Predictability and fairness in social sensing

Ramen Ghosh, Jakub Marecek, Wynita M. Griggs, Matheus Souza, Robert N. Shorten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We consider the design of distributed algorithms that govern the manner in which agents contribute to a social sensing platform. Specifically, we are interested in situations where fairness among the agents contributing to the platform is needed. A notable example are platforms operated by public bodies, where fairness is a legal requirement. The design of such distributed systems is challenging due to the fact that we wish to simultaneously realise an efficient social sensing platform, but also deliver a predefined quality of service to the agents (for example, a fair opportunity to contribute to the platform). In this paper, we introduce iterated function systems (IFS) as a tool for the design and analysis of systems of this kind. We show how the IFS framework can be used to realise systems that deliver a predictable quality of service to agents, can be used to underpin contracts governing the interaction of agents with the social sensing platform, and which are efficient. To illustrate our design via a use case, we consider a large, high-density network of participating parked vehicles. When awoken by an administrative centre, this network proceeds to search for moving missing entities of interest using RFID-based techniques. We regulate which vehicles are actively searching for the moving entity of interest at any point in time. In doing so, we seek to equalise vehicular energy consumption across the network. This is illustrated through simulations of a search for a missing Alzheimer’s patient in Melbourne, Australia. Experimental results are presented to illustrate the efficacy of our system and the predictability of access of agents to the platform independent of initial conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Automobiles
  • Control theory.
  • Ergodicity
  • Internet of Things
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Law
  • Prediction algorithms
  • Radio Frequency Identification Systems
  • Sensors
  • Smart Cities
  • Social sensing
  • Stochastic systems
  • Tools

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