San Francisco was the site of the 2008 WiNTECH Workshop, which held a contest between teams presenting demonstrations of their research prototypes. The theme of the contest was “The Next Big Thing in Wireless”, and consisted of teams building real wireless systems and giving a live demonstration of their capabilities.

From left, Ketan Mandke, Robert Daniels, contest judge Dennis McCain, Steven Peters, and Prof. Robert Heath, Jr.

The winning team consisted of Robert C. Daniels, Ketan Mandke, Steven W. Peters, Prof. Scott M. Nettles, and Prof. Robert W. Heath, Jr., and their winning presentation was called “Machine Learning for Physical Layer Link Adaptation in Multiple-Antenna Wireless Networks”. Daniels and Peters are graduate students in the WSIL, which is directed by Prof. Heath. The demo consisted of using simple machine learning techniques to do adaptation in wireless devices using a custom-built IEEE 802.11n physical layer (PHY). Because this PHY uses coded MIMO-OFDM, adaptation is a difficult prospect. The team successfully demonstrated that the devices were learning the channel with no pre-existing knowledge, and could easily adapt to changing conditions. They used the Hydra prototype, which is in continuous development, as the foundation for the demo.

The winning students received a $2500 cash prize kindly donated by the sponsors, ViaSat, Nokia Siemens Networks, The Center for Multimedia Communication, and BBN Technologies.

The work was sponsored in part by NSF and DARPA ITMANET.