Dynamic clustering for acoustic target tracking in wireless sensor networks

Wei Peng Chen, Jennifer C. Hou, Lui Sha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the paper, we devise and evaluate a fully decentralized, light-weight, dynamic clustering algorithm for target tracking. Instead of assuming the same role for all the sensors, we envision a hierarchical sensor network that is composed of 1) a static backbone of sparsely placed high-capability sensors which will assume the role of a cluster head (CH) upon triggered by certain signal events and 2) moderately to densely populated low-end sensors whose function is to provide sensor information to CHs upon request. A cluster is formed and a CH becomes active, when the acoustic signal strength detected by the CH exceeds a predetermined threshold. The active CH then broadcasts an information solicitation packet, asking sensors in its vicinity to join the cluster and provide their sensing information. We address and devise solution approaches (with the use of Voronoi diagram) to realize dynamic clustering: (1×1) how CHs cooperate with one another to ensure that only one CH (preferably the CH that is closest to the target) is active with high probability, (1×2) when the active CH solicits for sensor information, instead of having all the sensors in its vicinity reply, only a sufficient number of sensors respond with nonredundant, essential information to determine the target location, and (1×3) both the packets that sensors send to their CHs and packets that CHs report to subscribers do not incur significant collision. Through both probabilistic analysis and ns-2 simulation, we show with the use of Voronoi diagram, the CH that is usually closest to the target is (implicitly) selected as the leader and that the proposed dynamic clustering algorithm effectively eliminates contention among sensors and renders more accurate estimates of target locations as a result of better quality data collected and less collision incurred.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Dynamic clustering
  • Localization
  • Sensor networks
  • Tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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