Prof. Robert Heath Awarded NSF Grant for ADCs Research

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August 4, 2015

As communication systems embrace ever wider bandwidths and the FCC seeks to codify next-generation standards, Analog-to-Digital-Converters (ADCs) struggle to meet rate, resolution and power requirements for these systems. The massive antenna arrays under consideration for next-generation wireless, which include tens or even hundreds of receiver channels, only exacerbate the problem.

To meet these challenges, the National Science Foundation awarded Prof. Robert Heath and his collaborator and Primary Investigator on the grant Prof. Phil Schniter from Ohio State University a new research grant worth $248,973. The collaborative project will focus on the fundamentals and practical design of next-generation communications with low-resolution ADCs. 

This research could radically change the theory and practice of communications by forcing researchers to re-examine signal design, receiver processing algorithms and limited-feedback strategies. Using recent results from wireless communications theory, one-bit compressed sensing and approximate message-passing, the researchers will investigate these topics in the context of Multiple-Input Multiple-Output systems with massive arrays, otherwise known as Massive MIMO.

Through theoretical methods, the researchers will determine achievable rate bounds that account for coarse ADC quantization, imperfect and partial Channel State Information at the receiver and transmitter and multi-user interference. They will develop strategies to limit feedback, transmitter-precoder designs that exploit more accurate Channel State Information and optimized training sequences. They will create channel-estimation algorithms that learn and exploit channel sparsity, multi-user detection algorithms that account for channel-estimation error and efficient strategies for joint-channel estimation, equalization and decoding. Finally, the research team will develop optimization, adaptation and calibration strategies that account for the imperfections of ADCs.

Prof. Heath is a leading expert in the field of Massive MIMO. He received a best paper award from the Journal of Communication Networks on this topic in 2013. His present research focuses on millimeter wave communication, and its application to cellular networks, local area networks, and transportation networks. On October 16, 2015, Prof. Heath and his colleague, Prof. Jeff Andrews, will co-chair Texas Wireless Summit: The View to 5G, a one day conference at UT Austin. The conference will feature acclaimed speakers from across academia and industry, including keynote speakers Gerhard Fettweis and Tom Marzetta. Early bird registration is now available.