PhD position on Mobile Crowd Sensed Data Analysis (Agora team – CITI Lab – INRIA/INSA-Lyon)


Mobile Crowd Sensed Data Analysis: Application to Participatory Environmental Crowd Sensing in Smart Cities

Thesis Description

The growing emergence of low-cost environmental monitoring systems combined with the recent advances in the design of Internet-of-Things architectures and protocols has given a new impetus to smart cities applications which is expected to significantly enhance the fine-grained characterization of different physical quantities in our cities (air quality, temperature, noise, etc.).

In this perspective, a promising approach is to involve citizens in the monitoring process using low-cost platforms and built-in sensors in order to collectively monitor different physical quantities. While relying on very high number of people to gather data is promising in accumulating large volumes of data, issues such as dealing with the variation in data accuracy due to the heterogeneity of sensing hardware and conditions, space-time continuity of measures, phenomena dynamics, impact of mobility on sensor quality, etc. arise and make it challenging to efficiently analyse the mobile crowd sensed data [1].

The aim of this thesis is to propose and evaluate novel solutions for efficient fine-grained mapping of physical phenomena based on mobile crowd sensed data with a focus on air quality and temperature.  Two directions will be explored. The first direction is based on data interpolation using techniques such as log-normal regression [2], deep learning [2,3], generalized additive modelling [4,5], Kriging-based modelling [6], etc. The second direction concerns data assimilation where the measures are incorporated into numerical models of the studied phenomena [7,8].

The Ph.D. student is expected to design novel solutions and conduct mathematical analysis on them. The validation and evaluation of the proposed solutions should include comparisons with state-of-the-art proposals. Data used in these evaluations is expected to come from the results of several participatory planned measurement campaigns.

Thesis context

This thesis is part of the 3M’Air multidisciplinary project, funded by the cluster of excellence IMU (LabEx Intelligence of Urban Worlds).  The 3M’Air project aims to study the potential of participatory crowd sensing to improve fine-grained knowledge of air quality and temperature while dealing with main scientific, technological, geographical and sociological issues. For that purpose, 3M’Air brings together the scientific and technical skills of three research laboratories: CITI (on wireless communications and data analysis), LMFA (on fluid mechanics and urban atmospheric dispersion models) EVS (on geographical and sociological issues) as well as five other operational partners: ATMO-Aura (the regional air quality observatory), Meteo France  (The French national meteorological service), le Grand Lyon (Greater Lyon urban community), Ville de Lyon (City of Lyon) and Lyon Meteo (a local company working on meteorological services).

The successful candidate will join the INRIA research group Agora located in Lyon, which is part of the CITI laboratory. The thesis will be mainly co-supervised by Dr. Walid Bechkit and Prof. Hervé Rivano of the CITI lab with a strong collaboration with the LMFA and the EVS laboratories.


Interested candidates should send a detailed CV with information on education, obtained degrees and qualification, as well as a cover letter detailing the motivation and scientific background of the candidate. Applications should also include the names and contact details of two referees.

Applications should be submitted by email to: cc hervé, a rolling deadline applies.

Some references

[1] M. Fiore, A. Nordio and C-F. Chiasserini, “Driving Factors Toward Accurate Mobile Opportunistic Sensing in Urban Environments”, IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, Vol. 15, pp. 2480–2493, 2016

[2] A. Marjovi, A. Arfire, and A. Martinoli, “Extending Urban Air Quality Maps Beyond the Coverage of a Mobile Sensor Network: Data Sources, Methods, and Performance Evaluation”, in proc. of EWSN, pp. 12-23, 2017.

[3] M. D. Adams and P. S. Kanaroglou “Mapping real-time air pollution health risk for environmental management: Combining mobile and stationary air pollution monitoring with neural network models”, Journal of environmental management, vol. 168, pp. 133-141, 2016.

[4] D. Hasenfratz, O. Saukh, C. Walser, C. Hueglin, M. Fierz, T. Arn, J. Beutela and L. Thielea, “Deriving high-resolution urban air pollution maps using mobile sensor nodes”, Pervasive and Mobile Computing, vol. 16, pp. 268-285, 2015.

[5] M. Mueller, D. Hasenfratz, O. Saukh, M. Fierz, and C. Hueglin, “Statistical modelling of particle number concentration in Zurich at high spatio-temporal resolution utilizing data from a mobile sensor network”, Atmospheric Environment, vol. 126, pp. 171-181, 2016.

[6] V. Singh, C. Carnevale, G. Finzi, E. Pisoni, and M. Volta, “A cokriging based approach to reconstruct air pollution maps, processing measurement station concentrations and deterministic model simulations”, Environmental Modelling & Software, vol. 26, pp. 778-786, 2011.

[7] A. Tilloy, V. Mallet, D. Poulet, C. Pesin, and F. Brocheton, “BLUE-based NO2 data assimilation at urban scale”, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres,  vol. 118, pp 2031-2040, 2013.

[8] A. Boubrima, W. Bechkit, H. Rivano and L. Soulhac. “Leveraging the Potential of WSN for an Efficient Correction of Air Pollution Fine-Grained Simulations”, to appear in proc. of IEEE ICCCN 2018.

CITI Talk: “Recycler les ondes radio ambiantes pour connecter les objets”, Dinh-Thuy PHAN-HUY (Orange, Chatillon), 22 May (10h30 in TD-C)


Recycler les ondes radio ambiantes pour connecter les objets


o   Lors de l’édition 2017 du Salon de la recherche Orange, du 5 au 7 décembre (, Orange a réalisé, pour la première fois, une transmission de données sans fil,  effectuée grâce aux seules ondes déjà diffusées par… la tour Eiffel ! Aucune onde supplémentaire n’a été émise. Cette technologie dite de rétro-diffusion ambiente découverte par l’Université de Washington en 2013, a une sobriété énergétique exceptionnelle. Elle permet de fournir de nouveaux services sans dépenser plus en spectre et en puissance rayonnée, ouvre d’énormes possibilités en termes d’utilisation massive d’objets connectés pour les villes, les maisons et les usines intelligentes.

o   Aujourd’hui, pour la  première fois, le projet ANR SpatialModulation ( dirigé par Orange, tentera une démonstration en temps réel d’une communication utilisant les ondes TV de la Fourvière, entre un « émetteur » (qui n’émet pas) développé par Orange et un récepteur développé par l’Institut Langevin sur GNU Radio.

CITI Talk: “Optimization Algorithms for Solving Problems Arising from Large Scale Machine Learning”, Vyacheslav Kungurtsev (Czech Technical University, Prague), May 7th, at 2pm in “salle TD-C” ( Claude Chappe Building)


Optimization Algorithms for Solving Problems Arising from Large Scale Machine Learning


In the contemporary “big data” age, the use of Machine Learning models for analyzing large volumes of data has been instrumental in a lot of current technological development. These models necessitate solving very large scale optimization problems, presenting challenges in terms of developing appropriate solvers. In addition, especially for problems arising from Deep Neural Network architectures, the resulting problems are often nonconvex, and sometimes nonsmooth, giving additional difficulty.

In this talk I present the standard structural elements of this class of problems, and how these structures can be handled with appropriate parallel architectures. I discuss the state of the art in terms of optimization algorithms for this setting and summarize the prognosis for ongoing and future research.

CITI Talk: “MRAM-based architectures in Spintec”, François Duhem (Spintec), 25th April 2018


MRAM-based architectures in Spintec


François Duhem


25th April 2018


10am,Claude Chappe (room TBC)


Non-Volatile Memories (NVMs) have gained traction in the last few years as they are expected to help mitigating the ever growing energy consumption due to leakage in advanced technology nodes. Among emerging NVM technologies, Magnetoresistive Random-Access Memory (MRAM) is considered to be one of the most promising as it reaches performance levels close to those of Static RAM (SRAM) with very high endurance, intrinsic immunity to radiations and good downsize scalability.
Spintec is a laboratory fully dedicated to spintronics research, aiming at bridging the gap between fundamental research and applications with expertise in fundamental physics as well as in device-oriented technologies. In particular, the design team focuses on the development of design tools for the hybrid CMOS/magnetic technology and the evaluation of hybrid non-volatile circuits (FPGA, processors, etc.).
This seminar will discuss ongoing research activities in Spintec with a focus on architecture and IC design.

PhD position in autonomous radio receivers at CITI Lab


INSA de Lyon, Lyon, France

Doctoral School

ED 160 EEA de Lyon




Study and development of architectures of radio receivers autonomous in energy and their mechanisms of wake-up and energy harvesting


The main scientific challenge of the thesis is to propose an autonomous wake-up radio architecture, i.e. an ultra-low power receiver supplied by the RF harvested or transferred energy and independent from the connected object’s main power supply. More thoroughly, the aim of this subject is to explore new solutions based on autonomous wake-up radio receivers taking into account limitations as size, technologies, operating conditions, etc., in order to provide one (or several) operational prototype(s). The proposed solutions will not exclusively be evaluated and optimized in terms of energy consumption, but also will take into account the communication performance such as the sensitivity and the robustness in terms of false wake-ups.


Guillaume Villemaud (HDR, 50%), Florin Hutu (50%)

More details

CITI Talk: “Passive RADAR measurement using DVB-T receivers and Software Defined Radio processing”, Jean-Michel Friedt (Université de Besançon, FEMTO-ST lab), March 30th at 10:30am

Passive RADAR measurement using DVB-T receivers and Software Defined Radio processing

Jean-Michel Friedt (Université de Besançon, FEMTO-ST lab)

We demonstrate the use of affordable DVB-T receivers used as general purpose software defined radio interfaces for collecting signals from a non-cooperative reference emitter on the one hand, and signals reflected from non-cooperative targets on the other hand, to map the range and velocity in a passive radar application. Issues include frequency and time synchronization of the DVB-T receivers, mitigated by appropriate digital signal processing relying heavily on cross-correlations.

Passive radar uses existing non-cooperative emitters as signal sources for mapping non-cooperative target range and possibly velocity. The attractive features of this strategy is the lack of dedicated broadband source for RADAR application, low cost from the use of existing emitters, and stealth since the operator is undetectable. This measurement technique has become accessible to the amateur with the availability of low cost receivers ideally suited for software defined radio processing. In the framework of passive radar applications, two receivers must be synchronized to record simultaneously the reference channel and the signal reflected by the targets: cross correlation will then finely identify the reference signal delay in the measurement signal and allow for target identification. In the case of moving targets, a brute force approach similar to Doppler compensation in GPS acquisition is applied for the cross correlation to coherently accumulate energy: the range-Doppler maps hint at the distance to the target and its velocity. Most interestingly, in the latter context, clutter (signals reflected from static targets) is separated from the moving target which becomes well visible even in a complex environment. In this presentation, we discuss the details of real time acquisition and signal post-processing for passive radar application, while addressing some of the challenges of diverting DVB-T receivers from their original application. While passive radar has been demonstrated with FM broadcast emitters, analog television emitters, or wifi, we shall here consider the broadband signal provided by digital terrestrial television broadcast signal.


CITI Talk: “The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating: Using SDRs in Research”, Bastien Bloessl (Trinity College à Dublin, Connect centre), March, 29th at 10:00 am

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating: Using SDRs in Research

Bastien Bloessl (Trinity College à Dublin, Connect centre)

Software Defined Radios (SDRs), i.e., freely programmable radios, are about to revolutionize wireless. Implementing the whole communication stack in software not only adds flexibility, but also allows for rapid prototyping of novel technologies. With a proof-of-concept implementation we can advance from pure simulative performance evaluation to a combined approach with real measurements. This backs up research and speeds up development, experimentation, and testing of new concepts. This talk will provide an overview of SDR use-cases and give ideas about how to use them for research and development.

Bastian Bloessl is a researcher at the CONNECT Center, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s Research Center for Future Networks and Communications, where he is funded through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship. He received his diploma in Computer Science from the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 2011. After his diploma, he started as a PhD student at the Computer and Communication Systems Group at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. In 2014, he moved with the group to Paderborn University, Germany, to continue his studies. In 2015, he won a FitWeltweit scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which funded a six-month stay in the research group of Prof. Mario Gerla at the Computer Science Department of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His research is focused on using software defined radio-based prototypes to assess the performance and robustness of vehicular and sensor networks.

CITI Talk: “Heavy tailed distributions characterisations and examples of applications in channel modeling”, Prof Nourddine Azzaoui (Université Blaise Pascal), 14h00 in TD-C


Heavy tailed distributions characterisations and examples of applications in channel modeling


Associate Professor Nourddine Azzaoui


16th March 2018


14h00 in TD-C.


Currently, we are witnessing the proliferation of wireless sensor networks and the superposition of several communicating objects which have an heterogeneous nature. The advent of Internet of Things networks as well as the increasing demand for improved quality and services will increase the complexity of communications and puts a strain on current techniques and models. Indeed, they must firstly adapt to the temporal and spatial evolution and secondly, they must take into account the rare and unpredictable events that can have disastrous consequences for decision-making. This talk provides an overview of the various spectral techniques used in litterature describe a communication channel having an impulsive behavior. This is mainly motivated by the historical success of interactions between probabilities, statistics and the world of communications, information theory and signal processing. The presentation will be divided into two parts: the first is devoted to the synthesis of various developments on alpha-stable variables and processes in a purely mathematical mind. The second part will be devoted to applications in the context of communications. The two sides will combine two fundamentally linked aspects: first, a theoretical approach, necessary for a good formalization of problems and identifying the best solutions. Secondly, the use of these models in real work of channel modelling.

PhD Defence: “Middleware and programming models for multi-robot systems”, Stefan-Gabriel Chitic, Vitrine/RobIot room, Chappe Building, 15th of March 2018, at 10h:30


Middleware and programming models for multi-robot systems


Despite many years of work in robotics, there is still a lack of established software architecture and middleware for multi-robot systems. A robotic middleware should be designed to abstract the low-level hardware architecture, facilitate communication and integration of new software. This PhD thesis is focusing on middleware for multi-robot system and how we can improve existing frameworks for fleet purposes by adding multi-robot coordination services, development and massive deployment tools. We expect robots to be increasingly useful as they can take advantage of data pushed from other external devices in their decision making instead of just reacting to their local environment (sensors, cooperating robots in a fleet, etc).

This thesis first evaluates one of the most recent middleware for mobile robot(s), Robot operating system (ROS) and continues with a state of the art about the commonly used middlewares in robotics. Based on the conclusions, we propose an original contribution in the multi-robot context, called SDfR (Service discovery for Robots), a service discovery mechanism for Robots. The main goal is to propose a mechanism that allows highly mobile robots to keep track of the reachable peers inside a fleet while using an ad-hoc infrastructure. Another objective is to propose a network configuration negotiation protocol. Due to the mobility of robots, classical peer to peer network configuration techniques are not suitable. SDfR is a highly dynamic, adaptive and scalable protocol adapted from Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP). We conduced a set of experiments, using a fleet of Turtlebot robots, to measure and show that the overhead of SDfR is limited.

The last part of the thesis focuses on programming model based on timed automata. This type of programming has the benefits of having a model that can be verified and simulated before deploying the application on real robots. In order to enrich and facilitate the development of robotic applications, a new programming model based on timed automata state machines is proposed, called ROSMDB (Robot Operating system Model Driven Behaviour). It provides model checking at development phase and at runtime. This contribution is composed of several components: a graphical interface to create models based on timed automata, an integrated model checker based on UPPAAL and a code skeleton generator. Moreover, a ROS specific framework is proposed to verify the correctness of the execution of the models and to trigger alerts. Finally, we conduct two experiments: one with a fleet of Parrot drones and second with Turtlebots in order to illustrates the proposed model and its ability to check properties.


  •  Prof. Abderrafiaa KOUKAM, Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard (Reviewer)
  • Prof. Philippe LALANDA, Université́ Joseph Fourier, Saint-Martin-d’Hères (Reviewer)
  • Prof. Noury BOURAQADI, Institut Mines-Telecom, IMT Lille Douai (Member)
  • Dr. Stéphanie CHOLLET, ESISAR, Valence (Member)
  • Prof. Olivier SIMONIN, INSA Lyon (Supervisor)
  • Dr. Julien PONGE, INSA Lyon (Co-Supervisor)

Atelier Francophone sur la transparence et l’opacité des systèmes d’information

Atelier Francophone sur la transparence et l’opacité des systèmes d’information
Le 23 Avril 2018 à Lyon

Aujourd’hui beaucoup de décisions prises dans la vie quotidienne sont
influencées par des informations provenant d’Internet; la gigantesque
masse de données associée ne sont cependant perçus qu’à travers le
prisme des algorithmes. En effet, qu’il s’agisse de résultats de
recherche sur le web ou d’itinéraires, nous avons tendance à ne pas
remettre en cause le résultat de ces algorithmes, malgré l’absence
d’information sur leur fonctionnement.

Ces algorithmes sont alimentés par une grande quantité d’information
incluant bien souvent des données à caractère personnel collectées avec
ou sans le consentement de l’Internaute. Le manque de transparence de
ces algorithmes et des informations qu’ils manipulent associés à leur
usage toujours plus innovant suscitent de nombreuses préoccupations de
la part du public. Leur introspection et la question de la conformité de
leur exécution face à l’éthique sont devenues des enjeux de société
majeurs. Plus généralement, cet atelier explorera les outils permettant
aux individus de questionner et comprendre les services qu’ils utilisent.

Cet atelier a pour vocation de constituer une communauté hautement
pluridisciplinaire et transversale autour de la transparence et de
l’opacité des systèmes d’information. Cette manifestation inclura des
présentations de conférenciers invités ainsi que l’animation d’une table
ronde sur le domaine.

Intervenants (confirmés):
* Nataliia Bielova (Chargée de Recherche, INDES research team, Inria, Sophia Antipolis)
* Nozha Boujemaa (Directrice de Recherche, Inria, Saclay)
* Aurélien Francillon (Enseignant-Chercheur, EURECOM, Sophia Antipolis)
* Sébastien Gambs (Enseignant-Chercheur, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada)
* Oana Goga (Chargée de Recherche, CNRS, LIG, SLIDE research group, Grenoble)
* Erwan Le Merrer (Chercheur, Technicolor R&I, Rennes)
* Daniel Le Métayer (Directeur de Recherche, Inria, CITI, Privatics research group, Lyon)

Le programme courant est disponible ici :

Localisation : INSA-Lyon, La Doua, Lyon

Inscription (gratuite) :