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Large-scale sensor network applications require in-network processing and data fusion to compute statistically relevant summaries of the sensed measurements. This paper studies distributed message-passing algorithms, in which neighboring nodes in the network pass local information relevant to a global computation, for performing statistical inference. We focus on the class of reweighted belief propagation (RBP) algorithms, which includes as special cases the standard sum-product and max-product algorithms for general networks with cycles, but in contrast to standard algorithms has attractive theoretical properties (uniqueness of fixed points, convergence, and robustness). Our main contribution is to design and implement a practical and modular architecture for implementing RBP algorithms in real networks. In addition, we show how intelligent scheduling of RBP messages can be used to minimize communication between motes and prolong the lifetime of the network. Our simulation and Mica2 mote deployment indicate that the proposed algorithms achieve accurate results despite real- world problems such as dying motes, dead and asymmetric links, and dropped messages. Overall, the class of RBP provides an ideal fit for sensor networks due to their distributed nature, requiring only local knowledge and coordination, and little requirements on other services such as reliable transmission.
Date of Conference: 25-27 April 2007