@phdthesis{6291,
abstract = {Bacteria and their pathogens – phages – are the most abundant living entities on Earth. Throughout their coevolution, bacteria have evolved multiple immune systems to overcome the ubiquitous threat from the phages. Although the molecu- lar details of these immune systems’ functions are relatively well understood, their epidemiological consequences for the phage-bacterial communities have been largely neglected. In this thesis we employed both experimental and theoretical methods to explore whether herd and social immunity may arise in bacterial popu- lations. Using our experimental system consisting of Escherichia coli strains with a CRISPR based immunity to the T7 phage we show that herd immunity arises in phage-bacterial communities and that it is accentuated when the populations are spatially structured. By fitting a mathematical model, we inferred expressions for the herd immunity threshold and the velocity of spread of a phage epidemic in partially resistant bacterial populations, which both depend on the bacterial growth rate, phage burst size and phage latent period. We also investigated the poten- tial for social immunity in Streptococcus thermophilus and its phage 2972 using a bioinformatic analysis of potentially coding short open reading frames with a signalling signature, encoded within the CRISPR associated genes. Subsequently, we tested one identified potentially signalling peptide and found that its addition to a phage-challenged culture increases probability of survival of bacteria two fold, although the results were only marginally significant. Together, these results demonstrate that the ubiquitous arms races between bacteria and phages have further consequences at the level of the population.},
author = {Payne, Pavel},
pages = {83},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Bacterial herd and social immunity to phages}},
year = {2017},
}
@phdthesis{1127,
abstract = {Plant hormone auxin and its transport between cells belong to the most important
mechanisms controlling plant development. Auxin itself could change localization of PINs and
thereby control direction of its own flow. We performed an expression profiling experiment
in Arabidopsis roots to identify potential regulators of PIN polarity which are transcriptionally
regulated by auxin signalling. We identified several novel regulators and performed a detailed
characterization of the transcription factor WRKY23 (At2g47260) and its role in auxin
feedback on PIN polarity. Gain-of-function and dominant-negative mutants revealed that
WRKY23 plays a crucial role in mediating the auxin effect on PIN polarity. In concordance,
typical polar auxin transport processes such as gravitropism and leaf vascular pattern
formation were disturbed by interfering with WRKY23 function.
In order to identify direct targets of WRKY23, we performed consequential expression
profiling experiments using a WRKY23 inducible gain-of-function line and dominant-negative
WRKY23 line that is defunct in PIN re-arrangement. Among several genes mostly related to
the groups of cell wall and defense process regulators, we identified LYSINE-HISTIDINE
TRANSPORTER 1 (LHT1; At5g40780), a small amino acid permease gene from the amino
acid/auxin permease family (AAAP), we present its detailed characterisation in auxin feedback
on PIN repolarization, identified its transcriptional regulation, we propose a potential
mechanism of its action. Moreover, we identified also a member of receptor-like protein
kinase LRR-RLK (LEUCINE-RICH REPEAT TRANSMEMBRANE PROTEIN KINASE PROTEIN 1;
LRRK1; At1g05700), which also affects auxin-dependent PIN re-arrangement. We described
its transcriptional behaviour, subcellular localization. Based on global expression data, we
tried to identify ligand responsible for mechanism of signalling and suggest signalling partner
and interactors. Additionally, we described role of novel phytohormone group, strigolactone,
in auxin-dependent PIN re-arrangement, that could be a fundament for future studies in this
field.
Our results provide first insights into an auxin transcriptional network targeting PIN
localization and thus regulating plant development. We highlighted WRKY23 transcriptional
network and characterised its mediatory role in plant development. We identified direct
effectors of this network, LHT1 and LRRK1, and describe their roles in PIN re-arrangement and
PIN-dependent auxin transport processes.},
author = {Prat, Tomas},
pages = {131},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Identification of novel regulators of PIN polarity and development of novel auxin sensor}},
year = {2017},
}
@phdthesis{1397,
abstract = {We study partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) with objectives used in verification and artificial intelligence. The qualitative analysis problem given a POMDP and an objective asks whether there is a strategy (policy) to ensure that the objective is satisfied almost surely (with probability 1), resp. with positive probability (with probability greater than 0). For POMDPs with limit-average payoff, where a reward value in the interval [0,1] is associated to every transition, and the payoff of an infinite path is the long-run average of the rewards, we consider two types of path constraints: (i) a quantitative limit-average constraint defines the set of paths where the payoff is at least a given threshold L1 = 1. Our main results for qualitative limit-average constraint under almost-sure winning are as follows: (i) the problem of deciding the existence of a finite-memory controller is EXPTIME-complete; and (ii) the problem of deciding the existence of an infinite-memory controller is undecidable. For quantitative limit-average constraints we show that the problem of deciding the existence of a finite-memory controller is undecidable. We present a prototype implementation of our EXPTIME algorithm. For POMDPs with w-regular conditions specified as parity objectives, while the qualitative analysis problems are known to be undecidable even for very special case of parity objectives, we establish decidability (with optimal complexity) of the qualitative analysis problems for POMDPs with parity objectives under finite-memory strategies. We establish optimal (exponential) memory bounds and EXPTIME-completeness of the qualitative analysis problems under finite-memory strategies for POMDPs with parity objectives. Based on our theoretical algorithms we also present a practical approach, where we design heuristics to deal with the exponential complexity, and have applied our implementation on a number of well-known POMDP examples for robotics applications. For POMDPs with a set of target states and an integer cost associated with every transition, we study the optimization objective that asks to minimize the expected total cost of reaching a state in the target set, while ensuring that the target set is reached almost surely. We show that for general integer costs approximating the optimal cost is undecidable. For positive costs, our results are as follows: (i) we establish matching lower and upper bounds for the optimal cost, both double and exponential in the POMDP state space size; (ii) we show that the problem of approximating the optimal cost is decidable and present approximation algorithms that extend existing algorithms for POMDPs with finite-horizon objectives. We show experimentally that it performs well in many examples of interest. We study more deeply the problem of almost-sure reachability, where given a set of target states, the question is to decide whether there is a strategy to ensure that the target set is reached almost surely. While in general the problem EXPTIME-complete, in many practical cases strategies with a small amount of memory suffice. Moreover, the existing solution to the problem is explicit, which first requires to construct explicitly an exponential reduction to a belief-support MDP. We first study the existence of observation-stationary strategies, which is NP-complete, and then small-memory strategies. We present a symbolic algorithm by an efficient encoding to SAT and using a SAT solver for the problem. We report experimental results demonstrating the scalability of our symbolic (SAT-based) approach. Decentralized POMDPs (DEC-POMDPs) extend POMDPs to a multi-agent setting, where several agents operate in an uncertain environment independently to achieve a joint objective. In this work we consider Goal DEC-POMDPs, where given a set of target states, the objective is to ensure that the target set is reached with minimal cost. We consider the indefinite-horizon (infinite-horizon with either discounted-sum, or undiscounted-sum, where absorbing goal states have zero-cost) problem. We present a new and novel method to solve the problem that extends methods for finite-horizon DEC-POMDPs and the real-time dynamic programming approach for POMDPs. We present experimental results on several examples, and show that our approach presents promising results. In the end we present a short summary of a few other results related to verification of MDPs and POMDPs.},
author = {Chmelik, Martin},
pages = {232},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Algorithms for partially observable markov decision processes}},
year = {2016},
}
@phdthesis{1398,
abstract = {Hybrid zones represent evolutionary laboratories, where recombination brings together alleles in combinations which have not previously been tested by selection. This provides an excellent opportunity to test the effect of molecular variation on fitness, and how this variation is able to spread through populations in a natural context. The snapdragon Antirrhinum majus is polymorphic in the wild for two loci controlling the distribution of yellow and magenta floral pigments. Where the yellow A. m. striatum and the magenta A. m. pseudomajus meet along a valley in the Spanish Pyrenees they form a stable hybrid zone Alleles at these loci recombine to give striking transgressive variation for flower colour. The sharp transition in phenotype over ~1km implies strong selection maintaining the hybrid zone. An indirect assay of pollinator visitation in the field found that pollinators forage in a positive-frequency dependent manner on Antirrhinum, matching previous data on fruit set. Experimental arrays and paternity analysis of wild-pollinated seeds demonstrated assortative mating for pigmentation alleles, and that pollinator behaviour alone is sufficient to explain this pattern. Selection by pollinators should be sufficiently strong to maintain the hybrid zone, although other mechanisms may be at work. At a broader scale I examined evolutionary transitions between yellow and anthocyanin pigmentation in the tribe Antirrhinae, and found that selection has acted strate that pollinators are a major determinant of reproductive success and mating patterns in wild Antirrhinum.},
author = {Ellis, Thomas},
pages = {130},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The role of pollinator-mediated selection in the maintenance of a flower color polymorphism in an Antirrhinum majus hybrid zone}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:TH_526 },
year = {2016},
}
@phdthesis{1122,
abstract = {Computer graphics is an extremely exciting field for two reasons. On the one hand,
there is a healthy injection of pragmatism coming from the visual effects industry
that want robust algorithms that work so they can produce results at an increasingly
frantic pace. On the other hand, they must always try to push the envelope and
achieve the impossible to wow their audiences in the next blockbuster, which means
that the industry has not succumb to conservatism, and there is plenty of room to
try out new and crazy ideas if there is a chance that it will pan into something
useful.
Water simulation has been in visual effects for decades, however it still remains
extremely challenging because of its high computational cost and difficult artdirectability.
The work in this thesis tries to address some of these difficulties.
Specifically, we make the following three novel contributions to the state-of-the-art
in water simulation for visual effects.
First, we develop the first algorithm that can convert any sequence of closed
surfaces in time into a moving triangle mesh. State-of-the-art methods at the time
could only handle surfaces with fixed connectivity, but we are the first to be able to
handle surfaces that merge and split apart. This is important for water simulation
practitioners, because it allows them to convert splashy water surfaces extracted
from particles or simulated using grid-based level sets into triangle meshes that can
be either textured and enhanced with extra surface dynamics as a post-process.
We also apply our algorithm to other phenomena that merge and split apart, such
as morphs and noisy reconstructions of human performances.
Second, we formulate a surface-based energy that measures the deviation of a
water surface froma physically valid state. Such discrepancies arise when there is a
mismatch in the degrees of freedom between the water surface and the underlying
physics solver. This commonly happens when practitioners use a moving triangle
mesh with a grid-based physics solver, or when high-resolution grid-based surfaces
are combined with low-resolution physics. Following the direction of steepest
descent on our surface-based energy, we can either smooth these artifacts or turn
them into high-resolution waves by interpreting the energy as a physical potential.
Third, we extend state-of-the-art techniques in non-reflecting boundaries to handle spatially and time-varying background flows. This allows a novel new
workflow where practitioners can re-simulate part of an existing simulation, such
as removing a solid obstacle, adding a new splash or locally changing the resolution.
Such changes can easily lead to new waves in the re-simulated region that would
reflect off of the new simulation boundary, effectively ruining the illusion of a
seamless simulation boundary between the existing and new simulations. Our
non-reflecting boundaries makes sure that such waves are absorbed.},
author = {Bojsen-Hansen, Morten},
pages = {114},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Tracking, correcting and absorbing water surface waves}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th_640},
year = {2016},
}