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In many energy-rechargeable wireless sensor networks, sensor nodes must both sense data from the environment, and cooperatively forward sensed data to data sinks. Both data sensing and data forwarding (including data transmission and reception) consume energy at sensor nodes. The authors present a distributed algorithm for optimal joint allocation of energy between sensing and communication at each node to maximize overall system utility (i.e., the aggregate amount of information received at the data sinks). They consider this problem in the context of wireless sensor networks with directional, non-steerable antennas. They first formulate a joint data-sensing and data-routing optimization problem with both per-node energy-expenditure constraints, and traditional flow routing/conservation constraints.
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