It seemed like a normal group meeting for students to share updates. Olin College of Engineering undergraduate students filtered into an open lab on a chilly Monday evening in Needham, Massachusetts. A large antenna laid on its side, mid-build in one corner of the room, a cube satellite (cubesat) in another, and stacks of amateur radio guides are along a wall for learners to borrow and prepare for the licensing test. Around 20 group members gathered around a table, briefing the room and their advisor, Professor Whitney Lohmeyer, on their latest updates.
Addressing U.S. radio spectrum challenges with innovative technology and policy options is one of the main objectives of SpectrumX, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Spectrum Innovation Center. Bringing together multi-disciplinary expertise, convening discussions, and prioritizing project directions is a key way the center is working with stakeholders to advance research, policy outreach, education, and more.
Interference conflicts are ongoing challenges within the radio spectrum field. Within the U.S. spectrum ecosystem, commercial wireless networks for communication, internet access, scientific sensing for both environment and radio astronomy, broadcast, radar, position/navigation/timing, and more create a sometimes crowded atmosphere where signals compete.
In October, Admiral Christopher W. Grady, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined faculty members at the University of Notre Dame for an update on the University’s research activities. Admiral Grady, a 1984 graduate of Notre Dame, is also a past recipient of the University’s Rev. William Corby, C.S.C., Award for distinguished military service.
While they may have only had a few games on the field, researchers from both universities have long worked together in the lab — studying chronic disease and children’s health, exploring planet formation and building autonomous machines.
The SpectrumX Center Meeting on October 3 and 4, held at the University of Virginia (UVA), brought together over 65 learners and leaders for cross-cutting discussions on timely and interdisciplinary topics.
“The meeting provided an opportunity for students, researchers, stakeholders, and professionals in policy making to come together at UVA to discuss some of the most important subjects in our field,” said Bobby Weikle, SpectrumX Steering Committee Chair and Radio and Network Technologies Research Lead, and Professor at the University of Virginia. “UVA has a long history of collaboration with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and it was a great opportunity to bring their teams and our center together in-person and online.”
On Thursday, September 30, SpectrumX Center Director Nick Laneman gave a keynote address at GRCon 22 in Washington D.C. Laneman concurrently co-directs the Wireless Institute in the College of Engineering and is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.
GNU Radio is “a free and open-source software development toolkit that provides signal processing blocks to implement software radios,” according to its website. It is utilized by researchers, industry, government, hobbyist, and academic stakeholders alike.
SpectrumX, a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Spectrum Innovation Center, will host its next semi-annual center meeting on October 3 and 4, 2022. The event will bring together the center’s members and partners, including faculty and student researchers, industry collaborators, and government agency representatives, in a hybrid meeting format with in-person attendees enjoying the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. The center launched in September 2021 with a $25 million grant from the NSF Spectrum Innovation Initiative, and its members have been working hard to execute on plans and realize its vision as the world’s largest academic hub in the radio spectrum ecosystem.
On Saturday, September 17, 2022, Pedro Bustamante, former SpectrumX member and postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Governance and Markets at the University of Pittsburgh, and current Assistant Teaching Professor at the Information and Networking Institute at Carnegie Mellon University was awarded the first prize of the student paper competition at the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC) 2022.
Madeline Pooler, an undergraduate student dual enrolled at Saint Mary’s College in computing and applied mathematics, and at the University of Notre Dame in computer science, took part in a 10-week summer program called Advanced Wireless Research Experiences (AWaRE) through the Wireless Institute at the University of Notre Dame. The Wireless Institute is co-directed by the director of SpectrumX, Nick Laneman, who served as Pooler’s faculty mentor.