Seminar of Prof. Alcherio Martinoli (EPFL)

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Prof. Alcherio Martinoli  from EPFL will give a talk on Jan. 12th at 11:00 in Salle Minquiers.

High-Resolution Air Quality Sensing and Mapping in Urban Settings

In this talk, I will describe our efforts in the area of distributed sensing for air quality assessment in urban settings based on the achievements of two recent multi-PI collaborative projects (OpenSense and OpenSWISS), financially supported by the Swiss research initiative Our research aims at providing high-resolution air quality maps through the integration of heterogeneous measurement sources in order to understand the health impacts of air pollution exposure. We target the development of end-to-end systems, ranging from the actual sensing and estimation of the field to the visualization of recommendations on the smartphone of the user, passing through a backend server system able to handle very large amount of data. In particular, our research leverages novel mobile sensing technologies that can provide air quality data with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution, thus opening exciting new opportunities for the study of urban air quality and its impact on health.
Our work differentiates from other similar projects for its strong effort in ensuring data quality, in particular by leveraging on-line calibration methods, techniques for mitigating the impact of mobility effects, and thorough quantitative comparison of the data delivered by novel sensing technologies with those delivered by traditional high-end reference stations. In the context of OpenSense, we also provided innovative mapping techniques obtained with advanced physics-based modeling methods augmented by data provided by sparse reference stations or with a combination of dense measurements augmented by statistical, data-driven models.
While I will briefly describe all the different aspects of the project, I will specifically focus on the contribution of our laboratory (DISAL) for which mechatronics and robotics expertise was necessary.
More information about the OpenSense and OpenSWISS projects can be found on,,, and

Alcherio Martinoli has a Master in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He has more than twenty years expertise in the area of robotics and intelligent systems, and carried out research activities at the ETHZ, at the Spanish Research Council institute in Madrid, Spain, and at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A. He is currently Associate Professor at EPFL where he is leading the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL), a unit belonging to the Environmental Engineering Institute. Prof. Martinoli is also the director of the EPFL Doctoral Program in Robotics, Control, and Intelligent Systems (EDRS). His research interests focus on techniques to design, control, model, and optimize distributed, intelligent systems, including multi-robot systems, sensor and actuator networks, and intelligent vehicles. Among the recent achievements, Prof. Martinoli has received from the EPFL General Student Association the 2006 Best Teacher Award for Computer and Communication Sciences and is the recipient of the 2016 Award for Best Teaching in Environmental Engineering. Multiple of his PhD students have been nominated or have received prestigious awards for their PhD theses including the 2014 ABB Award assigned to Amanda Prorok and the second rank for the 2013 George Giralt PhD Award assigned to Grégory Mermoud.

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