NeTS: Small: Collaborative Research: Unleashing Spectrum Effectively and Willingly: Optimization and Incentives

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview: The proliferation of wireless devices, e.g. smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and bandwidth-hungry applications has resulted in the severe problem of spectrum scarcity. However, a recent report by FCC reveals that the leading cause of the spectrum scarcity is not the physical spectrum scarcity, but the imbalance of spectrum utilization between licensed users and unlicensed users. To remove the barriers to efficient spectrum utilization, two necessary steps need to be taken: effective spectrum allocation for maximizing the utilization of spectrum shared by licensed spectrum holders, and incentive auctions for encouraging spectrum licensees to share or license their under-utilized spectrum for better utilization. Intellectual Merit: In order to meet the fast growing demand for mobile broadband, the proposed research aims to take full advantage of the underutilized spectrum from the license holders, e.g. TV broadcasters, through two well-coordinated and complementary research thrusts. In the first thrust, spectrum allocation for maximizing spectrum utilization will be studied. To characterize the interference as closely to reality as possible, physical interference model will be adopted. Power control is a widely used approach to reduce unnecessary interference while meeting required performance. Joint optimization of spectrum allocation and power control will also be explored to further improve the spectrum utilization. This thrust will lead to efficient approximation algorithms with guaranteed performance comparing with the optimum. The techniques involved in the algorithm design can also be applied to develop approximation algorithms for other interference related problems in cognitive radio networks. In the second thrust, incentive auctions will be designed for encouraging spectrum licensees to share their spectrum with unlicensed users in exchange for the proceeds from the auction. More specifically, three different scenarios will be investigated. In the first scenario, the spectrum holder is willing to coexist with the unlicensed users under the condition that the cumulative interference caused by them would not interrupt its own transmission. In the second scenario, small network operators are allowed to compete as a group with others for collective buying power in order to increase their chances of winning the spectrum. In the last scenario, the competition among multiple spectrum licensees will be considered. The results from this thrust will provide other researchers references to design incentive auctions for other different scenarios. Broader Impacts: The proposed research will help ensure wireless networks in the US keep pace with the demand for spectrum, so that they can support other activities that increasingly rely on them, including public safety and healthcare. Making everyone in the US connected to the highspeed Internet is essential to maintaining US global leadership in technical innovation and continued economic competitiveness. The designed group-buying based incentive auctions can provide opportunities for small businesses to compete against big brand companies and win the access to desired spectrum that is essential to the success of their business. Those small businesses are the engines of job creation and economic growth for the country. Highly skilled personnel in related areas will be trained in carrying out the proposed research tasks. Special efforts will be made to engage minority students and underrepresented groups. The PI at Arizona State University will involve in the project a female minority graduate student in the project. The PI at Colorado School of Mines will participate in the K-12 Outreach Program at the institution to inspire their interests in science and engineering. The proposed research activities will complement and enrich the growing curriculum on Algorithm Design and Game Theory in Networks at Arizona State University and Colorado School of Mines through course development and special topic seminars.
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/18


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $252,000.00

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