Accurate Data Approximation in Constrained Environments

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Several data reduction techniques have been proposed recently as methods for providing fast and fairly accurate answers to complex queries over large quantities of data. Their use has been widespread, due to the multiple benefits that they may offer in several constrained environments and applications. Compressed data representations require less space to store, less bandwidth to communicate and can provide, due to their size, very fast response times to queries. Sensor networks represent a typical constrained environment, due to the limited processing, storage and battery capabilities of the sensor nodes.

Large-scale sensor networks require tight data handling and data dissemination techniques. Transmitting a full-resolution data feed from each sensor back to the base-station is often prohibitive due to (i) limited bandwidth that may not be sufficient to sustain a continuous feed from all sensors and (ii) increased power consumption due to the wireless multi-hop communication. In order to minimize the volume of the transmitted data, we can apply two well data reduction techniques: aggregation and approximation.

In this dissertation we propose novel data reduction techniques for the transmission of measurements collected in sensor network environments. We first study the problem of summarizing multi-valued data feeds generated at a single sensor node, a step necessary for the transmission of large amounts of historical information collected at the node. The transmission of these measurements may either be periodic (i.e., when a certain amount of measurements has been collected), or in response to a query from the base station. We then also consider the approximate evaluation of aggregate continuous queries. A continuous query is a query that runs continuously until explicitly terminated by the user. These queries can be used to obtain a live-estimate of some (aggregated) quantity, such as the total number of moving objects detected by the sensors.