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The Chicago Array of Things (AoT) project, funded by the US National Science Foundation, created an experimental, urban-scale measurement capability to support diverse scientific studies. Initially conceived as a traditional sensor network, collaborations with many science communities guided the project to design a system that is remotely programmable to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the devices—at the "edge" of the network—as a means for measuring urban factors that heretofore had only been possible with human observers, such as human behavior including social interaction. The concept of "software-defined sensors" emerged from these design discussions, opening new possibilities, such as stronger privacy protections and autonomous, adaptive measurements triggered by events or conditions. We provide examples of current and planned social and behavioral science investigations uniquely enabled by software-defined sensors as part of the SAGE project, an expanded follow-on effort that includes AoT.


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Measuring Cities with Software-Defined Sensors

Show Author's information Charlie Catlett( )Pete BeckmanNicola FerrierHoward NusbaumMichael E. PapkaMarc G. BermanRajesh Sankaran
University of Illinois Discovery Partners Institute, Chicago, IL 60606, USA.
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA.
Argonne National Laboratory

Abstract

The Chicago Array of Things (AoT) project, funded by the US National Science Foundation, created an experimental, urban-scale measurement capability to support diverse scientific studies. Initially conceived as a traditional sensor network, collaborations with many science communities guided the project to design a system that is remotely programmable to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the devices—at the "edge" of the network—as a means for measuring urban factors that heretofore had only been possible with human observers, such as human behavior including social interaction. The concept of "software-defined sensors" emerged from these design discussions, opening new possibilities, such as stronger privacy protections and autonomous, adaptive measurements triggered by events or conditions. We provide examples of current and planned social and behavioral science investigations uniquely enabled by software-defined sensors as part of the SAGE project, an expanded follow-on effort that includes AoT.

Keywords:

sensors, edge computing, computer vision, urban science
Received: 06 September 2020 Accepted: 06 October 2020 Published: 28 October 2020 Issue date: September 2020
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Publication history

Received: 06 September 2020
Accepted: 06 October 2020
Published: 28 October 2020
Issue date: September 2020

Copyright

© The author(s) 2020

Acknowledgements

The AoT project was funded by the US National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation program supporting the development of novel instruments (No. NSF-1532133)[60]. Scientists from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois Discovery Partners Institute led the project. AoT would not have been possible without the support from the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, Department of Transportation (including cost-sharing in the form of installation and electrical power), and Department of Innovation and Technology. Cost-sharing was provided by the City of Chicago, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, Intel, Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco, Crown Castle Communications, and Schneider Electric. The Waggle platform design was supported through Argonne National Laboratory’s Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program. Social Science research utilizing AoT is funded in part through NSF (No. S&CC-1952050). The SAGE project is funded through the US National Science Foundation’s Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure program (No. NSF-OAC-1935984)[29].

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