A Simple and Scalable Algorithm for Alignment in Broadcast Networks

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Executive Summary

The authors consider the problem of coordinating a group of mobile nodes communicating through a wireless medium. The objective of the network is the alignment of all the nodes towards a common direction through local interactions, without the need for global knowledge such as the network topology or the maximum degree of the network, or even local parameters, such as the number of neighbors. They propose two possible communication architectures for their algorithm. The former is based on the explicit exchange of packetized messages, while the latter is a cross-layer approach. Through simulations, they show that because of the properties of the proposed stochastic update algorithm and the cross-layer architecture, one can achieve network alignment even in harsh media such as, for example, underwater environments.

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