ITTC Project

ITR: Computation and Communication in Sensor Webs

Project Award Date: 08-01-2003


We will advance sensor web research by prototyping a machine model that integrates computing and communications requirements. The prototype will enable
(a) accurate distributed sensing;
(b) multimode data fusion;
(c) transformation from one domain to another;
(d) extraction of key information; and
(e) detection and circumvention of faulty sensors in ultra large arrays.

We will define a new integrated communications/computation machine model for sensor web processors in terms of a Meta instruction set architecture (ISA). We are defining the Meta ISA to support primitive system operations, such as domain selection, data reduction, and broadcast. The Meta ISA supports attribute-based temporal and query processing and enables consistent, reliable system-level operation for dynamically changing numbers and locations of sensors. It will also support multimode data fusion and provide rich semantics that support composition to form other computational models of interest in sensor webs.

We will develop a Meta ISA Virtual Machine to implement the ISA. The virtual machine approach supports tightly integrated communications and computation through dynamic reprogramming, domain partitioning, expandability, and low power operation. We propose to prototype our virtual machine using asynchronous state machines to further reduce power consumption. With this approach, sensor nodes minimize power draw by reducing the clock circuitry within the node. We plan to prototype the Meta ISA virtual machine in reconfigurable FPGA's within our laboratory.

A new link layer protocol will be defined that forms a virtual global bus independent of exact sensor locations, types, or numbers. The protocol is based on attribute-based naming, allowing multiple domains to be dynamically created and destroyed. We propose this approach because it takes advantage of the law of large numbers in increasing system connectivity, while eliminating power intensive multi-hop route explorations and maintenance of routing tables in sensor node memories.

The broader impacts of this work include applications to networking and wireless devices, computer architecture, device technologies, and higher-level abstract embedded systems design. This work will lead to future collaborations, both within the department and outside it, between the investigators and researchers in these areas. In addition to generating new concepts and approaches to sensor web design, this effort supports our educational goal of establishing a focus area in engineering of computer-based systems.


Faculty Investigator(s): David Andrews, Jerry James (PI)

Student Investigator(s): Dan Chirpich, Jason Agron, Erik Anderson

Project Sponsors

Primary Sponsor(s): NSF

Partner with ITTC

The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

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Licensing and Royalty/Equity Agreement

An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

Commercialization Development

Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

ITTC Resource Access

ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

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