The evolution from 5G to the next-generation wireless system will call for a more radical change than any occurred among the previous generations: at the network level, flexible device-centric architectures will alleviate the need for centralized coordination; at the device level, operating frequencies will massively migrate to mmWave bands to exploit the large amount of available bandwidth. The project's core idea is that the design of a flexible network architecture and the implementation of low-complexity, energy-efficient mmWave hardware are interconnected physical-layer research problems. The proposed project thus represents the first attempt towards the joint network- and device-level design and optimization of beyond-5G wireless systems. Its ultimate goal is to provide a unified view of the types of network and hardware that are necessary to deliver tailored services for current and emerging wireless applications under a common and sustainable physical infrastructure. More specifically, it has the following main objectives: i) develop new theoretical knowledge on application-specific device coordination and novel distributed resource allocation schemes to support the coexistence of network- and device-centric mechanisms; ii) provide new analytical insights into the performance-complexity tradeoff in beam-space processing and low-resolution ADCs/DACs for mmWave communications; iii) analyze the interplay between network- and device-level design parameters for a given service/application. Relevant emerging wireless frameworks, such as cell-free massive MIMO and D2D-aided multicasting, will be considered. The proposed research involves advanced mathematical skills and interconnects expertise from communication/information theory, signal processing, and (distributed) optimization theory. Given the largely unexplored research field, the proposed project brings tremendous opportunities to break new intellectual grounds and make concrete contributions to society.
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