Target counting with Presburger constraints and its application in sensor networks

Sven Linker, Michele Sevegnani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One of the applications popularized by the emergence of wireless sensor networks is target counting: the computational task of determining the total number of targets located in an area by aggregating the individual counts of each sensor. The complexity of this task lies in the fact that sensing ranges may overlap, and therefore, targets may be overcounted as, in this setting, they are assumed to be indistinguishable from each other. In the literature, this problem has been proven to be unsolvable, hence the existence of several estimation algorithms. However, the main limitation currently affecting these algorithms is that no assurance regarding the precision of a solution can be given. We present a novel algorithm for target counting based on exhaustive enumeration of target distributions using linear Presburger constraints. We improve on current approaches since the estimated counts obtained by our algorithm are by construction guaranteed to be consistent with the counts of each sensor. We further extend our algorithm to allow for weighted topologies and sensing errors for applicability in real-world deployments. We evaluate our approach through an extensive collection of synthetic and real-life configurations.

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