April 30, 2012

Plagiarism: everything but the title

Cannot remember the origin of this picture (pdf)
[Update: another plagiarism detected on 2014/12/29; This post originated from Grégory Favre news on the excellent EPFL Infodoc mailing list, and concerns to EPFL papers]

The pressure of publication pushes back the frontiers of laziness. Here, a sole change in a paper title allows the paper to pass through reviews (if there are any reviews in this case, look at Nuit Blanche on peer review).

If you steal from one author it's plagiarism; if you steal from many it's research. (attributed to Wilson Mizner)

The most interesting example i had seen so far was a paper i reviewed on nonsubsampled contourlets (a kind of discretized, directional wavelet). It was entitled "A New Image Denoising Scheme using the Nonsubsampled Contourlet Transform", and  submitted in 2008 to Signal Processing by three authors from one of the two most populated countries in the world. Its content had about 60% overlap with a more standard and authoritative paper on the topic. A big difference resided in the typeset: the text was written with word (instead of LaTeX), the figures were drawn in Word too (instead of Xfig, InkScape). I hereby provide a little excerpt, so you can check the subtle differences:

Original paper: 2) Nonsubsampled Directional Filter Bank (NSDFB): The directional filter bank of Bamberger and Smith [18] is constructed by combining critically-sampled two-channel fan filter banks and resampling operations. The result is a tree-structured filter bank that splits the 2-D frequency plane into directional wedges. A shift-invariant directional expansion is obtained with a nonsubsampled DFB (NSDFB). The NSDFB is constructed by eliminating the downsamplers and upsamplers in the DFB (see also [20]). This is done by switching off the downsamplers/upsamplers in each two-channel filter bank in the DFB tree structure and upsampling the filters accordingly. This results in a tree composed of two-channel NSFBs. Fig. 3 illustrates a four channel decomposition. 
Submitted paper: b: Nonsubsampled Directional Filter Bank (NSDFB) The directional filter bank of Bamberger and Smith [14] is constructed by combining critically-sampled two-channel fan filter banks and resampling operations. The result is a tree-structured filter bank that splits the 2-D frequency plane into directional wedges. A shift-invariant directional expansion is obtained with a nonsubsampled DFB (NSDFB). The NSDFB is constructed by eliminating the downsamplers and upsamplers in the DFB. This is done by switching off the downsamplers/upsamplers in each two-channel filter bank in the DFB tree structure and upsampling the filters accordingly. This results in a tree composed of two-channel Nonsubsampled Filter Banks (NSFB). Fig. 3 illustrates a four channel decomposition.

But i am very unfair: the reference list was quite different. Interestingly, to the genuine honesty of the (submitting) authors, the partly copied paper EVEN cited the original paper: Arthur L. Cunha, Jianping Zhou, Minh N. Do. The nonsubsampled contourlet transform: Theory, design, and applications. IEEE Trans. on Image processing, 2006, 15(10): 3089-3101. The paper was subsequently rejected. But (i just discovered it today, 2014/12/29), that in 2011, a paper intitled "Performance Analysis of Modified Nonsubsampled Contourlet Transform for Image Denoising" was published in the Research Journal of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology. It was written by two authors from the other of the two most populated countries in the world.

It was received: March 16, 2011, accepted: May 18, 2011 and published: July 25, 2011. That's a fast track. And it possesses many cut-caste-plagiarized parts taken from A. L. da Cunha 2006 paper, as i show below, only from the introduction:

  • original: Another important feature of a transform is its stability with respect to shifts of the input signal.
  • pasted: Another important feature of a transform is its stability with respect to shifts of the input signal.
  • original: Thus, most state-of-the-art wavelet denoising algorithms (see for example [6]–[8]) use an expansion with less shift sensitivity than the standard maximally decimated wavelet decomposition—the most common being the nonsubsampled wavelet transform (NSWT) computed with the à trous algorithm [9].
  • pasted: Thus, most state-of-the-art wavelet denoising algorithms (Chang, 2000) use an expansion with less shift sensitivity than the standard maximally decimated wavelet decomposition the most common being the nonsubsampled wavelet transform (NSWT) computed with a trous algorithm (Shensa, 1992) now it is implemented using Mat lab software
  • original: In addition to shift-invariance, it has been recognized that an efficient image representation has to account for the geometrical structure pervasive in natural scenes. In this direction, several representation schemes have recently been proposed [10]–[15]. 
  • pasted: In addition to shift-invariance, it has been recognized that an efficient image representation has to account for the geometrical structure pervasive in natural scenes. In this direction, several representation schemes have recently been proposed (Donoho, 1999). 
  • original: In this paper, we propose an overcomplete transform that we call the nonsubsampled contourlet transform (NSCT). Our main motivation is to construct a flexible and efficient transform targeting applications where redundancy is not a major issue (e.g., denoising). The NSCT is a fully shift-invariant, multiscale, and multidirection expansion that has a fast implementation. The proposed construction leads to a filter-design problem that to the best of our knowledge has not been addressed elsewhere. The design problem is much less constrained than that of contourlets. This enables us to design filters with better frequency selectivity thereby achieving better subband decomposition. Using the mapping approach we provide a framework for filter design that ensures good frequency localization in addition to having a fast implementation through ladders steps. The NSCT has proven to be very efficient in image denoising and image enhancement as we show in this paper. 
  • pasted: So In this study, we propose an over complete transform that we call the modified Nonsubsampled Contourlet Transform (NSCT). Our main motivation is to construct a flexible and efficient transform targeting applications where redundancy is not a major issue (e.g., denoising). The NSCT is a fully shift-invariant, multiscale, and multidirectional expansion that has a fast implementation. The proposed construction leads to a filter-design problem that to the best of our knowledge has not been addressed elsewhere. The design problem is much less constrained than that of contourlets.This enables us to design filters with better frequency selectivity thereby achieving better subband decomposition. So the NSCT has proven to be very efficient in image denoising.So first let us see the contourlet transform and its construction.

The new authors have mostly subsampled the reference list, so to say.

I am not sure this recent "copy-paste-publish" trend deserves as much praise as Jorge Luis Borges short story: Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote.  The story narrates 20th century writer Pierre Ménard's efforts to truly re-create Cervantes' Don Quixote, beyond a mere translation, in the 17th century Spanish, sparking thoughts on authorship, imitation and appropriation (well, 60% of my words are similar here to the Wikipedia page ;) There are worse artifacts than copy indeed: "Mirrors and fatherhood are abominable because they multiply it [human kind] and extend it.(Les miroirs et la copulation sont abominables car ils multiplient le nombre des hommes)" (J. L. Borges).

The recent example did some genuine editing: the title is partly new (SOA is mainly expanded), acknowledgments have been deleted, and the references cut to item 21. That's a Catch 22.
  • Interacting with the SOA-Based Internet of Things: Discovery, Query, Selection, and On-Demand Provisioning of Web Services, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SERVICES COMPUTING, 2010: http://www.vs.inf.ethz.ch/res/papers/dguinard-intera-2010.pdf 
  • Service Oriented Architecture-Based Internet of Things: Discovery, Query, Selection, and On-Demand Provisioning of Web Services, International Journal of Computer Science and Telecommunications, 2012 http://www.ijcst.org/Volume3/Issue1/p7_3_1.pdf ([EDIT] funnily, the paper does not seem to be accessible anymore since the publication of this post. Still there is a Google Trace, and i have saved it on my drive, in case i'd like to publish a paper on SOA-based Internet of Things in a near future ;)
Click on images for a larger view. I just discover there is a Wikipedia page in Scientific plagiarism in India.

April 26, 2012

Conference: Fixing mathematical education

[Permission to link to author slides is being asked. Stay tuned, but do not expect too much] Meanwhile, check out Simon Leys (aka Pierre Rickmans) "Le studio de l'inutilité" (or The Hall of uselessness), with a special attention to Leys' talk on 8 Nov. 2005 at l'Université catholique de Louvain, with its nice quote to Flaubert: "I have always tried to live in an ivory tower; but a tide of shit is beating at its walls, threatening to undermine it."


"Modeling is a life skill" (Solomon Garfunkel)  

"To be able to use maths at a certain level, it is necessary to learn it at the next level" (Alexandre Borovik)

 On April 4h, 2012, a meeting held in IHP, Paris. Under the motto: How to fix our math education (Comment réparer l’enseignement des mathématiques ?). The main incentive was Solomon GARFUNKEL (COMAP Inc., Boston) and David MUMFORD (Brown University) paper "How to fix our math education", New York Times, August 28th, 2011. The paper was translated in French in Le Monde (14 septembre 2011) by Jean-Michel Kantor under the same title: Comment réparer l’enseignement des mathématiques ?. Motivated by some prominence of mathematics, and bad results of France in PISA benchmarks, the conference aimed at answering the following questions:
  • does our education system answer the needs of newly opened areas in the scientific and technical realms?
  • how do we can train citizens on the present century?
Two talks were given by Sol Garfunkel (What Mathematics Do Educated Citizens Need To Know?)  and Alexandre Borovik (What do children learn when we teach them mathematics?), chaired and translated by Jean-Michel Kantor.

Both conferences were profound, lively, though provoking and entertaining, in a different style. Sol explained the motivations behind the NYT paper: the U.S. education was local to the extreme, with highly varying levels between states, counties, and even neighborhoods. Two great 4-letter sticker acronyms (NCLB: no child left behind, under G. Bush, and RTTT: race to the top, under B. Obama) have tried, and are trying, respectively, to change this local situation, by establishing nation-wide standards. The resulting goals reside in showing that mathematics are honestly (in the meaning of the honnête homme) useful and in ensuring the availability, in the future, of mathematicians and scientists. Mathematics provide a greater ability to understand (or model) the  world: "Modeling is a life skill" (SG). Sol reminded that cellphones and MRI are as much as engineering as maths. He also pointed out how operational research, computers, statistics used to belong to math departments, and have now grown into self-owned fields. He advocated the use of real-life examples graphs through mail delivery, Voronoi cells and bisectors via *** pizza delivery from Bengladesh call centers and rain falls in Colorado. Indeed, teachers tend to provide students with answers for questions they do not ask for. Looks like the following quote, inspired by Plotin, attributed to J. Lacan:  « l’amour  est  donner  ce  qu’on  n’a  pas  à quelqu’un  qui  n’en  veut  pas ». So students (and forthcoming adults) need an ability to estimate. Maths are a necessity for survival.

Alexandre Borovik drove a useful comparison between rhythm-impaired people (because of a drunk and noisy music teacher) and people who could not understand maths. Both are survivors. He considers (following Heinrich Neuhaus "the art of piano playing") that learning is an accumulation of neurological damages, reaching a threshold level. Some of us as only survivors. In a sort of Pareto-law, he tells that 95% of the population has no ideas on how 95% of the everyday stuff works, as a follow-on to the division of labor (Adam Smith, Frederick W. Taylor). He suggests re-branding maths into a tool for personal development and spiritual enhancement. Like music, not a profession, but a personal life-style. Teachers should thus be bound to the Hippocratic oath: do not arm. Which other school (mathematics including computer science) teaches "substitution of terms", at work in simple Excel sheets that provoke bracket overload (or in French "surcharge parenthétique") when three opening brackets and cell-depending operators confuse most people. Maths should be both interesting AND difficult, remember the "Law of excessive learning of mathematics": "to be able to use maths at a certain level, it is necessary to learn it at the next level".
He finally suggests teaching math bits at certain ages: maybe basic algebraic structures at 6-9 when kids are natural question-asking machines, leaving set-theoretic abstractions for teen-age, where sex hormones drive some appeal to pure idealities.

Additional lectures:


April 22, 2012

Hyperbolets (on WITS: Where is the Starlet)

A new conference is born: UCCV 2013, The 1st IEEE Workshop on User-Centred Computer Vision, due in Florida, Tampa. on January 2013. It has been added to SIVA Conferences.

While the shearlets are enjoying some spread (cf. Shearlets from MIA 2012 or this paper), some of their contributors are involved in hyperbolets, or hyperbolic wavelets, closely related cousins. Here they are (as on WITS: where is the Starlet):

Hyperbolets

In short: An example of multi-composite wavelets with hyperbolic scaling law
Etymology: From the hyperbola (wiki entry), with a potential reference (article no available on 2011/05/26) to the parabolic scaling law of the shearlets
Origin: Glenn R. Easley, Demetrio Labate, Vishal M. Patel: Multi-composite wavelet estimation, Proceedings of SPIE Volume 8138, Wavelets and Sparsity XIV, Aug. 2011 (local copy)
Abstract: In this work, we present a new approach to image denoising by using a general representation known as wavelets with composite dilations. These representations allow for waveforms to be defined not only at various scales and locations but also at various orientations. For this talk, we present many new representations such as hyperbolets and propose combining multiple estimates from various representations to form a unique denoised image. In particular, we can take advantage of different representations to sparsely represent important features such as edges and texture independently and then use these estimates to derive an improved estimate.
The hyperbolet construction is further refined in:
G. R. Easley, D. Labate and V. M. Patel, Hyperbolic shearlets, IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), Orlando, FL, 2012, submitted (local copy)
G. R. Easley, D. Labate, and V. M. Patel, Directional multiscale processing of images using wavelets with composite dilations, submitted 2011 (local copy)
Contributors: Glenn R. Easley (no personal page), Demetrio Labate, Vishal M. Patel
Some properties:
hyperbolet frequency plane

Tiling of the frequency domain associated with an hyperbolic system of wavelets with composite dilations.
Closely related to shearlets
Anecdote:
Usage:
See also: The above work might be related to Glenn R. Easley, Demetrio Labate: Critically Sampled Wavelets with Composite Dilations (local copy), preprint, 2011, which develops interesting critically sampled directional wavelet schemes (DWTShear, CShear, QDWTShear)
Comments:

More on the topic:
2D wavelets: A panorama on multiscale geometric representations, intertwining spatial, directional and frequency selectivity