Volume 18, Number 4, 2021
Social propagation denotes the spread phenomena directly correlated to the human world and society, which includes but is not limited to the diffusion of human epidemics, human-made malicious viruses, fake news, social innovation, viral marketing, etc. Simulation and optimization are two major themes in social propagation, where network-based simulation helps to analyze and understand the social contagion, and problem-oriented optimization is devoted to contain or improve the infection results. Though there have been many models and optimization techniques, the matter of concern is that the increasing complexity and scales of propagation processes continuously refresh the former conclusions. Recently, evolutionary computation (EC) shows its potential in alleviating the concerns by introducing an evolving and developing perspective. With this insight, this paper intends to develop a comprehensive view of how EC takes effect in social propagation. Taxonomy is provided for classifying the propagation problems, and the applications of EC in solving these problems are reviewed. Furthermore, some open issues of social propagation and the potential applications of EC are discussed. This paper contributes to recognizing the problems in application-oriented EC design and paves the way for the development of evolving propagation dynamics.
Regular expressions are widely used within and even outside of computer science due to their expressiveness and flexibility. However, regular expressions have a quite compact and rather tolerant syntax that makes them hard to understand, hard to compose, and error-prone. Faulty regular expressions may cause failures of the applications that use them. Therefore, ensuring the correctness of regular expressions is a vital prerequisite for their use in practical applications. The importance and necessity of ensuring correct definitions of regular expressions have attracted extensive attention from researchers and practitioners, especially in recent years. In this study, we provide a review of the recent works for ensuring the correct usage of regular expressions. We classify those works into different categories, including the empirical study, test string generation, automatic synthesis and learning, static checking and verification, visual representation and explanation, and repairing. For each category, we review the main results, compare different approaches, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. We also discuss some potential future research directions.
This review paper focuses on cooperative robotic arms with mobile or drone bases performing cooperative tasks. This is because cooperative robots are often used as risk-reduction tools to human life. For example, they are used to explore dangerous places such as minefields and disarm explosives. Drones can be used to perform tasks such as aerial photography, military and defense missions, agricultural surveys, etc. The bases of the cooperative robotic arms can be stationary, mobile (ground), or drones. Cooperative manipulators allow faster performance of assigned tasks because of the available “extra hand”. Furthermore, a mobile base increases the reachable ground workspace of cooperative manipulators while a drone base drastically increases this workspace to include the aerial space. The papers in this review are chosen to extensively cover a wide variety of cooperative manipulation tasks and industries that use them. In cooperative manipulation, avoiding self-collision is one of the most important tasks to be performed. In addition, path planning and formation control can be challenging because of the increased number of components to be coordinated.
Learning discriminative representations with deep neural networks often relies on massive labeled data, which is expensive and difficult to obtain in many real scenarios. As an alternative, self-supervised learning that leverages input itself as supervision is strongly preferred for its soaring performance on visual representation learning. This paper introduces a contrastive self-supervised framework for learning generalizable representations on the synthetic data that can be obtained easily with complete controllability. Specifically, we propose to optimize a contrastive learning task and a physical property prediction task simultaneously. Given the synthetic scene, the first task aims to maximize agreement between a pair of synthetic images generated by our proposed view sampling module, while the second task aims to predict three physical property maps, i.e., depth, instance contour maps, and surface normal maps. In addition, a feature-level domain adaptation technique with adversarial training is applied to reduce the domain difference between the realistic and the synthetic data. Experiments demonstrate that our proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance on several visual recognition datasets.
The implementation of image-based phenotyping systems has become an important aspect of crop and plant science research which has shown tremendous growth over the years. Accurate determination of features using images requires stable imaging and very precise processing. By installing a camera on a mechanical arm driven by motor, the maintenance of accuracy and stability becomes non-trivial. As per the state-of-the-art, the issue of external camera shake incurred due to vibration is a great concern in capturing accurate images, which may be induced by the driving motor of the manipulator. So, there is a requirement for a stable active controller for sufficient vibration attenuation of the manipulator. However, there are very few reports in agricultural practices which use control algorithms. Although, many control strategies have been utilized to control the vibration in manipulators associated to various applications, no control strategy with validated stability has been provided to control the vibration in such envisioned agricultural manipulator with simple low-cost hardware devices with the compensation of non-linearities. So, in this work, the combination of proportional-integral-differential (PID) control with type-2 fuzzy logic (T2-F-PID) is implemented for vibration control. The validation of the controller stability using Lyapunov analysis is established. A torsional actuator (TA) is applied for mitigating torsional vibration, which is a new contribution in the area of agricultural manipulators. Also, to prove the effectiveness of the controller, the vibration attenuation results with T2-F-PID is compared with conventional PD/PID controllers, and a type-1 fuzzy PID (T1-F-PID) controller.
Rotating machinery is important to industrial production. Any failure of rotating machinery, especially the failure of rolling bearings, can lead to equipment shutdown and even more serious incidents. Therefore, accurate residual life prediction plays a crucial role in guaranteeing machine operation safety and reliability and reducing maintenance cost. In order to increase the forecasting precision of the remaining useful life (RUL) of the rolling bearing, an advanced approach combining elastic net with long short-time memory network (LSTM) is proposed, and the new approach is referred to as E-LSTM. The E-LSTM algorithm consists of an elastic mesh and LSTM, taking temporal-spatial correlation into consideration to forecast the RUL through the LSTM. To solve the over-fitting problem of the LSTM neural network during the training process, the elastic net based regularization term is introduced to the LSTM structure. In this way, the change of the output can be well characterized to express the bearing degradation mode. Experimental results from the real-world data demonstrate that the proposed E-LSTM method can obtain higher stability and relevant values that are useful for the RUL forecasting of bearing. Furthermore, these results also indicate that E-LSTM can achieve better performance.
In recent years, multiple applications have emerged in the area of payload transport using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This has attracted considerable interest among the scientific community, especially the cases involving one or several rotarywing UAVs. In this context, this work proposes a novel measurement system which can estimate the payload position and the force exerted by it on the UAV. This measurement system is low cost, easy to implement, and can be used either in indoor or outdoor environments (no sensorized laboratory is needed). The measurement system is validated statically and dynamically. In the first test, the estimations obtained by the system are compared with measurements produced by high-precision devices. In the second test, the system is used in real experiments to compare its performance with the ones obtained using known procedures. These experiments allowed to draw interesting conclusions on which future research can be based.
Teleoperation systems allow the extension of human capabilities to remote-control devices by providing the operator with conditions similar to those at the remote site through a communication channel that sends information from one site to the other. This article aims to present an analysis of the benefits of force feedback applied to the bilateral teleoperation of a humanoid robot with time-varying delay. As a control scheme, we link adaptive inverse dynamics compensation, balance control, and P+d like controllers. Finally, a test is performed where an operator simultaneously handles the locomotion (forward velocity and turn angle) and arm of a simulated 3D humanoid robot to do a pick-and-place task using two master devices with force feedback, where indexes such as time to complete the task, coordination errors, path tracking error, and percentage of successful tests are reported for different time-delays. We conclude with the results achieved.
Reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms have been demonstrated to solve a variety of continuous control tasks. However, the training efficiency and performance of such methods limit further applications. In this paper, we propose an off-policy heterogeneous actor-critic (HAC) algorithm, which contains soft Q-function and ordinary Q-function. The soft Q-function encourages the exploration of a Gaussian policy, and the ordinary Q-function optimizes the mean of the Gaussian policy to improve the training efficiency. Experience replay memory is another vital component of off-policy RL methods. We propose a new sampling technique that emphasizes recently experienced transitions to boost the policy training. Besides, we integrate HAC with hindsight experience replay (HER) to deal with sparse reward tasks, which are common in the robotic manipulation domain. Finally, we evaluate our methods on a series of continuous control benchmark tasks and robotic manipulation tasks. The experimental results show that our method outperforms prior state-of-the-art methods in terms of training efficiency and performance, which validates the effectiveness of our method.
Reproducing the spatial cognition of animals using computational models that make agents navigate autonomously has attracted much attention. Many biologically inspired models for spatial cognition focus mainly on the simulation of the hippocampus and only consider the effect of external environmental information (i.e., exogenous information) on the hippocampal coding. However, neurophysiological studies have shown that the striatum, which is closely related to the hippocampus, also plays an important role in spatial cognition and that information inside animals (i.e., endogenous information) also affects the encoding of the hippocampus. Inspired by the progress made in neurophysiological studies, we propose a new spatial cognitive model that consists of analogies between the hippocampus and striatum. This model takes into consideration how both exogenous and endogenous information affects coding by the environment. We carried out a series of navigation experiments that simulated a water maze and compared our model with other models. Our model is self-adaptable and robust and has better performance in navigation path length. We also discuss the possible reasons for the results and how our findings may help us understand real mechanisms in the spatial cognition of animals.
For an autonomous system to perform maintenance tasks in a networking device or a radio base station (RBS), it has to deal with a series of technological challenges ranging from identifying hardware-related problems to manipulating connectors. This paper describes the development of a robot maintenance system dedicated to detect and resolve faulty links caused by unplugged or poorly connected cables. Although the maintenance system relies on four subsystems, we significantly focus on our low-cost and efficient custom gripper solution developed to handle RJ45 Ethernet connectors. To examine our gripper, we conducted three experiments. First, a qualitative questionnaire was submitted to 30 users in the case of the teleoperated scenario of the gripper attached to a robotic arm. Similarly, we also tested the automatic operation mode. The results showed that our system is reliable and delivers a highly efficient maintenance tool in both teleoperated and autonomous operation modes. The practical experiment containing the removal or unplugging of connectors demonstrated our gripper′s ability to adequately handle these, whereas the feedback from the questionnaire pointed to a positive user experience. The automatic test assessed the gripper′s robustness against the continuous operation.
This paper presents a novel four degrees of freedom (DOF) parallel mechanism with the closed-loop limbs, which includes two translational (2T) DOF and two rotational (2R) DOF. By connecting the proposed parallel mechanism with the guide rail in series, the 5-DOF hybrid robot system is obtained, which can be applied for the composite material tape laying in aerospace industry. The analysis in this paper mainly focuses on the parallel module of the hybrid robot system. First, the freedom of the proposed parallel mechanism is calculated based on the screw theory. Then, according to the closed-loop vector equation, the inverse kinematics and Jacobian matrix of the parallel mechanism are carried out. Next, the workspace stiffness and dexterity analysis of the parallel mechanism are investigated based on the constraint equations, static stiffness matrix and Jacobian condition number. Finally, the correctness of the inverse kinematics and the high stiffness of the parallel mechanism are verified by the kinematics and stiffness simulation analysis, which lays a foundation for the automatic composite material tape laying.
Visual simultaneous localization and mapping (VSLAM) are essential technologies to realize the autonomous movement of vehicles. Visual-inertial odometry (VIO) is often used as the front-end of VSLAM because of its rich information, lightweight, and robustness. This article proposes the FPL-VIO, an optimization-based fast vision-inertial odometer with points and lines. Traditional VIO mostly uses points as landmarks; meanwhile, most of the geometrical structure information is ignored. Therefore, the accuracy will be jeopardized under motion blur and texture-less area. Some researchers improve accuracy by adding lines as landmarks in the system. However, almost all of them use line segment detector (LSD) and line band descriptor (LBD) in line processing, which is very time-consuming. This article first proposes a fast line feature description and matching method based on the midpoint and compares the three line detection algorithms of LSD, fast line detector (FLD), and edge drawing lines (EDLines). Then, the measurement model of the line is introduced in detail. Finally, FPL-VIO is proposed by adding the above method to monocular visual-inertial state estimator (VINS-Mono), an optimization-based fast vision-inertial odometer with lines described by midpoint and points. Compared with VIO using points and lines (PL-VIO), the line processing efficiency of FPL-VIO is increased by 3−4 times while ensuring the same accuracy.