Monday, September 14, 2020

[SIIM CMIMI20] A DICOM Framework for Machine Learning Pipelines against Real-Time Radiology Images

Today I presented our Niffler open-source framework at SIIM CMIMI 2020 at ML Algorithms & Toolkits + Infrastructure to Support ML session. We had slightly more than 100 participants, including the 90+ attendees and 10 panelists. We had 8 minutes presentations followed by a unified Q&A session. My presentation slides are given below.

This is my virtual conference experience where I presented a paper. I have attended several virtual conferences such as KDD, EuroSys, and DisCoTec this year, thanks to COVID19 lock-down. I also presented my work at IEEE SDS this year. However, SDS was a recording. We already had pre-recorded the videos and shared. As such, CMIMI becomes my first virtual conference experience where I was also a presenter.
I miss attending conferences in-person. The virtual conferences do not feel the same at all. Yes, we still see the presentations. But I value that coffee-hour talks, going out with newly made friends/colleagues, finding potential collaborators, personal connections, and many more. But something is better than nothing. We could still watch and listen to the presentations and interact with the presenters. But the face-to-face communication -- I miss that. 
I hope we will overcome the pandemic together and be back to in-person or even better - hybrid conferences soon! KDD 2021 has planned to be hybrid, online as well as on-site in Singapore. I am optimistic! The 2 days with CMIMI were great. I wish success to everyone in their research.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Pandemic Atlanta Lockdown - Week 26

Thunderstorm at Hunting Island Beach

This week went fast as Monday was off with the long weekend. During the weekend, I made an Everclear hot cocktail drink inspired by Glögg (Finnish Christmas hot spiced alcoholic drink). I tried Glögg first time in 2013 when we visited Helsinki by a cruise from Stockholm. 


Today, I first made the non-alcoholic version following the recipe except that I added sliced and shelled almonds as it should be in the original recipe (following the quantity suggested in the Norwegian alcoholic recipe). Then I filtered the drink, mix Everclear to the glass, and top it up with sliced and shelled almonds. 


I also used vodka, absinthe, and whiskey in place of Everclear for the drink in 3 shot glasses. The vodka version tastes precisely like the Finnish Glögg. A Finnish person may say no. But I cannot differentiate much. Everclear one is a bit too strong. Absinthe has tints of Anise flavor, which should not be strong in Glögg. The whiskey version interestingly tastes sweeter. This drink has heat properties because of all the spices and herbs for the cold winters. I am drinking it on a hot summer day. I am stupid.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Airport Sleeper

Sleeping in BRU Airport in July 2019

I used to sleep at airports quite often. Once, In 2013, I flew from Stockholm to Lisboa and had an overnight layover in Zurich. Since it is night, I realized I could not do anything if I go to the city. I had a flight in the morning anyway. So I stayed at the crowded airport and witnessed it turned empty as shops started closing by midnight. Lisboa (LIS) and Brussels (BRU and CRL) are the other airports I have spent more nights. LIS is because the last metro arrives at the airport around 1 a.m, and the first one arrives around 7 a.m. So earlier flights, I had to leave the night before. Due to my frequent travels, LIS airport even felt like a second home to me. I mean, that was the location second to my house where I had spent most nights in Portugal. 


I intentionally spent some nights in CRL and BRU in 2017 when I did not have a proper apartment amid several short stints, back and forth between Lisboa and Brussels. With COVID19 spreading rapidly, sleeping at the airports has become a distant reality. But I believe we will eventually go back to the normal, and then I can consider the airports my second home again.


When I spent one night camping for the first time, I was quite confident that it should be a piece of cake. If I can sleep literally on the airport's hard floor or weirdly shaped chairs with my head resting on my backpack and feet on the suitcase, sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent should be a piece of cake. Although both sleeping at airports and sleeping in a tent both give you discomfort, they are different.

My tent in the camping site
First, airports have electricity and closer access to the water, with hand soap (usually). The campsite we went to had a nearby washroom with a shower, also with hand soap. So it was similar in that aspect - although I was prepared for it to not having running water. On the positive side, though, if you find the right spot, especially in a good airport, you may have access to electricity and strong wifi. Some airports offer better sleeping arrangements for free, although sometimes you may end up sleeping on the cold ground. I have seen people setting up their sleeping bags in the airport to sleep more comfortably too.

The camping grounds give more privacy as you have your tent. You can also set the light as you prefer, whereas most of the airports tend to have bright lights most of the time. Our camping ground had a few pine cones. Although I cleared most of them, one broken one remained intact below my tent and was poking me once in a while when I moved to the side as I slept.

One good thing about sleeping in airports is, of course, most of the airports still at least have one cafe open. So a quick bite or hot drinks are always accessible. Moreover, airports give me hope. They are part of significant life events in most of the cases for me. Either migrating, going for a conference, family reunion, or a long-expected trip. As such, sleeping in airports has remained a pleasant memory for me despite all its discomforts. Every single time. Now that the COVID19 ruins all our travel plans, I am counting days to travel again eventually. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pandemic Atlanta Lockdown - Week 24

Malibu Summer Rose

I was busy with two conferences this week - SigKDD and EuroPar. That also means, my week was different from the regular.

Link Spammers and where to find them

This week I had to deal with a crazy sockpuppet and a link spammer on Twitter. I deduced who is behind the sockpuppet quickly with the help of some music videos ;). Then I encountered a link spammer. 
Who is a link spammer? A link spammer uses the comment/quote functions in blogs and Twitter to promote their web site (which is usually a garbage site). I reported them both - the sockpuppet and the link spammer. The link spammer (who was quoting random tweets with links to his pyramid-scheme website) was taken down within a few hours. The racist sockpuppet still continues to spam random Tweeps with his hateful replies. It shows how social media treats spam. Adding random links to several tweets as a comment/quote is an easy way to get suspended than posting random nonsensical text and images.

A link spammer
Later I encountered another link spammer, whose entire aim was to spam random people with a link to a specific song. It is surely a bot as it was spamming random people en masse. But an interesting link spammer indeed.
Next weekend is a long weekend. I am looking forward to it.

SigKDD2020 and EuroPar2020

This week went with 2 virtual conferences - SigKDD and EuroPar. Due to their timezone differences, I was able to attend them both. EuroPar was in the morning, whereas SigKDD was in the afternoon. Consequently, I spent 7 am - 9 pm with these conferences for most of Sunday to Friday. I skipped most of the EuroPar workshops as they were 3 am - 7 am my time. However, all these videos are now in YouTube. Most of the conference videos were initially unlisted. But they will eventually be properly listed.

EuroPar used Slack and Zoom Webinar. SigKDD used Zoom webinar, Zoom meetings, Whova, and VFairs. There were 'introduction" threads on Slack and Whova where we all introduced ourselves. I was attending as an audience. I did not present a paper. Especially those who presented papers received a considerable interaction (Q&A and suggestions) through these channels.

Online conferences have a long way to go before they can reach their expected heights though. For instance, many times there were problems with the audio or screensharing during the conference. There was a racist sexist zoombomber once during the KDD session. There was a token registration fee from KDD and the event was free to attend for EuroPar. I believe, ideally the virtual conferences should be free for audience. You may charge the authors for the publication fee, of course. Also, I think, the zoom meetings should be configured *not* to enable everyone's cam and mic by default, especially in a large-scale event such as SigKDD. Every time someone joined we heard some disturbances in zoom meetings.

SIGKDD 2021 Goes Hybrid!

SIGKDD2021 aims to be a hybrid conference, with on-site event in Singapore with online streaming with the same or similar apps for those who cannot travel to Singapore. These are all assuming everything goes well with the COVID-19 situation, of course. Indeed, a virtual conference will never come close to the feeling of an in-person conference. But in 2015, when I had a workshop paper in SIGKDD. However, my Australian visa got delayed and I couldn't participate - my friend who lives in Sydney presented the paper on behalf of me. As such, a hybrid conference can bring the best of the both worlds. Who can afford to and like to present their paper in-person can fly to the conference on-site, whereas others can present online. This is better than a random colleague presenting the paper on-behalf of the authors and suffering to answer the questions. This will also encourage researchers to conferences regardless of the location. Often, we are forced to choose conferences in proximity, due to visa, funding limitations, and travel restrictions.

EuroPar 2021 Goes Lisboa!

EuroPar2021 will be in Lisboa, organized by Tecnico-ULisboa (my university) and INESC-ID Lisboa (my research lab). I am so tempted to submit my paper, hoping the travel restrictions and COVID-19 will be history by then.

EuroPar 2020

Joining the EuroPar sessions remotely
EuroPar is a top conference in parallel and distributed processing. As such, it contains topics that are directly relevant to me from my MSc/PhD days. There were so many interesting papers. 

I attended the below sessions in full or in part.
1) Cluster, Cloud and Edge Computing
2) Scheduling and Load Balancing
3) Best Paper and Best Artifact
4) Data Management, Analytics and Machine Learning
5) Parallel and Distributed Programming, Interfaces, and Languag
6) Theory and Algorithms for Parallel and Distributed Processing
7) Keynotes

KDD 2020

The papers in KDD used to focus on data mining and patter recognition more years ago. Now, everything has turned to deep learning. Especially, this year, with the COVID19, there were more sessions focused on COVID-19. Even some presentations that are not really related to COVID-19, made some reference to COVID-19. That is the impact of COVID-19 on the world.
Interestingly, one conference organizer mentioned how there were more participants in all the sessions that had "deep learning" in their names, whether workshops, tutorials, or the main sessions. Listed below, are a subset of the sessions that I attended:

1) Learning with Small Data
2) Fairness in ML for Healthcare
3) KDD 2020 Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address
4) Hands On Tutorials: Put Deep Learning to work: Accelerate Deep Learning through AWS EC2 and ML Services
5) KDD 2020 Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address
6) Research Track Oral Presentations: Parallel and Distributed Learning and System
7) Late-breaking Session: Emerging Data Science Problems in the Age of COVID-19
8) [DSHealth] 2020 KDD workshop on Applied data science in Healthcare: Trustable and Actionable AI for Healthcare
9) Research Track Oral Presentations: Big Data and Large Scale Methods
10) Plenary Session: Diversity & Inclusion Closing Remarks by Latifa Jackson
11) KDD 2020 Closing Ceremony - Keynote Address by Allesssandro Vespignani and Closing Remarks