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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 523787, 14 pages
Research Article

Robust Maximum Lifetime Routing and Energy Allocation in Wireless Sensor Networks

1Division of Systems Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Center for Information and Systems Engineering, Boston University, 8 St. Mary's Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA
2Center for Information and Systems Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Received 28 November 2011; Accepted 10 May 2012

Academic Editor: Pedro Ruiz

Copyright © 2012 Ioannis Ch. Paschalidis and Ruomin Wu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We consider the maximum lifetime routing problem in wireless sensor networks in two settings: (a) when nodes’ initial energy is given and (b) when it is subject to optimization. The optimal solution and objective value provide optimal flows and the corresponding predicted lifetime, respectively. We stipulate that there is uncertainty in various network parameters (available energy and energy depletion rates). In setting (a) we show that for specific, yet typical, network topologies, the actual network lifetime will reach the predicted value with a probability that converges to zero as the number of nodes grows large. In setting (b) the same result holds for all topologies. We develop a series of robust problem formulations, ranging from pessimistic to optimistic. A set of parameters enable the tuning of the conservatism of the formulation to obtain network flows with a desirably high probability that the corresponding lifetime prediction is achieved. We establish a number of properties for the robust network flows and energy allocations and provide numerical results to highlight the tradeoff between predicted lifetime and the probability achieved. Further, we analyze an interesting limiting regime of massively deployed sensor networks and essentially solve a continuous version of the problem.