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Presentation of the thesis

The development of Internet of Things systems implies an increasing number of devices that interact with each user, every day and in every place. A growing need of programming, personalizing, and customizing the joint behavior of such devices by non-programmers is currently handled by rule-based programming platforms, such as IFTTT (if-this-then-that). Recent studies show that such platforms force the user to work at a "low-level" (i.e., at the device level), while end-users would prefer to work at a slightly more abstract level, where rules are more general and understandable.

The thesis of Fabio Ballati, discussed on March 2017, explores this field and proposes a methodology for automatically mapping low-level rules (e.g., extracted from IFTTT) onto a more abstract representation (high-level rules). The obtained translation process is fully automatic and relies on a dataset of IFTTT public rules.

The thesis analyses the rules present in the dataset with the aim of extracting the equivalent rules in the high-level representation, by producing a corresponding categorization of abstract IoT devices and services (i.e., by grouping objects for functionality, mainly). Then, a suitable algorithm was designed and implemented to perform the automatic mapping between the two representations, starting from the 200,000 low-level rules available in the dataset.

Finally, the thesis covered the validation of both the proposed mapping and the high-level representation. For validating the mapping procedure, the number of saved rules, per user, was computed: users in the dataset could compose 15%-33% less rules with the high-level representation, and still obtain the desired behavior for their IoT services. For validating the high-level representation, instead, a user study with 8 participants was carried out. The study asked participants for composing some rules in both the representations, starting from the description of some scenarios. As a result, participants largely prefer composing rules in the more abstract representation.

 

Poster used for presentation

The paper "Estimate user meaningful places through low-energy mobile sensing" presented by Teodoro Montanaro in the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics 2016 was recently published in the IEEE Xplore Digital library.

Due to the increasing spread of location-aware applications, developers interest in user location estimation has grown in recent years. As users spend the majority of their time in few meaningful places (i.e., groups of near locations that can be considered as a unique place, such as home, school or the workplace), a new energy efficient method to estimate user presence in a meaningful place was presented in the published paper.

Specifically, instead of using commonly used but energy hungry methods such as GPS and network positioning techniques, the proposed method applies a Machine Learning algorithm based on Decision Trees, to predict the user presence in a meaningful place by collecting and analyzing: a) user activity, b) information from received notifications (receipt time, generating service, sender-receiver relationship), and c) device status (battery level and ringtone mode). The results demonstrate that, using 20 days of training data and testing the system with data coming from 14 persons, the accuracy (percentage of correct predictions) is 89.40% (standard deviation: 8.27%) with a precision of 89.04% and a recall of 89.40%. Furthermore, the paper analyzes the importance of each considered feature, by comparing the prediction accuracy obtained with different combinations of features.

On January 10, 2017, Howell Istance presented his Ph.D. thesis in a Viva session at the University of Loughborough (UK). The thesis title is "An investigation into gaze-based interaction techniques for people with motor impairments" and presents several research results, across a span of nearly 20 years, of investigation and experimentation in user interfaces bases on eye tracking, especially for persons with disabilities. Fulvio Corno was a member of the evaluation committee, together with prof. Penny StandenStanden and prof. Christopher Hinde (chair). The thesis was supervised by prof. Peter Howarth.

L'occasione offerta dalla recente normativa sull'alternanza scuola-lavoro è ghiotta: riuscire a coinvolgere gli studenti delle scuole superiori nelle innovazioni tecnologiche più recenti. In una serie di incontri organizzati da Forte Chance per gli studenti degli istituti tecnici, si inserisce il seminario sul tema dell'Internet of Things che si terrà venerdì 2 dicembre 2016 e che coinvolgerà oltre 100 ragazzi delle classi quarte e quinte.

Fulvio Corno interverrà come relatore della prima parte del seminario, ed illustrerà gli scenari offerti dall'Internet of Things, in termini di dispositivi, architetture e possibili sviluppi di servizi futuri. Facendo leva anche sull'esperienza dei progetti di Ambient Intelligence, si cercherà di offrire degli spunti sulle prospettive lavorative che gli studenti potranno costruirsi in questo nuovo ambito, ancora tutto da esplorare.

Nella serata del 21/11/2016 si è tenuta la cerimonia di apertura della prima Sustainability Week del Politecnico di Torino, organizzata dal Green Team. Durante la serata, sono stati presentati numerosi poster, articolati su due tematiche: da un lato, le proposte degli studenti per la concezione di un serious game sul tema della sostenibilità all'interno del nostrco campus; dall'altro, la presentazione di progetti e lavori di gruppi di ricerca, dottorandi e tesisti dell'ateneo.

Il gruppo di ricerca e-Lite ha presentato il concetto di Sala Studio Smart, oggetto della tesi di Laurea Magistrale di Roberto Marturano, e sviluppate in collaborazione con il Living Lab del Politecnico. Il poster sulla Sala Studio Smart si è classificato al terzo posto (ex aequo) nella simpatica competizione informale; il primo posto è invece andato alla Stalla del Futuro, che ci ha stupiti con tanto di plastico interattivo.

Nella settimana dal 21 al 26 novembre 2016, il Politecnico di Torino organizza la Sustainability Week, che raccoglie molti eventi sulle iniziative legate alla sostenibilità del Politecnico e dei suoi docenti.

Nella giornata di apertura, lunedì 21/11, il gruppo e-Lite sarà presente con la presentazione di un poster che illustrerà un nuovo concetto di sostenibilità negli spazi del campus accademico, partendo da una sperimentazione in una Sala Studio "Smart".