The availability of widespread computing power and wireless connectivity has energized the adoption of wireless sensor networks in recent years. These sensor networks will revolutionize the way we gather and process information about the world around us.
To interact with the physical world, sensor network systems have to overcome certain challenges which may not be present in general purpose computing systems. In this talk, I will discuss some of the challenges facing the sensor network architect. I will introduce JDDAC (Java Distributed Data and Acquisition), an open source platform, based on the IEEE 1451 standards, for building sensor networks and show how JDDAC helps the system architect overcome some of these challenges. As a case study, I will also discuss the JDDAC-based application NetBEAMS, a project lead by SFSU for monitoring San Francisco Bay which was recently awarded the coveted Duke's Choice Award from Sun Microsystems.