The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Wireless @ Virginia Tech is pleased to announce that the IEEE Fellow Committee has selected two Wireless @ Virginia Tech faculty members, Dr. Michael Buehrer, Director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech and Dr Jung-Min "Jerry" Park, Associate Director for Affiliate Relations as well as the site director for the Virginia Tech Broadband Wireless Access and Applications (BWAC), for promotion to the level of IEEE Fellow.
The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year cannot exceed one-tenth of one- percent of the total voting membership. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.
R. Michael Buehrer, Professor and Director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech is being recognized for his contributions to wideband signal processing in communications and geolocation More specifically, his work had a direct impact on Second and Third Generation (2G and 3G) cellular phone systems during a critical time in the development of that technology. During his career (first at Bell Laboratories and later at Virginia Tech) Dr. Buehrer has risen to become a world-class researcher in wireless communications. To date, he has published 300 journal and conference papers, many of which are widely cited. He has over 5700 citations and an h-index of 39. He holds 11 patents in the field of cellular communication networks. Over the past 20 years he has made several fundamental contributions to the understanding and use of wireless communication systems and in particular has advanced the understanding of fundamental aspects of communications and geolocation systems that rely on wideband (e.g., spread spectrum or ultra-wideband) signals. Among his accomplishments are techniques for increasing the capacity of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) cellular networks and improving localization performance in sensor networks. He has received numerous awards for his research including multiple best paper awards. He is also an active participant and organizer of IEEE conferences and workshops and has served as an editor for several IEEE journals, including IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Communications Letters, and IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing among others.
Jung-Min "Jerry" Park is being recognized for his contributions to dynamic spectrum sharing, cognitive radio networks, and security issues. Dr. Park received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA in 2003. He is currently the Site Director of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I-UCRC) called Broadband Wireless Access & Applications Center (BWAC). Park is also an Executive Committee Member of the National Spectrum Consortium. His research interests include cognitive radio networks, dynamic spectrum sharing, networking, wireless security and privacy, and applied cryptography. Current or recent research sponsors include the NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Army Research Office (ARO), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and several industry sponsors. Park is a recipient of a 2014 Virginia Tech College of Engineering Faculty Fellow Award, a 2008 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, a 2008 Hoeber Excellence in Research Award, and a 1998 AT&T Leadership Award. He is currently serving on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and the IEEE/KICS Journal of Communications and Networks.
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The National Science Foundation has awarded Wireless @ Virginia Tech $2.5 million in grants to support several research projects that seek to address critical issues concerning emerging wireless communication networks and technology in support of the new White House Advanced Wireless Initiative.
"The five research projects awarded to Virginia Tech are intended to propel the technological revolution of wireless for decades ahead, from spectrum management to the Internet of Things,” said NSF program director Thyaga Nandagopal. “The White House initiative aims to deploy and use four city-scale testing platforms for advanced wireless research over the next decade with Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, a program designed to develop wireless research platforms conceived by the U.S. academic and industrial wireless research community."
EARS: Collaborative Research: Automated Enforcement in Spectrum Sharing: Technical Challenges and Policy Considerations
Dr. Jung-Min "Jerry" Park was awarded $1.4 million dollars in a a collaborative project between University of Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. The increased demand for wireless communications over the last 25 years has led to the emergence of a new national priority: dynamic sharing of the radio spectrum among different stakeholders. Users with different rights and priorities must now collaborate to share a common resource without interfering with each other. A reliable enforcement regime that ensures rights is a way to make these rights meaningful and mitigate the associated risks. As spectrum sharing becomes a more widely adopted paradigm for utilizing the spectrum, it will become necessary to deploy a systematic enforcement regime that can be automated to the maximum extent possible so that the enforcement processes can occur in near real time and at scale while incurring reasonable financial costs. Much of the research and practice to date has focused on interference protection of the incumbents and on preventative (i.e., ex ante) approaches. The investigators will examine approaches to improving ex ante protections, detecting interference events, identifying the interfering parties, and determining how these events are best enforced and adjudicated using technologies and techniques that can be readily automated. Virginia Tech's portion of this award is $500K. Dr. Park is also the site director for the Virginia Tech Broadband Wireless Access and Applications Center (BWAC).
Dr. Yaling Yang has been awarded an NSF grant to help preserve user privacy. Dynamic spectrum access (DSA) technique enables wireless devices, called secondary users (SUs), to use spectrum that are allocated to licensed incumbent users (IUs) as long as they do not interfere with IUs' operation. It has been widely accepted as a crucial solution to mitigate the spectrum scarcity problem for wireless communications. As a key form of DSA, regulators have proposed to release more Federal spectrum for sharing with commercial wireless users, under the umbrella of a spectrum access system (SAS) database to govern the spectrum sharing between IUs and SUs. However, the success of this sharing hinges upon how privacy issues are managed. In current SAS schemes, the operation data of both federal IUs and commercial SUs need to be shared with the SAS database for it to decide if sharing is permitted. Yet, operation data of federal IUs are often classified information and SU operation data may also be commercial secret. Since SAS is not necessarily operated by a trusted third party and can potentially be breached by attackers, these current schemes threaten the privacy of both IUs and SUs. To address this privacy issue, this project develops a privacy-preserving SAS (P2-SAS), which ensures that the SAS system can still accurately decide whether spectrum sharing among IUs and SUs are permitted while it learns nothing about the operation data of IUs and SUs. This project is the first to be able to successfully realize privacy-preserving spectrum allocation in SAS. It addresses regulators' concerns with DSA's privacy issue and hence greatly help the development of the entire nation's broadband networks. The project provides a blueprint on how privacy-preserving mechanisms can be integrated in many other communication systems beyond DSA.
The project realizes its privacy preserving spectrum allocation using secure homomorphic computation. In P2-SAS, IUs and SUs share only ciphertexts of their operation data with the SAS Server, which then performs secure homomorphic computation directly over these ciphertexts, so that none of the IU/SU operation data would be exposed to any snooping party, including the SAS itself. The project aims to convert complex spectrum allocation computation and certification procedures into the limited homomorphic computation types provided by efficient Paillier cryptosystems. Leveraging the unique characteristics of spectrum allocation computation, various refining techniques will be explored to significantly reduce the computation and communication overhead of P2-SAS and prevent potential attacks on the system.
Currently Dr. Yang has designed and developed the privacy preserving SAS system for protection-zone-based DSA model which has been presented at the ACM Mobihoc 2016 conference and has been accepted to the IEEE JSAC Special Issue on Spectrum Sharing and Aggregation for Future Wireless Networks conference on December 30, 2016.
Jeff Reed (PI), Tom Hou (Co-PI) and Carl Dietrich (Co-PI)’s project titled “EARS: Toward Harmonious Coexistence of Heterogeneous Wireless Services” was awarded $1.2M for 3 years. The project addresses the grand challenge (as outlined in NSF EARS program solicitation) of harmonious co-existence of heterogeneous wireless technologies. The goal of the project is to accommodate multiple wireless access technologies that would operate in the same radio spectrum band. The proposed research addresses the co-existence grand challenge by investigating: (1) coexistence between Wi-Fi and cellular on unlicensed bands; (2) coexistence of radar and cellular on radar bands; and (3) new software and hardware testbeds for coexistence. Dr. Vuk Marojevic, Research Associate, and Michael Marcus are also participating in this project as senior personnel.
The Federal Communications Commission is opening up bands of spectrum that were previously restricted to a few priority users, including the military. Virginia Tech College of Engineering professor Jung-Min “Jerry” Park is leading a $730,000 National Science Foundation grant collaboration with William Lehr from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to find ways to make this transition as smooth as possible. The FCC’s plans to provide incumbent users with a wide, insulating boundary, often called an exclusion zone, separating them from new users. In this type of environment, incumbent users have first dibs on the spectrum, and the secondary users can access what’s left over.
Park, of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his collaborators intend to develop a new strategy supporting blueprints for flexible exclusion zones, or an adjustable boundary, that can respond dynamically to the incumbent protection requirements and the interference environment. In this way, incumbent users will still have safe, clear access to their frequencies, but secondary users will be able to make efficient use of the spectrum when it’s free. Dr. Park is also the lab director for the Advanced Research in Information Assurance and Security Lab (ARIAS)
Dr. Harpreet S. Dhillon and Dr. Walid Saad, both Assistant Professors in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received a $400K grant from the Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) program of National Science Foundation to study Joint Backhaul and Radio Access Design for Heterogeneous Wireless Networks.
Delivering pervasive access to data-intensive wireless applications is contingent upon enabling wireless cellular systems to sustain the foreseen 1000x increase in the demand for wireless capacity. One promising solution is via wireless network densification in which small base stations are deployed at possible adverse locations, such as lamp posts and the sides of the buildings, to significantly boost the wireless capacity. However, reaping the benefits of such dense cellular networks requires devising novel heterogeneous backhaul solutions that can connect the small base stations to the Internet and core network by smartly and jointly exploiting existing, wired infrastructure, as well as new wireless, possibly in-band, backhaul solutions. The key goal of this new project is to introduce a fundamentally new cellular network design framework in which elaborate wireless, wired, heterogeneous, and possibly multi-hop backhaul models are tightly integrated with the access networks to facilitate joint analysis, modeling, and optimization of backhaul and radio wireless access. This proposed framework will marry together notions from stochastic geometry, microeconomics, and wireless communications to enable tomorrow's cellular systems to support bandwidth-intensive wireless applications such as mobile high-definition video streaming, thus expediting their global deployment. This project builds on several existing works from both Drs. Dhillon and Saad in heterogeneous cellular networks, where they have used mathematical tools such as stochastic geometry (Dhillon) and game theory (Saad) to study different aspects of these new networking paradigms resulting in several award winning articles in top venues.
Dr. Walid Saad, in collaboration with civil engineers from the University of Miami, received a two-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation grant to design new computational, mathematical, and simulation frameworks to protect the critical infrastructure of coastal cities against natural disasters.
The project, supported by the Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes program, is entitled "Collaborative Research: A Human-Centered Computational Framework for Urban and Community Design of Resilient Coastal Cities."
On Monday, November 21, Wireless @ Virginia Tech hosted an all day workshop, dubbed "FCC Day", primarily for staff of the Federal Communications Commission at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington. Five Wireless @ Virginia Tech faculty made presentations on elements of ongoing research projects, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and others, with implications for the future regulation of radio spectrum in the United States. Twenty-two FCC personnel attended the event, from four different FCC bureaus/offices, as well as a handful of representatives from other agencies and institutions.
The discussion was moderated by Prof. Jeff Reed and focused on four questions:
• What research aspects presented today are of most interest and use to the FCC?
• Where are there gaps in our research that we should attempt to address?
• How can we be more effective in technology transfer?
• How can we more actively engage with the FCC on an ongoing basis?
In addition to the faculty presentations, Julie Knapp, Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering & Technology gave a presentation on technical issues of interest to the FCC. The day also included some demonstrations by Wireless @ Virginia Tech graduate students, showing FCC personnel some of our work regarding vulnerabilities in LTE as well as some of the technology that we use to teach the next generation of wireless engineers about software defined radio. The day concluded with an hour-long discussion that summarized major technical issues and explored ways that Virginia Tech and the FCC can work together in the future.
Harpreet Dhillon won the IEEE Communications Society’s Heinrich Hertz Award for Best Communications Letter for his paper titled “Downlink Rate Distribution in Heterogeneous Cellular Networks under Generalized Cell Selection” (IEEE Wireless Communications Letters, volume 3, no. 1, pp. 42-45, February 2014). The Heinrich Hertz Award is given to an outstanding manuscript published in any letter journal financially sponsored or co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) during the previous three calendar years which opens new lines of research, envisions bold approaches to communication, formulates new problems to solve, and essentially enlarges the field of communications engineering. The selection of the award is based on the paper’s quality, exposition, novelty and impact. This is the fifth best paper award for Harpreet. His earlier best paper awards included the 2014 IEEE ComSoc Leonard G. Abraham Prize and the 2015 IEEE ComSoc Young Author best paper award. Congratulations to Dr. Dhillon!
Dr. Walid Saad has a new book titled Overlapping Coalition Formation Games in Wireless Communication Networks available through SpringerBriefs Press. "This brief introduces overlapping coalition formation games (OCF games), a novel mathematical framework from cooperative game theory that can be used to model, design and analyze cooperative scenarios in future wireless communication networks.
The concepts of OCF games are explained, and several algorithmic aspects are studied. In addition, several major application scenarios are discussed. These applications are drawn from a variety of fields that include radio resource allocation in dense wireless networks, cooperative spectrum sensing for cognitive radio networks, and resource management for crowd sourcing. For each application, the use of OCF games is discussed in detail in order to show how this framework can be used to solve relevant wireless networking problems.
Overlapping Coalition Formation Games in Wireless Communication Networks provides researchers, students and practitioners with a concise overview of existing works in this emerging area, exploring the relevant fundamental theories, key techniques, and significant applications."
Dr. Saad is an assistant professor and Steven O. Lane Junior Faculty Fellow with the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a core faculty member of Wireless @ Virginia Tech. Co-authors of this book are T. Wang, L. Song, and Z. Han.
Dr. Steve Ellingson, Associate Professor, has a new book on Radio Systems Engineering, released through Cambridge University Press. "Using a systems framework, this textbook provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to the performance, analysis and design of radio systems for students and practicing engineers. Presented within a consistent framework, the first part of the book describes the fundamentals of the subject: propagation, noise, antennas and modulation. The analysis and design of radios, including RF circuit design and signal processing, is covered in the second half of the book."
Dr. Ellingson received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University and is a core faculty member of Wireless @ Virginia Tech leading the research thrusts in RF Analysis and Technologies. Dr. Ellingson is also an avid amateur radio operator.
Dr. Michael Buehrer, Director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech and former student SaiDhiraj Amuru, and co-author Mihaela van der Schaar, professor of electrical engineering at UCLA, are featured on IEEE's Xplore Innovation Spotlight for their paper "Advertising Algorithms Could Be the Solution to Gaining Communication Network Intelligence". The paper can be located at http://ieeexplore-spotlight.ieee.org/.
The IEEE Xplore Innovation Spotlight features articles on cutting-edge topics handpicked from the IEEE Xplore digital library of over 3 million technical documents. Research found in IEEE Xplore solves critical industry issues, keeps technology professionals at top organizations up to date, and helps develop the technologies of tomorrow.
G. Lee, W. Saad, M. Bennis, A. Mehbodniya, and F. Adachi, "Online Ski Rental for Scheduling Self-Powered, Energy Harvesting Small Base Stations," in Proc. of the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Green Communications Systems and Networks Symposium, Kualalumpur, Malaysia, May 2016 received a Transmission, Access, and Optical Systems (TAOS) Technical Committee's Award for Best Paper in the Green Communications Symposium at IEEE ICC 2016.
Allen MacKenzie has been appointed to a two-year term on the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) of the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA). CSMAC advises the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at NTIA on a broad range of spectrum policy issues. The members are spectrum policy experts, appointed as "Special Government Employees," from outside the Federal government. Committee members offer expertise and perspective on reforms to enable new technologies and services, including reforms that expedite the American public's access to broadband services, public safety, and long-range spectrum planning.
Dr. Harpreet S. Dhillon, Assistant Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received the competitive (acceptance rate: 17%) Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) Junior Faculty Award to investigate content-centric design for wireless networks. In particular, Dhillon’s proposal focuses on crowdsourcing-based design of wireless networks, where the spare storage capacity of the edge devices (mobile phones and cellular base stations) is used to cache popular content which can then be asynchronously delivered to the other users on demand. This idea is particularly relevant for the video-based traffic, which forms the largest fraction (by far) of the total mobile data traffic, and is known to exhibit a high degree of spatiotemporal correlation. This effort builds on Dhillon’s recent efforts on developing stochastic geometry-based tools for the analysis of diverse wireless networking paradigms. In this project, he will collaborate with researchers from Georgia Tech to develop a synergistic data-driven approach to the design, analysis, and optimization of crowdsourcing-based wireless networks that will, for the first time, bring together concepts from communications and information theories, big data, crowdsourcing, point process theory, and stochastic geometry. The proposed research will involve two main components. The first component will include extracting statistical models for the features of interest from the data traces that will be collected as a part of this project. The second component will involve the design and analysis of the proposed network architecture using these statistical models. More details about Dr. Dhillon’s research are available here.
Mehrnaz Afshang, a postdoctoral associate advised by Prof. Harpreet S. Dhillon, was recently selected to attend the Rising Stars Workshop that recognizes the brightest women in electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS). Rising Stars is an annual academic career workshop that brings together world's top sixty brightest female Ph.D. students, postdocs, and engineers/scientists, for scientific interactions and career-oriented discussions aimed at navigating the early stages of careers in academia. This year, the workshop was hosted and sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering Center for Faculty Success, and the School of Computer Science, in collaboration with the MIT EECS department. This program was launched by MIT in 2012 to bring together the emerging women researches in the field of EECS.
Mehrnaz Afshang has been working in Dr. Dhillon’s group within Wireless@VT since January 2015; first as a visiting Ph.D. student and most recently as a postdoctoral associate. She received the B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering from Shiraz University of Technology, Iran, in 2011 and the Ph.D. degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in 2016. During her Ph.D., she was a recipient of the SINGA Fellowship, which partly supported her visit to Virginia Tech in 2015. Her research interests are in mathematical modeling and analysis of complex communication systems, such as the worldwide cellular communication system and emerging ad hoc communication networks. In particular, her work has focused on the analysis of small cell deployments and device-to-device (D2D) networking, which have both emerged as promising solutions to handle ever-increasing mobile data traffic in future 5G communication systems. In collaboration with Dr. Dhillon, she has been developing tools with foundation in stochastic geometry to expose fundamental design tradeoffs in these systems. Key technical innovations include sophisticated new models that allow to incorporate inter-point interactions in these emerging networks using ideas from Poisson cluster process and Poisson hole process.
Dr. Harpreet S. Dhillon, Assistant Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recently appointed to the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications. He joins Drs. Buehrer, Manteghi, Park, and Saad of Wireless@VT to further strengthen the representation of our group on the editorial board of this prestigious journal focusing on wireless communications.
The Spectrum-ShaRC 2 Radio Challenge will once again be hosted by Wireless @ Virginia Tech. This year's challenge consist of 6 teams: 3 international and 3 US teams. This year the final round of competition will be held April 7, 2017, with 6 cash prizes: first place, $5,000, second place, $3,500, third place $1,500, fourth place $1,000, 5th place, $750, and sixth place, $500. In addition the top undergraduate team will win an additional $750, plus an Ettus Research B210 mini front end. Thank you to our sponsors: Motorola Solutions Foundation, The National Science Foundation, Ettus Research and Wireless @ Virginia Tech.
It is Virginia Tech's turn to host the BWAC semi-annual board meeting in the spring of 2017. The board meeting will be held immediately after the Wireless Symposium and Summer School in the same location, the Executive Briefing Center of the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, VA. The Wireless Symposium will end at 12 noon on May 17, and the BWAC board meeting will begin after lunch the same day at 1:30 p.m. We are also changing the traditional format of the BWAC board meeting. Instead of having a full day on the first day of the board meeting and half a day on the second day of the board meeting we are essentially reversing that schedule. The board meeting will be a half day on the 17th, ending at 5:30, and a full day on the 18th, ending at 4:30. More details will be posted on our BWAC website as they become available.
Sudeep Bhattarai, a PhD student advised by Professor Jerry Park in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, actively contributed in the design, development and deployment of the first prototype Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) in San Francisco during his summer research at Google. This deployment is the first step towards enabling shared usage of 150 MHz of the radio spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, also known as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently opened the 3.5 GHz band for sharing between the Navy’s shipborne radars (incumbent users) and broadband communication systems (CBRS devices). A fundamental requirement for shared use of this band is that a dedicated network of sensors called ESCs must detect incumbent operations and alert the spectrum manager. The spectrum manager for the CBRS band is called the Spectrum Access System (SAS). SAS maintains orderly use of the band while protecting incumbents and coordinating spectrum use among CBRS devices. Upon receiving an alert from the ESC, the SAS reconfigures CBRS devices under its control to avoid harmful interference to the Navy radar.
Google, among others, has applied to the FCC to operate both a SAS and an ESC, and has been actively developing software and hardware capabilities to detect incumbent radars. The goal is to deploy a network of ESCs along the U.S. coastline and allow CBRS devices to operate in the coastal areas provided that they do not cause harmful interference to the incumbent users.