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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Computer Science

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Benjamin Marlin

Subject Categories

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics


Wearable wireless sensors have the potential for transformative impact on the fields of health and behavioral science. Recent advances in wearable sensor technology have made it possible to simultaneously collect multiple streams of physiological and context data from individuals in natural environments; however, extracting reliable high-level inferences from these raw data streams remains a key data analysis challenge. In this dissertation, we address three challenges that arise when trying to perform activity detection from wearable sensor streams. First, we address the challenge of learning from small amounts of noisy data by proposing a class of conditional random field models for activity detection. We apply this model class to three different activity detection problems, improving performance in all three when compared with standard independent and structured models. Second, we address the challenge of inferring activities from long input sequences by evaluating strategies for pruning the inference dynamic programs used in structured prediction models. We apply these strategies to the proposed structured activity detection models resulting in inference speedups ranging from 66x to 257x with little to no decrease in predictive performance. Finally, we address the challenge of learning from imprecise annotations by proposing a weak supervision framework for learning discrete-time detection models from imprecise continuous-time observations. We apply this framework to both independent and structured models and demonstrate improved performance over weak supervision baselines.