Cost-aware learning and optimization for opportunistic spectrum access

Chao Gan, Ruida Zhou, Jing Yang, Cong Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this paper, we investigate cost-aware joint learning and optimization for multi-channel opportunistic spectrum access in a cognitive radio system. We investigate a discrete-time model where the time axis is partitioned into frames. Each frame consists of a sensing phase, followed by a transmission phase. During the sensing phase, the user is able to sense a subset of channels sequentially before it decides to use one of them in the following transmission phase. We assume the channel states alternate between busy and idle according to independent Bernoulli random processes from frame to frame. To capture the inherent uncertainty in channel sensing, we assume the reward of each transmission when the channel is idle is a random variable. We also associate random costs with sensing and transmission actions. Our objective is to understand how the costs and reward of the actions would affect the optimal behavior of the user in both offline and online settings, and design the corresponding opportunistic spectrum access strategies to maximize the expected cumulative net reward (i.e., reward-minus-cost). We start with an offline setting where the statistics of the channel status, costs, and reward are known beforehand. We show that the optimal policy exhibits a recursive double-threshold structure, and the user needs to compare the channel statistics with those thresholds sequentially in order to decide its actions. With such insights, we then study the online setting, where the statistical information of the channels, costs and reward are unknown a priori. We judiciously balance exploration and exploitation, and show that the cumulative regret scales in O (log T). We also establish a matched lower bound, which implies that our online algorithm is order-optimal. Simulation results corroborate our theoretical analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8570777
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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