Artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing, participatory sensing, machine learning, smatphones, user modeling, predictive modeling, statistics, mobile applications, algorithms


Participatory sensing frameworks use humans and their computing devices as a large mobile sensing network. Dramatic accessibility and affordability have turned mobile devices (smartphone and tablet computers) into the most popular computational machines in the world, exceeding laptops. By the end of 2013, more than 1.5 billion people on earth will have a smartphone. Increased coverage and higher speeds of cellular networks have given these devices the power to constantly stream large amounts of data. Most mobile devices are equipped with advanced sensors such as GPS, cameras, and microphones. This expansion of smartphone numbers and power has created a sensing system capable of achieving tasks practically impossible for conventional sensing platforms. One of the advantages of participatory sensing platforms is their mobility, since human users are often in motion. This dissertation presents a set of techniques for modeling and predicting user transportation patterns from cell-phone and social media check-ins. To study large-scale transportation patterns, I created a mobile phone app, Kpark, for estimating parking lot occupancy on the UCF campus. Kpark aggregates individual user reports on parking space availability to produce a global picture across all the campus lots using crowdsourcing. An issue with crowdsourcing is the possibility of receiving inaccurate information from users, either through error or malicious motivations. One method of combating this problem is to model the trustworthiness of individual participants to use that information to selectively include or discard data. This dissertation presents a comprehensive study of the performance of different worker quality and data fusion models with plausible simulated user populations, as well as an evaluation of their performance on the real data obtained from a full release of the Kpark app on the UCF Orlando campus. To evaluate individual trust prediction methods, an algorithm selection portfolio was introduced to take advantage of the strengths of each method and maximize the overall prediction performance. Like many other crowdsourced applications, user incentivization is an important aspect of creating a successful crowdsourcing workflow. For this project a form of non-monetized incentivization called gamification was used in order to create competition among users with the aim of increasing the quantity and quality of data submitted to the project. This dissertation reports on the performance of Kpark at predicting parking occupancy, increasing user app usage, and predicting worker quality.


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Graduation Date





Sukthankar, Gita


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science








Release Date

May 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)