Belief consensus and distributed hypothesis testing in sensor networks

Reza Olfati-Saber, Elisa Franco, Emilio Frazzoli, Jeff S. Shamma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

131 Scopus citations


In this paper, we address distributed hypothesis testing (DHT) in sensor networks and Bayesian networks using the average-consensus algorithm of Olfati- Saber & Murray. As a byproduct, we obtain a novel belief propagation algorithm called Belief Consensus. This algorithm works for connected networks with loops and arbitrary degree sequence. Belief consensus allows distributed computation of products of n beliefs (or conditional probabilities) that belong to n different nodes of a network. This capability enables distributed hypothesis testing for a broad variety of applications. We show that this belief propagation admits a Lyapunov function that quantifies the collective disbelief in the network. Belief consensus benefits from scalability, robustness to link failures, convergence under variable topology, asynchronous features of average-consensus algorithm. Some connections between small-word networks and speed of convergence of belief consensus are discussed. A detailed example is provided for distributed detection of multi-target formations in a sensor network. The entire network is capable of reaching a common set of beliefs associated with correctness of different hypotheses. We demonstrate that our DHT algorithm successfully identifies a test formation in a network of sensors with self-constructed statistical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNetworked Embedded Sensing and Control - Workshop NESC'05, Proceedings
EditorsPanos J. Antsaklis, Paulo Tabuada
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783540327943
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventWorkshop on Networked Embedded Sensing and Control, NESC 2005 - Notre Dame, United States
Duration: Oct 17 2005Oct 18 2005

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Control and Information Sciences
ISSN (Print)0170-8643


ConferenceWorkshop on Networked Embedded Sensing and Control, NESC 2005
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNotre Dame

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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