Tandon Team Takes Third at Cognitive Radio Design Challenge

When used in military communications, disaster relief, and emergency response, radios may often interfere with and disrupt each other's operations — potentially leading to disastrous consequences. Students competing in the Spectrum Sharing Radio Challenge, a year-long competition hosted by Virginia Tech University, vied to make radios smarter by designing and testing "cognitive radios" (a form of wireless communication in which a transceiver can intelligently detect which communication channels are in use and instantly move into ones that are not). A team of seven NYU Tandon graduate students competed against 16 other teams from around the world and finished in third place, earning a prize of $1,500.

The contestants developed source code for spectrum radios and tested the performance of their designs in three rounds using the cognitive radio test system (CRTS) and Virginia Tech’s CORNET cognitive radio testbed. In each round, the judges examined a different aspect of the functionality of the designs, which aimed to maximize throughput under various circumstances. The final round took place on June 1-3, 2016 at the annual Wireless @ Virginia Tech Symposium, where teams were pitted together tournament-style. NYU Tandon’s “Spectral Rangers,” comprised of electrical and computer engineering masters students Sampreeti Alam; Monika Chaudhari; Ajinkya Kadam; Rose Merlyn Prakash; Neha Rohilla; Rohan Shrotriya; and Jizhou Zhang.

“The team was well prepared for the Spectrum Sharing Student Radio Challenge,” commented Ph.D. candidate Fraida Fund, who served as the team's faculty advisor. “They had previous experience in cognitive radio design, working with the USRP N210 software radio devices, which were used in our class and also in the competition, and using remote-access testbeds for computer networking and wireless research,” she stated. Fund developed and taught a class called "Selected Topics in Wireless Communications: Software Defined Radio Lab” in which students learned how to create and test software defined radio designs and apply cognitive radio concepts. “All of us participated this competition because of [Fund’s course],” said recent Tandon graduate Jizhou Zhang. “[It] was really fun and made us want to dive deeper into this field after the course ended."

Judy Lee
College of Arts and Science
B.A. in Sociology, Class of 2018