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Speaker(s): warning! 
Organiser: Dr Nicholas Gibbins
Time: 27/11/2006 13:00-14:00
Location: B59/2


The distributed nature of sensor networks and the autonomous behaviour expected of them, naturally lend themselves to a multi-agent methodology. However such systems pose many additional challenges, not least how to manage limited computation and energy resources, severely constrained communication, and unreliable or fault prone network components.

In this talk, we report on the development of a utility-based mechanism for managing sensing and communication in cooperative multi-sensor networks. The specific application considered is that of GLACSWEB, a deployed system that uses battery-powered sensors to collect environmental data related to glaciers which it transmits back to a base station so that it can be made available world-wide to researchers. In this context, we first develop a sensing protocol in which each sensor locally adjusts its sensing rate based on the value of the data it believes it will observe. Then, we detail a communication protocol that finds optimal routes for relaying this data back to the base station based on the cost of communicating it (derived from the opportunity cost of using the battery power for relaying data). Finally, we empirically evaluate our protocol by examining the impact on efficiency of the network topology, the size of the network, and the degree of dynamism of the environment.

We also discuss some preliminary results of the research we have undertaken where there is a selective selection of data from across the whole sensor network instead of just within each sensor individually. This research has a greater scope in terms of optimising resource usage, though the research challenges are more demanding.

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