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With the advent of smartphone technology, it has become possible to conceive of entirely new classes of applications. Social swarming, in which users armed with smartphones are directed by a central director to report on events in the physical world, has several real-world applications: search and rescue, coordinated fire-fighting, and the DARPA balloon hunt challenge. In this paper, we focus on the following problem: how does the director optimize the selection of reporters to deliver credible corroborating information about an event. We first propose a model, based on common notions of believability, about the credibility of information. We then cast the problem posed above as a discrete optimization problem, prove hardness results, introduce optimal centralized solutions, and design an approximate solution amenable to decentralized implementation whose performance is about 20 percent off, on average, from the optimal (on real-world data sets derived from Google News) while being three orders of magnitude more computationally efficient. More interesting, a time-averaged version of the problem is amenable to a novel stochastic utility optimization formulation, and can be solved optimally, while in some cases yielding decentralized solutions. To our knowledge, we are the first to propose and explore the problem of extracting credible information from a network of smartphones.
Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:23 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: June 2012