Distributed Detection in Ad Hoc Networks Through Quantized Consensus

Shengyu Zhu, Biao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We study the asymptotic performance of distributed detection in large scale connected sensor networks. Contrasting to the canonical parallel network where a single node has access to local decisions from all other nodes, each node can only exchange information with its direct neighbors in the present setting. We establish that, with each node employing an identical one-bit quantizer for local information exchange, a novel consensus reaching approach can achieve the optimal asymptotic performance of centralized detection as the network size scales. The statement is true under three different detection frameworks: 1) the Bayesian criterion where the maximum a posteriori detector is optimal; 2) the Neyman-Pearson criterion with a constant type-I error probability constraint; and 3) the Neyman-Pearson criterion with an exponential type-I error probability constraint. Leveraging recent development in distributed consensus reaching using bounded quantizers with possibly unbounded data (which are log-likelihood ratios of local observations in the context of distributed detection), we design a one-bit deterministic quantizer with a controllable threshold that leads to desirable consensus error bounds. The obtained bounds are key to establishing the optimal asymptotic detection performance. In addition, we examine the non-asymptotic performance of the proposed approach and show that the type-I and type-II error probabilities at each node can be made arbitrarily close to the centralized ones simultaneously when a continuity condition is satisfied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8434248
Pages (from-to)7017-7030
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Distributed detection
  • error exponent
  • large deviations
  • one-bit quantizer
  • quantized consensus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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