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2012 Wireless Symposium


Virginia Tech Symposium on Wireless Personal Communications May 30 - June 1, 2012

 RECAP - May 20 – June 1, 2012, we witnessed yet another (our 22nd!) successful wireless symposium and summer school.  More than 100 researchers and engineers from 5 countries and the US, converged on Blacksburg to hear leaders in the wireless field discuss the latest trends in wireless research, industry and government policies.  The conference was kicked off by Wireless@ Virginia Tech director Jeff Reed who filled in for the unfortunately detained Vint Cerf.  Dr. Reed discussed some of the coming policy changes and what we might expect in the emerging area of dynamic spectrum access.  Later in the conference, attendees were treated to two additional excellent key-note speeches.  Dereck Orr from NIST/OLES provided excellent insight into where public safety communications is going in his talk titled “Public Safety Broadband Communications—Cutting Edge Research & Development.”  Another highlight of the conference was an excellent talk on the use of the physical layer for security purposes by Princeton’s current engineering dean, Dr. Vincent Poor.  The talk described how the challenges of wireless communications could actually be used as a benefit by enhancing link security.
The plenary session was highlighted by the return of Dr. Ted Rappaport to campus to discuss his recent work in 60GHz communications. This high-frequency communications approach offers a potential solution to the scarcity of spectrum currently being experienced by today’s wireless innovators.

One the best-attended aspects of the conference was the summer school portion.  This year’s summer school featured excellent tutorials on cutting edge topics from leaders in their respective fields.  Dr. fred harris, one of the pioneers of digital signal processing, presented an insightful look at the history of the equalizer.  Dr. Friedrich Jondral from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany examined the use of cognitive radios for ad hoc overlay systems.  Four generation wireless standard LTE was the focus of two tutorials – West Virginia University’s Dr. Matt Valenti presented a tutorial on the physical layer of LTE and University of Colorado – Boulder’s Dr. Ken Baker discussed the use of distributed antennas in LTE HetNets.  In general, the symposium was overwhelmingly successful with strong participation and excellent research presentations. 

In addition to the annual symposium and summer school, the 2012 Software Defined Radio Design Challenge competition was held during the symposium on May 31. The competition was sponsored by the Wireless Innovation Forum and Wireless @ Virginia Tech and initially involved six teams working on a broad range of project topics related to software defined radio. Ettus Research, Harris Corporation, and L3 Communications provided judges for the event.  Criteria for rating the projects included; a) importance and timeliness of the problem addressed, 2) performance of the solution, 3) flexibility, and 4) ease of use/user interface. Results of the competition were: 1st place: Gerald Baier and Nico Otterbach, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, "Wireless Networks In-the-Loop: Speeding up GNU Radio Development," advised by Martin Braun and Jens Elsner,  2nd place: Kai Hong and Vidya Sagar, Stevens Institute of Technology, USA, "SpiderRadio: A Programmable Multi-radio Dynamic Spectrum Access Mobile Router," advised by  R. Chandramouli (Mouli) and K.P. (Suba) Subbalakshmi, and  3rd place: Matthew Allen and Fei Peng, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, "Multi-Hop Radio System,” advised by Alex Wyglinski.  Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all of those that participated in the competition.

As usual, the symposium party on Thursday evening provided excellent opportunities to mingle with our guests and to catch up with old friends and alumni. In addition to relaxing with friends, we enjoyed a fabulous buffet meal from Chef Steve Williams with Professional Catering.  Local DJ Earl Brown provided lively music for the evening along with entertainment and dancing for the children.  Dr. Mike Buehrer spearheaded the entertainment for the adults with a game of Trivial Pursuit.  The winning teams were treated with bottles of wine from the local Hokie vintage.  Door prize drawings included gift certificates from The Inn at Virginia Tech and Hotel Roanoke. 

Please mark your calendars for May 29 – May 31, 2013, the dates of our next symposium and summer school. We look forward to seeing you!