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  1. Abstract

    We present the results of an Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array survey to identify 183 GHz H2O maser emission from active galactic nuclei (AGNs) already known to host 22 GHz megamaser systems. Out of 20 sources observed, we detect significant 183 GHz maser emission from 13; this survey thus increases the number of AGN known to host (sub)millimeter megamasers by a factor of 5. We find that the 183 GHz emission is systematically fainter than the 22 GHz emission from the same targets, with typical flux densities being roughly an order of magnitude lower at 183 GHz than at 22 GHz. However, the isotropic luminosities of the detected 183 GHz sources are comparable to their 22 GHz values. For two of our sources—ESO 269-G012 and the Circinus galaxy—we detect rich 183 GHz spectral structure containing multiple line complexes. The 183 GHz spectrum of ESO 269-G012 exhibits the triple-peaked structure characteristic of an edge-on AGN disk system. The Circinus galaxy contains the strongest 183 GHz emission detected in our sample, peaking at a flux density of nearly 5 Jy. The high signal-to-noise ratios achieved by these strong lines enable a coarse mapping of the 183 GHz maser system, in which themore »masers appear to be distributed similarly to those seen in VLBI maps of the 22 GHz system in the same galaxy and may be tracing the circumnuclear accretion disk at larger orbital radii than the 22 GHz masers. This newly identified population of AGN disk megamasers presents a motivation for developing VLBI capabilities at 183 GHz.

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  2. Sparse coding refers to modeling a signal as sparse linear combinations of the elements of a learned dictionary. Sparse coding has proven to be a successful and interpretable approach in many applications, such as signal processing, computer vision, and medical imaging. While this success has spurred much work on sparse coding with provable guarantees, work on the setting where the learned dictionary is larger (or over-realized) with respect to the ground truth is comparatively nascent. Existing theoretical results in the over-realized regime are limited to the case of noise-less data. In this paper, we show that for over-realized sparse coding in the presence of noise, minimizing the standard dictionary learning objective can fail to recover the ground-truth dictionary, regardless of the magnitude of the signal in the data-generating process. Furthermore, drawing from the growing body of work on self-supervised learning, we propose a novel masking objective and we prove that minimizing this new objective can recover the ground-truth dictionary. We corroborate our theoretical results with experiments across several parameter regimes, showing that our proposed objective enjoys better empirical performance than the standard reconstruction objective.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  4. Abstract

    The unprecedented angular resolution and sensitivity of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array make it possible to unveil disk populations in distant (>2 kpc), embedded young cluster environments. We have conducted an observation toward the central region of the massive protocluster G286.21+0.16 at 1.3 mm. With a spatial resolution of 23 mas and a sensitivity of 15μJy beam−1, we detect a total of 38 protostellar disks. These disks have dust masses ranging from about 53 to 1825M, assuming a dust temperature of 20 K. This sample is not closely associated with previously identified dense cores, as would be expected for disks around Class 0 protostars. Thus, we expect our sample, being flux-limited, to be mainly composed of Class I/flat-spectrum source disks, since these are typically more massive than Class II disks. Furthermore, we find that the distributions of disk masses and radii are statistically indistinguishable from those of the Class I/flat-spectrum objects in the Orion molecular cloud, indicating that similar processes are operating in G286.21+0.16 to regulate disk formation and evolution. The cluster center appears to host a massive protostellar system composed of three sources within 1200 au, including a potential binary with 600 au projected separation. Relative to thismore »center, there is no evidence for widespread mass segregation in the disk population. We do find a tentative trend of increasing disk radius versus distance from the cluster center, which may point to the influence of dynamical interactions being stronger in the central regions.

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  5. Pennock, David M. ; Segal, Ilya ; Seuken, Sven (Ed.)
    We consider the problem of planning with participation constraints introduced in [24]. In this problem, a principal chooses actions in a Markov decision process, resulting in separate utilities for the principal and the agent. However, the agent can and will choose to end the process whenever his expected onward utility becomes negative. The principal seeks to compute and commit to a policy that maximizes her expected utility, under the constraint that the agent should always want to continue participating. We provide the first polynomial-time exact algorithm for this problem for finite-horizon settings, where previously only an additive ε-approximation algorithm was known. Our approach can also be extended to the (discounted) infinite-horizon case, for which we give an algorithm that runs in time polynomial in the size of the input and log(1/ε), and returns a policy that is optimal up to an additive error of ε.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 12, 2023
  6. With the rapid growth of emerging point-of-use (POU)/point-of-care (POC) detection technologies, miniaturized sensors for the real-time detection of gases and airborne pathogens have become essential to fight pollution, emerging contaminants, and pandemics. However, the low-cost development of miniaturized gas sensors without compromising selectivity, sensitivity, and response time remains challenging. Microfluidics is a promising technology that has been exploited for decades to overcome such limitations, making it an excellent candidate for POU/POC. However, microfluidic-based gas sensors remain a nascent field. In this review, the evolution of microfluidic gas sensors from basic electronic techniques to more advanced optical techniques such as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to detect analytes is documented in detail. This paper focuses on the various detection methodologies used in microfluidic-based devices for detecting gases and airborne pathogens. Non-continuous microfluidic devices such as bubble/droplet-based microfluidics technology that have been employed to detect gases and airborne pathogens are also discussed. The selectivity, sensitivity, advantages/disadvantages vis-a-vis response time, and fabrication costs for all the microfluidic sensors are tabulated. The microfluidic sensors are grouped based on the target moiety, such as air pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and airborne pathogens such as E. coli and SARS-CoV-2. The possible application scenarios formore »the various microfluidic devices are critically examined.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  7. We pose and study the problem of planning in Markov decision processes (MDPs), subject to participation constraints as studied in mechanism design. In this problem, a planner must work with a self-interested agent on a given MDP. Each action in the MDP provides an immediate reward to the planner and a (possibly different) reward to the agent. The agent has no control in choosing the actions, but has the option to end the entire process at any time. The goal of the planner is to find a policy that maximizes her cumulative reward, taking into consideration the agent's ability to terminate. We give a fully polynomial-time approximation scheme for this problem. En route, we present polynomial-time algorithms for computing (exact) optimal policies for important special cases of this problem, including when the time horizon is constant, or when the MDP exhibits a "definitive decisions" property. We illustrate our algorithms with two different game-theoretic applications: the problem of assigning rides in ride-sharing and the problem of designing screening policies. Our results imply efficient algorithms for computing (approximately) optimal policies in both applications.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 28, 2023