Decoupling RNN Training and Testing Observation Intervals for Spectrum Sensing Applications

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Recurrent neural networks have been shown to outperform other architectures when processing temporally correlated data, such as from wireless communication signals. However, compared to other architectures, such as convolutional neural networks, recurrent neural networks can suffer from drastically longer training and evaluation times due to their inherent sample-by-sample data processing, while traditional usage of both of these architectures assumes a fixed observation interval during both training and testing, the sample-by-sample processing capabilities of recurrent neural networks opens the door for alternative approaches. Rather than assuming that the testing and observation intervals are equivalent, the observation intervals can be “decoupled” or set independently. This can potentially reduce training times and will allow for trained networks to be adapted to different applications without retraining. This work illustrates the benefits and considerations needed when “decoupling” these observation intervals for spectrum sensing applications, using modulation classification as the example use case. The sample-by-sample processing of RNNs also allows for the relaxation of the typical requirement of a fixed time duration of the signals of interest. Allowing for variable observation intervals is important in real-time applications like cognitive radio where decisions need to be made as quickly and accurately as possible as well as in applications like electronic warfare in which the sequence length of the signal of interest may be unknown. This work examines a real-time post-processing method called “just enough” decision making that allows for variable observation intervals. In particular, this work shows that, intuitively, this method can be leveraged to process less data (i.e., shorter observation intervals) for simpler inputs (less complicated signal types or channel conditions). Less intuitively, this works shows that the “decoupling” is dependent on appropriate training to avoid bias and ensure generalization.

Moore, M.O.; Buehrer, R.M.; Headley, W.C. Decoupling RNN Training and Testing Observation Intervals for Spectrum Sensing Applications. Sensors 2022, 22, 4706.