Real-Time Human-In-The-Loop Simulation with Mobile Agents, Chat Bots, and Crowd Sensing for Smart Cities

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Oct 9;19(20):4356. doi: 10.3390/s19204356.


Modelling and simulation of social interaction and networks are of high interest in multiple disciplines and fields of application ranging from fundamental social sciences to smart city management. Future smart city infrastructures and management are characterised by adaptive and self-organising control using real-world sensor data. In this work, humans are considered as sensors. Virtual worlds, e.g., simulations and games, are commonly closed and rely on artificial social behaviour and synthetic sensor information generated by the simulator program or using data collected off-line by surveys. In contrast, real worlds have a higher diversity. Agent-based modelling relies on parameterised models. The selection of suitable parameter sets is crucial to match real-world behaviour. In this work, a framework combining agent-based simulation with crowd sensing and social data mining using mobile agents is introduced. The crowd sensing via chat bots creates augmented virtuality and reality by augmenting the simulated worlds with real-world interaction and vice versa. The simulated world interacts with real-world environments, humans, machines, and other virtual worlds in real-time. Among the mining of physical sensors (e.g., temperature, motion, position, and light) of mobile devices like smartphones, mobile agents can perform crowd sensing by participating in question-answer dialogues via a chat blog (provided by smartphone Apps or integrated into WEB pages and social media). Additionally, mobile agents can act as virtual sensors (offering data exchanged with other agents) and create a bridge between virtual and real worlds. The ubiquitous usage of digital social media has relevant impact on social interaction, mobility, and opinion-making, which has to be considered. Three different use-cases demonstrate the suitability of augmented agent-based simulation for social network analysis using parameterised behavioural models and mobile agent-based crowd sensing. This paper gives a rigorous overview and introduction of the challenges and methodologies used to study and control large-scale and complex socio-technical systems using agent-based methods.

Keywords: agent-based modelling; crowd sensing; mobile agents; simulation; smart traffic control; social interaction.