Timing Synchronization and Node Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks: Efficient Estimation Approaches and Performance Bounds
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Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) consist of a large number of sensor nodes, capable of on-board sensing and data processing, that are employed to observe some phenomenon of interest. With their desirable properties of flexible deployment, resistance to harsh environment and lower implementation cost, WSNs envisage a plethora of applications in diverse areas such as industrial process control, battle- field surveillance, health monitoring, and target localization and tracking. Much of the sensing and communication paradigm in WSNs involves ensuring power efficient transmission and finding scalable algorithms that can deliver the desired performance objectives while minimizing overall energy utilization. Since power is primarily consumed in radio transmissions delivering timing information, clock synchronization represents an indispensable requirement to boost network lifetime. This dissertation focuses on deriving efficient estimators and performance bounds for the clock parameters in a classical frequentist inference approach as well as in a Bayesian estimation framework. A unified approach to the maximum likelihood (ML) estimation of clock offset is presented for different network delay distributions. This constitutes an analytical alternative to prior works which rely on a graphical maximization of the likelihood function. In order to capture the imperfections in node oscillators, which may render a time-varying nature to the clock offset, a novel Bayesian approach to the clock offset estimation is proposed by using factor graphs. Message passing using the max-product algorithm yields an exact expression for the Bayesian inference problem. This extends the current literature to cases where the clock offset is not deterministic, but is in fact a random process. A natural extension of pairwise synchronization is to develop algorithms for the more challenging case of network-wide synchronization. Assuming exponentially distributed random delays, a network-wide clock synchronization algorithm is proposed using a factor graph representation of the network. Message passing using the max- product algorithm is adopted to derive the update rules for the proposed iterative procedure. A closed form solution is obtained for each node's belief about its clock offset at each iteration. Identifying the close connections between the problems of node localization and clock synchronization, we also address in this dissertation the problem of joint estimation of an unknown node's location and clock parameters by incorporating the effect of imperfections in node oscillators. In order to alleviate the computational complexity associated with the optimal maximum a-posteriori estimator, two iterative approaches are proposed as simpler alternatives. The first approach utilizes an Expectation-Maximization (EM) based algorithm which iteratively estimates the clock parameters and the location of the unknown node. The EM algorithm is further simplified by a non-linear processing of the data to obtain a closed form solution of the location estimation problem using the least squares (LS) approach. The performance of the estimation algorithms is benchmarked by deriving the Hybrid Cramer-Rao lower bound (HCRB) on the mean square error (MSE) of the estimators. We also derive theoretical lower bounds on the MSE of an estimator in a classical frequentist inference approach as well as in a Bayesian estimation framework when the likelihood function is an arbitrary member of the exponential family. The lower bounds not only serve to compare various estimators in our work, but can also be useful in their own right in parameter estimation theory.
SubjectClassical and Bayesian Bounds
Factor Graphs and Message Passing
Wireless Sensor Networks
Ahmad, Aitzaz 1984- (2012). Timing Synchronization and Node Localization in Wireless Sensor Networks: Efficient Estimation Approaches and Performance Bounds. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from