Allen B. MacKenzie


Game Theoretic Models of Cooperation in Wireless Networks

This is a CAREER awards sponsored by the National Science Foundation.  The project started June 1, 2005 and ended on May 31, 2012. NSF award data is here.

Abstract: Modern wireless networks are complex dynamic systems that promise to provide the public with Internet access, new commercial and public safety services, and real-time information about the world at any location and any time. Without a unifying analytical framework, though, the promises of wireless technology will not be fully realized. This project is exploring the application of game theory, an analysis tool that has been successful in explaining complex economic systems, to create an analytical framework for wireless networks. Specifically, the project is developing a theory of cooperation to explain how network nodes with disparate and limited information can cooperate to achieve network-wide goals. This theory is based on the game-theoretic notion of a potential game, and makes game theory more useful for engineering applications. The nascent theory is being applied to produce optimal algorithms for controlling transmission power and selecting code sequences in a wireless network. This work is expected to lead to more efficient power control and interference avoidance algorithms, thus improving the performance of wireless networks and using radio spectrum (an important public resource) more efficiently. More importantly, though, this research is developing fundamental analytical tools that will enable other researchers to create more efficient and more powerful wireless networks for a wide variety of applications. While pursuing these important research aims, the project also includes strong education components which introduce K-12 students to wireless technology with hands-on activities designed to stimulate interest in electrical and computer engineering and wireless communications.