AAAI Publications, Third AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing

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PISCES: Participatory Incentive Strategies for Effective Community Engagement in Smart Cities
Arpita Biswas, Deepthi Chander, Koustuv Dasgupta, Koyel Mukherjee, Mridula Singh, Tridib Mukherjee

Last modified: 2015-09-23


A key challenge in participatory sensing systems has been the design of incentive mechanisms that motivate individuals to contribute data to consuming applications. Emerging trends in urban development and smart city planning indicate the use of citizen reports to gather insights and identify areas for transformation. Consumers of these reports (e.g. city agencies) typically associate non-uniform utility (or values) to different reports based on the spatio-temporal context of the reports. For example, a report indicating traffic congestion near an airport, in early morning hours, would tend to have much higher utility than a similar report from a sparse residential area. In such cases, the design of an incentive mechanism must motivate participants, via appropriate rewards (or payments), to provide higher utility reports when compared to less valued ones. The main challenge in designing such an incentive scheme is two-fold: (i) lack of prior knowledge of participants in terms of their availability (i.e. who are in the vicinity) and reporting behaviour (i.e. what are the rewards expected); and (ii) minimizing payments to the reporters while ensuring that the desired number of reports are collected. In this paper, we propose STOC-PISCES, an algorithm that guarantees a stochastic optimal solution in the generalized setting of an unknown set of participants, with non-deterministic availabilities and stochastically rational reporting behaviour. The superior performance of STOC-PISCES in experimental settings, based on real-world data, endorses its adoption as an incentive strategy in participatory sensing applications like smart city management.


participatory sensing; incentive design; multi-armed bandit; stochastic setting

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