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University of Calgary Wins Smart Radio Challenge

The Wireless Innovation Forum announced the winners of the 3rd Annual Smart Radio Challenge last week.

The first place team was from the University of Calgary. That team also won the "Best Design" prize.

"The Smart Radio Challenge represents a unique opportunity for graduate students to develop and forge their ground-breaking engineering talents and showcase their achievements to the SDR and wireless communities at large," said Fadhel Ghannouchi, University of Calgary team advisor. "I had the opportunity to mentor and advise, for a full year, the iRadio Team of the University of Calgary, and to witness their ingenuity, innovative thinking, and collaborative sprit which led to the proposal and development of a proof-of-concept SDR-based cognitive network for rescue and disaster situations."

During the challenge, teams of graduate students from universities around the world addressed a scenario involving an earthquake centered in a major metropolitan area and measuring 10.0 on the Richter scale. The incident has disabled the region's communications infrastructure, and as first responders from many different nations arrive, they all begin setting up their own communications systems. As an increasing number of personnel arrive, they discover that locating radio spectrum for their communications is difficult, with unintended interference to communications from various services.

The teams had to develop a cooperative sensing system that created and maintained a database of public safety transmitters on the scene, which included the location of the emitter, physical layer parameters such as modulation type and transmitting frequency, and also to associate the frequency and waveform with a specific emergency team. The teams were required to use Matlab--a special computer language developed for manipulating and plotting data-in modeling the RF environment for the various public safety applications.

Tokyo Institute of Technology's team was awarded second place. Two other awards went to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute team. Teams from Notre Dame, Penn State University, Stevens, and Virginia Tech made it past the qualifying round.

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Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.