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  1. This paper addresses the problem of dynamic allocation of robot resources to tasks with hierarchical representations and multiple types of execution constraints, with the goal of enabling single-robot multitasking capabilities. Although the vast majority of robot platforms are equipped with more than one sensor (cameras, lasers, sonars) and several actuators (wheels/legs, two arms), which would in principle allow the robot to concurrently work on multiple tasks, existing methods are limited to allocating robots in their entirety to only one task at a time. This approach employs only a subset of a robot's sensors and actuators, leaving other robot resources unused. Our aim is to enable a robot to make full use of its capabilities by having an individual robot multitask, distributing its sensors and actuators to multiple concurrent activities. We propose a new architectural framework based on Hierarchical Task Trees that supports multitasking through a new representation of robot behaviors that explicitly encodes the robot resources (sensors and actuators) and the environmental conditions needed for execution. This architecture was validated on a two-arm, mobile, PR2 humanoid robot, performing tasks with multiple types of execution constraints. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 12, 2024
  2. Multi-agent dynamical systems refer to scenarios where multiple units (aka agents) interact with each other and evolve collectively over time. For instance, people’s health conditions are mutually influenced. Receiving vaccinations not only strengthens the longterm health status of one unit but also provides protection for those in their immediate surroundings. To make informed decisions in multi-agent dynamical systems, such as determining the optimal vaccine distribution plan, it is essential for decision-makers to estimate the continuous-time counterfactual outcomes. However, existing studies of causal inference over time rely on the assumption that units are mutually independent, which is not valid for multi-agent dynamical systems. In this paper, we aim to bridge this gap and study how to estimate counterfactual outcomes in multi-agent dynamical systems. Causal inference in a multi-agent dynamical system has unique challenges: 1) Confounders are timevarying and are present in both individual unit covariates and those of other units; 2) Units are affected by not only their own but also others’ treatments; 3) The treatments are naturally dynamic, such as receiving vaccines and boosters in a seasonal manner. To this end, we model a multi-agent dynamical system as a graph and propose a novel model called CF-GODE (CounterFactual Graph Ordinary Differential Equations). CF-GODE is a causal model that estimates continuous-time counterfactual outcomes in the presence of inter-dependencies between units. To facilitate continuous-time estimation,we propose Treatment-Induced GraphODE, a novel ordinary differential equation based on graph neural networks (GNNs), which can incorporate dynamical treatments as additional inputs to predict potential outcomes over time. To remove confounding bias, we propose two domain adversarial learning based objectives that learn balanced continuous representation trajectories, which are not predictive of treatments and interference. We further provide theoretical justification to prove their effectiveness. Experiments on two semi-synthetic datasets confirm that CF-GODE outperforms baselines on counterfactual estimation. We also provide extensive analyses to understand how our model works. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Taxonomies, which organize knowledge hierarchically, support various practical web applications such as product navigation in online shopping and user profle tagging on social platforms. Given the continued and rapid emergence of new entities, maintaining a comprehensive taxonomy in a timely manner through human annotation is prohibitively expensive. Therefore, expanding a taxonomy automatically with new entities is essential. Most existing methods for expanding taxonomies encode entities into vector embeddings (i.e., single points). However, we argue that vectors are insufcient to model the “is-a” hierarchy in taxonomy (asymmetrical relation), because two points can only represent pairwise similarity (symmetrical relation). To this end, we propose to project taxonomy entities into boxes (i.e., hyperrectangles). Two boxes can be "contained", "disjoint" and "intersecting", thus naturally representing an asymmetrical taxonomic hierarchy. Upon box embeddings, we propose a novel model BoxTaxo for taxonomy expansion. The core of BoxTaxo is to learn boxes for entities to capture their child-parent hierarchies. To achieve this, BoxTaxo optimizes the box embeddings from a joint view of geometry and probability. BoxTaxo also ofers an easy and natural way for inference: examine whether the box of a given new entity is fully enclosed inside the box of a candidate parent from the existing taxonomy. Extensive experiments on two benchmarks demonstrate the efectiveness of BoxTaxo compared to vector based models. 
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    The emergence of Intel's Optane DC persistent memory (Optane Pmem) draws much interest in building persistent key-value (KV) stores to take advantage of its high throughput and low latency. A major challenge in the efforts stems from the fact that Optane Pmem is essentially a hybrid storage device with two distinct properties. On one hand, it is a high-speed byte-addressable device similar to DRAM. On the other hand, the write to the Optane media is conducted at the unit of 256 bytes, much like a block storage device. Existing KV store designs for persistent memory do not take into account of the latter property, leading to high write amplification and constraining both write and read throughput. In the meantime, a direct re-use of a KV store design intended for block devices, such as LSM-based ones, would cause much higher read latency due to the former property. In this paper, we propose ChameleonDB, a KV store design specifically for this important hybrid memory/storage device by considering and exploiting these two properties in one design. It uses LSM tree structure to efficiently admit writes with low write amplification. It uses an in-DRAM hash table to bypass LSM-tree's multiple levels for fast reads. In the meantime, ChameleonDB may choose to opportunistically maintain the LSM multi-level structure in the background to achieve short recovery time after a system crash. ChameleonDB's hybrid structure is designed to be able to absorb sudden bursts of a write workload, which helps avoid long-tail read latency. Our experiment results show that ChameleonDB improves write throughput by 3.3× and reduces read latency by around 60% compared with a legacy LSM-tree based KV store design. ChameleonDB provides performance competitive even with KV stores using fully in-DRAM index by using much less DRAM space. Compared with CCEH, a persistent hash table design, ChameleonDB provides 6.4× higher write throughput. 
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    Accurate prediction of scientific impact is important for scientists, academic recommender systems, and granting organizations alike. Existing approaches rely on many years of leading citation values to predict a scientific paper’s citations (a proxy for impact), even though most papers make their largest contributions in the first few years after they are published. In this paper, we tackle a new problem: predicting a new paper’s citation time series from the date of publication (i.e., without leading values). We propose HINTS, a novel end-to-end deep learning framework that converts citation signals from dynamic heterogeneous information networks (DHIN) into citation time series. HINTS imputes pseudo-leading values for a paper in the years before it is published from DHIN embeddings, and then transforms these embeddings into the parameters of a formal model that can predict citation counts immediately after publication. Empirical analysis on two real-world datasets from Computer Science and Physics show that HINTS is competitive with baseline citation prediction models. While we focus on citations, our approach generalizes to other “cold start” time series prediction tasks where relational data is available and accurate prediction in early timestamps is crucial. 
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