Researchers Win $600,000 NSF Grant to Study "Smart Radios"

Date Published: 
September 13, 2013

Three UNC Charlotte researchers have won a three-year, $600,000 National Science Foundation grant to research cognitive radio networks, or networks composed of “smart radios”.

The interdisciplinary research team is led be principal investigator Dr. Jiang (Linda) Xie of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Co-principal investigators are Dr. Yu Wang of Computer Science, and Dr. Yang Cao of Sociology.


Project Summary:

This is an inter-disciplinary project that uses the investigators’ strengths in a complementary way. The research activities will span three disciplines: electrical engineering, computer science, and sociology.

The project is about cognitive radio networks, or networks composed of “smart radios”, a new technology to improve the radio spectrum usage for communications. Cognitive radios can discover the unused spectrum, or the white space opportunities, and adaptively adjust operating parameters to use the spectrum in white spaces in an opportunistic manner. This new communication paradigm of dynamically accessing the assigned spectrum can greatly enhance the radio spectrum access efficiency.

A unique feature of this research is the consideration of the social patterns of users, such as their social relations and behaviors, and the incorporation of social analysis to enhance spectrum access efficiency. Mining the social patterns of users and intelligently utilizing the captured social information can help generate intelligent designs in cognitive radio networks that can shorten spectrum access delay. Dr. Xie and her research team will analyze the time, location, and spectrum-dependent social patterns of users and proactively utilize these social patterns for fast and secure spectrum access design.          

This interdisciplinary research is potentially transformative as it will help generate innovative techniques to numerous applications based on cognitive radio technology, e.g., public safety networks, cognitive mesh networks; as well as emerging technologies with dynamic spectrum access, e.g., vehicular networks and mobile health. It will also greatly enhance the understanding of social interactions of mobile users in wireless networks.