In many applications, data from different sensors are aggregated in order to obtain more reliable information about the process that the sensors are monitoring. However, the quality of the aggregated information is intricately dependent on the reliability of the individual sensors. In fact, unreliable sensors will tend to report erroneous values of the ground truth, and thus degrade the quality of the fused information. Finding strategies to identify unreliable sensors can assist in having a counter-effect on their respective detrimental influences on the fusion process, and this has has been a focal concern in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to propose a solution to an extremely pertinent problem, namely, that of identifying which sensors are unreliable without any knowledge of the ground truth. This fascinating paradox can be formulated in simple terms as trying to identify stochastic liars without any additional information about the truth. Though apparently impossible, we will show that it is feasible to solve the problem, a claim that is counter-intuitive in and of itself. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported solution to the aforementioned paradox. Legacy work and the reported literature have merely addressed assessing the reliability of a sensor by comparing its reading to the ground truth either in an online or an offline manner. The informed reader will observe that the so-called Weighted Majority Algorithm is a representative example of a large class of such legacy algorithms. The essence of our approach involves studying the agreement of each sensor with the rest of the sensors, and not comparing the reading of the individual sensors with the ground truth - as advocated in the literature. Under some mild conditions on the reliability of the sensors, we can prove that we can, indeed, filter out the unreliable ones. Our approach leverages the power of the theory of Learning Automata (LA) so as to gradually learn the identity of the reliable and unreliable sensors. To achieve this, we resort to a team of LA, where a distinct automaton is associated with each sensor. The solution provided here has been subjected to rigorous experimental tests, and the results presented are, in our opinion, both novel and conclusive.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Learning automata, Sensor fusion
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1109/WI-IAT.2015.237
Conference 2015 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology Workshops, WI-IAT Workshops 2015
Citation
Yazidi, A. (Anis), Oommen, J, & Goodwin, M. (Morten). (2016). On distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sensors without a knowledge of the ground truth. In Proceedings - 2015 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology, WI-IAT 2015 (pp. 104–111). doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2015.237