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Sensor networks introduce a new application domain and set of challenges in distributed computing including new network-level programming languages, global system abstractions, and general-purpose communication protocols. These challenges are brought about by the tight integration of computation, communication, and distributed real-time interaction with the physical world. With the growing interest in interconnecting different sensor networks across a wide-area communication infrastructure, an overarching challenge becomes one of arriving at an agreed-upon global sensor network architecture that ensures interoperability. Unlike the Internet, where a layered communication stack (namely, the TCP/IP stack) defines the network architecture, a sensor network architecture must unify not only communication interfaces but also programming interfaces, since network communication and computation functions are tightly intertwined.
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