IEEE DySPAN 2011, a tutorial on dynamic spectrum market (day 0)

I’m in Aachen, Germany to participate in IEEE DySPAN 2011 conference. It’s arguable DySPAN has gained a status of flagship conference in the field of dynamic spectrum access. While the main event commences tomorrow, I arrived here this noon to attend a tutorial session.

I was supposed to take one by Annat Sahai, namely “policy questions relevant to dynamic spectrum and cognitive radios,” but it was cancelled just the day before at 11pm. Since I didn’t have time to cancel my tutorial registration, I took another one given by Michael Honig and Randall Berry instead, namely “dynamic spectrum markets.” I was not very into the topic in the beginning, but I found it well organized and interesting in the end :)

They provided a brief overview of spectrum regulation in the USA and presented the motivation for spectrum markets. Then, they addressed two major issues in market design: what is the asset of spectrum markets? (asset design) and how to trade the asset? (mechanism design).

The part I felt most interested in was a question regarding the motivation: is spectrum scarce or abundant? It is of course dependent on situation. Then, on what condition it is deemed to be scarce/abundant? In a different perspective, we can also ask when spectrum common works and when spectrum market is needed?

Coarsely speaking (very coarse indeed), they insisted that
if market transaction costs < cost of interference then spectrum market is necessary
if market transaction costs > cost of interference then spectrum common will work

One can refer their recent publication for more detailed arguments:
R. Berry, M. L. Honig, and R. Vohra, “Spectrum Markets: Motivation, Challenges, and Implications,” IEEE Communications Magazine, Nov. 2010.

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