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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Cybercrime was estimated to cost the global economy $945 billion in 2020. Increasingly, law enforcement agencies are using social network analysis (SNA) to identify key hackers from Dark Web hacker forums for targeted investigations. However, past approaches have primarily focused on analyzing key hackers at a single point in time and use a hacker’s structural features only. In this study, we propose a novel Hacker Evolution Identification Framework to identify how hackers evolve within hacker forums. The proposed framework has two novelties in its design. First, the framework captures features such as user statistics, node-level metrics, lexical measures, and postmore »style, when representing each hacker with unsupervised graph embedding methods. Second, the framework incorporates mechanisms to align embedding spaces across multiple time-spells of data to facilitate analysis of how hackers evolve over time. Two experiments were conducted to assess the performance of prevailing graph embedding algorithms and nodal feature variations in the task of graph reconstruction in five timespells. Results of our experiments indicate that Text- Associated Deep-Walk (TADW) with all of the proposed nodal features outperforms methods without nodal features in terms of Mean Average Precision in each time-spell. We illustrate the potential practical utility of the proposed framework with a case study on an English forum with 51,612 posts. The results produced by the framework in this case study identified key hackers posting piracy assets.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  3. Legumes are the second most important family of crop plants. One defining feature of legumes is their unique ability to establish a nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis with soil bacteria known as rhizobia. Since domestication from their wild relatives, crop legumes have been under intensive breeding to improve yield and other agronomic traits but with little attention paid to the belowground symbiosis traits. Theoretical models predict that domestication and breeding processes, coupled with high‐input agricultural practices, might have reduced the capacity of crop legumes to achieve their full potential of nitrogen fixation symbiosis. Testing this prediction requires characterizing symbiosis traits inmore »wild and breeding populations under both natural and cultivated environments using genetic, genomic, and ecological approaches. However, very few experimental studies have been dedicated to this area of research. Here, we review how legumes regulate their interactions with soil rhizobia and how domestication, breeding and agricultural practices might have affected nodulation capacity, nitrogen fixation efficiency, and the composition and function of rhizobial community. We also provide a perspective on how to improve legume-rhizobial symbiosis in sustainable agricultural systems.« less
  4. In this article, we propose a new approach for simulating trees, including their branches, sub-branches, and leaves. This approach combines the theory of biological development, mathematical models, and computer graphics, producing simulated trees and forest with full geometry. Specifically, we adopt the Lindenmayer process to simulate the branching pattern of trees and modify the available measurements and dimensions of 3D CAD developed object files to create natural looking sub-branches and leaves. Randomization has been added to the placement of all branches, sub branches and leaves. To simulate a forest, we adopt Inhomogeneous Poisson process to generate random locations of trees.more »Our approach can be used to create complex structured 3D virtual environment for the purpose of testing new sensors and training robotic algorithms. We look forward to applying this approach to test biosonar sensors that mimick bats' fly in the simulated environment.« less
  5. We develop an effective computer model to simulate sensing environments that consist of natural trees. The simulated environments are random and contain full geometry of the tree foliage. While this simulated model can be used as a general platform for studying the sensing mechanism of different flying species, our ultimate goal is to build bat-inspired Quad-rotor UAVs—UAVs that can recreate bat’s flying behavior (e.g., obstacle avoidance, path planning) in dense vegetation. To this end, we also introduce an foliage echo simulator that can produce simulated echoes by mimicking bat’s biosonar. In our current model, a few realistic model choices ormore »assumptions are made. First, in order to create natural looking trees, the branching structures of trees are modeled by L-systems, whereas the detailed geometry of branches, subbranches and leaves is created by randomizing a reference tree in a CAD object file. Additionally, the foliage echo simulator is simplified so that no shading effect is considered. We demonstrate our developed model by simulating real-world scenarios with multiple trees and compute the corresponding impulse responses along a Quad-rotor trajectory.« less