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We consider the problem of minimizing the energy needed for data fusion in a large scale sensor network by varying the transmission times assigned to different sensor nodes. The optimal scheduling protocol is derived, based on which, we develop a low-complexity inverse-log scheduling algorithm that achieves near-optimal energy efficiency. To eliminate the communication overhead required by centralized scheduling protocols, we also develop a distributed inverse-log protocol that is applicable to networks with a large number of nodes. Simulations demonstrate that this distributed scheduling protocol achieves substantial energy savings over uniform time division multiple access protocol.