skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: SeNsER: Learning Cross-Building Sensor Metadata Tagger
Sensor metadata tagging, akin to the named entity recognition task, provides key contextual information (e.g., measurement type and location) about sensors for running smart building applications. Unfortunately, sensor metadata in different buildings often follows dis- tinct naming conventions. Therefore, learning a tagger currently requires extensive annotations on a per building basis. In this work, we propose a novel framework, SeNsER, which learns a sensor metadata tagger for a new building based on its raw metadata and some existing fully annotated building. It leverages the commonality between different buildings: At the character level, it employs bidirectional neural language models to capture the shared underlying patterns between two buildings and thus regularizes the feature learning process; At the word level, it leverages as features the k-mers existing in the fully annotated building. During inference, we further incorporate the information obtained from sources such as Wikipedia as prior knowledge. As a result, SeNsER shows promising results in extensive experiments on multiple real-world buildings.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020
Page Range / eLocation ID:
950 to 960
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Multi-label text classification refers to the problem of assigning each given document its most relevant labels from a label set. Commonly, the metadata of the given documents and the hierarchy of the labels are available in real-world applications. However, most existing studies focus on only modeling the text information, with a few attempts to utilize either metadata or hierarchy signals, but not both of them. In this paper, we bridge the gap by formalizing the problem of metadata-aware text classification in a large label hierarchy (e.g., with tens of thousands of labels). To address this problem, we present the MATCH solution—an end-to-end framework that leverages both metadata and hierarchy information. To incorporate metadata, we pre-train the embeddings of text and metadata in the same space and also leverage the fully-connected attentions to capture the interrelations between them. To leverage the label hierarchy, we propose different ways to regularize the parameters and output probability of each child label by its parents. Extensive experiments on two massive text datasets with large-scale label hierarchies demonstrate the effectiveness of MATCH over the state-of-the-art deep learning baselines. 
    more » « less
  2. Obeid, I. (Ed.)
    The Neural Engineering Data Consortium (NEDC) is developing the Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus (TUDP), an open source database of high-resolution images from scanned pathology samples [1], as part of its National Science Foundation-funded Major Research Instrumentation grant titled “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning” [2]. The long-term goal of this project is to release one million images. We have currently scanned over 100,000 images and are in the process of annotating breast tissue data for our first official corpus release, v1.0.0. This release contains 3,505 annotated images of breast tissue including 74 patients with cancerous diagnoses (out of a total of 296 patients). In this poster, we will present an analysis of this corpus and discuss the challenges we have faced in efficiently producing high quality annotations of breast tissue. It is well known that state of the art algorithms in machine learning require vast amounts of data. Fields such as speech recognition [3], image recognition [4] and text processing [5] are able to deliver impressive performance with complex deep learning models because they have developed large corpora to support training of extremely high-dimensional models (e.g., billions of parameters). Other fields that do not have access to such data resources must rely on techniques in which existing models can be adapted to new datasets [6]. A preliminary version of this breast corpus release was tested in a pilot study using a baseline machine learning system, ResNet18 [7], that leverages several open-source Python tools. The pilot corpus was divided into three sets: train, development, and evaluation. Portions of these slides were manually annotated [1] using the nine labels in Table 1 [8] to identify five to ten examples of pathological features on each slide. Not every pathological feature is annotated, meaning excluded areas can include focuses particular to these labels that are not used for training. A summary of the number of patches within each label is given in Table 2. To maintain a balanced training set, 1,000 patches of each label were used to train the machine learning model. Throughout all sets, only annotated patches were involved in model development. The performance of this model in identifying all the patches in the evaluation set can be seen in the confusion matrix of classification accuracy in Table 3. The highest performing labels were background, 97% correct identification, and artifact, 76% correct identification. A correlation exists between labels with more than 6,000 development patches and accurate performance on the evaluation set. Additionally, these results indicated a need to further refine the annotation of invasive ductal carcinoma (“indc”), inflammation (“infl”), nonneoplastic features (“nneo”), normal (“norm”) and suspicious (“susp”). This pilot experiment motivated changes to the corpus that will be discussed in detail in this poster presentation. To increase the accuracy of the machine learning model, we modified how we addressed underperforming labels. One common source of error arose with how non-background labels were converted into patches. Large areas of background within other labels were isolated within a patch resulting in connective tissue misrepresenting a non-background label. In response, the annotation overlay margins were revised to exclude benign connective tissue in non-background labels. Corresponding patient reports and supporting immunohistochemical stains further guided annotation reviews. The microscopic diagnoses given by the primary pathologist in these reports detail the pathological findings within each tissue site, but not within each specific slide. The microscopic diagnoses informed revisions specifically targeting annotated regions classified as cancerous, ensuring that the labels “indc” and “dcis” were used only in situations where a micropathologist diagnosed it as such. Further differentiation of cancerous and precancerous labels, as well as the location of their focus on a slide, could be accomplished with supplemental immunohistochemically (IHC) stained slides. When distinguishing whether a focus is a nonneoplastic feature versus a cancerous growth, pathologists employ antigen targeting stains to the tissue in question to confirm the diagnosis. For example, a nonneoplastic feature of usual ductal hyperplasia will display diffuse staining for cytokeratin 5 (CK5) and no diffuse staining for estrogen receptor (ER), while a cancerous growth of ductal carcinoma in situ will have negative or focally positive staining for CK5 and diffuse staining for ER [9]. Many tissue samples contain cancerous and non-cancerous features with morphological overlaps that cause variability between annotators. The informative fields IHC slides provide could play an integral role in machine model pathology diagnostics. Following the revisions made on all the annotations, a second experiment was run using ResNet18. Compared to the pilot study, an increase of model prediction accuracy was seen for the labels indc, infl, nneo, norm, and null. This increase is correlated with an increase in annotated area and annotation accuracy. Model performance in identifying the suspicious label decreased by 25% due to the decrease of 57% in the total annotated area described by this label. A summary of the model performance is given in Table 4, which shows the new prediction accuracy and the absolute change in error rate compared to Table 3. The breast tissue subset we are developing includes 3,505 annotated breast pathology slides from 296 patients. The average size of a scanned SVS file is 363 MB. The annotations are stored in an XML format. A CSV version of the annotation file is also available which provides a flat, or simple, annotation that is easy for machine learning researchers to access and interface to their systems. Each patient is identified by an anonymized medical reference number. Within each patient’s directory, one or more sessions are identified, also anonymized to the first of the month in which the sample was taken. These sessions are broken into groupings of tissue taken on that date (in this case, breast tissue). A deidentified patient report stored as a flat text file is also available. Within these slides there are a total of 16,971 total annotated regions with an average of 4.84 annotations per slide. Among those annotations, 8,035 are non-cancerous (normal, background, null, and artifact,) 6,222 are carcinogenic signs (inflammation, nonneoplastic and suspicious,) and 2,714 are cancerous labels (ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma in situ.) The individual patients are split up into three sets: train, development, and evaluation. Of the 74 cancerous patients, 20 were allotted for both the development and evaluation sets, while the remain 34 were allotted for train. The remaining 222 patients were split up to preserve the overall distribution of labels within the corpus. This was done in hope of creating control sets for comparable studies. Overall, the development and evaluation sets each have 80 patients, while the training set has 136 patients. In a related component of this project, slides from the Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) Biosample Repository ( -facility) are being digitized in addition to slides provided by Temple University Hospital. This data includes 18 different types of tissue including approximately 38.5% urinary tissue and 16.5% gynecological tissue. These slides and the metadata provided with them are already anonymized and include diagnoses in a spreadsheet with sample and patient ID. We plan to release over 13,000 unannotated slides from the FCCC Corpus simultaneously with v1.0.0 of TUDP. Details of this release will also be discussed in this poster. Few digitally annotated databases of pathology samples like TUDP exist due to the extensive data collection and processing required. The breast corpus subset should be released by November 2021. By December 2021 we should also release the unannotated FCCC data. We are currently annotating urinary tract data as well. We expect to release about 5,600 processed TUH slides in this subset. We have an additional 53,000 unprocessed TUH slides digitized. Corpora of this size will stimulate the development of a new generation of deep learning technology. In clinical settings where resources are limited, an assistive diagnoses model could support pathologists’ workload and even help prioritize suspected cancerous cases. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This material is supported by the National Science Foundation under grants nos. CNS-1726188 and 1925494. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. REFERENCES [1] N. Shawki et al., “The Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus,” in Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology: Emerging Trends in Research and Applications, 1st ed., I. Obeid, I. Selesnick, and J. Picone, Eds. New York City, New York, USA: Springer, 2020, pp. 67 104. [2] J. Picone, T. Farkas, I. Obeid, and Y. Persidsky, “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning.” Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), Division of Computer and Network Systems, Award No. 1726188, January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2021. https://www. [3] A. Gulati et al., “Conformer: Convolution-augmented Transformer for Speech Recognition,” in Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2020, pp. 5036-5040. [4] C.-J. Wu et al., “Machine Learning at Facebook: Understanding Inference at the Edge,” in Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA), 2019, pp. 331–344. [5] I. Caswell and B. Liang, “Recent Advances in Google Translate,” Google AI Blog: The latest from Google Research, 2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Aug-2021]. [6] V. Khalkhali, N. Shawki, V. Shah, M. Golmohammadi, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Low Latency Real-Time Seizure Detection Using Transfer Deep Learning,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium (SPMB), 2021, pp. 1 7. https://www.isip. [7] J. Picone, T. Farkas, I. Obeid, and Y. Persidsky, “MRI: High Performance Digital Pathology Using Big Data and Machine Learning,” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 2020. [8] I. Hunt, S. Husain, J. Simons, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Recent Advances in the Temple University Digital Pathology Corpus,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium (SPMB), 2019, pp. 1–4. [9] A. P. Martinez, C. Cohen, K. Z. Hanley, and X. (Bill) Li, “Estrogen Receptor and Cytokeratin 5 Are Reliable Markers to Separate Usual Ductal Hyperplasia From Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia and Low-Grade Ductal Carcinoma In Situ,” Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med., vol. 140, no. 7, pp. 686–689, Apr. 2016. 
    more » « less
  3. A key barrier to applying any smart technology to a building is the requirement of locating and connecting to the necessary resources among the thousands of sensing and control points, i.e., the metadata mapping problem. Existing solutions depend on exhaustive manual annotation of sensor metadata - a laborious, costly, and hardly scalable process. To reduce the amount of manual effort required, this paper presents a multi-oracle selective sampling framework to leverage noisy labels from information sources with unknown reliability such as existing buildings, which we refer to as weak oracles, for metadata mapping. This framework involves an interactive process, where a small set of sensor instances are progressively selected and labeled for it to learn how to aggregate the noisy labels as well as to predict sensor types. Two key challenges arise in designing the framework, namely, weak oracle reliability estimation and instance selection for querying. To address the first challenge, we develop a clustering-based approach for weak oracle reliability estimation to capitalize on the observation that weak oracles perform differently in different groups of instances. For the second challenge, we propose a disagreement-based query selection strategy to combine the potential effect of a labeled instance on both reducing classifier uncertainty and improving the quality of label aggregation. We evaluate our solution on a large collection of real-world building sensor data from 5 buildings with more than 11, 000 sensors of 18 different types. The experiment results validate the effectiveness of our solution, which outperforms a set of state-of-the-art baselines. 
    more » « less
  4. The recent advances in the automation of metadata normalization and the invention of a unified schema --- Brick --- alleviate the metadata normalization challenge for deploying portable applications across buildings. Yet, the lack of compatibility between existing metadata normalization methods precludes the possibility of comparing and combining them. While generic machine learning (ML) frameworks, such as MLJAR and OpenML, provide versatile interfaces for standard ML problems, they cannot easily accommodate the metadata normalization tasks for buildings due to the heterogeneity in the inference scope, type of data required as input, evaluation metric, and the building-specific human-in-the-loop learning procedure. We propose Plaster, an open and modular framework that incorporates existing advances in building metadata normalization. It provides unified programming interfaces for various types of learning methods for metadata normalization and defines standardized data models for building metadata and timeseries data. Thus, it enables the integration of different methods via a workflow, benchmarking of different methods via unified interfaces, and rapid prototyping of new algorithms. With Plaster, we 1) show three examples of the workflow integration, delivering better performance than individual algorithms, 2) benchmark/analyze five algorithms over five common buildings, and 3) exemplify the process of developing a new algorithm involving time series features. We believe Plaster will facilitate the development of new algorithms and expedite the adoption of standard metadata schema such as Brick, in order to enable seamless smart building applications in the future. 
    more » « less
  5. Modern NLP applications have enjoyed a great boost utilizing neural networks models. Such deep neural models, however, are not applicable to most human languages due to the lack of annotated training data for various NLP tasks. Cross-lingual transfer learning (CLTL) is a viable method for building NLP models for a low-resource target language by leveraging labeled data from other (source) languages. In this work, we focus on the multilingual transfer setting where training data in multiple source languages is leveraged to further boost target language performance. Unlike most existing methods that rely only on language-invariant features for CLTL, our approach coherently utilizes both language invariant and language-specific features at instance level. Our model leverages adversarial networks to learn language-invariant features, and mixture-of-experts models to dynamically exploit the similarity between the target language and each individual source language1. This enables our model to learn effectively what to share between various languages in the multilingual setup. Moreover, when coupled with unsupervised multilingual embeddings, our model can operate in a zero-resource setting where neither target language training data nor cross-lingual resources are available. Our model achieves significant performance gains over prior art, as shown in an extensive set of experiments over multiple text classification and sequence tagging. 
    more » « less