misrecognition, and segmentation errors, which make the alignment more difficult especially the line breaks, and pages will
not have the same correspondences. Adapted WFSTs are designed to represent the transcription. The WFSTs process Fraktur ligatures and adapt the transcription with a hyphenations
model that allows the alignment with respect to the varieties of the hyphenated words in the line
breaks of the OCR documents. In this work, several approaches are implemented to be used for
the alignment such as: text-segments, page-wise, and book-wise approaches. The approaches
are evaluated on German calligraphic (Fraktur) script historical documents dataset from “Wan-
derungen durch die Mark Brandenburg” volumes (1862-1889). The text-segmentation approach
returns an error rate of 2.33% without using a hyphenation model and an error rate of 2.0%
using a hyphenation model. Dehyphenation methods are presented to remove the hyphen from
the transcription. They provide the transcription in a readable and reflowable format to be used
for alignment purposes. We consider the task as classification problem and classify the hyphens
from the given patterns as hyphens for line breaks, combined words, or noise. The methods are
applied on clean and noisy transcription for different languages. The Decision Trees classifier
returns better performance on UWIII dataset and returns an accuracy of 98%. It returns 97%
on Fraktur script.
A new method for normalizing historical OCRed text using LSTM is implemented for different texts, ranging from Early New High German 14th - 16th centuries to modern forms in New
High German applied on the Luther bible. It performed better than the rule-based word-list
approaches. It provides a transcription for various purposes such as part-of-speech tagging and
n-grams. Also two new techniques are presented for aligning the OCR results and normalize the
size by using adding Character-Epsilons or Appending-Epsilons. They allow deletion and insertion in the appropriate position in the string. In normalizing historical wordforms to modern
wordforms, the accuracy of LSTM on seen data is around 94%, while the state-of-the-art combined rule-based method returns 93%. On unseen data, LSTM returns 88% and the combined
rule-based method returns 76%. In normalizing modern wordforms to historical wordforms, the
LSTM delivers the best performance and returns 93.4% on seen data and 89.17% on unknown
In this thesis, a deep investigation has been done on constructing high-performance language
modeling for improving the recognition systems. A new method to construct a language model
using LSTM is designed to correct OCR results. The method is applied on UWIII and Urdu
script. The LSTM approach outperforms the state-of-the-art, especially for unseen tokens
during training. On the UWIII dataset, the LSTM returns reduction in OCR error rates from
1.14% to 0.48%. On the Nastaleeq script in Urdu dataset, the LSTM reduces the error rate
from 6.9% to 1.58%.
Finally, the integration of multiple recognition outputs can give higher performance than a
single recognition system. Therefore, a new method for combining the results of OCR systems is
explored using WFSTs and LSTM. It uses multiple OCR outputs and votes for the best output
to improve the OCR results. It performs better than the ISRI tool, Pairwise of Multiple Sequence and it helps to improve the OCR results. The purpose is to provide correct transcription
so that it can be used for digitizing books, linguistics purposes, N-grams, and part-of-speech
tagging. The method consists of two alignment steps. First, two recognition systems are aligned
using WFSTs. The transducers are designed to be more flexible and compatible with the different symbols in line and page breaks to avoid the segmentation and misrecognition errors.
The LSTM model then is used to vote the best candidate correction of the two systems and
improve the incorrect tokens which are produced during the first alignment. The approaches
are evaluated on OCRs output from the English UWIII and historical German Fraktur dataset
which are obtained from state-of-the-art OCR systems. The Experiments show that the error
rate of ISRI-Voting is 1.45%, the error rate of the Pairwise of Multiple Sequence is 1.32%, the
error rate of the Line-to-Page alignment is 1.26% and the error rate of the LSTM approach has
the best performance with 0.40%.
The purpose of this thesis is to contribute methods providing correct transcriptions corresponding to the original book. This is considered to be the first step towards an accurate and
more effective use of the documents in digital libraries.
Information Visualization (InfoVis) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) have strong ties with each other. Visualization supports the human cognitive system by providing interactive and meaningful images of the underlying data. On the other side, the HCI domain cares about the usability of the designed visualization from the human perspectives. Thus, designing a visualization system requires considering many factors in order to achieve the desired functionality and the system usability. Achieving these goals will help these people in understanding the inside behavior of complex data sets in less time.
Graphs are widely used data structures to represent the relations between the data elements in complex applications. Due to the diversity of this data type, graphs have been applied in numerous information visualization applications (e.g., state transition diagrams, social networks, etc.). Therefore, many graph layout algorithms have been proposed in the literature to help in visualizing this rich data type. Some of these algorithms are used to visualize large graphs, while others handle the medium sized graphs. Regardless of the graph size, the resulting layout should be understandable from the users’ perspective and at the same time it should fulfill a list of aesthetic criteria to increase the representation readability. Respecting these two principles leads to produce a resulting graph visualization that helps the users in understanding and exploring the complex behavior of critical systems.
In this thesis, we utilize the graph visualization techniques in modeling the structural and behavioral aspects of embedded systems. Furthermore, we focus on evaluating the resulting representations from the users’ perspectives.
The core contribution of this thesis is a framework, called ESSAVis (Embedded Systems Safety Aspect Visualizer). This framework visualizes not only some of the safety aspects (e.g. CFT models) of embedded systems, but also helps the engineers and experts in analyzing the system safety critical situations. For this, the framework provides a 2Dplus3D environment in which the 2D represents the graph representation of the abstract data about the safety aspects of the underlying embedded system while the 3D represents the underlying system 3D model. Both views are integrated smoothly together in the 3D world fashion. In order to check the effectiveness and feasibility of the framework and its sub-components, we conducted many studies with real end users as well as with general users. Results of the main study that targeted the overall ESSAVis framework show high acceptance ratio and higher accuracy with better performance using the provided visual support of the framework.
The ESSAVis framework has been designed to be compatible with different 3D technologies. This enabled us to use the 3D stereoscopic depth of such technologies to encode nodes attributes in node-link diagrams. In this regard, we conducted an evaluation study to measure the usability of the stereoscopic depth cue approach, called the stereoscopic highlighting technique, against other selected visual cues (i.e., color, shape, and sizes). Based on the results, the thesis proposes the Reflection Layer extension to the stereoscopic highlighting technique, which was also evaluated from the users’ perspectives. Additionally, we present a new technique, called ExpanD (Expand in Depth), that utilizes the depth cue to show the structural relations between different levels of details in node-link diagrams. Results of this part opens a promising direction of the research in which visualization designers can get benefits from the richness of the 3D technologies in visualizing abstract data in the information visualization domain.
Finally, this thesis proposes the application of the ESSAVis frame- work as a visual tool in the educational training process of engineers for understanding the complex concepts. In this regard, we conducted an evaluation study with computer engineering students in which we used the visual representations produced by ESSAVis to teach the principle of the fault detection and the failure scenarios in embedded systems. Our work opens the directions to investigate many challenges about the design of visualization for educational purposes.
A prime motivation for using XML to directly represent pieces of information is the ability of supporting ad-hoc or 'schema-later' settings. In such scenarios, modeling data under loose data constraints is essential. Of course, the flexibility of XML comes at a price: the absence of a rigid, regular, and homogeneous structure makes many aspects of data management more challenging. Such malleable data formats can also lead to severe information quality problems, because the risk of storing inconsistent and incorrect data is greatly increased. A prominent example of such problems is the appearance of the so-called fuzzy duplicates, i.e., multiple and non-identical representations of a real-world entity. Similarity joins correlating XML document fragments that are similar can be used as core operators to support the identification of fuzzy duplicates. However, similarity assessment is especially difficult on XML datasets because structure, besides textual information, may exhibit variations in document fragments representing the same real-world entity. Moreover, similarity computation is substantially more expensive for tree-structured objects and, thus, is a serious performance concern. This thesis describes the design and implementation of an effective, flexible, and high-performance XML-based similarity join framework. As main contributions, we present novel structure-conscious similarity functions for XML trees - either considering XML structure in isolation or combined with textual information -, mechanisms to support the selection of relevant information from XML trees and organization of this information into a suitable format for similarity calculation, and efficient algorithms for large-scale identification of similar, set-represented objects. Finally, we validate the applicability of our techniques by integrating our framework into a native XML database management system; in this context we address several issues around the integration of similarity operations into traditional database architectures.
Since their invention in the 1980s, behaviour-based systems have become very popular among roboticists. Their component-based nature facilitates the distributed implementation of systems, fosters reuse, and allows for early testing and integration. However, the distributed approach necessitates the interconnection of many components into a network in order to realise complex functionalities. This network is crucial to the correct operation of the robotic system. There are few sound design techniques for behaviour networks, especially if the systems shall realise task sequences. Therefore, the quality of the resulting behaviour-based systems is often highly dependant on the experience of their developers.
This dissertation presents a novel integrated concept for the design and verification of behaviour-based systems that realise task sequences. Part of this concept is a technique for encoding task sequences in behaviour networks. Furthermore, the concept provides guidance to developers of such networks. Based on a thorough analysis of methods for defining sequences, Moore machines have been selected for representing complex tasks. With the help of the structured workflow proposed in this work and the developed accompanying tool support, Moore machines defining task sequences can be transferred automatically into corresponding behaviour networks, resulting in less work for the developer and a lower risk of failure.
Due to the common integration of automatically and manually created behaviour-based components, a formal analysis of the final behaviour network is reasonable. For this purpose, the dissertation at hand presents two verification techniques and justifies the selection of model checking. A novel concept for applying model checking to behaviour-based systems is proposed according to which behaviour networks are modelled as synchronised automata. Based on such automata, properties of behaviour networks that realise task sequences can be verified or falsified. Extensive graphical tool support has been developed in order to assist the developer during the verification process.
Several examples are provided in order to illustrate the soundness of the presented design and verification techniques. The applicability of the integrated overall concept to real-world tasks is demonstrated using the control system of an autonomous bucket excavator. It can be shown that the proposed design concept is suitable for developing complex sophisticated behaviour networks and that the presented verification technique allows for verifying real-world behaviour-based systems.
Today’s pervasive availability of computing devices enabled with wireless communication and location- or inertial sensing capabilities is unprecedented. The number of smartphones sold worldwide are still growing and increasing numbers of sensor enabled accessories are available which a user can wear in the shoe or at the wrist for fitness tracking, or just temporarily puts on to measure vital signs. Despite this availability of computing and sensing hardware the merit of application seems rather limited regarding the full potential of information inherent to such senor deployments. Most applications build upon a vertical design which encloses a narrowly defined sensor setup and algorithms specifically tailored to suit the application’s purpose. Successful technologies, however, such as the OSI model, which serves as base for internet communication, have used a horizontal design that allows high level communication protocols to be run independently from the actual lower-level protocols and physical medium access. This thesis contributes to a more horizontal design of human activity recognition systems at two stages. First, it introduces an integrated toolchain to facilitate the entire process of building activity recognition systems and to foster sharing and reusing of individual components. At a second stage, a novel method for automatic integration of new sensors to increase a system’s performance is presented and discussed in detail.
The integrated toolchain is built around an efficient toolbox of parametrizable components for interfacing sensor hardware, synchronization and arrangement of data streams, filtering and extraction of features, classification of feature vectors, and interfacing output devices and applications. The toolbox emerged as open-source project through several research projects and is actively used by research groups. Furthermore, the toolchain supports recording, monitoring, annotation, and sharing of large multi-modal data sets for activity recognition through a set of integrated software tools and a web-enabled database.
The method for automatically integrating a new sensor into an existing system is, at its core, a variation of well-established principles of semi-supervised learning: (1) unsupervised clustering to discover structure in data, (2) assumption that cluster membership is correlated with class membership, and (3) obtaining at a small number of labeled data points for each cluster, from which the cluster labels are inferred. In most semi-supervised approaches, however, the labels are the ground truth provided by the user. By contrast, the approach presented in this thesis uses a classifier trained on an N-dimensional feature space (old classifier) to provide labels for a few points in an (N+1)-dimensional feature space which are used to generate a new, (N+1)-dimensional classifier. The different factors that make a distribution difficult to handle are discussed, a detailed description of heuristics designed to mitigate the influences of such factors is provided, and a detailed evaluation on a set of over 3000 sensor combinations from 3 multi-user experiments that have been used by a variety of previous studies of different activity recognition methods is presented.
This thesis provides a fully automatic translation from synchronous programs to parallel software for different architectures, in particular, shared memory processing (SMP) and distributed memory systems. Thereby, we exploit characteristics of the synchronous model of computation (MoC) to reduce communication and to improve available parallelism and load-balancing by out-of-order (OOO) execution and data speculation.
Manual programming of parallel software requires the developers to partition a system into tasks and to add synchronization and communication. The model-based approach of development abstracts from details of the target architecture and allows to make decisions about the target architecture as late as possible. The synchronous MoC supports this approach by abstracting from time and providing implicit parallelism and synchronization. Existing compilation techniques translate synchronous programs into synchronous guarded actions (SGAs) which are an intermediate format abstracting from semantic problems in synchronous languages. Compilers for SGAs analyze causality problems, ensure logical correctness and the absence of schizophrenia problems. Hence, SGAs are a simplified and general starting point and keep the synchronous MoC at the same time. The instantaneous feedback in the synchronous MoC makes the mapping of these systems to parallel software a non-trivial task. In contrast, other MoCs such as data-flow processing networks (DPNs) directly match with parallel architectures. We translate the SGAs into DPNs,which represent a commonly used model to create parallel software. DPNs have been proposed as a programming model for distributed parallel systems that have communication paths with unpredictable latencies. The purely data-driven execution of DPNs does not require a global coordination and therefore DPNs can be easily mapped to parallel software for architectures with distributed memory. The generation of efficient parallel code from DPNs challenges compiler design with two issues: To perfectly utilize a parallel system, the communication and synchronization has to be kept low, and the utilization of the computational units has to be balanced. The variety of hardware architectures and dynamic execution techniques in processing units of these systems make a statically balanced distributed execution impossible.
The synchronous MoC is still reflected in our generated DPNs, which exhibits characteristics that allow optimizations concerning the previously mentioned issues. In particular, we apply a general communication reduction and OOO execution to achieve a dynamically balanced execution which is inspired from hardware design.
The recognition of day-to-day activities is still a very challenging and important research topic. During recent years, a lot of research has gone into designing and realizing smart environ- ments in different application areas such as health care, maintenance, sports or smart homes. As a result, a large amount of sensor modalities were developed, different types of activity and context recognition services were implemented and the resulting systems were benchmarked using state-of-the-art evaluation techniques. However, so far hardly any of these approaches have found their way into the market and consequently into the homes of real end-users on a large scale. The reason for this is, that almost all systems have one or more of the following characteristics in common: expensive high-end or prototype sensors are used which are not af- fordable or reliable enough for mainstream applications; many systems are deployed in highly instrumented environments or so-called "living labs", which are far from real-life scenarios and are often evaluated only in research labs; almost all systems are based on complex system con- figurations and/or extensive training data sets, which means that a large amount of data must be collected in order to install the system. Furthermore, many systems rely on a user and/or environment dependent training, which makes it even more difficult to install them on a large scale. Besides, a standardized integration procedure for the deployment of services in existing environments and smart homes has still not been defined. As a matter of fact, service providers use their own closed systems, which are not compatible with other systems, services or sensors. It is clear, that these points make it nearly impossible to deploy activity recognition systems in a real daily-life environment, to make them affordable for real users and to deploy them in hundreds or thousands of different homes.
This thesis works towards the solution of the above mentioned problems. Activity and context recognition systems designed for large-scale deployment and real-life scenarios are intro- duced. Systems are based on low-cost, reliable sensors and can be set up, configured and trained with little effort, even by technical laymen. It is because of these characteristics that we call our approach "minimally invasive". As a consequence, large amounts of training data, that are usu- ally required by many state-of-the-art approaches, are not necessary. Furthermore, all systems were integrated unobtrusively in real-world/similar to real-world environments and were evalu- ated under real-life, as well as similar to real-life conditions. The thesis addresses the following topics: First, a sub-room level indoor positioning system is introduced. The system is based on low-cost ceiling cameras and a simple computer vision tracking approach. The problem of user identification is solved by correlating modes of locomotion patterns derived from the trajectory of unidentified objects and on-body motion sensors. Afterwards, the issue of recognizing how and what mainstream household devices have been used for is considered. Based on a low-cost microphone, the water consumption of water-taps can be approximated by analyzing plumbing noise. Besides that, operating modes of mainstream electronic devices were recognized by using rule-based classifiers, electric current features and power measurement sensors. As a next step, the difficulty of spotting subtle, barely distinguishable hand activities and the resulting object interactions, within a data set containing a large amount of background data, is addressed. The problem is solved by introducing an on-body core system which is configured by simple, one-time physical measurements and minimal data collections. The lack of large training sets is compensated by fusing the system with activity and context recognition systems, that are able to reduce the search space observed. Amongst other systems, previously introduced approaches and ideas are revisited in this section. An in-depth evaluation shows the impact of each fusion procedure on the performance and run-time of the system. The approaches introduced are able to provide significantly better results than a state-of-the-art inertial system using large amounts of training data. The idea of using unobtrusive sensors has also been applied to the field of behavior analysis. Integrated smartphone sensors are used to detect behavioral changes of in- dividuals due to medium-term stress periods. Behavioral parameters related to location traces, social interactions and phone usage were analyzed to detect significant behavioral changes of individuals during stressless and stressful time periods. Finally, as a closing part of the the- sis, a standardization approach related to the integration of ambient intelligence systems (as introduced in this thesis) in real-life and large-scale scenarios is shown.
Large displays become more and more popular, due to dropping prices. Their size and high resolution leverages collaboration and they are capable of dis- playing even large datasets in one view. This becomes even more interesting as the number of big data applications increases. The increased screen size and other properties of large displays pose new challenges to the Human- Computer-Interaction with these screens. This includes issues such as limited scalability to the number of users, diversity of input devices in general, leading to increased learning efforts for users, and more.
Using smart phones and tablets as interaction devices for large displays can solve many of these issues. Since they are almost ubiquitous today, users can bring their own device. This approach scales well with the number of users. These mobile devices are easy and intuitive to use and allow for new interaction metaphors, as they feature a wide array of input and output capabilities, such as touch screens, cameras, accelerometers, microphones, speakers, Near-Field Communication, WiFi, etc.
This thesis will present a concept to solve the issues posed by large displays. We will show proofs-of-concept, with specialized approaches showing the via- bility of the concept. A generalized, eyes-free technique using smart phones or tablets to interact with any kind of large display, regardless of hardware or software then overcomes the limitations of the specialized approaches. This is implemented in a large display application that is designed to run under a multitude of environments, including both 2D and 3D display setups. A special visualization method is used to combine 2D and 3D data in a single visualization.
Additionally the thesis will present several approaches to solve common is- sues with large display interaction, such as target sizes on large display getting too small, expensive tracking hardware, and eyes-free interaction through vir- tual buttons. These methods provide alternatives and context for the main contribution.
Industrial design has a long history. With the introduction of Computer-Aided Engineering, industrial design was revolutionised. Due to the newly found support, the design workflow changed, and with the introduction of virtual prototyping, new challenges arose. These new engineering problems have triggered
new basic research questions in computer science.
In this dissertation, I present a range of methods which support different components of the virtual design cycle, from modifications of a virtual prototype and optimisation of said prototype, to analysis of simulation results.
Starting with a virtual prototype, I support engineers by supplying intuitive discrete normal vectors which can be used to interactively deform the control mesh of a surface. I provide and compare a variety of different normal definitions which have different strengths and weaknesses. The best choice depends on
the specific model and on an engineer’s priorities. Some methods have higher accuracy, whereas other methods are faster.
I further provide an automatic means of surface optimisation in the form of minimising total curvature. This minimisation reduces surface bending, and therefore, it reduces material expenses. The best results can be obtained for analytic surfaces, however, the technique can also be applied to real-world examples.
Moreover, I provide engineers with a curvature-aware technique to optimise mesh quality. This helps to avoid degenerated triangles which can cause numerical issues. It can be applied to any component of the virtual design cycle: as a direct modification of the virtual prototype (depending on the surface defini-
tion), during optimisation, or dynamically during simulation.
Finally, I have developed two different particle relaxation techniques that both support two components of the virtual design cycle. The first component for which they can be used is discretisation. To run computer simulations on a model, it has to be discretised. Particle relaxation uses an initial sampling,
and it improves it with the goal of uniform distances or curvature-awareness. The second component for which they can be used is the analysis of simulation results. Flow visualisation is a powerful tool in supporting the analysis of flow fields through the insertion of particles into the flow, and through tracing their movements. The particle seeding is usually uniform, e.g. for an integral surface, one could seed on a square. Integral surfaces undergo strong deformations, and they can have highly varying curvature. Particle relaxation redistributes the seeds on the surface depending on surface properties like local deformation or curvature.