Distributed algorithms for barrier coverage using relocatable sensors

Mohsen Eftekhari, Evangelos Kranakis, Danny Krizanc, Oscar Morales-Ponce, Lata Narayanan, Jaroslav Opatrny, Sunil Shende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We study the barrier coverage problem using relocatable sensor nodes. We assume each sensor can sense an intruder or event inside its sensing range. Sensors are initially located at arbitrary positions on the barrier and can move along the barrier. The goal is to find final positions for sensors so that the entire barrier is covered. In recent years, the problem has been studied extensively in the centralized setting. In this paper, we study a barrier coverage problem in the distributed and discrete setting. We assume that we have n identical sensors located at grid positions on the barrier, and that each sensor repeatedly executes a Look-Compute-Move cycle: based on what it sees in its vicinity, it makes a decision on where to move, and moves to its next position. We make two strong but realistic restrictions on the capabilities of sensors: they have a constant visibility range and can move only a constant distance in every cycle. In this model, we give the first two distributed algorithms that achieve barrier coverage for a line segment barrier when there are enough nodes in the network to cover the entire barrier. Our algorithms are synchronous, and local in the sense that sensors make their decisions independently based only on what they see within their constant visibility range. One of our algorithms is oblivious whereas the other uses two bits of memory at each sensor to store the type of move made in the previous step. We show that our oblivious algorithm terminates within Θ(n2) steps with the barrier fully covered, while the constant-memory algorithm is shown to take Θ(n) steps to terminate in the worst case. Since any algorithm in which a sensor can only move a constant distance in one step requires Ω(n) steps on some inputs, our second algorithm is asymptotically optimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
JournalDistributed Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


  • Autonomous mobile robots
  • Barrier coverage
  • Distributed algorithms
  • Optimal algorithms
  • Wireless relocatable sensors


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