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Community Sense and Response Systems


Faulkner, Matthew Nicholas (2014) Community Sense and Response Systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/QFM5-FH06.


The proliferation of smartphones and other internet-enabled, sensor-equipped consumer devices enables us to sense and act upon the physical environment in unprecedented ways. This thesis considers Community Sense-and-Response (CSR) systems, a new class of web application for acting on sensory data gathered from participants' personal smart devices. The thesis describes how rare events can be reliably detected using a decentralized anomaly detection architecture that performs client-side anomaly detection and server-side event detection. After analyzing this decentralized anomaly detection approach, the thesis describes how weak but spatially structured events can be detected, despite significant noise, when the events have a sparse representation in an alternative basis. Finally, the thesis describes how the statistical models needed for client-side anomaly detection may be learned efficiently, using limited space, via coresets.

The Caltech Community Seismic Network (CSN) is a prototypical example of a CSR system that harnesses accelerometers in volunteers' smartphones and consumer electronics. Using CSN, this thesis presents the systems and algorithmic techniques to design, build and evaluate a scalable network for real-time awareness of spatial phenomena such as dangerous earthquakes.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Machine learning, smartphones, geospatial event detection, participatory sensing, sensor network
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Awards:Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction and Protection, 2011
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Krause, R. Andreas (advisor)
  • Chandy, K. Mani (advisor)
  • Heaton, Thomas H. (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Krause, R. Andreas (chair)
  • Chandy, K. Mani
  • Heaton, Thomas H.
  • Tropp, Joel A.
  • Abu-Mostafa, Yaser S.
Defense Date:1 May 2014
Additional Information:Thesis title in 2014 Commencement program has Masters and PhD theses' titles reversed. Correct PhD thesis title is: Community Sense and Response Systems
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04152014-111007328
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8188
Deposited By: Matthew Faulkner
Deposited On:12 Aug 2014 15:48
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:04

Thesis Files

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