Wireless Sensor Networks in Smart Cities : The Monitoring of Water Distribution Networks Case

Abstract: The development of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is making it possible to monitor our cities. Due to the small size of the sensor nodes, and their capabilities of transmitting data remotely, they can be deployed at locations that are not easy or impossible to access, such as the pipelines of water distribution networks (WDNs), which plays an important role in protecting environment and securing public health.  The design of WSNs for WDNs faces major challenges. Generally, WSNs are resource-limited because most of the sensor nodes are battery powered. Thus, their resource allocation has to be carefully controlled. The thesis considers two prominent problems that occur when designing WSNs for WDNs: scheduling the sensing of the nodes of static WSNs, and sensor placement for mobile WSNs. These studies are reported in the thesis from three published or submitted papers. In the first paper, the scheduling of sleep/sensing for each sensor node is considered to maximize the whole WSNs lifetime while guaranteeing a monitoring performance constraint. The problem is transformed into an energy balancing problem, and solved by a dynamic programming based algorithm. It is proved that this algorithm finds one of the optimal solutions for the energy balancing problem. In the second paper, the question of how the energy balancing problem approximates the original scheduling problem is addressed. It is shown that even though these two problems are not equivalent, the gap of them is small enough. Thus, the proposed algorithm for the energy balancing problem can find a good approximation solution for the original scheduling problem. The second part of the thesis considers the use of mobile sensor nodes. Here, the limited resource is the number of available such mobile nodes. To maximize the monitoring coverage in terms of population, an optimization problem for determining the releasing locations for the mobile sensor nodes is formulated. An approximate solution algorithm based on submodular maximization is proposed and its performance is investigated. Beside WDNs, WSN applications for smart cities share a common characteristic: the area to monitor usually has a network structure. Therefore, the studies of this thesis can be potentially generalized for several IoT scenarios.

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