Liveblogging the first Human Data Interaction workshop

Posted by Anil Madhavapeddy

I'm at the Open Data institute, with Richard Mortier, Jon Crowcroft, Amir Chaudhry and Hamed Haddadi , live-blogging a daylong workshop about our emerging Human-Data Interaction research initiative.  The room is packed with notable researchers from all over the UK, so this promises to be an exciting day!


NSDI 2012 Day 3

Posted by Jon Crowcroft

10 New Architectures and Platformsjail break





NSDI 2012 Day 2

Posted by Jon Crowcroft

Thursday - Sessions 5 6 7 8
NSDI 2012

5 Privacy



Mobicom. Day 2

Posted by Kiran Rachuri

Day 2 of MobiCom 2011 started with my talk on SociableSense. Fourteen papers were presented over four sessions, including two best papers.

SESSION: Applications

SociableSense: Exploring the Trade-offs of Adaptive Sampling and Computation Offloading for Social Sensing, Kiran K. Rachuri, Cecilia Mascolo, Mirco Musolesi, and Peter J. Rentfrow (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Our work. Details at:

Overlapping Communities in Dynamic Networks: Their Detection and how they can help Mobile Applications, Nam P. Nguyen, Thang N. Dinh, Sindhura Tokala, and My T. Thai (University of Florida, USA)

A better understanding of mobile networks in terms of overlapping communities, underlying structure, organisation helps in developing efficient applications such as routing in MANETs, worm containment, and sensor reprogramming in WSNs. So, the detection of network communities is important, however, they are large and dynamic, and overlapping communication.  Can community detection be performed in a quick and efficient way.

They propose a two phase limited input dependent framework to address this. Phase 1: basic communities detection (basic communities are dense parts of the networks). Phase 2: update network communities when changes are introduced, i.e., handle: adding a node/edge, and removing a node/edge.  The evaluation is based on MIT reality mining data.  They evaluate the proposed scheme with respect to two applications: routing in MANETs and worm containment.

Detecting Driver Phone Use Leveraging Car Speakers, Jie Yang and Simon Sdhom> (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA); Gayathri Chandrasekaranand Tam Vu (Rutgers University, USA); Hongbo Liu (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA);Nicolae Cecan (Rutgers University, USA); Yingying Chen (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA);Marco Gruteser and Richard P. Martin(Rutgers University, USA)

(Joint Best Paper Award)

80% of people talk on cell phone while driving. The consequences of this might be dangerous (18% accidents). They claim that hands-free devices do not help because of the effects in the cognitive load on the driver. Several mobile apps in the market trying to solve that. (zoom safer ïzup, cellsafety). Recent measures:

-hard blocking: jammers, blocking calls etc

-soft interaction: delay calls, route to voice mail, automatic reply

Current apps that actively prevent cell phone use in vehicle only detect the phone is in vehicle or not through: GPS, handover, signal strength, speedometer etc. None of them have capability to find whether phone is used by driver or passenger. They use an acoustic ranging approach to solve this problem.  They identify the position of the cell phone based on the car speakers and mobile phone, and based on speakers emitting different sounds at different times. Cell phone mic has wider range of frequency range: so beep frequency to outside user hearing range.  Evaluation shows that the accuracy of detection is over 90%.

I Am the Antenna: Accurate Outdoor AP Location Using Smartphones, Zengbin Zhang, Xia Zhou, Weile Zhang, Yuanyang Zhang, Gang Wang, Ben Y. Zhao, and Haitao Zheng (University of Calfornia at Santa Barbara, USA)

The density of APs in the environment is very high. How to find the location of an AP?  Conventional AP location methods:

- Directional antenna: Fast, very accurate but expensive

- Signal map: Simple but time consuming

- RSS gradient: Low accuracy, low measurement overhead but low accuracy

Their solution is based on the effect  of user orientation degree to an AP on RSS. The body of the user can affect the SNR (they observed around 13dBm difference). They also tested the generality of the effect with multiple phones, protocols, different users, and environments, and  RSS profiles all followed the same trend.

Evaluation is in a campus, with three scenarios. 1. Simple line of sight (no blocks) 2. complex line of sight (vehicles etc) 3. Non line of sight (line of sight is completely blocked). Metric: absolute angular error: detected direction - actual direction. results: error < 30 degree for 80% cases, in simple LOS (line of sight); error < 65 degree for 80% cases in Non LOS.

SESSION: Cellular Networks

Traffic-Driven Power Saving in Operational 3G Networks,  Chunyi Peng, Suk-Bok Lee, Songwu Lu, and Haiyun Luo (University of California at Los Angeles, USA)

Transmission power of Base Stations increases linearly with the traffic load. The cooling power keeps constant and its comparable to the transmission power. As a result, high energy is consumed energy even at zero traffic. Existing solutions do not address practical issues and they follow a theoretical analysis. In this work, they propose a traffic-driven approach that exploits traffic dynamics to turn off under-utilised BSs for system-wide energy efficiency. They claim that traffic is quite predictable in the base station. There’s a lot of potential to save energy in quite hours but also in peak hours. Their solution also tries to be compatible with current 3G standard/deployment. Issues addressed: Issue 1: how to satisfy location dependent coverage and capacity constraints. Issue 2: how to estimate traffic load ?

Solution: based on profiling: estimate traffic envelope via profiling and leverage near-term stability. The set of BS active in idle hours should be a subset of the ones in peak hours. Their condition is that they should not switch BSs more than once per day. Provide location-dependent capacity. Their estimation is a moving average with 24 daily intervals. However, frequent on/off switching is undesirable: takes several minutes. It should be based on traffic characteristics.

MOTA: Engineering an Operator Agnostic Mobile Service, Supratim Deb, Kanthi Nagaraj, and Vikram Srinivasan (Bell Labs Research, India)

Cellular coverage varies with respect to locations. Users may not be happy with a single service provider, and there is a case for users choosing services from multiple providers. Dual sim phones are already popular in asia. Users are using services based on the cost from the providers. Goal of this work: Ability for users to join the network of choice at will based on location, pricing, and applications.

Solution: to propose changing operator from the user-side. They consider several solutions: Option 1: Centralised approach making decisions but operators unlikely to share network planning information. Option 2: Users use signal strength from different base stations. This is insufficient and can result in poor user experience.

They propose MOTA in which a service aggregator is introduced: new intermediary between users and operator and is responsible for maintaining customer relationships and handles all control plane operations that cannot be handled by a single operator. The also use a Utility function that incorporates fairness. Evaluation is based on the data from one of the largest cellular operators in India.

Anonymization of Location Data Does Not Work: A Large-Scale Measurement Study, Hui Zang and Jean Bolot (Sprint Applied Research, USA)

Call Detail Records (CDR) keep a lot of information about the phone calls of the users and they can be linked to a location. They can be used for marketing, security, LBS, Mobility Modelling, however, privacy might be breached if such data is released. Traditional approaches to protect privacy of users is through anonymisation, however, this works shows that does not work. CDR contains: mobile id, time of call, call durations, start cell id, start sector id, end sector id, call direction, caller id. If mobile id and caller id are anonymised, can we detect the user. Its shown that with gender, zipcode, and birthdate, 87% of USA population can be identified.

Their dataset consists of more than 30 billion call records made by 25 million cell phone users across the USA. Their approach is to infer top N locations for each user and correlate this with publicly available information such as census data. They show that the top 1 location does not yield small anonymity sets, but top 2 and 3 locations do at the sector or cell-level granularity. They also provide possible solutions based on spatial and time domain approaches for publishing location data without compromising on privacy.

SESSION: Infrastructureless Networking.

Enhance & Explore: An Adaptive Algorithm to Maximize the Utility of Wireless Networks, Adel Aziz and Julien Herzen (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland); Ruben Merz (Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, Germany); Seva Shneer (Heriot-Watt University, UK); andPatrick Thiran (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland)

This work addresses the problem of providing efficiency and fairness in wireless networks. Their approach is based on maximising a utility function. They propose an algorithm called Enhance and Explore that maximises the utility function. The challenges in designing this scheme are: work on existing mac, non-network wide message passing, and wireless capacity is unknown a priory.

They consider two scenarios: WLAN setting: inter-flow problem and optimally allocate resources. Multi-hop setting: intra-flow problem and avoid congestion. They show analytically that the proposed algorithm converges to a point of optimal utility. Evaluation is through experiments in a testbed and simulations in ns-3.

Scoop: Decentralized and Opportunistic Multicasting of Information Streams, Dinan Gunawardena, Thomas Karagiannis, and Alexandre Proutiere (Microsoft Research Europe, UK); Elizeu Santos-Neto (University of British Columbia, Canada); and Milan Vojnovic (Microsoft Research Europe, UK)

This work aims at leveraging mobility for content delivery in networks of devices experiencing intermittent connectivity. Main challenge: routing / relaying strategies. Existing solutions include epidemic routing. Drawback of existing works are: simplifying assumptions on mobility, and interact contact times are exponentially distributed. This work proposes SCOOP that

  • maximizes some global system objective
  • accounts for storage and transmission costs
  • multi-point to multi-point communications
  • decentralized
  • model-free (allows general node mobility)

There is a necessity to propose a mobility model-free system. They used classic traces: UCSD, Infocom, DieelNet and SF Taxis.  They show that two hops are enough to reach a large percentage of nodes. They also show that the delays in paths between a source and a destination are positively correlated. They aim to identify the strategy optimally exploiting mobility and buffer constraints and relays. However, this is a hard problem. They use a sub-gradient algorithm to solve it efficiently. Evaluation is through numerical experiments. They compared SCOOP with an idealized version of R-OPT of RAPID algorithm (assumes full global knowledge). Performance with respect to delivery ratio is very close to R-OPT.

R3: Robust Replication Routing Wireless Networks with Diverse Connectivity, Xiaozheng Tie, Arun Venkataramani (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA) and Aruna Balasubramanian (University of Washington).

Wireless routing protocols are designed for specific target environments, like well-connected meshes, intermittently connected MANETs. Problems with this is routing protocols are fragile, and perform poorly outside its target environment. Wireless networks exhibit spatio-temporal diversity, therefore, compartmentalized design is not efficient. Can we design a protocol that ensures a robust performance across networks.

They propose to use Replication routing. They present a model to quantify replication gain. Replication gain depends on the path delay distributions and not just expected value. They study the average replication gain with respect to number of paths using DieselNet-DTN and Haggle traces. They propose R3: a link state protocol that selects replication paths using the proposed model. The scheme also adapts the replication to load.

Evaluation is both on DieselNet DTN testbed and a Mesh testbed. Simulation validation is also performed  using DieselNet deployment. Compared with several protocols. Simulation based on haggle trace shows that R3 reduces delay by up to 60% and increases good put by up to 30% over SWITCH. Simulations on DieselNet-Hybrid shows that R3 improves median delay compared to SWITCH  by 2.1x.

Flooding-Resilient Broadcast Authentication for VANETs, Hsu-Chun Hsiao, Ahren Studer, Chen Chen, and Adrian Perrig (Carnegie Mellon University, USA); and Fan Bai, Bhargav Bellur, and Aravind Iyer (General Motors Research)

Each vehicle possess an On Board Unit (OBU), and broadcasts info for safety and convenience. This information has to be secured. IEEE 1069.2 standard suggests to use ECDSA signature for these messages, however, its expensive for verification and takes around 22ms to verify, and its difficult if many messages arrive in short time. Can we reduce this verification delay. Core idea of this work: entropy aware authentication.

They propose two methods: (1) FastAuth - exploits predictability of future messages. Uses hash to verify location updates instead of ECDSA . The result is 1 us instead of 22000 us in ideal case. (2) SelAuth - selective verification before forwarding. They also reduce the communication overhead. Evaluation is based on real vehicle traces (4 traces), each generated by driving a car along a 2 mile path for 2 hours. Results show that the signature generation is 20x faster and verification is 50x faster compared to ECDSA.

SESSION: Protocols.

E-MiLi: energy-Minimizing Idle Listening in Wireless Networks, Xinyu Zhang and Kang G. Shin (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, USA)

(Joint Best Paper Award)

Wi-Fi is a popular means of wireless Internet connection. However, Wi-Fi is a main energy consumer in mobile devices, 14x higher than GSM on phone. This is due to cost of idle listening. Moreover, idle listening power is comparable to TX/RX power. Existing solutions are variants of PSM, but, is this good enough. No, this is due to carrier sensing time. To overcome this, they propose E-MiLI that reduces the power consumption of idle listening. They down-clock the radio in idle listening mode. Down-clocking by 1/4 saves power by 47.5%. The key challenge is how to decode a packet given that receiver sampling rate should be no less than senders clock rate to decode a packet. The solution proposed is to separate detection from decoding.They add a preamble to 802.11 packet that can be detected by low clock rates.

One issue with this is false triggering. Packets intended for one client may trigger all other clients and this is a waste of energy. The second problem is the energy overhead caused by large preambles. The solution is a minimum-cost address sharing to allow multiple nodes to be assigned the same address. Address allocated according to channel usage. There’s a delay caused by cold-rate switching too. To reduce this they use opportunistic downclocking. Evaluation is with respect to: Packet detection: software radio based experiments, Energy consumption: through Wi-Fi traces, and Simulations using ns-2. Results: When SNR is above 8dB, miss detection probability is almost zero. They achieved close to 40% energy saving.

Refactoring Content Overhearing to Improve Wireless Performance, Shan-Hsiang Shen, Aaron Gember, Ashok Anand, and Aditya Akella (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)

The main aim is to improve on wireless performance by leveraging overheard packets. Several techniques available currently, but,  none of these leverage duplicate data. This work takes a content based overhearing approach and suppresses duplicate data transmission. Ditto is first work that used content based overhearing approach,  but it works at the granularity of objects, and does not remove sub packet redundancy. Moreover, it only works for some applications. This work presents REfactor content overhearing:

(1) this scheme puts content overhearing at the network layer, and this results in savings across applications.  Transport layer approach (used in Ditto) ties data to application or object chunk. Network layer approach reduces redundancy across all flows. Transport approach also requires payload reassembly.

(2) this scheme identifies sub-packet redundancy. This saves transmission times. Ditto only works in 8 - 32kb object chunks, whereas the proposed scheme operates at a finer granularity. This results in savings from redundancy as small as 64 bytes. and this also results in leveraging any overhearing even a single packet.

Evaluation through test-bed experiments show 6 to 20% improvement in Goodput. Simulation results also show that 20% improvement is achieved in Goodput.

Distributed Spectrum Management and Relay Selection in Interference-Limited Cooperative Wireless Networks, Zhangyu Guan (Shandong University, P. R. China); Tommaso Melodia (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA); Donfeng Yuan (Shandong University, P. R. China); and Dimitris A. Pados (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA)

Emerging multimedia services require high data rates. This work aims to maximize the capacity of wireless networks by leveraging the frequency and spatial diversity. Frequency: by dynamic spectrum access, and this improves spectral efficiency. Spatial: by cooperative communication, and this enhances link connectivity. Problem: maximize sum utility (capacity, log-capacity) of multiple concurrent traffic sessions by jointly optimizing relay selection (whether to cooperate or not) and direct transmission. Problem formulated as mixed integer non-convex problem. This is NP hard. They propose a solution based on branch and bound that is able to find a globally optimum solution. Polynomial time  solution is not guaranteed but in practice it works well. Evaluation is based on simulations. Results show that the proposed schemes converge very fast. Centralized algorithm achieves at least 95% of the global optimum, and distributed schemes are very close to optimal.



Socio-spatial properties of online social networks

Posted by Salvatore Scellato

Some social scientists have suggested that the advent of fast long-distance travel and cheap online communication tools might have caused the "death of distance": as described by Frances Cairncross, the world appears shrinking as individuals connect and interact with each other regardless of the geographic distances which separates them. Unfortunately, the lack of reliable geographic data about large-scale social networks has hampered research on this specific problem.

However, the recent growing popularity of location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla has unlocked large-scale access to where people live and who their friends are, making possible to understand how distance and friendship ties relate to each other.

In a recent paper which will appear at the upcoming ICWSM 2011 conference we study the socio-spatial properties arising between users of three large-scale online location-based social networks. We discuss how distance still matters: individuals tend to create social ties with people living nearby much more likely than with persons further away, even though strong heterogeneities still appear across different users.