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Kubra Alemdar’s PhD Proposal Review

February 3, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

“Overcoming and Engineering Wireless Signals for Communication and Computation”


The phenomenal growth of connected devices, especially rapid expansion of IoT networks and the increasing demand for wireless services are the main driving forces for the evolution of wireless technologies. However, the realization of such technologies requires a radical transformation of existing infrastructures to satisfy the needs of changing wireless environments. The main limitation in delivering these systems stems from a huge diversity in their demands and constraints. To address this limitation, this dissertation shows how wireless signals and their interaction with and within wireless propagation domain can be used as communication or computational tools that enable us to achieve certain novel tasks. Specifically, we build i) cross-functionality architectures to engineer the wireless channel to a) enable the operation of emerging technologies, and b) demonstrate a new paradigm for computing with wireless signals, and ii) intelligently shape the wireless channel to create reliable communication links.

This dissertation presents an experimentally validated software-hardware system to deliver three key contributions: We present a physical layer solution for distributed networks that provides over-the-air (OTA) clock synchronization, called as RFCLOCK, to overcome the hurdle of implementing fine-grained synchronization for emerging technologies. We first develop the theory for such precision synchronization and second implement it in a custom-design, which is compatible with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software-defined radios (SDRs). We compare the performance of RFClock with popular wired and GPS-based hardware solutions, both in terms of clock performance, as well as impact on distributed beamforming.

Next, we propose an RIS-based (reconfigurable reflecting surface) spatio-temporal approach to enhance the link reliability for IoTs where sensors are small-factor designs with single-antenna in rich multipath environment. We demonstrate the design of RIS and how it can effectively perturb the environment, generating multiple wireless propagation channels and achieving performance of multi-antenna receiver in a Single-Input Single-Output (SISO) link. We compare the performance of the system with multi-antenna receiver in terms of channel hardening and outage probability.

Finally, we propose AirFC, a system harnessing the capability of OTA computation to run inference on a neural network (NN) consisting of a set of fully connected layers (FC) by leveraging multi-antenna systems. We experimentally demonstrate and validate that such computation is accurate enough when compared to its digital counterpart.

As part of proposed research ahead, we will address the challenges of realizing RIS-assisted communication in non-stationary conditions where the wireless channel can abruptly change due to the dynamic environment. We will first demonstrate the conditions in which conventional channel estimation methods cannot be utilized. We will then propose a learning method to create directional beams through reflections from RIS towards target locations without estimating the channel.

Location: 632 ISEC


Prof. Kaushik Chowdhury (Advisor)

Prof. Marvin Onabajo

Prof. Josep Jornet


Electrical and Computer Engineering
MS/PhD Thesis Defense
Faculty, Staff