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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 29, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  5. Abstract

    Element isotopes are characterized by distinct atomic masses and nuclear spins, which can significantly influence material properties. Notably, however, isotopes in natural materials are homogenously distributed in space. Here, we propose a method to configure material properties by repositioning isotopes in engineered van der Waals (vdW) isotopic heterostructures. We showcase the properties of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) isotopic heterostructures in engineering confined photon-lattice waves—hyperbolic phonon polaritons. By varying the composition, stacking order, and thicknesses of h10BN and h11BN building blocks, hyperbolic phonon polaritons can be engineered into a variety of energy-momentum dispersions. These confined and tailored polaritons are promising for various nanophotonic and thermal functionalities. Due to the universality and importance of isotopes, our vdW isotope heterostructuring method can be applied to engineer the properties of a broad range of materials.

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  6. Human-robot interaction has played an increasingly significant role in more recent research involving the Theory of Mind (ToM). As the use of robot facilitators increases, questions arise regarding the implications of their involvement in a research setting. This work addresses the effects of a humanoid robot facilitator in a ToM assessment. This paper analyzes subjects’ performances on tasks meant to test ToM as those tasks are delivered by human or robot facilitators. Various modalities of data were collected: performance on ToM tasks, subjects’ perceptions of the robot, results from a ToM survey, and response duration. This paper highlights the effects of human-robot interactions in ToM assessments, which ultimately leads to a discussion on the effectiveness of using robot facilitators in future human-subject research. 
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  7. A prerequisite for social coordination is bidirectional communication between teammates, each playing two roles simultaneously: as receptive listeners and expressive speakers. For robots working with humans in complex situations with multiple goals that differ in importance, failure to fulfill the expectation of either role could undermine group performance due to misalignment of values between humans and robots. Specifically, a robot needs to serve as an effective listener to infer human users’ intents from instructions and feedback and as an expressive speaker to explain its decision processes to users. Here, we investigate how to foster effective bidirectional human-robot communications in the context of value alignment—collaborative robots and users form an aligned understanding of the importance of possible task goals. We propose an explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) system in which a group of robots predicts users’ values by taking in situ feedback into consideration while communicating their decision processes to users through explanations. To learn from human feedback, our XAI system integrates a cooperative communication model for inferring human values associated with multiple desirable goals. To be interpretable to humans, the system simulates human mental dynamics and predicts optimal explanations using graphical models. We conducted psychological experiments to examine the core components of the proposed computational framework. Our results show that real-time human-robot mutual understanding in complex cooperative tasks is achievable with a learning model based on bidirectional communication. We believe that this interaction framework can shed light on bidirectional value alignment in communicative XAI systems and, more broadly, in future human-machine teaming systems. 
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  8. We propose a generative model of unordered point sets, such as point clouds, in the form of an energy-based model, where the energy function is parameterized by an input permutation- invariant bottom-up neural network. The energy function learns a coordinate encoding of each point and then aggregates all individual point features into an energy for the whole point cloud. We call our model the Generative PointNet because it can be derived from the discriminative PointNet. Our model can be trained by MCMC based maximum likelihood learning (as well as its variants), without the help of any assisting networks like those in GANs and VAEs. Unlike most point cloud generators that rely on hand-crafted distance metrics, our model does not require any hand-crafted distance metric for the point cloud generation, because it synthesizes point clouds by matching observed examples in terms of statistical properties defined by the energy function. Furthermore, we can learn a short run MCMC toward the energy-based model as a flow-like generator for point cloud reconstruction and interpolation. The learned point cloud representation can be useful for point cloud classification. Experiments demonstrate the advantages of the proposed generative model of point clouds. 
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  9. This paper studies the unsupervised cross-domain translation problem by proposing a generative framework, in which the probability distribution of each domain is represented by a generative cooperative network that consists of an energy based model and a latent variable model. The use of generative cooperative network enables maximum likelihood learning of the domain model by MCMC teaching, where the energy-based model seeks to fit the data distribution of domain and distills its knowledge to the latent variable model via MCMC. Specifically, in the MCMC teaching process, the latent variable model parameterized by an encoder-decoder maps examples from the source domain to the target domain, while the energy-based model further refines the mapped results by Langevin revision such that the revised results match to the examples in the target domain in terms of the statistical properties, which are defined by the learned energy function. For the purpose of building up a correspondence between two unpaired domains, the proposed framework simultaneously learns a pair of cooperative networks with cycle consistency, accounting for a two-way translation between two domains, by alternating MCMC teaching. Experiments show that the proposed framework is useful for unsupervised image-to-image translation and unpaired image sequence translation. 
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