Conference paper

On the optimal density for real-time data gathering of spatio-temporal processes in sensor networks

We consider sensor networks that measure spatio-temporal correlated processes. An important task in such settings is the reconstruction at a certain node, called the sink, of the data at all points of the field. We consider scenarios where data is time critical, so delay results in distortion, or suboptimal estimation and control. For the reconstruction, the only data available to the sink are the values measured at the nodes of the sensor network, and knowledge of the correlation structure: this results in spatial distortion of reconstruction. Also, for the sake of power efficiency, sensor nodes need to transmit their data by relaying through the other network nodes: this results in delay, and thus temporal distortion of reconstruction if time critical data is concerned. We study data gathering for the case of Gaussian processes in one- and two-dimensional grid scenarios, where we are able to write explicit expressions for the spatial and time distortion, and combine them into a single total distortion measure. We prove that, for various standard correlation structures, there is an optimal finite density of the sensor network for which the total distortion is minimized. Thus, when power efficiency and delay are both considered in data gathering, it is useless from the point of view of accuracy of the reconstruction to increase the number of sensors above a certain threshold that depends on the correlation structure characteristics.

Related material