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Spectrum Dominance Division

Student and Alan Michaels

Assuring the communication capabilities of our warfighters, and limiting the communication capabilities of our adversaries, is essential to maintaining their safety and our national security advantage. In pursuit of this mission, the Spectrum Dominance Division performs state-of-the-art research and development into robust communication systems (including digital signal processing, antenna design, and FPGA development), the novel application of deep learning and reinforcement learning to these systems, investigation of cybersecurity attacks and defenses, simulation and design of integrated electromagnetic structures, as well as leveraging cutting-edge quantum computing technologies for solving traditional complex problems. The Spectrum Dominance Division partners with government and commercial sponsors to further the hands-on workforce development, experiential learning, and research experience of undergraduate and graduate students through independent study, scholarship/fellowship, and wage opportunities each semester.

The Spectrum Dominance Division is also leading Virginia Tech’s engagement with the VIP Consortium to support multi-college research initiatives and runs Virginia Tech’s Introduction to Restricted Learning course (ENGE-2634) to provide students with a better understanding of performing cutting edge research for the United States government. 

  • Spectrum Dominance - improving the security and quality of our warfighters’ communications and sensing capabilities and reducing these capabilities for adversaries.

  • Communication Systems - improving the capabilities and performance of our warfighters’ sensor and communications platforms through improved digital signal processing, antenna design, and real-world test and evaluation.

  • Embedded Systems - deployment of state-of-the-art sensor and communication algorithms on hardware and exploring hardening/exploiting of hardware vulnerabilities

  • Quantum Computing - exploring the capabilities and limitations of quantum annealing and quantum gate computers to solve problems much faster than traditional computing systems.

  • Electromagnetic Systems and Structures - design and simulation of antennas, radomes and other functional structures, material characterization and development and manufacturing for highly integrated structures

Automotive Cybersecurity

  • Research and development of quantum annealing algorithms for the verification/validation of embedded automotive software. Point of Contact: Alan Michaels

Spectrum Dominance

  • LPI/LPD Waveforms - developing communication systems to avoid adversary sensing and eavesdropping. Point of Contact: Dr. Alan Michaels
  • Radio Frequency Machine Learning - leveraging state-of-the-art deep learning and reinforcement learning to improve spectrum sensing and communications systems. Point of Contact: William “Chris” Headley

Communication System Design

  • Digital Signal Processing - developing improved approaches to performing signal pre and post processing for sensing and communications applications. Point of Contact: Joseph Gaeddert

Embedded Systems

  • FPGA-based Communication System Design - deployment of state-of-the-art algorithms on FPGAs to support real-world deployment and real-time execution. Point of Contact: Devin Ridge

  • Cybersecurity - exploiting and mitigating cyber threats to embedded and wireless devices and systems. Point of Contact: Alan Michaels

Quantum Computing

  • Route Planning - development of quantum annealing algorithms for simultaneous and cooperative evacuation route planning in disaster situations as well as for material shipping. Point of Contact: Tom Krauss

  • Detection/Classification - investigations in using a D-Wave quantum annealing machine for a subset of data processing, much like a graphics co-processor, while high-level organization is performed on a classical computer in order to drastically speed up detection/classification problems. Point of Contact: Tom Krauss

Electromagnetic Applications

  • Antenna Design and Testing - developing unique material and design solutions for constructing and manufacturing antennas for conformal and embedded applications on host platforms. Point of Contact: Brad Davis

  • Electromagnetic Structures - investigating material solutions and the design and development of arrays, radomes and other functional structures used to improve the performance and capabilities of communication and radar systems. Point of Contact: Brad Davis
  • The Vertically Integrated Projects at Virginia Tech (VIP@VT) program is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to establish an undergraduate experiential learning structure that supports the cultivation of a pipeline of students for the civilian Navy workforce, broader Department of Defense, and the intelligence community.
  • Each semester, the Hume Center holds a research open house in which Spectrum Dominance Division faculty present an overview of their undergraduate research opportunities for the following semester. Fill out the interest survey to be added to the email distribution and receive updates.
  • The Manufacturing Engineering Education Program (MEEP) aims to create a workforce pipeline aligned with the needs of the Department of Defense community. The National Security Institute is constructing a consortium where members are involved with student research, projects, and curriculum and can recruit interns and new employees early in their academic careers. Students will gain a broad perspective on integrating antennas and other functional devices into composites. 
  • The Virginia Tech Applied Electromagnetics Consortium is a Hume Center program and its mission is to develop and maintain a pipeline of engineers aligned with the needs of the DOD community supporting applied electromagnetics. More information coming soon.

The Spectrum Dominance Division is always on the lookout for talented and motivated graduate students to support research in our core research areas. If interested in advising opportunities, please reach out to one of the following Spectrum Dominance Division faculty members with research expertise relevant to your interests:



Core Research Faculty

Technical and Support Staff

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    Chelsy Ables

    Graphic Designer/Project Coordinator, Spectrum Dominance Division

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    Chris Henshaw

    Computer Engineer, Spectrum Dominance Division

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    Derek Jenkins

    Computer Engineer, Spectrum Dominance Division