Melih Bastopcu, Sennur Ulukus

We consider two closely related problems: anomaly detection in sensor networks and testing for infections in human populations. In both problems, we have $n$ nodes (sensors, humans), and each node exhibits an event of interest (anomaly, infection) with probability $p$. We want to keep track of the anomaly/infection status of all nodes at a central location. We develop a $group$ $updating$ scheme, akin to group testing, which updates a central location about the status of each member of the population by appropriately grouping their individual status. Unlike group testing, which uses the expected number of tests as a metric, in group updating, we use the expected age of information at the central location as a metric. We determine the optimal group size to minimize the age of information. We show that, when $p$ is small, the proposed group updating policy yields smaller age compared to a sequential updating policy.

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