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U.S. National Science Foundation Launches Spectrum Innovation Centre

Network servers in a data center. Swallow depth of Field

Due to the huge societal benefits of the worldwide growth of wireless connectivity, the usage of the radio spectrum and expansion to higher frequencies has become increasingly common. However, the range of available radio frequencies is finite, and as the number of users and applications increase the spectrum gets congested.

Pervasive connectivity must operate in harmony with scientific uses of spectrum, such as Earth observation, astronomy, and geospace and atmospheric sciences — and other vital services such as public safety. The challenges of interference and radio spectrum scarcity must be overcome by technological innovations. . This is an interlinked technical and policy challenge.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $25 million investment over five years to launch SpectrumX, an NSF Spectrum Innovation Centre that will address the growing demand for usage of the radio spectrum. This represents the first federal investment in a national centre focused on the transformation of wireless spectrum management. SpectrumX is a coalition of 29 institutions led by the University of Notre Dame.

The SpectrumX NSF Spectrum Innovation Centre will catalyse innovation and support workforce development to solve radio spectrum challenges that are critical for the nation.

– Sethuraman Panchanathan, NSF Director

The memorandum of agreement that NSF signed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration will allow leveraging the core strengths and missions of all three agencies in support of this effort.

SpectrumX will develop new ways to share and manage the radio spectrum; act as a hub for collaboration among researchers, industry, government agencies and others; and develop the diverse workforce needed for future growth.

The overall goal of SpectrumX is to maximise the benefits of the radio spectrum for society. The investment in SpectrumX is part of the Spectrum Innovation Initiative, a collaboration between NSF, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission to promote dynamic and agile spectrum utilisation while ensuring innovation and security for all users.

Exploring creative mechanisms for spectrum management that will support new wireless technologies is a central focus of the FCC’s work. This innovation centre will enhance FCC’s capacity to fulfil this mission. The Memorandum of Agreement provides subject matter expertise to the Spectrum Innovation Initiative program, including this centre. With NTIA and FCC’s partnership, this initiative is designed to promote a dynamic and agile spectrum and help align NSF’s investments with U.S. spectrum regulatory and policy objectives, principles and strategies.

The United States has been a global leader in the science of spectrum for decades, and the launch of SpectrumX promises to fuel new innovations that will help us meet our national goals and the ever-increasing demand for spectrum.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and NSF announced a $220 million investment in 11 new NSF-led Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes. USDA-NIFA and other agencies and organisations have partnered with NSF to pursue transformational advances in a range of economic sectors and science and engineering fields — from food system security to next-generation edge networks.

NSF’s investment will result in AI-based technologies that bring about a range of advances: helping older adults lead more independent lives and improving the quality of their care; transforming AI into a more accessible “plug-and-play” technology; creating solutions to improve agriculture and food supply chains; enhancing adult online learning by introducing AI as a foundational element, and supporting underrepresented students in elementary to post-doctoral STEM education to improve equity and representation in AI research.

The Director of NSF stated that they look to expand the establishment of new NSF National AI Research Institutes into all 50 states. These institutes are hubs for academia, industry and government to accelerate discovery and innovation in AI. Inspiring talent and ideas everywhere in this important area will lead to new capabilities that improve people’s lives from medicine to entertainment to transportation and cybersecurity and position us in the vanguard of competitiveness and prosperity.


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