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Dickens Receives Best Paper Award at SDR Conference


Michael Dickens, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, received a Best Paper award from the Wireless Innovation Europe Conference on Communications Technologies and Software Defined Radio 2011 (SDR’11-WInnComm-Europe) for his publication titled, “Seamless Dynamic Runtime Reconfiguration in a Software-Defined Radio.” The conference took place in Brussels from June 22 to 24. The paper has also recently been selected for publication in a special issue of the Springer Journal of Signal Processing Systems.

In the paper, Dickens describes a software-defined radio system that allows for waveform reconfiguration during runtime without interrupting the data flow. This process has traditionally required stopping the data-flow processing, reconfiguring the signals, and then restarting the processing, with delays that may be unacceptable for certain applications, such as emergency response when real-time communication is critical. The seamless processing proposed by Dickens is accomplished through a system supervisor to better control the data-processing function without interrupting the signal. 

As a Ph.D. candidate advised by J. Nicholas Laneman, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Dickens has focused his research efforts on software radio runtime implementation issues, although his interests span all aspects of programming for software radios from operating system boot codes to kernels, signal-processing implementations to user interfaces. A Notebaert professional development grant from the Graduate School was awarded to support his trip to present his work at the WInnComm conference.

Dickens received his M.S. from the University in 2001 and his B.S. in 1991 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to beginning his studies at Notre Dame, he worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Bolt Beranek and Newman; he worked at the MITRE Corporation from 2001 until 2005, when he started his Ph.D. studies. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society.