Florida Polytechnic University wins first National Science Foundation Research Grant

Mar 21, 2018

Florida Polytechnic University was awarded its first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to sponsor a cutting-edge research project proposed by computer science professors Drs. Luis Jaimes and Ilhan Akbas.

The research on cyber-physical systems applications focuses on crowd-sensing to leverage the power of crowds to monitor a variable of interest such as temperature, pollution or state of infrastructure in smart cities. Crowd-sensing systems rely on the willingness of crowds to participate in the collection and reporting of data using sensors either embedded in autonomous vehicles or integrated into participants’ cellphones.

“The chances of winning this NSF grant were very low, but Florida Poly beat the odds,” said Jaimes, principal investigator. “There were many projects presented in the area of cyber-physical systems and only two percent won a grant.”

The potential of crowdsourcing has been proven in fields like environmental science, transportation systems, and social science. Well-known examples include the mobile applications for community-based traffic and navigation, which help drivers take the most efficient routes based on information provided by other drivers.

This project addresses the problem of spatial and temporal coverage, particularly in isolated sub-regions where participants’ density is very low. This problem is tackled by the development of incentive mechanisms that assigns compensation for data collection based on the density of a given region.

“This technology will help us get more accurate and more up-to-date information on weather, traffic, or even pollen,” said Akbas. “Then people can make better decisions based on their individual needs, like changing their daily commute to reduce stress or avoid environmental conditions that represent a health risk.”

The $166,000 grant will help explore other potential applications for this research including autonomous vehicle scheduling and navigation, smart robots navigation and smart utilization of transportation resources.

“It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to develop this project in the next two years and be able to hire students to help us with the process,” said Jaimes.

“We’re confident the models and simulators that we create in this project will lead to future research in this very hot field,” said Akbas.

Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications