Researching the next G

The Wireless Networking and Communications Group at University of Texas has secured the backing of some significant industry partners in launching 6G@UT, “a research center at UT Austin imagining the future of wireless connectivity at the intersection of immersive sensing and machine learning”.

According to the release,

Founding 6G@UT affiliates Samsung, AT&T, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and InterDigital will each fund at least two projects for three years at the center. Researchers from the companies will work alongside UT faculty members and students to develop wireless-specific machine learning algorithms, advanced sensing technologies, and core networking innovations that will be the backbone of 6G.

Among the initial research thrusts:

  • DEEPLY EMBEDDED MACHINE LEARNING: A key novelty for 6G will be a major role for machine learning techniques at all layers in the protocol stack, from the PHY layer up to network and application layers, as well as over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, allowing unprecedented site-specific adaptability and network automation. WNCG has had a strong core of machine learning expertise since before 2010, and has a history of deep collaborations between ML and wireless faculty, unique amongst global wireless research centers.
  • NEW SPECTRUM AND TOPOLOGIES: 6G will unleash both new spectrum, e.g. above 100 GHz, and novel spectrum access paradigms that go well beyond the current licensed and unlicensed duopoly. 6G will make new coverage paradigms a reality, including massive LEO satellite constellations as well as self-backhauled small cell deployments, having a profound effect on global broadband coverage.
  • PERVASIVE SENSING: Pervasive sensing will feed hungry machine learning algorithms, continuously tuning and reconfiguring the network, while “sensing-as-a-service” will be offered to subscribers and applications. 6G networks will not just be communications systems, but sensing networks that serve as a platform for crowd-sourced sensing; novel wireless sensing techniques will enable delightful new ways for users to interact with devices and to monitor both the users’ physical health.
  • NETWORK SLICING AND SHARING: 6G network architectures will enable new revenue streams and the sharing of network and spectrum resources for a set of diverse tenets with different requirements. Building on the emerging ORAN paradigm, 6G networks will enable unprecedented openness, customization, automation, and “softwarization”.

Canada has some significant mobile technology talent working in labs for global telecom giants, as well as 5G testbeds set up by mobile service providers in cooperation with some of our universities across the country.

As the Longhorns of 6G@UT are demonstrating, it is already time to start looking ahead to the next generation of technology.

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