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Processing approximate aggregate queries in wireless sensor networks

Deligiannakis Antonios, Kotidis, Yannis, Roussopoulos Nick

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Year 2006
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation A. Deligiannakis, Y. Kotidis and N. Roussopoulos, "Processing approximate aggregate queries in wireless sensor networks", Inform. Syst., vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 770-792, Dec. 2006. doi:10.1016/
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In-network data aggregation has been recently proposed as an effective means to reduce the number of messages exchanged in wireless sensor networks. Nodes of the network form an aggregation tree, in which parent nodes aggregate the values received from their children and propagate the result to their own parents. However, this schema provides little flexibility for the end-user to control the operation of the nodes in a data sensitive manner. For large sensor networks with severe energy constraints, the reduction (in the number of messages exchanged) obtained through the aggregation tree might not be sufficient. In this paper, we present new algorithms for obtaining approximate aggregate statistics from large sensor networks. The user specifies the maximum error that he is willing to tolerate and, in turn, our algorithms program the nodes in a way that seeks to minimize the number of messages exchanged in the network, while always guaranteeing that the produced estimate lies within the specified error from the exact answer. A key ingredient to our framework is the notion of the residual mode of operation that is used to eliminate messages from sibling nodes when their cumulative change to the computed aggregate is small. We introduce two new algorithms, based on potential gains, which adaptively redistribute the error thresholds to those nodes that benefit the most and try to minimize the total number of transmitted messages in the network. Our techniques significantly reduce the number of messages, often by a factor of 10 for a modest 2% relative error bound, and consistently outperform previous techniques for computing approximate aggregates, which we have adapted for sensor networks.