Cognitive Radio

One of the main limitations in nextgeneration wireless systems is bandwidth scarcity. Nowadays, most of the spectrum is allocated to specific applications by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); however, statistics shows that the spectral utilization is low in most of the reserved ranges. So, trying to use the idle primary (licensed) bandwidth and let the secondary (unlicensed) users to communicate when the channel is free sounds reasonable, and this is known by Interoperability which is the ability of two diverse systems to work together. Also, Interoperability must take place without interference between the users. Arising from those problems, Cognitive Radio (CR) technology has been considered.


Cognitive radio is a form of wireless communication in which a transceiver (transmitter and receiver) can intelligently detect which communication channels are in use and which are not, and instantly move into vacant channels while avoiding occupied ones. This optimizes the use of available radio-frequency (RF) spectrum while minimizing interference to other users.

The idea of CR was developed by Joseph Mitola at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the United States.

The CR System consists mainly of a Cognitive Engine which is perfectly described as the brain of the CR system, Software-Defined Radio (SDR) which is a radio platform of which the functionality is at least partially controlled or implemented in software and some Artificial Intelligence (AI) which constitutes the core controller for a cognitive radio system like case-based reasoning, neural networks, rule-based reasoning, genetic algorithm and fuzzy logic, and the selection process of an AI can substantially affect the performance of the system.

CR is now applied in USA and that’s in various fields like Health Care where the FCC established the Wireless Medical Telemetry Services (WMTS) band for the transmission of data related to a patient’s health, and similar reserved channels exist for life-critical communications throughout the world. CR technology is used to dynamically utilize the WMTS frequencies based on the activity patterns of the high priority users, and the quality of service constraints of the patients’ data, while ensuring protection to existing higher priority transmissions and the safe operation of sensitive medical equipment.

Also CR contributed in Medicine with the Smart Medicine Container and Wireless Event Detection / Notification System which aims to provide the automatic cross-checking method to increase the credibility of the correct medication delivery for the patients. The status and events of the medical containers are tracked in order to avoid the possible human errors. This system will help the patients and assist the nurses and doctors to record what pills the patients took, when the pills were taken, and how many pills were taken. It can aid nurses in knowing when intravenous drips are consumed. It can be used for the tracking and management of not only medical containers in the hospital environment but other items in smart buildings, factories and supermarkets, etc.

Another application is in Agriculture where the deployment of CR in the field can help to improve food yields and enable farmers to better forecast crop yields and production. The use of CR to share data increases the number of farmers profiting from the information. At the local level, CR can provide farmers with useful and beneficial information, such as new farming techniques, weather reports, and crop prices.

However, CR is still a research challenge; there are lots of challenges in CR to work on like sensing, security, Geolocation, etc. In CR research, whether you will reach results or no, it’s worth trying and it’s always interesting.

Experts predict that in the very near we’re going to use cognitive radio in our daily lives, in our simple daily uses, for example, CR will be used in home automation systems. CR technology will have a great contribution in easing our lives and that’s why it’s very interesting, really interesting to get involved in CR’s work.

Virginia Tech University is considered one of the most concerned universities with CR. The Wireless @ VT research group has embarked on an effort to develop a unique testbed named the Virginia Tech cognitive radio network (VT-CORNET), for the development, testing, and evaluation of cognitive engine techniques and cognitive radio network applications. An open cognitive radio network testbed provides the infrastructure for researchers at Virginia Tech and partner institutions to evaluate independently developed cognitive radio engines, sensing techniques, applications, protocols, performance metrics, and algorithms in a real world wireless environment, in contrast to a computer simulation or single node-to-single node environment.

Among the researchers at Virginia Tech who are highly involved in CR’s work is an Egyptian researcher called Dr Hazem S. Shatila; he received his Bachelor and Masters degree from the Arab Academy for Science & Tech. (AAST)-Egypt, in 1999 and 2003, respectively. He received his PhD degree from Virginia Tech. University-USA in 2012. Dr Hazem is a member of the IEEE and the author of many journal and conference papers. Dr Hazem’s research interests are in the field of wireless communications, networking, cognitive radio and artificial intelligence. He is a technical manager at Vodafone Egypt and a part of Vodafone’s R&D group.

Years ago, CR was considered science fiction, but now it’s one of the most essential technologies – which must be widely used later on – and that’s how CR proved literally that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.


Humanizing Technology

It’s so easy to make technology complicated, but it takes a lot of thought and effort to make it simple. How many times have you almost tripped while looking at your phone? Countless, we bet. We would like you to meet the heads-up version of this experience, also known as “Wearable Technology”. Thanks to wearable technology, the world feels a little more surreal every day; a little more magical. Not to mention, reclaiming our humanity. While designing these technologies, one’s aim should be to design a device that is radically simple and that inspires possibilities all the same.


Imagine when a simple stone-like gadget can be shaken to say, “I love you.” and held tightly to send a message to someone else’s phone. This may seem like luxury at first sight, however, such technologies can be extremely crucial for people with speech problems, people who have communication issues, and even for those who do not, it is a great way to stay connected with everything when life gets too busy to call or text. Imagine when simply carrying a stone around can do all this magic. Smartstones Touch is an embodiment of this fantasy; a sensory device that is connected to the internet, and up to ten of your favorite people. There is also Smartstones Prose; an integrated app that lets you configure and send spoken messages by simply rubbing your stone, which can be very helpful to people with ALS, because it is a way to interact in all those little ways that do not require typing out a message. Wearable technology has come a long way, and more is yet to come. In the future, we might witness an integration of wearable technology by various platforms. You might even be able to do all this magic and contact your favorite people by a tiny gesture using a piece of regular fabric.


Know your Digital Rights

Dr. Richard Stallman, the guru of free programming, speaks of the importance of free software in a teleconference session

“Not only does digital technology liberate people, it can also suffocate people,” Dr. Stallman asserted at the start of his session. We all know that developers have implicit control over the programs they create. But why can’t users have access to such power? On the 10th of September, Dr. Richard Stallman shared his story about his fight against proprietary programming with the attendees of ITW’13.


‘Individual Control’ over the program can only be gained through 2 types of freedoms. The first is to allow the users to run the program whenever they wish. The second is to study the source code and change it so that it can work in the way the user wants it to. However, Dr. Stallman said that individual freedom isn’t enough because not all users are experienced developers hence don’t know how to exercise these freedoms.

The idea of CR was developed by Joseph Mitola at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the United States.

This is where ‘Collective Control’ comes into the picture. Collective control means any group of users can have control over the program. This kind of control requires two supplementary freedoms which are the freedom to redistribute copies of any program and distribute altered versions of the program.

If the program does not have those 4 fundamental freedoms, then the users are controlled by the program, and in turn by the owners of the program. This gives the owner bias power. Thereby, non-free programs must be eliminated. That is the cause of the Free Software Movement founded by Dr. Stallman in 1983.

Owners can abuse that power to gain advantage over the users. Consequently, nonfree programs can have ‘Malicious Functionality’. Many users think of malware as viruses only. But malware can come in the form of surveillance or spyware, digital handcuffs that limit the usage of the computer, and backdoors which receive commands without the users’ authority.

Many of us are not aware of the presence of malicious software in the programs we use. Among them, is Microsoft Windows which has specific spy features that send unauthorised data to servers. Digital Rights Management (DRM) which is the control of data and devices can be found in Microsoft Windows. It also has 2 invisible backdoors. The Universal backdoor, forcefully changes the way the software works without the users’ permission and Sabotage which is sending information about bugs to the US government before fixing them so that they can manipulate those bugs and gain access to private data.

Microsoft Windows is not the only malicious software out there in the market. Apple Macintosh carries a more serious problem. Dr.

Stallman states that iOS does many nasty things. It has even nastier digital handcuffs than Microsoft Windows because it has more control over the software installed. Users can’t install anything except for applications approved by Apple such as iTunes, Safari etc. These applications are “platforms for censorships” which is against the law. But it isn’t because Apple uses the issue of jail breaking in its defence.

“Apple has developed the nastiest digital handcuffs in the history of general purpose computing”

Non-free software is mistaken for paid software. Software is said to be free if it attains the 4 essential freedoms. Some softwares that don’t require any payment such as Flash Player and Angry Birds don’t have the 4 freedoms. Smartphones are used as listening devices even when switched off. The only way to stop it from transmitting what it hears is by extracting the battery. However, some phones are developed to transmit illegal data without the need of a battery. Portable phones with GPS can transmit data of your location. Dr. Stallman referred to these kinds of systems as “Mubarak’s Device”. He personally doesn’t own a smartphone because he is not willing for anyone to listen without his consent.

With all that malicious software, what can we do to stop it? The truth is, we can do nothing about proprietary software. We can’t identify which ones are malware and see if they are sabotaging us or not. The best solution to this problem is to install free software instead. Dr. Stallman, who started off as an OS developer, wanted to build a 100% free software OS.

Of course, he couldn’t do that alone, so he recruited others to work with him. They tried to create a similar OS to Unix, and gave it a recursive acronym GNU which stands for “Gnu’s Not Unix”. He and his team have been working on it for 13 years. In 1992, GNU was almost complete but was missing the Kernel. Linus Trovalds then released Linux which had a Kernel. With both projects merged into one, they created a complete OS. The name of the OS is commonly known as Linux, but Dr. Stallman stressed that the proper name is GNU/Linux.

“Please give GNU equal mention because they are fighting for our freedom”

Free software is still not sufficient to avoid unapproved surveillance. Governments spy on networks through advertisements on websites. Browsers don’t even warn you if the software you are about to download is free or not if programmed with Javascript. The better alternative is AJAX which blocks the download if the software is non-free. It also sends a complaint to the web managers of the presence of non-free software.

You can do more than simply installing free software to your computer. You can help the movement by becoming a speaker. Create awareness among your close circle of friends and family. Dr. Stallman suggests that education must not allow proprietary software. Students will be fascinated if free software is introduced to the educational system because it will encourage them to read and study codes. Reverse engineering is the best way to teach students how to become good programmers. Dr. Stallman concluded his session with the fact that free software is not new, but has been going on for 30 years.

“If you have a good relationship with a school, it’s your duty to campaign Free Software”


الطاقة الذرية

العلم اساس تقدم الأمم, فاذا اردنا معرفة مدي تقدم الأمة نظرنا الي مدي اهتمامها بالعلم و البحث العلمي.

و اذا ما أرادت أمة النهوض من غفلتها فعليها بمراجعة ماضيها فاتستعيد مجده و تتعلم من اخطاءه.


و نحن أمة لنا ماضٍ بُنِيَ بعلمه حضارة دول كثيرة؛ أمة انارت العالم علما فقُتِلَ علماؤها لتنطفئ معهم منارة العلم؛ لكن لن ترغم تلك الأمة العظيمة ان تستمر في غفلتها ليس و نحن نحيي هؤلاء العلماء, ليس و فينا من يشعل منارة العلم, ليس و نحن نجتمع من اجل علمٌ يٌنَتَفَعُ بِهِ .

فكم اخرجت الجامعات المصرية العديد من الأدباء و العلماء الذين تعلموا و دَرّسوا دخل اروقتها العريقة امثال الدكتور طه حسين و العالم الدكتور علي مشرفة؛ فماذا لو كنا بينهم ؟!

ومن ابرز هؤلاء العلماء, العالم المصري الأستاذ الدكتور علي مصطفي مشرفة؛ فيطل علينا الدكتور مشرفة باحدي محاضراته عبر الراديو في مؤتمرنا ليحدثنا عن موضوع في غاية الاهمية طالما ما زال يشغل بال العلماء بل و الناس جميعا حتي يومنا هذا الا و هو الطاقة الذرية.

و نحن في مستهل حديثنا عن الطاقة الذرية فلنتعرف اولا عن ماهية الذرة؛ الذرة هي الجزء الصغير من المادة او وحدة من الوحدات التي تبني منها المادة و قد تمكن العلماء من مشاهدة الذرة و اخذ صور فوتوجرافية لها بل و اثبتوا ايضا ان الذرة يمكن انقسامها فبعض الذرات ينقسم من تلقاء نفسه و البعض الاخر يمكن تقسيمه او تهميشة بطرق خاصة و كان ذلك الاكتشاف بمثابة نقطة الانطلاق لاكتشاف الطاقة الذرية.

و إن من امتع البحوث في العلوم الطبيعية البحث في هذا العالم الداخلي للذرة . في قوانينه و نظامه و اتصاله بالاشعاع الصادر عن الذرة و كيف ان النور ينشأ عن حركات هذا العالم طبقا لقوانين و معدلات اشبه شيء بالطلاسم السحرية و كما سبق و ان ذكرنا فإن العالم يأمل ان تتحول تلك الذرات إلى مصدر رئيسي للطاقة و لكن لماذا يهتم العالم كثيرا بالطاقة ؟

إن مدنية الامم المختلفة تقاس بمقدار الطاقة الميكانيكية التي تستخدمها هذه الامم في صناعاتها و سائر مرافقها سواء كانت هذه الطاقة مستمدة من الوقود أم من مساقط اامياه ام من الرياح أو أي مصدر آخر كباطن النواه و لكن هل يستطيع الإنسان فعلا ان يحصل على الطاقة من باطن النواه ؟ و هذه الطاقة التي يحصل عليها من صميم المادة ما منشؤها؟

ان أول من اعطى الناس جوابا مضبوطا عن مقدار الطاقة الذرية هو العلامة ألبرت اينشتين عام 5091 فقد حسب ان مقدار الطاقة المختزنة في بوطن ذرات كيلو جرام واحد من المادة يساوي 51 ألف مليون كيلو واط ساعة أي كمية الحرارة المستمدة من احتراق 5.2 مليون طن من الكربون النقي و من الجدير بالذكر ان الحصول على 51 ألف مليون كيلو واط من كيلو جرام من المادة ليس معناه استخراج هذه الطاقة من داخل ذرات المادة مع بقاء الكيلوجرام كيلوجرما بل ان معناه اعمق من هذا بكثير ألا و هو تحويل المادة إلى طاقة.

توصل العالمان هاهن و اشتراسمان الي اثبات خطير إذ أوجدوا الامل لأول مرة في اطلاق طاقة الذرة من عقالها؛ فإطلاق النيترونات البطيئة على ذرة اليورانيوم لا ينشأ عنه فلق هذه الذرة فحسب بل تنشأ عنه طاقة قد قدرها هندرسون بمقدار 521 مليون فولت الكتروني و قدرها كارنر بمقدار 510 مليون فولت الكتروني؛ و لقد وجد انه عند فلق نواه اليورانيوم ينبعث نحو ثلاث نيترونات و معنى هذا اننا نطلق النيترونات على ذرة اليورانيوم و تتحول إلى فلقتين ثم لا تلبث كل من هاتين الفقلتين ان تبعث بنيترونات جديدة.

و ما ان وصل العلم إلى هذه النقطة حتى تجلت اهمية الموضوع من ناحية الحصول على الطاقة الذرية بمقياس واسع فانقسام عدد محدود من الذرات و انطلاق الطاقة منها قد يكون له اهميته من الناحيتين العلمية و الفلسفية؛ أما من الناحية العمرانية و الصناعية فماذا تفيدنا طاقة بضع ذرات بل ماذا تجدي طاقة مليون مليون من الذرات, إن الجرام الواحد من اليورانيوم يحتوي على الاف ملايين ملايين ملايين من الذرات !!

أما إذا كان انقسام ذرة يتبعه انقسام جارتها ثم جارة جارتها بطريقة متسلسلة و حتمية فإن ذلك يكون المفتاح الذهبي لذلك الكنز الهائل من الطاقة المختزنة بين ثنايا المادة.

و هناك شرط آخر يجب ان يتحقق لتحقيق الغرض المنشود الا و هو ان هذه العلمية المتسلسة يجب ان تنطلق في ملايين ملايين ملايين ملايين الذرات بسرعة تكفل اتمامها في لحظة قصيرة و يطلق على هذا النوع من التفاعلات اسم التفاعلات المتسلسلة و هي عبارة عن سلسة من التفاعلات تلي الواحدة منها الاخرى بحيث يكفي ان يحدث التفاعل الأول لحدوث جميع التفاعلات الاخرى الواحد منها تلو الآخر.

إن الطاقة الذرية قد طلعت على الناس في شكل قنبلة مدمرة و لكن ذلك لا يجب ان ينسينا النواحي الاقتصادية و العمرانية التي يمكن ان تستخدم فيها هذه الطاقة فقد اصبح في مقدورنا ان نستخرج من كيلوجرام واحد من المادة ما يعدل محصول 5999 طن من أجود أنواع الوقود.

أما و قد حل السلام و ظهرت الحاجة الملحة إلى التعمير بدلا من التدمير فانه لا شك في ان الجهود ستتجه إلى استخدام الطاقة الذرية كاداه محركة في الالات الميكانيكية كما انني لا اشك ايضا في ان التطورات الهندسية ستكون مملؤة بالمفاجآت فتجربة واحدة من نوع هاهن و اشتراسمان قد تقلب الموقف رأسا على عقب و قد كان …

و بعد فأين نحن من هذا كله؟ لطالما ناديت و نادى غيري بأن العناية بأمر العلم قد صارت ضرورة من ضرورات الحياة في كل أمة فهل يصل دوى القنابل الذرية إلى آذاننا فيزيل ما بها من وقر و هل يصل بريقها إلى اعيننا فيزيل ما عليها من غشاوة ؟ أم على قلوب أقفالها؟

و كما ذكرت أنفا ان الطاقة الميكانيكية مقياس لحضارة الأمة فكم هي مقدار الطاقة المتوفرة في مصر يا ترى ؟ و هذه الثورة المعدنية المبعثرة في صحارينا متى ننظر اليها و نعني بتحصلها ؟ ام يصدق علينا قول الشاعر كالعبس في البيداء يقتلها الظمأ و الماء فوق ظهورها محمول

"إن الشعب المصري و الحكومة المصرية و البرلمان المصري يجب ان يضعوا هذه الامور في المرتبة الأولى من مراتب عنايتهم و رعايتهم فهل هم فاعلون؟! أرجو .. و أرجو ألا يطول بي الرجاء "


Optimitization Algorithms

Because being engineers implies making the right decisions, optimization algorithms were developed to help us achieve the best results. On the 2nd day of ITW’15, Dr. Ayman Ragab gave a talk about optimization algorithms, he started by a simple question, “why do we need optimization algorithms?”. Generally, if we have a design problem, our target would be achieving the best performance, but this optimum design is achieved by controlling some design parameters, and it takes a lot of time and effort to pick the right values for these parameters, and hence the need of optimization algorithms was developed.


Because being engineers implies making the right decisions, optimization algorithms were developed to help us achieve the best results.

On the 2nd day of ITW’15, Dr. Ayman Ragab gave a talk about optimization algorithms, he started by a simple question, “why do we need optimization algorithms?”. Generally, if we have a design problem, our target would be achieving the best performance, but this optimum design is achieved by controlling some design parameters, and it takes a lot of time and effort to pick the right values for these parameters, and hence the need of optimization algorithms was developed.

An optimization algorithm is a procedure which is executed iteratively as follows: first, choose design variables, then determine the Decision space (DS) boundaries of the variables, next initialize random variables, then set up a termination condition, and finally simulate your problem, if the termination condition is satisfied this means we’ve reached the final solution, if not we update the random variables according to the optimization algorithm, and then go back to simulating and evaluating the values, and so on.

There are two distinct types of optimization algorithms widely used today, Deterministic and Stochastic. Deterministic algorithms have been successfully applied to many engineering problems, however, stochastic algorithms are more popular due to certain properties which deterministic algorithms do not have.

Moreover, there are optimization algorithms called evolutionary algorithms which is a sub-field of Artificial intelligence. Particle swarm optimization (PSO) is one of the evolutionary computation techniques that’s based on swarm intelligence introduced in 1995 by Kennedy and Eberhard, where random variables are summed with the change of velocity (Velocity: previous velocity + personal velocity + global velocity). Also, Genetic Algorithm (GA) was developed by John Holland in 1975, its main concept is based on “survival of the fittest”, the good solution survives and the bad solution dies.

So what are the applications of this algorithms? First application is Antenna design, optimization algorithms are used to determine the shape and the dimensions of the antenna to radiate as required. Second application is compact broad band sheet absorbers, the best reflection coefficient is produced by an optimization algorithm. There are also a lot of other applications, not only in engineering but also in data analysis and business which reveals the importance of optimization algorithms and the need to always get these algorithms developed.


Smart Micro Grid

Did you ever wonder why the world thrives for the smarter all the time? Is there an ultimate form for everything that science seeks? Or is it just the limitations that we try to overcome?

Thomas Edison once said “I’d put my money on sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."


Since the Industrial revolution began in the nineteenth century and the world’s supplies for oil and fuel are in imminent danger where no source could ever satisfy the current demand on fuel which is growing at an alarming rate.

To address the Middle East specifically where it produces 30% of the total fuel production; it’s not long before it’s done and the lack of coal production only adds to our challenges in Energy supply.

That’s why we have planned and prepared for what we already acknowledge as facts. Take England for instance, its plan seeks to achieve the dependence on renewable energy by 99% in 2050, such a prediction should count as an encouragement to be considered in our future plans.

Efficiency, Reliability and Safety are the world’s motives towards smart grid transformation. Along with preservation of cyber secure standards to overcome the costs required and secure the smart grid from any cyber-attack.

Smart grid basically is a transformed electricity and distribution network or a grid that uses information and communications technology to gather and act on information to improve the efficiency and reliability of energy production and distribution.

What matters most to the consumers is the safety of the network where some may doubt its security. Specially that any leak of users database or financial accounts is a huge to risk to take.

The whole generation, distribution and communication processes should occur through a secure medium to avoid any data theft which is why the security of the micro grid must be addressed in early stages of manufacture and design, not added afterwards.

The current electric networks are composed of two; a power network and a communications network. To apply the smart grid, we can’t just remove the original network and start a new one from scratch. We need to update it gradually and integrate the system to transform between grids.

Achieving a satisfactory and successful operation for this technology is not a one-field task; it needs various majors from power and communication engineers to computer engineers for its security software.

The major challenge of integrating the system is the cost of this technology which after all lies on the consumer. That brings us to the need to aware the consumer of the advantages it offers without endangering the safety and security of the communication process.

The smart grid technology enables the electric grid to respond intelligently to any variation in power supply or demand. It also offers the consumers the privilege of tracing back their energy consumption thus offering a chance to manage and adjust their energy consumption.

There are a few other principal characteristics for the smart grid where the consumer is no longer just a load on the network but he will be an active member and engaged within electricity suppliers’ issues and market. It will surely integrate all generations and storage systems along.

It will also create large central power plants for renewable energy as in wind and solar power plants. Along with continuous monitoring to the deficiencies that might happen in the system causing any lack in the power supply.

The life style which the smart grids offer is mostly suited to affect the consumers to reduce any wasted energy, reduce consumption and lead them to the best usage of clean energy.

The smart meter applied at houses will be the guide of the users to their energy consumption where they use wireless technology to transmit radio frequencies (RF) to provide the communication needed to electric companies. All the information will be updated on a regular basis whether we choose it to be every hour, day or week, instead of getting a bill every month with no way to adjust your usage.

Apparently, this is the long-term solution that might be just the answer needed by electricity suppliers all around the globe where its enhancement to the system through transportation and delivery is most beneficial to both; the governments and the consumers which counts as a step forward to overcome some of the challenges of energy production and supplies.