Sensor network simulators are important tools for the design, implementation and evaluation of wireless sensor networks. Due to the large computational requirements necessary for simulating wireless sensor networks with high fidelity, many wireless sensor network simulators, especially the cycle accurate ones, employ distributed simulation techniques to leverage the combined resources of multiple processors or computers. However, the large overheads in synchronizing sensor nodes during distributed simulations of sensor networks result in a significant increase in simulation time. In this paper, we present a novel technique that could significantly reduce such overheads by minimizing the number of sensor node synchronizations during simulations. We implement this technique in Avrora, a widely used parallel sensor network simulator, and achieve a speedup of up to 11 times in terms of average simulation speed in our test cases. For applications that have lower duty cycles, the speedups are even greater since the performance gains are proportional to the sleep times of the sensor nodes.
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