64 Publications


In order to meet mobile cellular users’ ever-increasing data demands, today’s 4G and 5G networks are designed mainly with the goal of maximizing spectral efficiency. While they have made progress in this regard, controlling the carbon footprint and operational costs of such networks remains a long-standing problem among network designers. This paper takes a long view on this problem, envisioning a NextG scenario where the network leverages quantum annealing for cellular baseband processing. We gather and synthesize insights on power consumption, computational throughput and latency, spectral efficiency, operational cost, and feasibility timelines surrounding quantum annealing technology. Armed with these data, we analyze and project the quantitative performance targets future quantum annealing hardware must meet in order to provide a computational and power advantage over CMOS hardware, while matching its whole-network spectral efficiency. Our quantitative analysis predicts that with quantum annealing hardware operating at a 82.32 μs problem latency and 2.68M qubits, quantum annealing will achieve a spectral efficiency equal to CMOS computation while reducing power consumption by 41 kW (45% lower) in a 5G base station scenario with 400 MHz bandwidth and 64 antennas, and a 160 kW power reduction (55% lower) using 8.04M qubits in a C-RAN setting with three 5G base stations.

Tomorrow's massive-scale IoT sensor networks are poised to drive uplink traffic demand, especially in areas of dense deployment. To meet this demand, however, network designers leverage tools that often require accurate estimates of Channel State Information (CSI), which incurs a high overhead and thus reduces network throughput. Furthermore, the overhead generally scales with the number of clients, and so is of special concern in such massive IoT sensor networks. While prior work has used transmissions over one frequency band to predict the channel of another frequency band on the same link, this paper takes the next step in the effort to reduce CSI overhead: predict the CSI of a nearby but distinct link. We propose Cross-Link Channel Prediction (CLCP), a technique that leverages multi-view representation learning to predict the channel response of a large number of users, thereby reducing channel estimation overhead further than previously possible. CLCP's design is highly practical, exploiting existing transmissions rather than dedicated channel sounding or extra pilot signals. We have implemented CLCP for two different Wi-Fi versions, namely 802.11n and 802.11ax, the latter being the leading candidate for future IoT networks. We evaluate CLCP in two large-scale indoor scenarios involving both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight transmissions with up to 144 different 802.11ax users and four different channel bandwidths, from 20 MHz up to 160 MHz. Our results show that CLCP provides a 2× throughput gain over baseline and a 30% throughput gain over existing prediction algorithms.

This paper presents SoundSticker, a system for steganographic, in-band data communication over an acoustic channel. In contrast with recent works that hide bits in inaudible frequency bands, SoundSticker embeds hidden bits in the audible sounds, making them more reliably survive audio codecs and bandpass filtering, while achieving a higher data rate and remaining imperceptible to a listener. The key observation behind SoundSticker is that the human ear is less sensitive to the audio phase changes than the frequency and amplitude changes, which leaves us an opportunity to alter the phase of an audio clip to convey hidden information. We take advantage of this opportunity and build an OFDM-based physical layer. To make this PHY-layer design work for a variety of end devices with heterogeneous computation resources, SoundSticker addresses multiple technical challenges including perceivable waveform artifacts caused by the phase-based modulation, bit rate adaptation without channel sounding and real-time preamble detection. Our prototype on both smartphones and ESP32 platforms demonstrates SoundSticker’s superior performance against the state of the arts, while preserving excellent sound quality and remaining unaffected by common audio codecs like MP3 and AAC. Audio clips produced by SoundSticker can be found at

Exploiting (near-)optimal MIMO signal processing algorithms in the next generation (NextG) cellular systems holds great promise in achieving significant wireless performance gains in spectral efficiency and device connectivity, to name a few. However, it is extremely difficult to enable optimal processing methods in the systems, since the required computational amount increases exponentially with more users and higher data rates, while available processing time is strictly limited. In this regard, quantum signal processing has been recently identified as a promising potential enabler of the (near-)optimal algorithms in the systems, since quantum computing could dramatically speed up the computation via non-conventional effects based on quantum mechanics. Given existing quantum decoherence and noise on quantum hardware, parallel quantum optimization could accelerate the process even further at the expense of more qubit usage. In this paper, we discuss the parallelization of quantum MIMO processing and investigate a spin-level preprocessing method for relatively finer-grained decomposition that can support more flexible parallel quantum signal processing, compared to the recently reported symbol-level decomposition method. We evaluate the method on the state-of-the-art analog D-Wave Advantage quantum processor.

This paper presents Monolith, a high bitrate, low- power, metamaterials surface-based Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) MIMO multiplexing design for rank deficient, free space wireless environments. Leveraging ambient signals as the source of power, Monolith backscatters these ambient signals by modulating them into several orthogonal beams, where each beam carries a unique OAM. We provide insights along the design aspects of a low-power and programmable metamaterials- based surface. Our results show that Monolith achieves an order of magnitude higher channel capacity than traditional spatial MIMO backscattering networks.


We present the Hybrid Polar Decoder (HyPD), a hybrid classical–quantum decoder design for Polar error correction codes, which are becoming widespread in today’s 5G and tomorrow’s 6G networks. HyPD employs CMOS processing for the Polar decoder’s binary tree traversal, and Quantum Annealing (QA) processing for the Quantum Polar Decoder (QPD)–a Maximum-Likelihood QA-based Polar decoder submodule. QPD’s design efficiently transforms a Polar decoder into a quadratic polynomial optimization form, then maps this polynomial on to the physical QA hardware via QPD-MAP, a customized problem mapping scheme tailored to QPD. We have experimentally evaluated HyPD on a state-of-the-art QA device with 5,627 qubits, for 5G-NR Polar codes with block length of 1,024 bits, in Rayleigh fading channels. Our results show that HyPD outperforms Successive Cancellation List decoders of list size eight by half an order of bit error rate magnitude, and achieves a 1,500-bytes frame delivery rate of 99.1%, at 1 dB signal-to-noise ratio. Further studies present QA compute time considerations. We also propose QPD-HW, a novel QA hardware topology tailored for the task of decoding Polar codes. QPD-HW is sparse, flexible to code rate and block length, and may be of potential interest to the designers of tomorrow’s 6G wireless networks.

Mobile operators are poised to leverage millimeter wave technology as 5G evolves, but despite efforts to bolster their reliability indoors and outdoors, mmWave links remain vulnerable to blockage by walls, people, and obstacles. Further, there is significant interest in bringing outdoor mmWave coverage indoors, which for similar reasons remains challenging today. This paper presents the design, hardware implementation, and experimental evaluation of mmWall, the first electronically almost-360 degree steerable metamaterial surface that operates above 24 GHz and both refracts or reflects incoming mmWave transmissions. Our metamaterial design consists of arrays of varactor-split ring resonator unit cells, miniaturized for mmWave. Custom control circuitry drives each resonator, overcoming coupling challenges that arise at scale. Leveraging beam steering algorithms, we integrate mmWall into the link layer discovery protocols of common mmWave networks. We have fabricated a 10 cm by 20 cm mmWall prototype consisting of a 28 by 76 unit cell array, and evaluate in indoor, outdoor-to-indoor, and multi-beam scenarios. Indoors, mmWall guarantees 91% of locations outage-free under 128-QAM mmWave data rates and boosts SNR by up to 15 dB. Outdoors, mmWall reduces the probability of complete link failure by a ratio of up to 40% under 0-80% path blockage and boosts SNR by up to 30 dB.

Short video streaming applications have recently gained substantial traction, but the non-linear video presentation they afford swiping users fundamentally changes the problem of maximizing user quality of experience in the face of the vagaries of network throughput and user swipe timing. This paper describes the design and implementation of Dashlet, a system tailored for high quality of experience in short video streaming applications. With the insights we glean from an in-the-wild TikTok performance study and a user study focused on swipe patterns, Dashlet proposes a novel out-of-order video chunk pre-buffering mechanism that leverages a simple, non machine learning-based model of users' swipe statistics to determine the pre-buffering order and bitrate. The net result is a system that achieves 77-99% of an oracle system's QoE and outperforms TikTok by 43.9-45.1x, while also reducing by 30% the number of bytes wasted on downloaded video that is never watched.


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has caused social and economic crisis to the globe. Contact tracing is a proven effective way of containing the spread of COVID-19. In this paper, we propose CAPER, a Cellular-Assisted deeP lEaRning based COVID-19 contact tracing system based on cellular network channel state information (CSI) measurements. CAPER leverages a deep neural network based feature extractor to map cellular CSI to a neural network feature space, within which the Euclidean distance between points strongly correlates with the proximity of devices. By doing so, we maintain user privacy by ensuring that CAPER never propagates one client s CSI data to its server or to other clients. We implement a CAPER prototype using a software defined radio platform, and evaluate its performance in a variety of real-world situations including indoor and outdoor scenarios, crowded and sparse environments, and with differing data traffic patterns and cellular configurations in common use. Microbenchmarks show that our neural network model runs in 12.1 microseconds on the OnePlus 8 smartphone. End-to-end results demonstrate that CAPER achieves an overall accuracy of 93.39%, outperforming the accuracy of BLE based approach by 14.96%, in determining whether two devices are within six feet or not, and only misses 1.21% of close contacts. CAPER is also robust to environment dynamics, maintaining an accuracy of 92.35% after running for ten days.