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Increasingly many wireless sensor network deployments are using harvested environmental energy to extend system lifetime. Because the temporal profiles of such energy sources exhibit great variability due to dynamic weather patterns, an important problem is designing an adaptive duty-cycling mechanism that allows sensor nodes to maintain their power supply at sufficient levels (energy neutral operation) by adapting to changing environmental conditions. Existing techniques to address this problem are minimally adaptive and assume a priori knowledge of the energy profile. While such approaches are reasonable in environments that exhibit low variance, we find that it is highly inefficient in more variable scenarios. We introduce a new technique for solving this problem based on results from adaptive control theory and show that we achieve better performance than previous approaches on a broader class of energy source data sets. Additionally, we include a tunable mechanism for reducing the variance of the node’s duty cycle over time, which is an important feature in tasks such as event monitoring. We obtain reductions in variance as great as two-thirds without compromising task performance or ability to maintain energy neutral operation.


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