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.
During the summer of 2022, SpectrumX along with its partners at its member institution the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) conducted a six-week virtual professional development program for ten middle and high school teachers. The educators were selected from across the United States through a competitive application process. The participants were chosen based on their experience creating original lessons and interest in incorporating more electromagnetic spectrum curricula into their classes.
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.
SpectrumX is pleased to be able to offer educational opportunities for undergraduate students.
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 leadership team invites expressions of interest from faculty members to design and develop courseware for one of three proposed online courses for publication on the Coursera platform. SpectrumX is launching a multi-course specialization (tentatively titled Spectrum Innovation) at the early graduate level in order to attract professionals to the field, upskill current practitioners, and support the broader educational goals of our grant and 29 institutional partners.
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.