The Joint Communications Society/Information Theory Society Paper Award recognizes outstanding papers that lie at the intersection of communications and information theory.
The Committee, made up of members from both societies, have decided the 2021 award will go to:
Sung-En Chiu, Nancy Ronquillo, and Tara Javidi, "Active Learning and CSI Acquisition for mmWave Initial Alignment," IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, Vol.37, No. 11, pp. 2474 - 2489, November 2019.
Millimeter wave (mmWave) communication with large antenna arrays is a promising technique to enable extremely high data rates due to large available bandwidth in mmWave frequency bands. In addition, given the knowledge of an optimal directional beamforming vector, large antenna arrays have been shown to overcome both the severe signal attenuation in mmWave as well as the interference problem. However, fundamental limits on achievable learning rate of an optimal beamforming vector remain. This paper considers the problem of adaptive and sequential optimization of the beamforming vectors during the initial access phase of communication. With a single-path channel model, the problem is reduced to actively learning the Angle-of-Arrival (AoA) of the signal sent from the user to the Base Station (BS). Drawing on the recent results in the design of a hierarchical beamforming codebook, sequential measurement dependent noisy search strategies, and active learning from an imperfect labeler, an adaptive and sequential alignment algorithm is proposed. For any given resolution and error probability of the estimated AoA, an upper bound on the expected search time of the proposed algorithm is derived via Extrinsic Jensen-Shannon Divergence. The upper bound demonstrates that the search time of the proposed algorithm asymptotically matches the performance of the noiseless bisection search up to a constant factor, in effect, characterizing the AoA acquisition rate. Furthermore, the upper bound shows that the acquired AoA error probability decays exponentially fast with the search time with an exponent that is a decreasing function of the acquisition rate. Numerically, the proposed algorithm is compared with prior work where a significant improvement of the system communication rate is observed. Most notably, in the relevant regime of low (-10 dB to +5 dB) raw SNR, this establishes the first practically viable solution for initial access and, hence, the first demonstration of stand-alone mmWave communication.