As in 2020, this year’s contest will focus on collaborative spatio-temporal searching (CSTS), in which a fleet of mobile agents search for stationary resources on a road network. While each resource can be obtained by exactly one agent, agents can collaborate to obtain a resource as quickly as possible. A search problem of this nature arises in applications that are very commonplace in typical urban transportation systems such as the following:

  • Crowdsourced taxicabs (mobile agents) looking for customers (stationary resources) with centralized dispatchers.
  • Vehicles (mobile agents) looking for available parking slots (stationary resources) with centralized slot assigner.
  • Electric cars (mobile agents) looking for available charging stations (stationary resources) with centralize assigner.

A key issue to be addressed in the CSTS problem is how agents should choose their search path such that the search time is minimized. We assume that there is a historical dataset containing records of the times and locations at which resources became available in the past, such as SFPark for parking availability and TLC for cab customer availability. From such datasets, the distribution of resources may be derived and utilized by the agents to plan their search paths. For example, the distribution can define the probability that there is at least one resource available during each time interval for each spatial zone. However, the optimal granularity to use for the time interval and spatial zone remains an open question. Furthermore, because independent agents plan their search paths based on the same resource distribution information, they tend to choose common paths. This can cause the “herding” effect, which then hurts the search efficiency. This year’s contest calls for solutions to these issues but in a centralized, collaborative manner.

In summary, the key topics that are being addressed in this year’s contest are the following:

  • Spatial Networks
  • Route Planning in the presence of varying, and non-uniform search times.
  • Spatio-temporal Data Mining

Contestants teams will be judged by two scenarios: agent utilization and customer/resource satisfaction. Two top teams that perform best in each scenario will be selected. The top teams will be provided with cash and / or other prizes. In addition to these prizes, the top four teams will be invited to submit a four page paper for a contest paper session to be held at the 2020 ACM SIGSPATIAL GIS conference. These papers will be subject to review and acceptance by the contest organizers, but it is expected that each of the top teams will have their paper in the conference proceedings and a ten-minute presentation in the contest session. At least one team member of each winning team must register for the 2020 ACM SIGSPATIAL GIS conference.

Important Dates

Deadline for submissions: September 8, 2020, (11:59PM PDT)
Invitation of papers for best submissions: September 16, 2020, (11:59PM PDT)
Submission Deadline for invited papers: September 21, 2020, (11:59PM PDT)

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