Cognitive radio IC technology for next-gen communications, radar, and EW is goal of DARPA CLASIC program

Posted by John Keller

(September 1, 2010) — Military radio communications experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are asking industry to design extremely efficient monolithic signal-recognition integrated circuits (ICs) for next-generation military cognitive radio, radar, and electronic warfare.

DARPA issued a broad agency announcement (DARPA-BAA-10-77) Tuesday for the Cognitive radio Low-energy signal Analysis Sensor ICs (CLASSIC) program to develop new kinds of RF, analog, and mixed-signal integrated circuit architectures and design techniques for cognitive radio — or smart communications able to sense RF propagation conditions and the needs of users, and adapt its transmit and receive parameters to achieve the best possible quality of service.

Signal parameters of interest for the CLASSIC program include modulation schemes, signal constellations, multiple access or hopping schemes, channel use, and demodulated symbols. CLASSIC is part of the DARPA Adaptive RF Technology (ART) program.

The waveform processing requirements of emerging military cognitive radio systems are pushing A/D converter and digital signal processor (DSP) capability, as well as algorithm complexity, beyond the state of the art of today’s integrated circuit technology, DARPA officials say. To fill the gap, the CLASSIC program seeks to design new kinds of communications integrated circuits with the capability and energy efficiency to act as a cognitive radio signal sensor on a chip.

Primary aims of the CLASSIC program include developing energy-efficient analog and/or mixed-signal processing techniques for separating and analyzing mixtures of complex signals. These techniques may require blind source separation using RF adaptive recursive and transversal filters; analog implementations of fast Fourier and wavelet transforms; and efficient implementations of signal feature extraction and classification algorithms in analog/neuromorphic processing blocks.

DARPA seeks technologies that will lead to revolutionary decreases in energy consumption necessary to separate and analyze arbitrary mixtures of signals. Technical areas of interest include low-energy blind signal separation and parameter extraction; and integration with RF front-end.

Companies interested should submit proposal abstracts by 1 Oct. 2010, and full proposals by 10 Dec. 2010. For questions or concerns contact DARPA’s Sanjay Raman by e-mail at [email protected], by fax at 703-248- 8070, or by post at DARPA/MTO, ATTN: DARPA-BAA-10-77, 3701 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203-1714.

More information is online at


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.