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Title: Zero or not? Causes and consequences of zero‐flow stream gage readings
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  1. Considerable attention has focused on studying reviewer agreement via inter-rater reliability (IRR) as a way to assess the quality of the peer review process. Inspired by a recent study that reported an IRR of zero in the mock peer review of top-quality grant proposals, we use real data from a complete range of submissions to the National Institutes of Health and to the American Institute of Biological Sciences to bring awareness to two important issues with using IRR for assessing peer review quality. First, we demonstrate that estimating local IRR from subsets of restricted-quality proposals will likely result in zero estimates under many scenarios. In both data sets, we find that zero local IRR estimates are more likely when subsets of top-quality proposals rather than bottom-quality proposals are considered. However, zero estimates from range-restricted data should not be interpreted as indicating arbitrariness in peer review. On the contrary, despite different scoring scales used by the two agencies, when complete ranges of proposals are considered, IRR estimates are above 0.6 which indicates good reviewer agreement. Furthermore, we demonstrate that, with a small number of reviewers per proposal, zero estimates of IRR are possible even when the true value is not zero.
  2. We present a new 4-move special honest-verifier zero-knowledge proof of knowledge system for proving that a vector of Pedersen commitments opens to a so-called ``one-hot'' vector (i.e., to a vector from the standard orthonormal basis) from $\mathbb{Z}_p^n$. The need for such proofs arises in the contexts of symmetric private information retrieval (SPIR), end-to-end verifiable voting (E2E), and privacy-preserving data aggregation and analytics, among others. The key insight underlying the new protocol is a simple observation regarding the paucity of roots of polynomials of bounded degree over a finite field. The new protocol is fast and yields succinct proofs: For vectors of length $n$, the prover evaluates $\Theta(\lg{n})$ group operations plus $\Theta(n)$ field operations and sends just $\Theta(\lg{n})$ group and field elements, while the verifier evaluates one $n$-base multiexponentiation plus $\Theta(\lg{n})$ additional group operations and sends just $2(\lambda+\lg{n})$ bits to obtain a soundness error less than $2^{-\lambda}$. (A 5-move variant of the protocol reduces prover upload to just $2\lambda+\lg{n}$ bits for the same soundness error.) We have implemented both our new protocol and its closest competitors from the literature; in accordance with our analytic results, experiments confirm that the new protocols handily outperform existing protocols for all but the shortest ofmore »vectors (roughly, for vectors with more than 16-32 elements).« less