In spite of significant federal and private investments, the US wireless research community is still lacking experimental facilities to support a science of rigorous and repeatable experimental evaluation of wireless networked systems, beyond simulation tools and small-scale, ad hoc, test-beds. The research community is also lacking a shared wireless network emulation facility to experiment and test at scale, in a fully controlled, programmable, and observable environment, and with hardware in the loop. This project will attempt to bridge this gap by supporting the transition of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) Colosseum -- the world's largest wireless network emulator -- to a shared programmable instrument open to and usable by the research community housed at the Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University. Colosseum is a massive 256-by-256-channel radio frequency (RF) emulator supported with 256 programmable software defined radios, capable of emulating full-stack communications with abundant computational capabilities, ability to implement Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms and hardware in the loop. For the first time, researchers will be able to experience in a single instrument the scale and abstractions of packet-level simulators, the flexibility of software radios, and the fidelity of professional channel emulation. This project will extend and accelerate research in wireless networked systems, and contribute to bringing different communities together (e.g., academia, government researchers, industry). A number of planned activities will train a new generation of professionals with unique networking system analysis and development skills.
This project will make the following core contributions: (i) It will open Colosseum and make it available to the US wireless research community at large by modifying the native software framework, originally designed to support the DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge. (ii) It will extend the functionalities of Colosseum by developing new scenario creation and channel reconfiguration capabilities and data visualization tools, as well as new edge computing, machine learning, and data analytics functionalities. (iii) It will develop a set of outreach activities to collect needs of the research community and plan future evolution of Colosseum to best serve these needs.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.