WeNet research work wins IMWUT Distinguished Paper Award

The paper titled Generalization and Personalization of Mobile Sensing-Based Mood Inference Models: An Analysis of College Students in Eight Countries, which was published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT), won the IMWUT Distinguished Paper Award. IMWUT assigns every year a Distinguished Paper Award to 3-4% of all papers published by the journal in the previous year. This award is assigned to outstanding contributions that distinguish themselves for their novelty, completeness and maturity, pedagogical, theoretical, or practical value, or have other characteristics considered exemplary for the IMWUT community.

We present here the paper’s abstract:

Mood inference with mobile sensing data has been studied in ubicomp literature over the last decade. This inference enables context-aware and personalized user experiences in general mobile apps and valuable feedback and interventions in mobile health apps. However, even though model generalization issues have been highlighted in many studies, the focus has always been on improving the accuracies of models using different sensing modalities and machine learning techniques, with datasets collected in homogeneous populations. In contrast, less attention has been given to studying the performance of mood inference models to assess whether models generalize to new countries. In this study, we collected a mobile sensing dataset with 329K self-reports from 678 participants in eight countries (China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Mongolia, Paraguay, UK) to assess the effect of geographical diversity on mood inference models. We define and evaluate country-specific (trained and tested within a country), continent-specific (trained and tested within a continent), country-agnostic (tested on a country not seen on training data), and multi-country (trained and tested with multiple countries) approaches trained on sensor data for two mood inference tasks with population-level (non-personalized) and hybrid (partially personalized) models. We show that partially personalized country-specific models perform the best yielding area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) scores of the range 0.78–0.98 for two-class (negative vs. positive valence) and 0.76–0.94 for three-class (negative vs. neutral vs. positive valence) inference. Further, with the country-agnostic approach, we show that models do not perform well compared to country-specific settings, even when models are partially personalized. We also show that continent-specific models outperform multi-country models in the case of Europe. Overall, we uncover generalization issues of mood inference models to new countries and how the geographical similarity of countries might impact mood inference.

Read the entire paper here

Multiple WeNet partners contributed to this paper, with Lakmal Meegahapola (Idiap & EPFL) leading as the first author. The award ceremony was held within the ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp) 2023, taking place in Cancun, Mexico in mid-October.

In addition, Lakmal Meegahapola was selected as a finalist for the Ubicomp Gaetano Borriello Outstanding Student Award, ranking in the top 4. Named in honor of the late Gaetano Borriello, this award recognizes “a student who is making outstanding research contributions to, and provides leadership in, the field of Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing“.