Maximum likelihood analysis of conflicting observations in social sensing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article addresses the challenge of truth discovery from noisy social sensing data. The work is motivated by the emergence of social sensing as a data collection paradigm of growing interest, where humans perform sensory data collection tasks. Unlike the case with well-calibrated and well-tested infrastructure sensors, humans are less reliable, and the likelihood that participants' measurements are correct is often unknown a priori. Given a set of human participants of unknown trustworthiness together with their sensory measurements, we pose the question of whether one can use this information alone to determine, in an analytically founded manner, the probability that a given measurement is true. In our previous conference paper, we offered the first maximum likelihood solution to the aforesaid truth discovery problem for corroborating observations only. In contrast, this article extends the conference paper and provides the first maximum likelihood solution to handle the cases where measurements from different participants may be conflicting. The article focuses on binary measurements. The approach is shown to outperform our previous work used for corroborating observations, the state-of-the-art fact-finding baselines, as well as simple heuristics such as majority voting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2530289
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Conflicting observations
  • Expectation maximization
  • Maximum likelihood estimation
  • Social sensing
  • Truth discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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