Dr. Hongbin Li Wins Outstanding Paper Award at IEEE Africon 2011

Dr. Hongbin LiAs proliferating wireless devices make greater demands on communications spectrum, researchers seek to develop new technologies that allow smarter utilization of these frequencies. Dr. Hongbin Li of Stevens Institute of Technology recently presented a paper on a new method for sensing spectrum use in schemes to dynamically switch between frequencies, in a paradigm known as cognitive radio. In recognition of the quality his research and its applications, Dr. Li received the Outstanding Paper Award at IEEE Africon 2011.

The paper, "Rapid Spectrum Sensing with Multiple Antennas for Cognitive Radio," is a joint work with Dr. Li's current and former PhD students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: Dr. Pu Wang, now a research assistant professor at Stevens; Dr. Jun Fang, now on faculty at the University of Science and Technology and China; and current student Ning Han.

Cognitive radio setupThe research group's goal was to develop a rapid spectrum sensing method by leveraging multiple antennas with efficient algorithms. This combination was selected to overcome the limitations of existing detection methods, which are limited by being either computationally demanding or requiring large amounts of prior knowledge. Dr. Li and his colleagues were successfully able to model a system that could rapidly scan spectrum to determine use, but does not require prior knowledge of the primary spectrum user's signaling scheme, channel information between users, or noise power.

"This research has many practical applications for the coming era of ubiquitous wireless communications, wherein devices will need to be able to rapidly scan spectrum without using enormous resources of data or memory," reports Dr. Yu-Dong Yao, Department Director for ECE. "That they took home this award from a major IEEE event demonstrates the value of the group's research."

Cognitive radio, a term coined by Stevens Vice President of The Research Enterprise, Dr. Joseph Mitola, is an approach to wireless networking incorporating dynamic spectrum access to more efficiently utilize communications spectrum. Beyond enabling more device connections and faster, more robust communications, cognitive radio also lays the foundation for a new generation of flexible and customized wireless services.

Dr. Hongbin Li is a leading individual conducting research that advances fundamental understanding and novel applications in signal processing, sensing, and wireless communications. He has attracted high-profile funding from NSF, AFRL, AFOSR, ONR, and other sponsors, and is Director of the Signal Processing and Communications Lab. Together with his PhD students in the Lab, Dr. Li is developing the software for technologies that enhance our nation's security and communications infrastructure.

Founded in 1983, Africon is Africa's top IEEE event, bringing together professionals, academics, and industry representatives to exchange ideas, present research findings, and to network. Africon 2011 brought together leading individuals from the international engineering community on the theme of sustainable energy and communications development, with special interest in development within Africa. This year's conference was held in Livingstone, Zambia on September 13-15.