Sensing Heterogeneous Information Network Environment

SHINE is the flagship project of DIRECT (Delft Institute for Research on ICT at Delft University of Technology). It has started on 01-01-2012 and will end on 31-12-2015.

In our modern society, more and more data is becoming available through technological advances like sensor technology, social media and smartphones. This data can concern a wide variety of aspects of our society, for example environment data like air quality, wind direction, temperature and rainfall, or data about cities like traffic density and parking availability. The scientific challenge that we focus on in this project aims at gathering, processing and interpreting this data for answering information needs. More specifically, we address the following research question:

How can heterogeneous resources (people, mobile sensors, fixed sensors, social media, information systems, etc.) self-organize for answering information needs?

Self-organization is thus a central theme in the project. If a system is able to self-organize, this means that structures and patterns emerge without central control. Many systems exhibit characteristics of self-organization, like a flock of birds, Wikipedia, traffic streams and self-organizing teams in human organizations. An important advantage of self-organization is flexibility. Structures and networks can be formed dynamically according to what is needed and available at a particular moment. In this project we will develop techniques that support the formation of such structures and networks among heterogeneous information resources, aimed at answering information needs.

Self-organization should be robust and dynamic. That is, the techniques for self-organization should be able to handle failures, for example sensors that get disconnected or deliver faulty information, and it should be able to respond in a timely and flexible manner to continuously changing information needs. Moreover, it needs to take place across multiple levels ranging from the lowest in which resource coordination takes place to the highest organization coordination level in which the information need is interpreted and an answer is presented. Finally, self-organization is aimed at organizing heterogeneous resources. This gives rise to challenges concerning aggregation and interpretation of information in a reliable manner.

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