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A reinforcement learning approach for optimal placement of sensors in cultivation systems

Optimal placement of sensors in protected cultivation systems to maximize monitoring and control capabilities can guide effective decision-making toward achieving the highest levels of productivity and other desirable outcomes. Reinforcement learning, unlike conventional machine learning methods such as supervised learning, does not require large, labeled datasets thereby providing opportunities for more efficient and unbiased design optimization. With the objective of determining the optimal locations of sensors in a greenhouse, a multi-arm bandit problem was formulated using the Beta distribution and solved by the Thompson sampling algorithm.

A total of 56 two-in-one sensors designed to measure both internal air temperature and relative humidity were installed at a vertical distance of 1m and a horizontal distance of 3m apart in a greenhouse used to cultivate strawberries. Data was collected over a period of seven months covering four major seasons, February (winter), March, April, and May (spring), June and July (summer), and October (autumn) and analyzed separately. Results showed unique patterns for sensor selection for temperature and relative humidity during the different months.

Furthermore, temperature and relative humidity each had different optimal location selections suggesting that two-in-one sensors might not be ideal in these cases. The use of reinforcement learning to design optimal sensor placement in this study aided in identifying 10 optimal sensor locations for monitoring and controlling temperature and relative humidity.

Read the complete research at www.researchgate.net.

Uyeh, Daniel & Bassey, Blessing & Mallipeddi, Rammohan & Asem-Hiablie, Senorpe & Amaizu, Maryleen & Woo, Seungmin & Ha, Yushin. (2021). A Reinforcement Learning Approach for Optimal Placement of Sensors in Protected Cultivation Systems. IEEE Access. 9. 100781-100800. 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3096828. 


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