The Sensing Capacity of Sensor Networks

Yaron Rachlin, Rohit Negi, Pradeep K. Khosla
2011 IEEE Transactions on Information Theory  
This paper demonstrates fundamental limits of sensor networks for detection problems where the number of hypotheses is exponentially large. Such problems characterize many important applications including detection and classification of targets in a geographical area using a network of sensors, and detecting complex substances with a chemical sensor array. We refer to such applications as largescale detection problems. Using the insight that these problems share fundamental similarities with
more » ... problem of communicating over a noisy channel, we define a quantity called the sensing capacity and lower bound it for a number of sensor network models. The sensing capacity expression differs significantly from the channel capacity due to the fact that a fixed sensor configuration encodes all states of the environment. As a result, codewords are dependent and non-identically distributed. The sensing capacity provides a bound on the minimal number of sensors required to detect the state of an environment to within a desired accuracy. The results differ significantly from classical detection theory, and provide an ntriguing connection between sensor networks and communications. In addition, we discuss the insight that sensing capacity provides for the problem of sensor selection.
doi:10.1109/tit.2010.2103733 fatcat:zgupla7zazaghpcvyzc3i2kpty