Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

“The Rise of Mobile Data”

August 22nd, 2011 / in big science, conference reports, research horizons, videos / by Erwin Gianchandani

Sam Madden, MIT CSAIL, on "The Rise of Mobile Data"Sam Madden, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), delivered a great talk about “The Rise of Mobile Data” at the “Computation and the Transformation of Practically Everything” symposium commemorating MIT’s 150th anniversary celebration earlier this year. Madden described his work in the area of sensor data analytics — specifically location analytics — which seeks to understand, make sense of, and process the wealth of data our smartphones are generating, all the while providing users control over privacy.

[There are] going to be five billion cellphones in service in the world in 2011. That’s a pretty staggering number… there’s something like 6.8 billion people in the entire world… This doesn’t mean that everybody has a cellphone; it means, I think, lots of people have multiple cellphones. But to put this number in perspective, this is more than the number of people who have shoes, toilets, toothbrushes, or electricity. Cellphones are incredibly ubiquitous, and they’re only getting more so.


[They are also] really an incredible source of data… and I’m specifically interested in the question of what to do with the sort of sensor data that comes from these phones. Many of you know that phones have a variety of different sensors on them — things that can estimate your position like GPS, movement with an accelerometer, gyroscope tests for heading, various different kinds of sensors to detect proximity that two people who are talking to each other are near each other…

As part of his location analytics work, Madden described CarTel, a project that seeks to capitalize off of these rich sensor data to achieve traffic monitoring and mitigation; pothole mapping (by using the accelerometers in phones to detect vibrations and upload this information onto a map); network monitoring (essentially automating Verizon’s “can you hear me now?” commercials); and personalized commuting (allowing users to see their driving habits over time, compared to those of other commuters).

Check out Madden’s entire talk — just 10 minutes long — after the jump…

…beginning at 26:30 in the video below.


And find more excellent talks from the MIT150 Symposium here.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

“The Rise of Mobile Data”

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