Skip to Main Content
State estimation using wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is an important technique in many commercial and military applications, in which a group of (nonidentical) sensors take noisy observations of system state and send back to a fusion center for state estimation through wireless broadcasting. In order to minimize the estimated state error covariance at a terminal stage at the fusion center, a partial broadcasting policy should tell which sensors to broadcast at each stage. The limited battery allows each sensor to broadcast only a few number of times. The limited wireless communication bandwidth allows only a few number of sensors to broadcast in the same time. Due to the aforementioned two couplings, the optimal partial broadcasting policy is not clear in general. Despite the abundant applications of partial broadcasting policies, theoretical analysis is rare. In this paper, we consider the scalar state estimation and provide a first study on the properties of optimal partial broadcasting policies. When there is no packet drop, a good-sensor-late-broadcast (GSLB) rule is shown to perform optimally. When there is a positive probability for packet drop, theoretical analysis suggests that the GSLB rule also has good performance.