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= Summer of Code 2018: Project idea list =
+
== Summer of Code 2020: Project ideas list ==
  
This is the list of project ideas for the summer of code 2018 within GNU Radio.<br />
+
This is the list of project ideas for the summer of code 2020 within GNU Radio.<br />
 
Remember that these are '''ideas''' and are merely meant as an inspiration for you to write your own proposal.
 
Remember that these are '''ideas''' and are merely meant as an inspiration for you to write your own proposal.
  
Students who do not find a fit among these projects are encouraged to engage with us and suggest new ones. The [http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/wiki/MailingLists GNU Radio discussion mailing list] is the best place to contact all of us. Please do not contact us off-list for the sake of discussing the summer of code, unless you're contacting a mentor listed here to get feedback on a proposal.
+
Students who do not find a fit among these projects are encouraged to engage with us and suggest new ones. The [[MailingLists|GNU Radio discussion mailing list]] is the best place to contact all of us. Please do not contact us off-list for the sake of discussing the summer of code, unless you're contacting a mentor listed here to get feedback on a proposal.
  
 
Reviewing the [https://developers.google.com/open-source/gsoc/faq Google GSoC FAQ] page for a broader understanding of project, mentor, and student responsibilities is recommended.
 
Reviewing the [https://developers.google.com/open-source/gsoc/faq Google GSoC FAQ] page for a broader understanding of project, mentor, and student responsibilities is recommended.
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* Both OOTs and in-tree improvements are welcome
 
* Both OOTs and in-tree improvements are welcome
  
== Ideas ==
 
  
=== CtrlPort backend implementation ===
 
  
CtrlPort is essentially a "remote control" infrastructure with which one can introspect flowgraphs, call methods on blocks (albeit that is rarely been implemented) or get performance data.
+
=== GRC: Build-in sub flowgraphs ===
  
* Existing CtrlPort builds on Thrift
+
GNU Radio has the hierarchical blocks to build reuseable sub flowgraphs. These hier_blocks can be designed in GRC, however, they have to be compiled to code and GRC bindings, before they can be used in other GRC files. While this is great for reuseablity across flowgraphs, it is quite cumbersome when the main use is to structure a single (larger) flowgraph. The goal of this project is to ease this use-case by embedding sub flowgraphs directly in the main GRC file. Instead of creating bindings and code and then parsing them back again, this process shall be done in-place to allow quickly editing sub flowgraphs on-the-fly. 
* Thrift has proven to be a very problematic dependency
 
* Hence, only a very small percentage of users able to use CtrlPort
 
* CtrlPort was designed to be transport-agnostic, so let's replace the transport
 
* Hottest candidate: ZeroMQ + MessagePack
 
* Backwards compatibility is not really necessary (very small number of uses so far)
 
  
==== Prerequisites ====
+
'''Prerequisites'''
  
* C++ and Python expertise
+
* GRC is written in Python which is (almost) all you need to know for this project.
* Basic understanding of RPC
 
* Basic GNU Radio understanding
 
  
==== Outcome ====
+
'''Outcome'''
  
* GNU Radio has a working CtrlPort transport
+
* A vastly improved workflow for structuring flowgraphs
* Tool to list the Performance Counters that are exposed via CtrlPort
+
 
* Example code how to remotely interact with a flow graph via CtrlPort/ZMQ
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
 +
 
 +
* Sebastian Koslowski
  
==== Mentor ====
 
  
Marcus Müller
 
  
 
=== Qt5 GUI Integrations ===
 
=== Qt5 GUI Integrations ===
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Idea: Wrap the Qt GUI sinks to appear in QtCreator, including the GUI aspects of their parameterization
 
Idea: Wrap the Qt GUI sinks to appear in QtCreator, including the GUI aspects of their parameterization
  
==== Prerequisites ====
+
'''Prerequisites'''
  
 
* C++, Python proficiency
 
* C++, Python proficiency
 
* Qt experienced
 
* Qt experienced
  
==== Outcome ====
+
'''Outcome'''
  
 
* Qt GUI Sinks usable as widgets in QtCreator (not necessarily already showing an "empty" GUI, just placeholders)
 
* Qt GUI Sinks usable as widgets in QtCreator (not necessarily already showing an "empty" GUI, just placeholders)
Line 64: Line 55:
 
* Integration of that into GRC-generated Python code
 
* Integration of that into GRC-generated Python code
  
==== Mentor ====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
 
 
Marcus Müller & Sebastian "GRC-Man" Koslowski
 
 
 
=== Block header parsing tool ===
 
 
 
Rough ideas:
 
* Python-based tool
 
* Can extract info from block headers (and maybe, if it has to, also from the .cc file)
 
** Analyse factory signature ("make function"), analyze getters/setters
 
** Analyse I/O signature
 
 
 
Utilities:
 
* Auto-generate YAML files for GRC (would require another tool, also part of this project)
 
* Facilitate inclusion of GNU Radio with other tools/frameworks
 
 
 
There is some code in gr_modtool which does this, which can be reused and
 
extended.
 
 
 
===== Prerequisites =====
 
 
 
* Strong knowledge of Python, including Py3k idiosyncrasies
 
* Some text parsing experience
 
* Some understanding of GNU Radio block structure
 
 
 
===== Outcome =====
 
  
* A tool, written in Python, merged into the GNU Radio source tree, which can turn a block definition into some kind of abstract representation (the design which of is also part of this project)
+
* Marcus Müller & Sebastian "GRC-Man" Koslowski
* Another tool, which takes the abstract representation, and produces YAML files for GRC.
 
* An API into calling this which can be used by other tools (external to GNU Radio).
 
* Make gr_modtool use this tool instead of its builtin code.
 
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
  
Martin Braun, Nicolas Cuervo
 
 
=== gr-modtool overhaul ===
 
 
gr-modtool is one of the most important tools within GNU Radio, as it makes the creation of community modules much more accessible. However, it is in dire need of an overhaul, as its early codebase even predates the 3.7 API change. In its current state, gr-modtool is a fairly static chunk of code: The 'add' functionality in particular is a long string of if-then-else style static rules, which are then procedurally executed into a string of templates or file operations. A more functional style, with a less static rule set, would do the wonders to that good old tool.
 
 
Rewriting modtool in its entirety is task that is most likely way to large for a single GSoC. However, there's a lot of subtasks, so this can be broken up. When applying to this task, students should indicate which part of modtool they would like to work on. Even so, it is unlikely that more then one student will be able to work on this without too much destructive interference.
 
 
The following items can be improved for modtool, in order of priority:
 
 
* Rewrite as a plugin architecture. Currently, only GNU Radio OOTs and in-tree components can be extended. There's no reason modtool can't work for VOLK and RFNoC (thereby obsoleting rfnocmodtool).
 
* Find and eliminate pockets of non-Py3k compatibility.
 
* Python API. modtool is currently only usable as a command-line program.
 
* An actual UI to improve usability.
 
 
===== Prerequisites =====
 
 
Creating a better modtool requires strong knowledge of Python, including Py3k idiosyncrasies, functional design principles, template generation. Also, this task requires some knowledge of the existing modtool.
 
 
===== Outcome =====
 
 
The outcome depends on the subtasks selected by the student, but in an ideal case, the plugin architecture would be in place and would allow other projects to implement their own plugins. Documentation for this project would also be highly valuable.
 
 
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
 
Martin Braun, Nicolas Cuervo
 
  
 
=== GRC: View-Only Mode (Secure) ===
 
=== GRC: View-Only Mode (Secure) ===
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When a flowgraph from an untrusted source is opened if GRC, arbitrary Python code can be executed. This poses a potential security risk. Storing the all evaluated values of all parameters within a flow graph (.grc) file would allow us to open such flow graphs without compromising security. No code would be have to executed to draw the flow graph and block parameters can be viewed safely. Only if the flow graph is modified the user would have to choose to trust the flow graph thus enabling normal eval operations.
 
When a flowgraph from an untrusted source is opened if GRC, arbitrary Python code can be executed. This poses a potential security risk. Storing the all evaluated values of all parameters within a flow graph (.grc) file would allow us to open such flow graphs without compromising security. No code would be have to executed to draw the flow graph and block parameters can be viewed safely. Only if the flow graph is modified the user would have to choose to trust the flow graph thus enabling normal eval operations.
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
'''Prerequisites'''
  
GRC is implemented using Python. So, Python should be known pretty well.
+
* GRC is implemented using Python. So, Python should be known pretty well.
  
===== Outcome =====
+
'''Outcome'''
  
Safely view other people's flowgraphs without putting your PC at risk.
+
* Safely view other people's flowgraphs without putting your PC at risk.
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
  
Sebastian Koslowski
+
* Sebastian Koslowski
  
=== DTV User Front-End ===
 
  
GNU Radio includes gr-dtv, which allows the decoding of ATSC TV signals and various other Digital Video Broadcast standards. From a DSP/decoding perspective, it's an impressive GNU Radio module. The issue is that it lacks any sort of user front-end and is difficult to use.
 
 
A well-designed UI for gr-dtv would be a great addition to GNU Radio. It would nicely demonstrate how GNU Radio can be used to create real-world applications. It could also include the following features:
 
 
* Automatic selection of frequencies based on location
 
* Integration with web services, such as TV program indicators
 
* Load IQ files
 
* Record-to-file
 
 
===== Prerequisites =====
 
 
Since gr-dtv already includes the bulk of the DSP/decoding part, this would be primarily GUI development. The programming language may be chosen by the student, although Python is probably the most viable candidate. Experience in GUI development is a strong requirement, though.
 
 
===== Outcome =====
 
 
The result of this project should be a simple, click-to-launch app that immediately allows watching DTV, assuming the availability of some SDR hardware. The fact that a GNU Radio flowgraph is running in the background should be nicely hidden away.
 
 
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
 
Johnathan Corgan
 
  
 
=== Extending and Updating gr-radar ===
 
=== Extending and Updating gr-radar ===
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* Multi-antenna radar techniques
 
* Multi-antenna radar techniques
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
'''Prerequisites'''
 
 
Signal processing and some radar basics are required. Code is written in C++ with some Python on the side, so the student must be able to handle these languages at the least.
 
 
 
===== Outcome =====
 
 
 
Based on the student's interest, a subset of the radar techniques listed above (or others) are chosen as milestones for this project. All code must be merged back into gr-radar by the end of the summer.
 
 
 
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
 
 
Stefan Wunsch, Martin Braun
 
 
 
=== Extending and Updating gr-inspector ===
 
 
 
gr-inspector (https://github.com/gnuradio/gr-inspector) is a toolbox with focus on automated reception of unknown signals and providing analysis functionality for the same. Currently, it is possible to energy-detect signals, mix down signals as well as filter and decimate detected signals. The output of this chain can be fed in a custom signal processing chain. Also, gr-inspector features basic automatic modulation classification (AMC) functionality, using Tensorflow (https://www.tensorflow.org/) and cyclostationary features. Additionally, parameters of received OFDM signals can be estimated. The existing functionality provides a platform to extend in various directions:
 
  
* Improve detection algorithm to provide more accuracy for signals with flat edges
+
* Signal processing and some radar basics are required.
* Add option to manually select more than one signal
+
* Code is written in C++ with some Python on the side, so the student must be able to handle these languages at the least.
* Improve AMC functionality/user experience (nicer output)
 
* Automatic signal demodulation after modulation classification (this should be split in more subtasks)
 
* Use database to output guesses about radio service depending on estimated parameters
 
  
==== Prerequisities ====
+
'''Outcome'''
  
Knowledge of C++ and Python as well as strong signal processing and communications engineering background. Depending on the direction of the extension, AMC and/or ML background needed. Also, signal intelligence experience is a plus.
+
* Based on the student's interest, a subset of the radar techniques listed above (or others) are chosen as milestones for this project.  
 +
* All code must be merged back into gr-radar by the end of the summer.
  
==== Outcome ====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
  
We rely on the students to pick out a set of tasks that consistently extends gr-inspector and is managable to be implemented in 3 months. All work will be merged into master branch by the end of GSoC.
+
* Stefan Wunsch, Martin Braun
  
==== Mentor(s) ====
 
  
Sebastian Müller, Sebastian Koslowski
 
  
 
=== QT Widgets Improvements ===
 
=== QT Widgets Improvements ===
Line 229: Line 126:
 
** Allow to build full GUI applications from, say, GRC
 
** Allow to build full GUI applications from, say, GRC
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
'''Prerequisites'''
  
Familiarity with QT is essential. Widgets are written in C+'', so some C''+ knowledge is also required. Python skills are highly useful.
+
* Familiarity with QT is essential.
 +
* Widgets are written in C+'', so some C''+ knowledge is also required.
 +
* Python skills are highly useful.
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
  
 
Tim O'Shea
 
Tim O'Shea
 +
 +
 +
 +
=== Standardized High Throughput FEC Codes ===
 +
 +
Channel coding is essential to modern communications. Also, it is computationally very heavy. As of now, there exist implementations in GNU Radio which are too slow to be integrated into high throughput applications. GNU Radio would benefit from integration of standardized decoders for Turbo and LDPC codes. These codes would only support a certain subset of the whole code class but would be well optimized.
 +
 +
'''Prerequisites'''
 +
 +
* Understanding of ''gr-fec'' API. Knowledge on channel coding. Understanding of C++.
 +
 +
'''Outcome'''
 +
 +
* Standardized Codes, e.g. LTE Turbo Codes, 5G Polar Codes, 5G LDPC Codes, CCITT Convolutional Codes etc. are available in ''gr-fec''.
 +
* The preferred goal is to find a highly optimized implementation and integrate these into GNU Radio.
 +
 +
'''Mentor(s)'''
 +
 +
* Johannes Demel
 +
 +
  
 
=== Android ===
 
=== Android ===
Line 248: Line 168:
 
** Easy reuse in other apps, like the gr-qtgui widgets, but for Android SDKs
 
** Easy reuse in other apps, like the gr-qtgui widgets, but for Android SDKs
 
* Interactivity concepts
 
* Interactivity concepts
** Gestures and config for radio params (e.g., freq, gain, bandwidth)
+
** Gestures and config for radio parameters (e.g., freq, gain, bandwidth)
 
** Create an example FM receiver app that allows easy channel selection etc. through motions and gestures
 
** Create an example FM receiver app that allows easy channel selection etc. through motions and gestures
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
You can find a summary of the work that has been done on this (years ago) here: [[Android]]
 +
 
 +
'''Prerequisites'''
  
 
* Some Android experience
 
* Some Android experience
Line 257: Line 179:
 
* C++/Java experience
 
* C++/Java experience
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
 +
 
 +
* Bastian Bloessl
  
Ben Hilburn
+
=== Runtime Benchmarks ===
 +
 
 +
To facilitate development of a more modern GNU Radio runtime and scheduler, we need a tool to measure its performance (in terms of delay and throughput).
 +
This data is required to compare alternate approaches and to become aware of performance regressions early in the process.
 +
 
 +
The goal of the project is to provide a tool to benchmark the GNU Radio runtime. Since we are interested in the performance on many platforms and architectures, it should provide an option to submit performance data to our sever, allowing us to crowdsource data. (Similar to our [http://stats.gnuradio.org/ online stats] for SIMD performance.)
 +
 
 +
* Come up with interesting metrics and, if needed, implement blocks to extract them.
 +
* Come up with interesting flowgraph topologies that should be benchmarked.
 +
* Setup automated experiments that iterate over a given parameter space (repetitions, number of samples, size of the flowgraph).
 +
* Parse, evaluate, and visualize the data.
 +
* Add an option to upload the performance data to our web sever.
 +
 
 +
'''Prerequisites'''
 +
 
 +
* C++ programming
 +
* Data evaluation and visualization
 +
* Automation tools (like GNU Make to run benchmarks)
 +
 
 +
'''Mentor(s)'''
 +
 
 +
* Bastian Bloessl, Marcus Mueller
  
 
=== Filter Design Tool Enhancements ===
 
=== Filter Design Tool Enhancements ===
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* When used in GRC, we want to save the results of the tool in a local file or for use in actual blocks.
 
* When used in GRC, we want to save the results of the tool in a local file or for use in actual blocks.
* It still currently runs on PyQWT, which is obsolete and needs to be updated to QT4/QT5
+
* It still currently runs on PyQWT, which is obsolete and needs to be updated to Qt5
 
** See https://github.com/trondeau/gnuradio/tree/filter/design_tool_newgui
 
** See https://github.com/trondeau/gnuradio/tree/filter/design_tool_newgui
 
* Add more support for filter design concepts and other filters.
 
* Add more support for filter design concepts and other filters.
Line 274: Line 219:
 
** Better support for creating PFB filters
 
** Better support for creating PFB filters
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
'''Prerequisites'''
 +
 
 +
* Strong DSP background required.
 +
* Python and QT knowledge highly useful (at least one of those is a must).
 +
 
 +
'''Mentor(s)'''
  
Strong DSP background required. Python and QT knowledge highly useful (at least one of those is a must).
+
* Marcus Leech
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
  
Sebastian Müller, Marcus Leech
 
  
=== Implement SigMF functionality for GNU Radio ===
+
=== Implement SigMF functionality for the GNU Radio Ecosystem ===
  
 
SigMF is the "Signal Metadata Format" that was defined during the 2017 DARPA Hackfest in Brussels. Its purpose is to annotate raw binary dumps of signals with metadata, thus giving meaning to a raw mass of samples.<br />
 
SigMF is the "Signal Metadata Format" that was defined during the 2017 DARPA Hackfest in Brussels. Its purpose is to annotate raw binary dumps of signals with metadata, thus giving meaning to a raw mass of samples.<br />
 
SigMF is specified and has a minimal reference implementation here: https://github.com/gnuradio/sigmf
 
SigMF is specified and has a minimal reference implementation here: https://github.com/gnuradio/sigmf
 +
There is an out-of-tree module providing SigMF functionality for GNU Radio as well: https://github.com/skysafe/gr-sigmf
  
GNU Radio needs its own implementation of SigMF that ties into the block structure. The following things need to be written:
+
However, SigMF is not represented well in the GNU Radio tooling landscape. Therefore, a subset of tools can be extended by SigMF support. Incomplete lists of possible tools benefitting from SigMF support:
  
* Source and Sink blocks for SigMF (similar to the current metadata blocks)
+
* qgrx (https://github.com/csete/gqrx)
* Converters for files generated with the current metadata file formats
+
* inspectrum (https://github.com/miek/inspectrum)
* Static analysis tools using SigMF
+
* ...
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
Any additional tools are welcome in a proposal.
  
Basic understanding of how to write GNU Radio blocks is required. Also, the student needs to explain that she or he has understood the concepts of SigMF, although SigMF is a very simple, JSON-based file format.<br />
+
'''Prerequisites'''
Depending on the precise path that the student and the mentor define, experience in GUI development would also be useful.
 
  
===== Outcome =====
+
* Knowledge of the programming language of the covered tools.
 +
* Hands-on experience with the respective tools.
 +
* Familiarity with the SigMF specification.
  
The source and sink blocks are by the far the most important outcomes of this project. We estimate it would take about a third of the active coding time to implement those, and have them merged around the midterms.<br />
+
'''Outcome'''
This leaves plenty of time for further development. The next most important task are the converters, so existing metadata files will continue to be useful. After that, the student should define own tasks based on their interests. A very relevant problem is the ability to effectively visualize metadata in combination with signals.
+
 
 +
* The tools worked on have capability to load and save files in the SigMF format.
 +
* Depending on the specific tool, SigMF meta data is displayed within the tool.
 +
* The number of tools worked on needs to be determined by the student, depending on his/her experience.
 +
 
 +
'''Mentor(s)'''
 +
 
 +
* Sebastian Müller, Andrej Rode
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
  
Bastian Bloessl, Sebastian Müller
 
  
 
=== Statistical Toolbox for GRC ===
 
=== Statistical Toolbox for GRC ===
  
A statistical toolbox for GRC would enable GUI-based statistical analysis. Currently, such analysis can be done by writing an independent program (e.g., with Scipy), but there is no actual integration with GNU Radio. By developing the statistical toolbox, we provide blocks for probability distribution fitting, hypothesis testing, extracting statistical parameters for one-dimensional as well as multi-dimensional data. This would significantly expand GNU Radio users' ability to perform datascience analysis and modeling on signal data.
+
A statistical toolbox for GRC would enable GUI-based statistical analysis. Currently, such analysis can be done by writing an independent program (e.g., with SciPy), but there is no actual integration with GNU Radio. By developing the statistical toolbox, we provide blocks for probability distribution fitting, hypothesis testing, extracting statistical parameters for one-dimensional as well as multi-dimensional data. This would significantly expand GNU Radio users' ability to perform data-science analysis and modeling on signal data.
 +
 
 +
'''Prerequisites'''
 +
 
 +
* Understanding of existing GNU Radio tools (e.g., GRC), GNU Radio Out-of-Tree Modules, and statistics / data-science modeling.
 +
 
 +
'''Outcome'''
 +
 
 +
* An OOT module that provides statistical analysis capabilities for GNU Radio.
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
  
Understanding of existing GNU Radio tools (e.g., GRC), GNU Radio Out-of-Tree Modules, and statistics / datascience modeling.
+
* Ben Hilburn
  
===== Outcome =====
 
  
An OOT module that provides statistical analysis capabilities for GNU Radio.
 
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
+
=== Digital Pre-Distortion ===
  
Ben Hilburn
+
Digital Pre-Distortion (DPD) is a technique allowing transmitters to compensate for non-linear responses in their hardware, most notably the power amplifier. This improves SNR and can allow more spectral and power efficient operation of a given set of hardware.
  
=== Standardized High Throughput FEC Codes ===
+
DPD is widely used and is increasingly necessary as many multicarrier signals such as what are seen in DVB and LTE exhibit high peak to average power ratios (PAPRs). DPD implementations are not widely available in the open source community. This is a deficit that this project hopes to correct. Over the course of the project the student would implement standard DPD algorithms in to a GNU Radio out of tree module so that they can be available for use directly or as reference designs.
  
Channel coding is essential to modern communications. Also, it is computationally very heavy. As of now, there exist implementations in GNU Radio which are too slow to be integrated into high throughput applications. GNU Radio would benefit from integration of standardized decoders for Turbo and LDPC codes. These codes would only support a certain subset of the whole code class but would be well optimized.
+
'''Prerequisites'''
  
 +
* Workable C++ proficiency, basic knowledge of radio systems, ideally familiarity with GNU Radio and/or Digital Pre-Distortion
  
===== Prerequisites =====
+
'''Outcome'''
  
Understanding of ''gr-fec'' API. Knowledge on channel coding. Understanding of C++.
+
* Implement standard memory-less and memory based DPD algorithms
 +
* Implement the training algorithms for such DPD application algorithms.
 +
* Implement a GUI tool or testbench for viewing the AM-AM and AM-PM responses of an amplifier
  
===== Outcome =====
+
'''Mentor(s)'''
  
Standardized Codes, e.g. LTE Turbo Codes, 5G LDPC Codes, CCITT Convolutional Codes etc. are available in ''gr-fec''. The prefered goal is to find a highly optimized implementation and integrate these into GNU Radio.
+
* Derek Kozel
  
===== Mentor(s) =====
 
  
Johannes Demel
 
  
 
== Application process ==
 
== Application process ==
  
* Students interested in participating, read the [[GSoCStudentInfo|student instructions]] and the [[GSoCManifest|rules of conduct]].
+
Students interested in participating, read the [[GSoCStudentInfo|student instructions]] and the [[GSoCManifest|rules of conduct]].
* To apply, please introduce yourself on both the [https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss-gnuradio GNU Radio mailing list]
+
* Please introduce yourself on the [https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss-gnuradio GNU Radio mailing list]
 
* Fill in the formal application for GNU Radio
 
* Fill in the formal application for GNU Radio
 
* Pick some items from the list above or feel free to suggest another piece of work relevant to this theme. Give us a detailed, week-by-week plan for completing the task over the summer.
 
* Pick some items from the list above or feel free to suggest another piece of work relevant to this theme. Give us a detailed, week-by-week plan for completing the task over the summer.

Latest revision as of 17:28, 1 February 2020

Summer of Code 2020: Project ideas list

This is the list of project ideas for the summer of code 2020 within GNU Radio.
Remember that these are ideas and are merely meant as an inspiration for you to write your own proposal.

Students who do not find a fit among these projects are encouraged to engage with us and suggest new ones. The GNU Radio discussion mailing list is the best place to contact all of us. Please do not contact us off-list for the sake of discussing the summer of code, unless you're contacting a mentor listed here to get feedback on a proposal.

Reviewing the Google GSoC FAQ page for a broader understanding of project, mentor, and student responsibilities is recommended.

If you need a USRP or other radio hardware to complete the project, we will be able to arrange something.

Please add ideas to this list (you may cannibalize old ideas, of course!).

Guidelines for good projects (when suggesting projects, please consider these):

  • Clearly defined scope, with a main target that can be done in 3 months
  • Clear benefits for the GNU Radio project
  • Not specific to a certain hardware. No specific embedded devices, either, please.
  • Both OOTs and in-tree improvements are welcome


GRC: Build-in sub flowgraphs

GNU Radio has the hierarchical blocks to build reuseable sub flowgraphs. These hier_blocks can be designed in GRC, however, they have to be compiled to code and GRC bindings, before they can be used in other GRC files. While this is great for reuseablity across flowgraphs, it is quite cumbersome when the main use is to structure a single (larger) flowgraph. The goal of this project is to ease this use-case by embedding sub flowgraphs directly in the main GRC file. Instead of creating bindings and code and then parsing them back again, this process shall be done in-place to allow quickly editing sub flowgraphs on-the-fly.

Prerequisites

  • GRC is written in Python which is (almost) all you need to know for this project.

Outcome

  • A vastly improved workflow for structuring flowgraphs

Mentor(s)

  • Sebastian Koslowski


Qt5 GUI Integrations

Idea: Wrap the Qt GUI sinks to appear in QtCreator, including the GUI aspects of their parameterization

Prerequisites

  • C++, Python proficiency
  • Qt experienced

Outcome

  • Qt GUI Sinks usable as widgets in QtCreator (not necessarily already showing an "empty" GUI, just placeholders)
  • Possible to import generate Qt GUI description file (UIC) into GRC
  • Interface to map placeholders from GUI design to Qt GUI sinks in Flow graph
  • Integration of that into GRC-generated Python code

Mentor(s)

  • Marcus Müller & Sebastian "GRC-Man" Koslowski


GRC: View-Only Mode (Secure)

When a flowgraph from an untrusted source is opened if GRC, arbitrary Python code can be executed. This poses a potential security risk. Storing the all evaluated values of all parameters within a flow graph (.grc) file would allow us to open such flow graphs without compromising security. No code would be have to executed to draw the flow graph and block parameters can be viewed safely. Only if the flow graph is modified the user would have to choose to trust the flow graph thus enabling normal eval operations.

Prerequisites

  • GRC is implemented using Python. So, Python should be known pretty well.

Outcome

  • Safely view other people's flowgraphs without putting your PC at risk.

Mentor(s)

  • Sebastian Koslowski


Extending and Updating gr-radar

gr-radar (https://github.com/kit-cel/gr-radar/) was a great and successful GSoC project that provided a few methods of radar in GNU Radio. This module is heavily used by academics, researchers, cybersecurity folks, and hobbyists. This project would work to improve upon the concepts already in there as well as add more radar techniques.

There are uncountable methods and techniques that could be added to this project, such as:

  • SAR / InSAR methods
  • Better passive radar support
  • Speed camera applications
  • Multi-antenna radar techniques

Prerequisites

  • Signal processing and some radar basics are required.
  • Code is written in C++ with some Python on the side, so the student must be able to handle these languages at the least.

Outcome

  • Based on the student's interest, a subset of the radar techniques listed above (or others) are chosen as milestones for this project.
  • All code must be merged back into gr-radar by the end of the summer.

Mentor(s)

  • Stefan Wunsch, Martin Braun


QT Widgets Improvements

The gr-qtgui in-tree component provides some QT widgets for signal visualization. This component needs some improvement to become more useful.
This project is cleanly divided into several sub-projects:

  • Add new widgets
    • Compass display (e.g. for direction-finding applications)
    • MPEG display (e.g. for video demod output)
    • Matrix sink (e.g. for radar Doppler/range plane visualization, or 2D-equalizer taps visualization)
  • Improve current widgets
    • Better code structure to make the current widgets more manageable, extensible and remove code duplication between widgets
    • More Control Panels on other widgets (follow lead on the frequency sink)
    • Improve UI, make more intuitive, more power to mouse users
    • Set trigger point with mouse
  • Integration / Support for QT Creator
    • QML design
    • Allow to build full GUI applications from, say, GRC

Prerequisites

  • Familiarity with QT is essential.
  • Widgets are written in C+, so some C+ knowledge is also required.
  • Python skills are highly useful.

Mentor(s)

Tim O'Shea


Standardized High Throughput FEC Codes

Channel coding is essential to modern communications. Also, it is computationally very heavy. As of now, there exist implementations in GNU Radio which are too slow to be integrated into high throughput applications. GNU Radio would benefit from integration of standardized decoders for Turbo and LDPC codes. These codes would only support a certain subset of the whole code class but would be well optimized.

Prerequisites

  • Understanding of gr-fec API. Knowledge on channel coding. Understanding of C++.

Outcome

  • Standardized Codes, e.g. LTE Turbo Codes, 5G Polar Codes, 5G LDPC Codes, CCITT Convolutional Codes etc. are available in gr-fec.
  • The preferred goal is to find a highly optimized implementation and integrate these into GNU Radio.

Mentor(s)

  • Johannes Demel


Android

One effort of the past years was to improve Android support for GNU Radio. We're getting to a point where we've figured out how to do it, so the next step is to make it more accessible to users and developers.

The Android ecosystem is an entirely different beast from the rest of GNU Radio. To make writing Android/GR apps easy, the following needs to happen (and shall be part of this project):

  • Improve support for development environment
    • Create Dockers for easy start of development
  • Visualization classes for PSD, spectrogram and oscilloscope
    • Easy reuse in other apps, like the gr-qtgui widgets, but for Android SDKs
  • Interactivity concepts
    • Gestures and config for radio parameters (e.g., freq, gain, bandwidth)
    • Create an example FM receiver app that allows easy channel selection etc. through motions and gestures

You can find a summary of the work that has been done on this (years ago) here: Android

Prerequisites

  • Some Android experience
  • Enjoy writing GUI widgets
  • C++/Java experience

Mentor(s)

  • Bastian Bloessl

Runtime Benchmarks

To facilitate development of a more modern GNU Radio runtime and scheduler, we need a tool to measure its performance (in terms of delay and throughput). This data is required to compare alternate approaches and to become aware of performance regressions early in the process.

The goal of the project is to provide a tool to benchmark the GNU Radio runtime. Since we are interested in the performance on many platforms and architectures, it should provide an option to submit performance data to our sever, allowing us to crowdsource data. (Similar to our online stats for SIMD performance.)

  • Come up with interesting metrics and, if needed, implement blocks to extract them.
  • Come up with interesting flowgraph topologies that should be benchmarked.
  • Setup automated experiments that iterate over a given parameter space (repetitions, number of samples, size of the flowgraph).
  • Parse, evaluate, and visualize the data.
  • Add an option to upload the performance data to our web sever.

Prerequisites

  • C++ programming
  • Data evaluation and visualization
  • Automation tools (like GNU Make to run benchmarks)

Mentor(s)

  • Bastian Bloessl, Marcus Mueller

Filter Design Tool Enhancements

GNU Radio provides many tools to design and use digital filters. Using these tools requires both some expertise in these areas as well as an understanding of the performance on the given platform. One example is the selection between FIR (convolution-based) and FFT (fast convolution-based) filters for different resampling rates. Another example is doing stages of filter decomposition when doing large down-sampling. Included in this is the polyphase filterbanks, which again are provided as primitive blocks that need tweaking to work.

This project is to improve our uses of these tools and blocks to make it more obvious to the users as well as automate some of the decisions for optimally using them. Some pointers:

  • When used in GRC, we want to save the results of the tool in a local file or for use in actual blocks.
  • It still currently runs on PyQWT, which is obsolete and needs to be updated to Qt5
  • Add more support for filter design concepts and other filters.
    • Cascaded filters
    • Better support for creating PFB filters

Prerequisites

  • Strong DSP background required.
  • Python and QT knowledge highly useful (at least one of those is a must).

Mentor(s)

  • Marcus Leech


Implement SigMF functionality for the GNU Radio Ecosystem

SigMF is the "Signal Metadata Format" that was defined during the 2017 DARPA Hackfest in Brussels. Its purpose is to annotate raw binary dumps of signals with metadata, thus giving meaning to a raw mass of samples.
SigMF is specified and has a minimal reference implementation here: https://github.com/gnuradio/sigmf There is an out-of-tree module providing SigMF functionality for GNU Radio as well: https://github.com/skysafe/gr-sigmf

However, SigMF is not represented well in the GNU Radio tooling landscape. Therefore, a subset of tools can be extended by SigMF support. Incomplete lists of possible tools benefitting from SigMF support:

Any additional tools are welcome in a proposal.

Prerequisites

  • Knowledge of the programming language of the covered tools.
  • Hands-on experience with the respective tools.
  • Familiarity with the SigMF specification.

Outcome

  • The tools worked on have capability to load and save files in the SigMF format.
  • Depending on the specific tool, SigMF meta data is displayed within the tool.
  • The number of tools worked on needs to be determined by the student, depending on his/her experience.

Mentor(s)

  • Sebastian Müller, Andrej Rode


Statistical Toolbox for GRC

A statistical toolbox for GRC would enable GUI-based statistical analysis. Currently, such analysis can be done by writing an independent program (e.g., with SciPy), but there is no actual integration with GNU Radio. By developing the statistical toolbox, we provide blocks for probability distribution fitting, hypothesis testing, extracting statistical parameters for one-dimensional as well as multi-dimensional data. This would significantly expand GNU Radio users' ability to perform data-science analysis and modeling on signal data.

Prerequisites

  • Understanding of existing GNU Radio tools (e.g., GRC), GNU Radio Out-of-Tree Modules, and statistics / data-science modeling.

Outcome

  • An OOT module that provides statistical analysis capabilities for GNU Radio.

Mentor(s)

  • Ben Hilburn


Digital Pre-Distortion

Digital Pre-Distortion (DPD) is a technique allowing transmitters to compensate for non-linear responses in their hardware, most notably the power amplifier. This improves SNR and can allow more spectral and power efficient operation of a given set of hardware.

DPD is widely used and is increasingly necessary as many multicarrier signals such as what are seen in DVB and LTE exhibit high peak to average power ratios (PAPRs). DPD implementations are not widely available in the open source community. This is a deficit that this project hopes to correct. Over the course of the project the student would implement standard DPD algorithms in to a GNU Radio out of tree module so that they can be available for use directly or as reference designs.

Prerequisites

  • Workable C++ proficiency, basic knowledge of radio systems, ideally familiarity with GNU Radio and/or Digital Pre-Distortion

Outcome

  • Implement standard memory-less and memory based DPD algorithms
  • Implement the training algorithms for such DPD application algorithms.
  • Implement a GUI tool or testbench for viewing the AM-AM and AM-PM responses of an amplifier

Mentor(s)

  • Derek Kozel


Application process

Students interested in participating, read the student instructions and the rules of conduct.

  • Please introduce yourself on the GNU Radio mailing list
  • Fill in the formal application for GNU Radio
  • Pick some items from the list above or feel free to suggest another piece of work relevant to this theme. Give us a detailed, week-by-week plan for completing the task over the summer.