Pixie: An Operating System for Resource-Aware Programming of Sensor Networks

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Pixie is a new operating system for sensor networks that enables resource-aware programming, a model in which applications receive feedback on, and have explicit control over, resource usage. Pixie is designed to support the needs of data-intensive applications. These applications, which include high-resolution monitoring of acoustic, seismic, acceleration, and other signals, involve high data rates and extensive in-network processing. Given the fundamentally resource-limited nature of sensor networks, a pressing concern for such applications is their ability to receive feedback on, and adapt their behavior to, fluctuations in both resource availability and load.

The Pixie OS is based on a dataflow programming model and is based on the concept of resource tickets, a core abstraction for representing resource availability and reservations. By giving the system visibility and fine-grained control over resource management, a broad range of policies can be implemented. To shield application programmers from the burden of managing these details, Pixie provides a suite of resource brokers, which mediate between low-level physical resources and higher-level application demands. Pixie is implemented in NesC and supports limited backwards compatibility with TinyOS.

We are developing Pixie in the context of two applications: limb motion analysis for patients undergoing treatment for motion disorders (our Mercury system), and monitoring seismic and infrasonic activity at active volcanoes.

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Software release

You can download a prototype release of the Pixie software here:

Pixie 1.1 release

This page will be updated soon with more details!