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The Social Life of Cognitive Radios

March 20, 2011

This is the title of my keynote talk that I will be giving at the IEEE International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA-2011) in  Biopolis, Singapore, March 22 – 25, 2011. It is a general networking conference so the focus is not cognitive radio. However there is a cognitive radio session and a couple of other cognitive radio papers in the conference.

I have been thinking about how cognitive radios can form social networks and be like people in that sense. In the cognitive radio world there have been many arguments about whether a specific cognitive radio is really cognitive. Can it be cognitive if it does not include sensing or if it does not have learning capabilities? I don’t really worry about this kind of debate and just believe that many of the radio systems we deal with increasingly have cognitive characteristics in that they can respond to changing conditions.

However on thinking about things more  I have been focusing on characteristics of social networks and imaging a collection of radios forming a community using some of the tools that are commonly used in social networking contexts and am therefore wondering is this getting closer to what it would mean to really be a cognitive radio. I kind of imagine the radios creating their own lives.  I will put the slides up here once the keynote talk has taken place and maybe these somewhat random comments make sense.

In general I think there are three interesting things that have come out of the TV White Spaces (though I find the TV white spaces themselves not that intriguing). The first is that I think even though there are not any commercial systems out there operating yet, there has been an acceptance of the idea that dynamic access to the spectrum resource is acceptable (albeit in a limited way).

The second is the acceptance that the use of some kind of geo-database or map is part of  and parcel of the communication process. I initially saw the database process as a win for the broadcasters and a way of over-controlling access to the white spaces. However while that may be the case I think the database represents some really interesting potential for the future should we choose to exploit it.

The third point that is a good thing is the fact that technology neutrality has gained a stronger foothold. Basically the idea is that an entity uses the white space spectrum to do whatever they want provided primary users or incumbents are disturbed.

So essentially in my opinion whether the TV white spaces thrive or not some good things have happened.

Points one and two form the basis on which I build my talk. The use of resources dynamically and the breaking of more traditional ownership models is very interesting. It has a parallel in the collaborative consumption processes that emerge more and more on the Internet. The use of the database has a parallel with the world of social networking. In reality we lead our lives constantly checking one database or other… while at the same time actively and passively building the very databases we keep on checking. We live in a world of socially connected databases.

The purpose of the talk is to think through cognitive networking from the perspective of a radio that collaboratively consumes and makes much greater use of databases that it also actively or passively creates.

There are potentially not enough concrete examples of how things can be done yet in my talk. And maybe the statements I make are just ‘bleedin obvious’. I hope not…otherwise people will be terribly bored.

  1. Przemek Pawelczak permalink

    Interesting reference to the Collaborative Consumption concept in the context of CRs

  2. A gentle reminder – you didn’t put up your slides from Singapore…

  3. Oops – I see the slides on in a separate blog entry. Sorry, but I can’t delete my earlier reminder about that…

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  1. The Social Life of Cognitive Radios II « Linda Doyle

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