Amazon in the White Space: Social Recommendation Aided Distributed Spectrum Access

Xu Chen, Xiaowen Gong, Lei Yang, Junshan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Distributed spectrum access (DSA) is challenging, since an individual secondary user often has limited sensing capabilities only. One key insight is that channel recommendation among secondary users can help to take advantage of the inherent correlation structure of spectrum availability in both time and space, and enable users to obtain more informed spectrum opportunities. With this insight, we advocate to leverage the wisdom of crowds, and devise social recommendation aided DSA mechanisms to orient secondary users to make more intelligent spectrum access decisions, for both strong and weak network information cases. We start with the strong network information case where secondary users have the statistical information. To mitigate the difficulty due to the curse of dimensionality in the stochastic game approach, we take the one-step Nash approach and cast the social recommendation aided DSA decision making problem at each time slot as a strategic game. We show that it is a potential game, and then devise an algorithm to achieve the Nash equilibrium by exploiting its finite improvement property. For the weak information case where secondary users do not have the statistical information, we develop a distributed reinforcement learning mechanism for social recommendation aided DSA based on the local observations of secondary users only. Appealing to the maximum-norm contraction mapping, we also derive the conditions under which the distributed mechanism converges and characterize the equilibrium therein. Numerical results reveal that the proposed social recommendation aided DSA mechanisms can achieve a superior performance using real social data traces and its performance loss in the weak network information case is insignificant, compared with the strong network information case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7548352
Pages (from-to)536-549
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2017


  • Distributed spectrum access
  • game theory
  • social channel recommendation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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