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Journal of Control Science and Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 538181, 7 pages
Research Article

Achieving Relative Time Synchronization in Wireless Sensor Networks

1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2V4
2Department of Control Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150080, China

Received 5 May 2013; Accepted 8 August 2013

Academic Editor: James Lam

Copyright © 2013 Salman Ahmed et al. 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.


Time synchronization is required for a variety of distributed control applications in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). In this paper, a novel distributed time synchronization technique for WSNs is presented. The proposed technique does not require all the sensor nodes to have the same time periods or starting times. Furthermore, the communication topology of the WSN is not assumed to be static; it can change with time. The WSN is modeled by a time-varying discrete-time system. The objective is to design local control inputs to achieve relative time synchronization by using the neighbor sensor nodes information. By employing tools from nonnegative matrix and graph theories, the convergence analysis is presented. Numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed protocol.