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The Phone to Sense Everything

Alex Bayen, Associate Professor, Berkeley

Date: Tuesday, June 28

Time: 4:20 - 4:35 PM

Location: Salon E

Category: Technology & Engineering

The coupling of the physical world with information technology promises to help meet increasing demands for efficient, sustainable, and secure management of our built infrastructure and natural environment. A mathematical abstraction of the physical environment is often used in the backend to integrate streaming measurements of sensors, driving the need for distributed sensing of the physical environment. Because of the nonlinearities and distributed nature inherent to physical processes of interest (traffic, earthquakes, water currents in rivers and bays, dispersion of pollution), efficient estimation algorithms to reconcile modeling and measurement errors in real-time remains an open challenge for many applications. 

This work investigates the problem of real-time estimation of distributed parameters systems in the context of monitoring traffic, river flows and earthquakes. The recent explosion of smartphones with Internet connectivity, GPS and magnetometers is rapidly increasing sensing capabilities for numerous infrastructure systems. 

The talk will present theoretical results, algorithms and implementations designed to integrate mobile measurements obtained from smartphones into distributed parameter models of infrastructure systems. The talk will focus mainly on a traffic monitoring system launched jointly by UC Berkeley and Nokia, called Mobile Millennium, which is operational in Northern California and streams more than 60 million data points a day into traffic models. The talk will also present two more recent applications of this research: the floating sensor network, for real-time riverflow reconstruction, and the iShake system, for smartphone-based real-time earthquake monitoring, as well as a prototype air quality sensing system.

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