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  1. This exploratory study delves into the complex challenge of analyzing and interpreting student responses to mathematical problems, typically conveyed through image formats within online learning platforms. The main goal of this research is to identify and differentiate various student strategies within a dataset comprising image-based mathematical work. A comprehensive approach is implemented, including various image representation, preprocessing, and clustering techniques, each evaluated to fulfill the study’s objectives. The exploration spans several methods for enhanced image representation, extending from conventional pixel-based approaches to the innovative deployment of CLIP embeddings. Given the prevalent noise and variability in our dataset, an ablation study is conducted to meticulously evaluate the impact of various preprocessing steps, assessing their potency in eradicating extraneous backgrounds and noise to more precisely isolate relevant mathematical content. Two clustering approaches—k-means and hierarchical clustering—are employed to categorize images based on student strategies that underlies their responses. Preliminary results underscore the hierarchical clustering method could distinguish between student strategies effectively. Our study lays down a robust framework for characterizing and understanding student strategies in online mathematics problem-solving, paving the way for future research into scalable and precise analytical methodologies while introducing a novel open-source image dataset for the learning analytics research community. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
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  5. Matni, N ; Morari, M ; Pappas, G.J. (Ed.)
    One of the long-term objectives of Machine Learning is to endow machines with the capacity of structuring and interpreting the world as we do. This is particularly challenging in scenes involving time series, such as video sequences, since seemingly different data can correspond to the same underlying dynamics. Recent approaches seek to decompose video sequences into their composing objects, attributes and dynamics in a self-supervised fashion, thus simplifying the task of learning suitable features that can be used to analyze each component. While existing methods can successfully disentangle dynamics from other components, there have been relatively few efforts in learning parsimonious representations of these underlying dynamics. In this paper, motivated by recent advances in non-linear identification, we propose a method to decompose a video into moving objects, their attributes and the dynamic modes of their trajectories. We model video dynamics as the output of a Koopman operator to be learned from the available data. In this context, the dynamic information contained in the scene is encapsulated in the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the Koopman operator, providing an interpretable and parsimonious representation. We show that such decomposition can be used for instance to perform video analytics, predict future frames or generate synthetic video. We test our framework in a variety of datasets that encompass different dynamic scenarios, while illustrating the novel features that emerge from our dynamic modes decomposition: Video dynamics interpretation and user manipulation at test-time. We successfully forecast challenging object trajectories from pixels, achieving competitive performance while drawing useful insights. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  6. Despite the established convergence theory of Optimistic Gradient Descent Ascent (OGDA) and Extragradient (EG) methods for the convex-concave minimax problems, little is known about the theoretical guarantees of these methods in nonconvex settings. To bridge this gap, for the first time, this paper establishes the convergence of OGDA and EG methods under the nonconvex-strongly-concave (NC-SC) and nonconvex-concave (NC-C) settings by providing a unified analysis through the lens of single-call extra-gradient methods. We further establish lower bounds on the convergence of GDA/OGDA/EG, shedding light on the tightness of our analysis. We also conduct experiments supporting our theoretical results. We believe our results will advance the theoretical understanding of OGDA and EG methods for solving complicated nonconvex minimax real-world problems, e.g., Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) or robust neural networks training. 
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  7. Brehm, Christoph ; Pandya, Shishir (Ed.)
    Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and its uncertainty quantification are computationally expensive. We use Gaussian Process (GP) methods to demonstrate that machine learning can build efficient and accurate surrogate models to replace CFD simulations with significantly reduced computational cost without compromising the physical accuracy. We also demonstrate that both epistemic uncertainty (machine learning model uncertainty) and aleatory uncertainty (randomness in the inputs of CFD) can be accommodated when the machine learning model is used to reveal fluid dynamics. The demonstration is performed by applying simulation of Hagen-Poiseuille and Womersley flows that involve spatial and spatial-tempo responses, respectively. Training points are generated by using the analytical solutions with evenly discretized spatial or spatial-temporal variables. Then GP surrogate models are built using supervised machine learning regression. The error of the GP model is quantified by the estimated epistemic uncertainty. The results are compared with those from GPU-accelerated volumetric lattice Boltzmann simulations. The results indicate that surrogate models can produce accurate fluid dynamics (without CFD simulations) with quantified uncertainty when both epistemic and aleatory uncertainties exist. 
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  8. Abstract X-ray bursts are among the brightest stellar objects frequently observed in the sky by space-based telescopes. A type-I X-ray burst is understood as a violent thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a neutron star, accreting matter from a companion star in a binary system. The bursts are powered by a nuclear reaction sequence known as the rapid proton capture process (rp process), which involves hundreds of exotic neutron-deficient nuclides. At so-called waiting-point nuclides, the process stalls until a slower β + decay enables a bypass. One of the handful of rp process waiting-point nuclides is 64 Ge, which plays a decisive role in matter flow and therefore the produced X-ray flux. Here we report precision measurements of the masses of 63 Ge, 64,65 As and 66,67 Se—the relevant nuclear masses around the waiting-point 64 Ge—and use them as inputs for X-ray burst model calculations. We obtain the X-ray burst light curve to constrain the neutron-star compactness, and suggest that the distance to the X-ray burster GS 1826–24 needs to be increased by about 6.5% to match astronomical observations. The nucleosynthesis results affect the thermal structure of accreting neutron stars, which will subsequently modify the calculations of associated observables. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024