Contextaide: End-to-End Architecture for Mobile Crowd-sensing Applications

Madhurima Pore, Vinaya Chakati, Ayan Banerjee, Sandeep K.S. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mobile crowd-sensing (MCS) enables development of context-aware applications by mining relevant information from a large set of devices selected in an ad hoc manner. For example, MCS has been used for real-time monitoring such as Vehicle ad hoc Networks-based traffic updates as well as offline data mining and tagging for future use in applications with location-based services. However, MCS could be potentially used for much more demanding applications such as real-time perpetrator tracking by online mining of images from nearby mobile users. A recent example is tracking the miscreant responsible for the Boston bombing. We present a new design approach for tracking using MCS for such complex processing in real time. Since MCS applications assume an unreliable underlying computational platform, most typically sample size for recruited devices is guided by concerns such as fault tolerance and reliability of information. As the real-time requirements get stricter coupled with increasing complexity of data-mining approaches, the communication and computation overheads can impose a very tight constraint on the sample size of devices needed for realizing real-time operation. This results in trade-off in acquiring context-relevant data and resource usage incurred while the real-time operation requirements get updated dynamically. Such effects have not been properly studied and optimized to enable real-time MCS applications such as perpetrator tracking. In this article, we propose ContextAiDe architecture, a combination of API, middleware, and optimization engine. The key innovation in ContextAiDe is context-optimized recruitment for execution of computation- and communication-heavy MCS applications in edge environment. ContextAiDe uses a notion of two types of contexts, exact (hard constraints), which have to be satisfied, and preferred (soft constraints), which may be satisfied to a certain degree. By adjusting the preferred contexts, ContextAiDe can optimize the operational overheads to enable real-time operation. ContextAiDe provides an API to specify contexts requirements and the code of MCS app, offload execution environment, a middleware that enables context-optimized and a fault-tolerant distributed execution. ContextAiDe evaluation using a real-time perpetrator tracking application shows reduced energy consumption of 37.8%, decrease in data transfer of 24.8%, and 43% less time compared to existing strategy. In spite of a small increase in the minimum distance from the perpetrator, iterations of optimization tracks the perpetrator successfully. Proactively learning the context and using stochastic optimization strategy minimizes the performance degradation caused due to uncertainty (<20%) in usage-dependent contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalACM Transactions on Internet Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Context aware
  • Edge computing
  • Middleware
  • Mobile crowd-sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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