Population Scale Activity Recognition

The rising popularity of the sensor-equipped smartphone is changing the possible scale and scope of human activity inference. The diversity in user population seen in large user bases can overwhelm conventional one-size-fits-all classification approaches. Although personalized models are better able to handle population diversity, they often require increased effort from the end user during training and are computationally expensive.

In this work, we propose an activity classification framework that is scalable and can tractably handle an increasing number of users. Scalability is achieved by maintaining distinct groups of similar users during the training process, which makes it possible to account for the differences between users without resorting to training individualized classifiers. The proposed framework keeps user burden low by leveraging crowd-sourced data labels, where simple natural language processing techniques in combination with multi-instance learning are used to handle labeling errors introduced by low-commitment everyday users. Experiment results on a large public dataset demonstrate that the framework can cope with population diversity irrespective of population size.


  • Saeed Abdullah, Nicholas Lane, and Tanzeem Choudhury. Towards Population Scale Activity Recognition: A Scalable Framework for Handling Data Diversity. Appears in the Proceedings of AAAI 2012.