The Virtual Pheromone Communication Primitive

  • Leo Szumel
  • John D. Owens
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4026)


We propose a generic communication primitive designed for sensor networks. Our primitive hides details of network communication while retaining sufficient programmer control over the communication behavior of an application; it is designed to ease the burden of writing application-specific communication protocols for efficient, long-lived, fault-tolerant, and scalable applications. While classical network communication methods expect high-reliability links, our primitive works well in highly unreliable environments without needing to detect and prune unreliable links. Our primitive resembles the chemical markers used by many biological systems to solve distributed problems (pheromones). We develop and analyze the performance of an implementation of this primitive called Virtual Pheromone (VP). We demonstrate that VP can attain performance comparable to classical methods for applications such as sleep scheduling, routing, flooding, and cluster formation.


Sensor Network Wireless Sensor Network Cluster Head Network Lifetime Node Failure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo Szumel
    • 1
  • John D. Owens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of California at DavisDavisUSA

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