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To Send or Not to Send? Learning to Share the Airwaves in Wireless Networks




6: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Faculty Supervisor:

Gregory Wornell

Faculty email:


Apply by:

September 23 2020


Professor Gregory Wornell, Gary Lee and Tejas Jayashankar: gww@mit.edu, garyleecf@mit.edu, tejasj@mit.edu

Project Description

Imagine being in a room full of people who want to speak — if everyone speaks at the same time, we may not fully understand what everyone is saying. Hence, we instinctively learn to cooperate by establishing conventions as to who may speak at different times, and even predict behavioral patterns of others to determine the best opportunity to say something. Mobile devices face the same challenge: they need to determine opportune moments to communicate in a common medium without disrupting other devices. This has grown into a major challenge for wireless networks with dramatic growth in the number of devices. Here, we are interested in how such devices can use artificial intelligence to learn to coexist with other devices in sharing the available medium, and dynamically adapt to the settings and demands of different devices. In this project, you will build a simple simulation environment to model this problem of multiple users sharing a limited common medium for wireless communications. You will also have the opportunity to design and develop computational solutions to the problem, and compare it against conventional strategies under different test settings. -- A team of three students will collaborate on this project. The goals and tasks of the project will be tailored to accommodate the experience and interests of the team. (First-year students are particularly welcome and encouraged to apply!) Each student appointment is for 10 hours per week over 14 weeks in the Fall semester (and potentially into IAP). All project meetings will be via zoom. The hourly wage for the position is $13/hour for a maximum of 140 hours. Students must be enrolled for the Fall semester and currently residing in the US to be eligible (though a credit-only UROP position for those residing outside of the US may be possible.) To apply, send a short statement of interest and CV/resume to Professor Gregory Wornell, Gary Lee and Tejas Jayashankar (gww@mit.edu, garyleecf@mit.edu, tejasj@mit.edu). Application deadline is September 23, 2020, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Eligible applicants will be invited to an interview. You may expect to hear back not later than September 30, 2020. If you have any questions about the ELO, feel free to contact us by email.


Prospective members of the team should be comfortable using basic computational tools. Experience with programming, particularly in Python, is preferred but not required; the project provides opportunities to learn and improve your programming skills.