Information-Theoretic Performance Analysis of Sensor Networks via Markov Modeling of Time Series Data

Yue Li, Devesh K. Jha, Asok Ray, Thomas A. Wettergren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper presents information-theoretic performance analysis of passive sensor networks for detection of moving targets. The proposed method falls largely under the category of data-level information fusion in sensor networks. To this end, a measure of information contribution for sensors is formulated in a symbolic dynamics framework. The network information state is approximately represented as the largest principal component of the time series collected across the network. To quantify each sensor's contribution for generation of the information content, Markov machine models as well as x-Markov (pronounced as cross-Markov) machine models, conditioned on the network information state, are constructed; the difference between the conditional entropies of these machines is then treated as an approximate measure of information contribution by the respective sensors. The x-Markov models represent the conditional temporal statistics given the network information state. The proposed method has been validated on experimental data collected from a local area network of passive sensors for target detection, where the statistical characteristics of environmental disturbances are similar to those of the target signal in the sense of time scale and texture. A distinctive feature of the proposed algorithm is that the network decisions are independent of the behavior and identity of the individual sensors, which is desirable from computational perspectives. Results are presented to demonstrate the proposed method's efficacy to correctly identify the presence of a target with very low false-alarm rates. The performance of the underlying algorithm is compared with that of a recent data-driven, feature-level information fusion algorithm. It is shown that the proposed algorithm outperforms the other algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1898-1909
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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