Sensor Networks for Diffusion Fields: Detection of Sources in Space and Time

Abstract—We consider the problem of reconstructing a diffusion field, such as temperature, from samples collected by a sensor network. Motivated by the fast decay of the eigenvalues of the diffusion equation, we approximate the field by a truncated series. We show that the approximation error decays rapidly with time. On the other hand, the information content in the field also decays with time, suggesting the need for a proper choice of the sampling strategy. We propose two algorithms for sampling and reconstruction of the field. The first one reconstructs the distribution of point sources appearing at known times using the finite rate of innovation (FRI) framework. The second algorithm addresses a more difficult problem of estimating the unknown times at which the point sources appear, in addition to their locations and magnitudes. It relies on the assumption that the sources appear at distinct times. We verify that the algorithms are capable of reconstructing the field accurately through a set of numerical experiments. Specifically, we show that the second algorithm successfully recovers an arbitrary number of sources with unknown release times, satisfying the assumption. For simplicity, we develop the 1-D theory, noting the possibility of extending the framework to more general domains.

Presented at:
49th Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, Monticello, Illinois, USA, September 28-30, 2011

 Record created 2011-07-15, last modified 2018-01-28

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