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Andreas Krause, ETH Z├╝rich, 16.15 o'clock, OH 14, E23

Event Date: April 5, 2012 16:15

Optimizing Sensing: Theory and Applications

Where should we place sensors to quickly detect contamination in drinking water distribution networks? Which blogs should we read to learn about the biggest stories on the web? These problems share a fundamental challenge: How can we obtain the most useful information about the state of the world, at minimum cost?

Such sensing problems are typically NP-hard, and were commonly addressed using heuristics without theoretical guarantees about the solution quality. In this talk, I will present algorithms which efficiently find provably near-optimal solutions to large, complex sensing problems. Our algorithms exploit submodularity, an intuitive notion of diminishing returns, common to many sensing problems; the more sensors we have already deployed, the less we learn by placing another sensor. To quantify the uncertainty in our predictions, we use probabilistic models, such as Gaussian Processes. In addition to identifying the most informative sensing locations, our algorithms can handle more challenging settings, where sensors need to be able to reliably communicate over lossy links, where mobile robots are used for collecting data or where solutions need to be robust against adversaries, sensor failures and dynamic environments.

I will also present results applying our algorithms to several real-world sensing tasks, including environmental monitoring using robotic sensors, deciding which blogs to read on the web, and detecting earthquakes using community-held accelerometers.

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