Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are key components in the emergent cyber physical systems (CPSs). They may include hundreds of spatially distributed sensors which interact to solve complex tasks going beyond their individual capabilities. Due to the limited capabilities of sensors, sensor actions cannot meet CPS requirements while controlling and coordinating the operations of physical and engineered systems. To overcome these constraints, we explore the ecosystem metaphor for WSNs with the aim of taking advantage of the efficient adaptation behavior and communication mechanisms of living organisms. By mapping these organisms onto sensors and ecosystems onto WSNs, we highlight shortcomings that prevent WSNs from delivering the capabilities of ecosystems at several levels, including structure, topology, goals, communications, and functions. We then propose an agent-based architecture that migrates complex processing tasks outside the physical sensor network while incorporating missing characteristics of autonomy, intelligence, and context awareness to the WSN. Unlike existing works, we use software agents to map WSNs to natural ecosystems and enhance WSN capabilities to take advantage of bioinspired algorithms. We extend our architecture and propose a new intelligent CPS framework where several control levels are embedded in the physical system, thereby allowing agents to support WSNs technologies in enabling CPSs.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Mobile Information Systems, v. 2015, article 908315, p. 1-15.

Copyright © 2015 Nafaâ Jabeur et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)