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Research Interests

My research interests lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning and statistics. I am particularly interested in hierarchical graphical models and approximate inference/learning techniques including Markov Chain Monte Carlo and variational Bayesian methods. My current research has a particular emphasis on models and algorithms for multivariate time series data. Thanks to recent awards from NSF and NIH, my current applied work is focusing on machine learning-based analytics for clinical and mobile health (mHealth) data. In the past, I have worked on a broad range of applications including collaborative filtering and ranking, unsupervised structure discovery and feature induction, object recognition and image labeling, and natural language processing, and I continue to consult on projects in these areas.

Recent Publications

Sadasivam, Rajani Shankar, Sarah L. Cutrona, Rebecca L. Kinney, Benjamin M. Marlin, Kathleen M. Mazor, Stephenie C. Lemon, and Thomas K. Houston. "Collective-Intelligence Recommender Systems: Advancing Computer Tailoring for Health Behavior Change Into the 21st Century." Journal of Medical Internet Research. 18.3 (2016). AbstractFull Text

What is the next frontier for computer-tailored health communication (CTHC) research? In current CTHC systems, study designers who have expertise in behavioral theory and mapping theory into CTHC systems select the variables and develop the rules that specify how the content should be tailored, based on their knowledge of the targeted population, the literature, and health behavior theories. In collective-intelligence recommender systems (hereafter recommender systems) used by Web 2.0 companies (eg, Netflix and Amazon), machine learning algorithms combine user profiles and continuous feedback ratings of content (from themselves and other users) to empirically tailor content. Augmenting current theory-based CTHC with empirical recommender systems could be evaluated as the next frontier for CTHC.

Adams, Roy, Nazir Saleheen, Edison Thomaz, Abhinav Parate, Santosh Kumar, and Benjamin Marlin. "Hierarchical Span-Based Conditional Random Fields for Labeling and Segmenting Events in Wearable Sensor Data Streams." International Conference on Machine Learning. 2016. Abstract

The field of mobile health (mHealth) has the potential to yield new insights into health and behavior through the analysis of continuously recorded data from wearable health and activity sensors. In this paper, we present a hierarchical span-based conditional random field model for the key problem of jointly detecting discrete events in such sensor data streams and segmenting these events into high-level activity sessions. Our model includes higher-order cardinality factors and inter-event duration factors to capture domain-specific structure in the label space. We show that our model supports exact MAP inference in quadratic time via dynamic programming, which we leverage to perform learning in the structured support vector machine framework. We apply the model to the problems of smoking and eating detection using four real data sets. Our results show statistically significant improvements in segmentation performance at the p=0.005 level relative to a hierarchical pairwise CRF.

Jacek, Nicholas, Meng-Chieh Chiu, Benjamin Marlin, and Eliot J. B. Moss. "Assessing the Limits of Program-Specific Garbage Collection Performance." Programming Language Design and Implementation. 2016. Abstract

Distinguished Paper Award

We consider the ultimate limits of program-specific garbage collector performance for real programs. We first characterize the GC schedule optimization problem using Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). Based on this characterization, we develop a method of determining, for a given program run and heap size, an optimal schedule of collections for a non-generational collector. We further explore the limits of performance of a generational collector, where it is not feasible to search the space of schedules to prove optimality. Still, we show significant improvements with Least Squares Policy Iteration, a reinforcement learning technique for solving MDPs. We demonstrate that there is considerable promise to reduce garbage collection costs by developing program-specific collection policies.

Dadkhahi, Hamid, Nazir Saleheen, Santosh Kumar, and Benjamin Marlin. "Learning Shallow Detection Cascades for Wearable Sensor-Based Mobile Health Applications." ICML On Device Intelligence Workshop. 2016. Abstract

The field of mobile health aims to leverage recent advances in wearable on-body sensing technology and smart phone computing capabilities to develop systems that can monitor health states and deliver just-in-time adaptive interventions. However, existing work has largely focused on analyzing collected data in the off-line setting. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to learning shallow detection cascades developed explicitly for use in a real-time wearable-phone or wearable-phone-cloud systems. We apply our approach to the problem of cigarette smoking detection from a combination of wrist-worn actigraphy data and respiration chest band data using two and three stage cascades.

Nguyen, Thai, Roy J. Adams, Annamalai Natarajan, and Benjamin M. Marlin Parsing Wireless Electrocardiogram Signals with the CRF-CFG Model. Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning for Health Workshop., 2016. Abstract

Recent advances in wearable sensor technology have made it possible to simultaneously collect multiple streams of physiological and context data from individuals as they go about their daily activities in natural environments. However, extracting reliable higher-level inferences from these raw data streams remains a key data analysis challenge. In this paper, we focus on the specific case of the analysis of data from wireless electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors. We present a new robust probabilistic approach to ECG morphology extraction using conditional random field context free grammar models, which have traditionally been applied to parsing problems in natural language processing. We introduce a robust context free grammar for parsing noisy ECG data, and show significantly improved performance on the ECG morphological labeling task.

Iyengar, Srinivasan, Sandeep Kalra, Anushree Ghosh, David Irwin, Prashant Shenoy, and Benjamin Marlin. "iProgram: Inferring Smart Schedules for Dumb Thermostats." Proceedings of the 2Nd ACM International Conference on Embedded Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments. BuildSys '15. New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2015. 211-220. Abstract

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for over 50% of a typical home's energy usage. A thermostat generally controls HVAC usage in a home to ensure user comfort. In this paper, we focus on making existing "dumb" programmable thermostats smart by applying energy analytics on smart meter data to infer home occupancy patterns and compute an optimized thermostat schedule. Utilities with smart meter deployments are capable of immediately applying our approach, called iProgram, to homes across their customer base. iProgram addresses new challenges in inferring home occupancy from smart meter data where i) training data is not available and ii) the thermostat schedule may be misaligned with occupancy, frequently resulting in high power usage during unoccupied periods. iProgram translates occupancy patterns inferred from opaque smart meter data into a custom schedule for existing types of programmable thermostats, e.g., 1-day, 7-day, etc. We implement iProgram as a web service and show that it reduces the mismatch time between the occupancy pattern and the thermostat schedule by a median value of 44.28 minutes (out of 100 homes) when compared to a default 8am-6pm weekday schedule, with a median deviation of 30.76 minutes off the optimal schedule. Further, iProgram yields a daily energy saving of 0.42kWh on average across the 100 homes. Utilities may use iProgram to recommend thermostat schedules to customers and provide them estimates of potential energy savings in their energy bills.

Li, Steven Cheng-Xian, and Benjmain M. Marlin. "Classification of Sparse and Irregularly Sampled Time Series with Mixtures of Expected Gaussian Kernels and Random Features." 31st Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence. 2015. Abstract

This paper presents a kernel-based framework for classification of sparse and irregularly sampled time series. The properties of such time series can result in substantial uncertainty about the values of the underlying temporal processes, while making the data difficult to deal with using standard classification methods that assume fixed-dimensional feature spaces. To address these challenges, we propose to first re-represent each time series through the Gaussian process (GP) posterior it induces under a GP regression model. We then define kernels over the space of GP posteriors and apply standard kernel-based classification. Our primary contributions are (i) the development of a kernel between GPs based on the mixture of kernels between their finite marginals, (ii) the development and analysis of extensions of random Fourier features for scaling the proposed kernel to large-scale data, and (iii) an extensive empirical analysis of both the classification performance and scalability of our proposed approach.

Huang, Haibin, Evangelos Kalogerakis, and Benjamin Marlin. "Analysis and synthesis of 3D shape families via deep-learned generative models of surfaces." Symposium on Geometry Processing. 2015. Abstract

We present a method for joint analysis and synthesis of geometrically diverse 3D shape families. Our method first learns part-based templates such that an optimal set of fuzzy point and part correspondences is computed between the shapes of an input collection based on a probabilistic deformation model. In contrast to previous template-based approaches, the geometry and deformation parameters of our part-based templates are learned from scratch. Based on the estimated shape correspondence, our method also learns a probabilistic generative model that hierarchically captures statistical relationships of corresponding surface point positions and parts as well as their existence in the input shapes. A deep learning procedure is used to capture these hierarchical relationships. The resulting generative model is used to produce control point arrangements that drive shape synthesis by combining and deforming parts from the input collection. The generative model also yields compact shape descriptors that are used to perform fine-grained classification. Finally, it can be also coupled with the probabilistic deformation model to further improve shape correspondence. We provide qualitative and quantitative evaluations of our method for shape correspondence, segmentation, fine-grained classification and synthesis. Our experiments demonstrate superior correspondence and segmentation results than previous state-of-the-art approaches.

Recent Funded Projects

[2016-2017] Improved Systems for Real-World Pervasive Human Sensing (with Deepak Ganesan, PI. DCS Cor. prime to ARL.).

[2014-2018] Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data to Knowledge (with Santosh Kumar, U. Memphis, PI). See center website.

[2014-2019]. NSF CAREER: Machine Learning for Complex Health Data Analytics.

[2013-2016] Accurate and Computationally Efficient Predictors of Java Memory Resource Consumption (with Eliot Moss, PI).

[2012-2015]  SensEye: An Architecture for Ubiquitous, Real-Time Visual Context Sensing and Inference (with Deepak Ganesan, PI).

[2012-2015]  Patient Experience Recommender System for Persuasive Communication Tailoring (with Tom Houston, UMMS, PI).

[2012-2014] Foresight and Understanding from Scientific Exposition (With Andrew McCallum, PI and Raytheon BBN Technologies)