Thanos: Incentive Mechanism with Quality Awareness for Mobile Crowd Sensing

Haiming Jin, Lu Su, Danyang Chen, Hongpeng Guo, Klara Nahrstedt, Jinhui Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent years have witnessed the emergence of mobile crowd sensing (MCS) systems, which leverage the public crowd equipped with various mobile devices for large scale sensing tasks. In this paper, we study a critical problem in MCS systems, namely, incentivizing worker participation. Different from existing work, we propose an incentive framework for MCS systems, named Thanos, that incorporates a crucial metric, called workers' quality of information (QoI). Due to various factors (e.g., sensor quality and environment noise), the quality of the sensory data contributed by individual workers varies significantly. Obtaining high quality data with little expense is always the ideal of MCS platforms. Technically, our design of Thanos is based on reverse combinatorial auctions. We investigate both the single- and multi-minded combinatorial auction models. For the former, we design a truthful, individual rational, and computationally efficient mechanism that ensures a close-to-optimal social welfare. For the latter, we design an iterative descending mechanism that satisfies individual rationality and computational efficiency, and approximately maximizes the social welfare with a guaranteed approximation ratio. Through extensive simulations, we validate our theoretical analysis on the various desirable properties guaranteed by Thanos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8453021
Pages (from-to)1951-1964
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Incentive mechanism
  • mobile crowd sensing
  • quality of information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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