IS 596 - Social Sensing and Human-Cyber-Physical Systems - Fall 2023


  • Prof. Dong Wang
    Email: dwang24 at illinois dot edu
    Office Hours: By Appointment
  • Course Assistant: Lanyu Shang
    Email: lshang3 at illinois dot edu
  • Lecture Time and Zoom Link

    Monday 1:00- 2:55 pm Lecture Zoom Link

    Course Overview

    Just as Internet changed the way people interact with each other, social sensing and human cyber-physical systems (H-CPS) are changing the way people interact with the world, both physically and socially! Social sensing and H-CPS integrate sensing, computation, control and networking into physical objects and infrastructure, connecting them to the Internet and to each other. This course offers students the opportunity to learn the theoretical foundations, state-of-the-art techniques, emerging applications, and hands-on experience in this emerging area. The advances in such an area hold the potential to reshape our world with more responsive, precise, reliable and efficient systems, enabling a revolution of “smart” devices and paradigms – from smart cars to smart grids to smart cities, collectively giving rise to the smart planet – that can address some of our most pressing national priorities (e.g., health, energy, climate, science & technology, security, etc.). Some example topics of the course include: i) fighting information overload in online social media sensing (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Reddit); ii) data reliability and information trustworthiness issues (e.g., truth discovery, misinformation detection and explanation); iii) mobile and crowdsensing (e.g., smartphone-based sensing); iv) privacy, medical sensing and applications. The students will have the opportunities to work with real world social sensing and H-CPS problems in a semester-long course project.

    Getting Help

  • Canvas Page - General announcement and Q&A after class.
  • Office Hours - Please refer to the above schedule.
  • Email - Contact Prof. Wang for questions about grades, course policies, etc.
  • Grades are available on Canvas.
  • Course Documents

    Available on Canvas.


  • 20% of the grade will be assigned on individuals' active class participation and discussion of lecture topics, in-class paper and project presentations. Attendance/camera-on is recorded in Zoom and will be used in final participation grade calculation.

  • 30% of the grade will be assigned on in-class paper presentations on the selected topic by each student.

  • 50% of the grade will be determined by a course project. This grade includes project proposal, mid-term report, mid-term project presentation, a final project presentation, a final project paper, and project roundtable discussions. The project will implement some innovative social sensing model, service, system, or computing environment.

  • 5%: Project roundtable discussions

  • 5%: Project proposal

  • 5%: Mid-term project presentation

  • 10%: Mid-term project report

  • 10%: Final project presentation

  • 15%: Final project paper

  • The iSchool has the responsibility for maintaining academic integrity so as to protect the quality of education and research in our school and to protect those who depend on our integrity. Consequences of academic integrity infractions may be serious, ranging from a written warning to a failing grade for the course or dismissal from the University. See the student code for academic integrity requirements:

    Course Project

  • The project (individual-based) will be chosen by each student within the first couple of weeks of class. Here are some ideas to help you get started. Students are encouraged to come up with their own ideas. If you have some really cool idea that does not satisfy such restriction, please schedule a meeting to discuss it with the instructor. Project title and abstract are due on Sep. 1 at 11:59 pm.

  • Each student will prepare and submit a two-page project proposal. The proposal should include an overview of the project (preferably with a diagram), a brief review of state-of-the-arts in related fields, the proposed method/solution, a credible set of initial project results if available, a list of further proposed milestones, and a plan of action for the rest of the semester. The proposal is due on Sep. 29 at 11:59 pm.

  • Each student is responsible for a Mid-term Project Presentation in class on Oct. 16. The presentation will allow the instructor and classmates to comment on the initial results and current state of the project and also give constructive feedback to the group members.

  • Each student will prepare and submit a four-page mid-term project report. The mid-term report should include a reasonable amount of preliminary results, a description of finished milestones, a discussion of encountered problems and relevant solutions, and any modifications to the plan (if there are) to finish the remaining tasks. The mid-term report is due on Oct. 20 at 11:59 pm.

  • Final project presentations will be conducted by each student during the lecture on Dec. 4.

  • Each student will prepare and submit a final project paper. The final project paper is a comprehensive summary of the whole project and should follow a technical paper writing style. The expected number of pages for the final paper is 8-10 pages (including references). Final project paper is due on Dec. 11 at 11:59 pm.

  • The proposal, mid-term report and final project paper should all follow a standard technical paper format. Here is the template: IEEE Latex or Word Template .

  • A successful project could result in a conference or journal quality paper.

  • Note : For more information about the project (e.g., possible ideas and milestones), please visit Course Project Page .
    You are encouraged to seek out and exploit external manuals, books, websites, and other documentation that can help you to complete your project, provided that you indicate what sources you have used. However, all software development, experimental work, and writing of the proposal, report and paper must be done solely by your own.

    Project Documents Submission Instruction: To submit the project related documents (i.e., abstract, proposal, mid-term/final presentation slides and reports), please upload your submission to the corresponding assignments on Canvas.

    In-class Paper Presentation

  • This course includes three in-class paper presentation sessions scheduled for Oct. 9, Oct. 30, and Nov. 27. Each session requires students to give an individual oral presentation on a selected paper on different topics in social sensing and H-CPS.
  • Detailed instructions are available on Canvas.
  • Tentative Schedule

    Note: Lecture notes are avaliable on Canvas.
    Week Lecture Materials
    Aug. 21 Social Sensing and Cyber-Physical Systems Landscape Reading:
    Introduction to Social Sensing
    Cyber-Physical Systems: The Next Computing Revolution
    Project Title and Abstract Due Friday, Sep. 1 at 11:59 pm.
    Aug. 28 Public Datasets Introduction
    Roundtable - Project Idea Brainstorm
    Sep. 4 Labor Day
    Sep. 11 Data Reliability and Information Overload Reading:
    Truth Discovery in Social Sensing
    Quantifying the Quality of Information
    Sep. 18 Social Media Data Crawler Tutorial
    Roundtable - Project Kick-off
    Sep. 25 Data Reliability and Information Overload Cont. Reading:
    Using Humans as Sensors
    Exploitation of Physical Constraints
    Handling Conflicting Claims
    Provenance-Assisted Social Signal Classification
    Project Proposal Due Friday, Sep. 29 at 11:59 pm.
    Oct. 2 Online Social Media Sensing Reading:
    Earthquake Shakes Twitter Users
    From Tweets to Polls
    You Are Where You Tweet
    Groundhog Day: Near-Duplicate Detection on Twitter
    Oct. 9 In-class Paper Presentation 1: Data Reliability, Privacy
    Project Mid-term Q&A
    In-class Paper Presentation 1
    Paper Selection Due Monday, Sep. 25 at 11:59 pm.
    Slides Upload Due Sunday, Oct. 8 at 11:59 pm.
    Oct. 16 Mid-term Project Presentations Mid-term Project Presentation
    Project Mid-term Report Due Friday, Oct. 20 at 11:59 pm.
    Oct. 23 Crowdsensing and Mobile Sensing Reading:
    A Survey of Mobile Sensing
    Oct. 30 In-class Paper Presentation 2:
    Online social media sensing and trending topics/open issues
    In-class Paper Presentation 2
    Paper Selection Due Monday, Oct. 16 at 11:59 pm.
    Slides Upload Due Sunday, Oct. 29 at 11:59 pm.
    Nov. 6 Individual Project Meeting Meeting Schedule
    Nov. 13 Crowdsensing and Mobile Sensing Cont. Reading:
    How Long to Wait: Bus Arrival Time Prediction
    Automatically Characterizing Places
    Nov. 20 Fall Break
    Nov. 27 In-class Paper Presentation 3: Crowdsensing, Mobile Sensing, Medical Sensing
    Project Final Q&A
    In-class Paper Presentation 3
    Paper Selection Due Monday, Nov. 13 at 11:59 pm.
    Slides Upload Due Sunday, Nov. 26 at 11:59 pm.
    Dec. 4 Final Project Presentation Final Project Presentation
    Dec. 11 Final Project Report Final Project Report Due Monday, Dec. 11 at 11:59 pm.