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[Colloquium] CitiSense Always-on Participatory Sensing for Air Quality

March 1, 2012

Watch Colloquium: 

M4V file (720 MB)

  • Date: Thursday, March 1, 2012 
  • Time: 11:00 am — 12:15 pm 
  • Place: Mechanical Engineering 218

William G. Griswold
Department of Computer Science & Engineering University of California, San Diego

Recent revelations about the impact of air pollution on our health are troubling, yet air pollution and the risks it poses to us are largely invisible. Today, the infrastructure of our regulatory institutions is inadequate for the cause: sensors are few and often far from where we live. What about the air quality on your jogging route or commute? Can you be told when it matters most? Recent advances in computing technology put these capabilities within reach. By pervasively monitoring our immediate environs, aggregating the data for analysis, and reflecting the results back to us quickly, we can avoid toxic locales, appreciate the consequences of our behavior, and together seek a mandate for change. In this talk, I describe CitiSense, which leverages the proliferation of mobile phones and the advent of cheap, small sensors to develop a new kind of .citizen infrastructure.. We have built a robust end-to-end prototype system, exposing an abundance of challenges in power management, software architecture, privacy, inference with “noisy” commodity sensors, and interaction design. The most critical challenge is providing an always-on experience when depending on the personal devices of users. I report on early research results, including those of our first user study, which reveal the incredible potential for participatory sensing of air quality, but also open problems.


Bio: William G. Griswold is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1991, and his BA in Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1985. His research interests include ubiquitous computing and software engineering, and educational technology. Griswold is a pioneer in the area of software refactoring. He also built ActiveCampus, one of the early mobile location-aware systems. His current CitiSense project is investigating technologies for low-cost ubiquitous real-time air-quality sensing. He was PC Chair of SIGSOFT FSE in 2002 and PC co-Chair of ICSE in 2005. He is the current past-Chair of ACM SIGSOFT. He is a member of the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society.