Connected dominating sets (CDS) can be used to form virtual backbones for the hierarchical routing to save energy in the wireless sensor networks. The existing algorithms for CDS can only be used to the topologies that have larger vertex connective degrees. Besides, most of them do not consider the energy characteristics of the virtual backbones constructed by the dominating sets. In this paper, a referenced energy-based CDS algorithm (RECA) is proposed, which can generate smaller CDS in random topologies without the limitation of vertex connective degrees. At the same time, the algorithm introduces Referenced Energy as a parameter for nodes when making the decision whether they are chosen to be the dominators or not. Therefore, as the experimental results show, the energy characteristic of the dominating set is improved and routing in the virtual backbones constructed by such CDSs will have a better performance.
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