An Information Theoretic Framework for Field Monitoring Using Autonomously Mobile Sensors
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We consider a mobile sensor network monitoring a spatio-temporal field. Given limited cache sizes at the sensor nodes, the goal is to develop a distributed cache management algorithm to efficiently answer queries with a known probability distribution over the spatial dimension. First, we propose a novel distributed information theoretic approach in which the nodes locally update their caches based on full knowledge of the space-time distribution of the monitored phenomenon. At each time instant, local decisions are made at the mobile nodes concerning which samples to keep and whether or not a new sample should be acquired at the current location. These decisions account for minimizing an entropic utility function that captures the average amount of uncertainty in queries given the probability distribution of query locations. Second, we propose a different correlation-based technique, which only requires knowledge of the second-order statistics, thus relaxing the stringent constraint of having a priori knowledge of the query distribution, while significantly reducing the computational overhead. It is shown that the proposed approaches considerably improve the average field estimation error by maintaining efficient cache content. It is further shown that the correlation-based technique is robust to model mismatch in case of imperfect knowledge of the underlying generative correlation structure.