Detection and tracking of discrete phenomena in sensor-network databases

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Source of Publication

Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific and Statistical Database Management, SSDBM

Publication Date



This paper introduces a framework for Phenomena Detection and Tracking (PDT, for short) in sensor network databases. Examples of detectable phenomena include the propagation over time of a pollution cloud or an oil spill region. We provide a crisp definition of a phenomenon that takes into consideration both the strength and the time span of the phenomenon.We focus on discrete phenomena where sensor readings are drawn from a discrete set of values, e.g., item numbers or pollutant IDs, and we point out how our work can be extended to handle continuous phenomena. The challenge for the proposed PDT framework is to detect as much phenomena as possible, given the large number of sensors, the overall high arrival rates of sensor data, and the limited system resources. Our proposed PDT framework uses continuous SQL queries to detect and track phenomena. Execution of these continuous queries is performed in three phases; the joining phase, the candidate selection phase, and the grouping/output phase. The joining phase employs an in-memory multi-way join algorithm that produces a set of sensor pairs with similar readings. The candidate selection phase filters the output of the joining phase to select candidate join pairs, with enough strength and time span, as specified by the phenomenon definition. The grouping/ output phase constructs the overall phenomenon from the candidate join pairs. We introduce two optimizations to increase the likelihood of phenomena detection while using less system resources. Experimental studies illustrate the performance gains of both the proposed PDT framework and the proposed optimizations.

First Page


Last Page



Computer Sciences


Candidate selection, Continuous queries, Detection and tracking, Discrete phenomena, Network database, Performance Gain, Sensor readings, System resources, Management information systems, Oil spills, Optimization, Pollution, Sensor networks, Tracking (position), Joining

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Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


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