Monday, September 29, 2008

Cognitive Radio - The Future of Software Defined Radio


[Here is an article on Cognitive Radio compiled by my students Shijesh, Sibil, Shyju and John by browsing the internet, books and journals]

The Radio Spectrum – that segment of the electromagnetic continuum comprising the radio-frequency range – accommodates myriad communications devices today.

As the Radio Spectrum gets is gets more and more crowded and available frequencies become scarce the evolution of Cognitive Radio may be able to optimally manage the available spectrum.

The use of radio frequency bands has been regulated in most countries through the process of spectrum allocation in which the use of a particular frequency band is restricted to the license holders of the band. Within this framework, spectrum has often been viewed as a scarce resource in high demand. However, various studies carried out have suggested that most licensed spectrums are often under-utilized with large spectral holes at different places at different times.

Cognitive Radio (CR) systems have been proposed as a possible solution to the spectrum crisis. The idea is to detect times when a specific licensed band is not used at a particular place and use that band for transmission without causing any significant interference to the transmissions of the license holder. Built on the foundation of the Software Defined Radio (SDR), Cognitive Radios will learn and autonomously perform “cognitive” functions as a form of intelligence that comes from their ability to be defined and upgraded using software.

To examine the concept of cognitive radio consider the example.

Let’s say you walk into an empty cafĂ© called Spectrum. Since all of the tables are available, you position yourself at the best one and settle down for a meal. [Let’s assume all tables have four seats and you occupy one seat].

A few minutes later, another person comes in and sits on a seat at another vacant table.

Soon, if all the tables are full [but there are a few vacant seats on some tables], a new patron must negotiate with someone already at a table to be allowed to share the table. [Maybe she may request you to let her occupy the vacant chair at your table, and you may agree].

This process of negotiation is the concept behind a technology called Cognitive Radio, a way to share and optimally utilize unused spectrum. Cognitive Radio is sometimes called Smart Radio because it senses its environment and reacts to it.

The present paucity of radio spectrum is primarily due to the cost and performance limits of legacy hardware established during the past century. Traditionally, radios were hardwired to operate at a particular power and frequency, and once a station was assigned a frequency, no other station could use it. Over the years, as engineers built radios in cheaper and smaller packages, it became possible to build intelligence into them, making the idea of sharing frequencies possible.

Engineers are now working to bring flexible operating intelligence to future radios, cell phones and other wireless communications devices. During the coming decade, cognitive radio technology should enable nearly any wireless system to locate and link to any locally available unused radio spectrum to best serve the consumer. Employing adaptive software, these smart devices could reconfigure their communications functions to meet the demands of the transmission network or the user.

Cognitive Radio will intelligently know, by sensing, adapting and learning, what to do based on prior experiential knowledge, by building an internal database that defines how to best operate in different places and at specific times of day.

As Cognitive Radios send and receive signals, they will nimbly leap and bound in and out of free bands as required, avoiding those that are already in use. This lightning-fast channel jumping will permit cognitive radio systems to transmit voice and data streams at reasonable speeds.

This efficient use of existing Radio Frequency resources will alleviate spectrum-availability traffic jams and wireless communications may become far more dependable, convenient and, perhaps, considerably economical than it is today. Indeed, if Cognitive Radio technology progresses as its developers hope the airwaves will never be the same again.

Short Fiction - Waiting for the Signal

Please click the link below and read on my creative writing blog


Monday, September 22, 2008

Pratap Joshi - RIP - A Remembrance


In the early hours of the 22nd of September 2008, Pratap Dattatraya Joshi, breathed his last, and departed for his heavenly abode, at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune.

Pratap Joshi was an epitome of simple living and high thinking. Born on the 6th of March 1932, he imbibed sterling values from his father, DP Joshi, a Teacher and Scout, a legend in his lifetime.

A product of the prestigious First Course of the National Defence Academy [or 1st JSW, as he liked to call it], Brigadier PD Joshi was certainly not the archetypal pompous hard-drinking handlebar-moustached high-falutin Colonel Blimp type of Officer. He was a simple, down-to-earth, Spartan, unassuming, dedicated, sincere, patriotic, scrupulously honest, erudite person possessing a golden heart filled with humility and compassion. Throughout his distinguished career spanning 37 years, and even thereafter, he spread happiness, benevolence and goodwill owing to his cheerful disposition, kind-hearted nature and inimitable sense of humour.

Forever young at heart, Pratap Joshi didn’t suffer from the Auld Lang Syne Complex. After retirement he didn’t live in the past, languishing and brooding about the “good old days”, but moved on with exceptional enthusiasm and childlike zeal to his new loves – music and social work.

Starting from the scratch, he studied classical music with sheer dedication, resolute grit and passionate zest for many years till he was bestowed with the prestigious post graduate degree of Sangeet Alankar. Then he taught music to one and all, free of cost, making special efforts to teach the needy and underprivileged.

Travelling extensively, and roughing it out in the heart of the mofussil, to rural and far flung regions, he made a significant social contribution to enhancing primary education in backward areas, as the Chief Trustee of the Natu Foundation Educational Trust. He eagerly contributed his expertise to Jnana Prabodhini and for improving the efficiency of Hospitals.

Pratap Joshi loved animals, especially dogs. He always had pet dogs, and showered his unconditional love on them and all the dogs that he came across in the neighbourhood, pet and stray. It was distressing to see Dolly desperately searching for him soon after he had gone away from us forever. We shall always remember the love with which he snuggled and cuddled Sherry, our Doberman girl, when she was a baby.

He had a genuine zest for living, and enjoyed every moment of his life, indulging himself in his favourite foods, movies, travel, music – anything he liked, he did it! He laughed, and made others laugh.

I first met Pratap Joshi in March 1982 and he left such a lasting impression on me that I became his fan ever since. He was my father-in-law, more like a loving father who I could count on to stand by me, advice and inspire me, in happiness and in adversity, and I shall forever cherish every moment I shared with him. My son, a seafarer, was his favourite grandchild, the apple of his eye. It was a pity he couldn’t be with his beloved grandfather during his last moments as he is sailing on the high seas. Such are the tragedies and travesties of life, and death.

We will miss you dearly “Daddy”. You lived your life to its fullest and loved all of us from the bottom of your heart. We are sure you will shower us with your blessings from your heavenly abode. You always did good to everyone you met and wherever you went. May your soul Rest in Peace.


Friday, September 12, 2008





“The map is not the territory!”

What does this mean?

Liehtse’s famous parable of The Old Man at the Fort is perhaps apt to illustrate this concept:-

An Old Man was living with his Son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill, and one day he lost a horse.

The neighbours came to express their sympathy for this misfortune, but the Old Man asked, “How do you know this bad luck? The fact is that one horse is missing and there is one horse less in the stables. That is the fact. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well that is a matter of judgment.”

A few days afterwards, his horse returned with a number of wild horses, and his neighbours came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune, and the Old Man replied, “How do you know this is good luck? The fact is that there are more horses in my stable than before. Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well that is a matter of opinion.”

With so many horses around, his son began to take to riding, and one day while riding a wild horse he was thrown off and broke his leg. Again the neighbours came around to express their sympathy, and the Old Man replied, “How do you know this is bad luck?”

A few days later a war broke out and all the able bodied men were forcibly conscripted into the army, sent to the warfront to fight and most of them were killed or wounded. Because the Old Man’s son had a broken leg he did not have to go to the war front and his life was saved.

This parable drives home the lesson that there are no such things like good luck and bad luck. What disturbs you are not events but your attitude towards them. You must learn to distinguish between facts and your attitude or judgment towards those facts. It’s all in the mind. Facts are like territory – ground reality. But the way you interpret or judge those facts, your attitude towards them, depends on your mental map.

This mental map is formed due to your values, beliefs and experiences and you tend to view the actual facts or events (territory) through mental filters based on your values, beliefs, biases, prejudices and experiences which form your mental map.

Remember, just like the actual physical geographical territory exists on the ground and its map is drawn on paper, actual facts and events happen in reality and each one of us interprets them depending on the different maps prevalent in our minds.

Events, by themselves, don’t hurt you, it is your attitudes and responses (mental maps) that disturb you and give you trouble. It then becomes your paramount duty to introspect and continuously redesign your mental maps to develop the correct attitude and responses towards external events.

When something happens the only thing in your power is your attitude towards it. We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them. The secret of inner calm lies within you, in developing the proper mental “maps” and the correct attitude in your mind, so that you are not disturbed by the vicissitudes of external events which are akin to the outside “territory”.



Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The SHOR Paradigm

The SHOR Paradigm

[Decision-making in Uncertainty]



“The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides” …Frederic Amiel

Decision-making is so pervasive that everyone, professionally or personally, is involved with making a variety of decisions.

In today’s fast-moving world, the timing of a decision is of paramount importance in many decision-making situations. In real life even the “perfect” decision may not be optimal if it is made too late.

Information is a vital resource in decision-making. One of the most important characteristics of successful managers is the ability to make the correct decision when confronted with imperfect or insufficient information (i.e.) Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty.

In the context of decision-processing, two realms or domains of uncertainty are:

1. Information Input Uncertainty which creates the need for hypothesis generation and evaluation;

2. Consequence-of-Action Uncertainty which creates the need for option generation and evaluation.


A decision taxonomy: The Stimulus – Hypothesis – Options – Response (SHOR) paradigm, formulated by Wohl, is useful in such decision situations. The SHOR paradigm represents a qualitative, descriptive, model as distinct from a quantitative, predictive model, and comprises three primary decision-making task elements:
S: Stimulus Input Data Processing
H: Hypothesis Generation, Hypothesis Evaluation, Information Processing [What is?]
O: Option Generation, Option Evaluation, Decision-Making [What if?]
R: Response Output Action

The SHOR paradigm is basically an extension of the classical Stimulus – Response (SR) Paradigm of behaviourist psychology. The SHOR paradigm provides explicitly for the necessity to deal with information input uncertainty and consequence-of-action uncertainty, and helps us understand some of the peculiar human factors that affect the quality of the decision-making and answering questions such as:
What makes some decision-makers perform better than others, especially in placing high-value assets at risk, in business?
What are the sources and dimensions of “poor” performance?


Based on the SHOR Model, human errors in decision-making appear to lie in four domains:

(S) Stimulus: “I didn’t know…”
(H) Hypothesis: “I didn’t understand…”
(O) Options: “I didn’t consider…”
(R) Response: “I didn’t act…”

Stimulus based errors of the type “I didn’t know…” result from lack or inadequacy of information, the true inability to obtain information.

“I didn’t understand…” is the fundamental result of information input uncertainty, while “I didn’t consider…” is the product of consequence-of-action uncertainty.

It is possible to have accessed all significant information, to have developed the correct hypothesis and to have selected the best option and yet fail to take appropriate action. The two possible reasons for the “I didn’t act…” type of response error are:

1. Paralysis: This is a complete failure to act, the pathological ‘observation of an inevitable course’ without intervention. It is caused by an over-riding emotional struggle in which some internal factor is being placed in conflict with the course of action selected by the decision-maker. The final scene in the evergreen classic film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) exemplifies such a situation.

2. Misjudgement: The decision-maker correctly decides what to do but errs in either or both of the two dimensions – how [the specifics of the action] or when [the timing of the action].

Prediction of the critical consequences of inaction may be of some help in dealing with paralysis whilst the ability to perform sensitivity analyses may assist in alleviating misjudgement.

Any Decision-Maker [and designers of decision aids] must address the four cardinal types of errors epitomized by the SHOR paradigm: “I didn’t know…”, “I didn’t understand…”, “I didn’t consider…” and “I didn’t act…”


In the context of decision-making in uncertainty, the conflict theory paradigm developed by Janis and Mann may be apt. This paradigm postulates five patterns of coping behaviour which tends to occur in such situations:

1. Unconflicted Adherence in which the uncertain, or risk, information is ignored and the decision-maker complacently decides to continue whatever he has been doing.

2. Unconflicted Change to a new course of action, where the decision-maker uncritically adopts whichever new course of action is most salient, obvious or strongly recommended.

3. Defensive Avoidance in which the decision-maker evades conflict by procrastinating, shifting responsibility to someone else, or constructing wishful rationalisations and remaining selectively inattentive to corrective information.

4. Hypervigilance wherein the decision-maker searches frantically for a way out of the dilemma and impulsively seizes upon a hastily contrived solution that seems to promise immediate relief, overlooking the full range of consequences of his choice because of emotional excitement, repetitive thinking and cognitive constriction. In its most extreme form hypervigilance is referred to as “panic”.

5. Concerned Vigilance in which the decision-maker optimally processes pertinent information, generates and evaluates hypotheses and options before selecting a response as characterised by the SHOR paradigm.

In many real-life situations a decision-maker cannot always keep waiting until the entire information-input and consequence-of-action conditions are known a priori with certainty. In most cases there is no such thing as “perfect” certainty.

If a single most important characteristic is crucial to a decision-maker in any field, it is the ability to make optimal decisions in conditions of uncertainty. Qualitative descriptive models like the SHOR paradigm may prove useful in such situations.

To quote Frederic Amiel once again: “The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides”.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Foodie Adventures


[Foodie Adventures, Simple Recipes, Authentic Value For Money Food in Mumbai and Pune and Musings on The Art of Eating]



Please click the link and read the review of Appetite for a Stroll titled Food for Soul in the Indian Express [Pune] Sunday 7th September 2008

expressonline book review

Happy Reading and Happy Eating


PS: If you want to get the book just click the links below:

I am sure you will enjoy reading the book.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

THE FEAST OF LIFE The Importance of Living

BOOK REVIEW by Vikram Waman Karve

[A book that enriched my life and taught me the art of living]

Published: 1937 ( New York , USA ), Indian Edition: 1960 JAICO Mumbai
ISBN: 81-7224-829


[The Importance of Living]



There is one book you will never find in my bookcase – you will always find it by my bedside near my pillow. At night, just before I go to sleep, I open this book to any random page, and read on till I drift off to blissful idyllic sleep.

The name of this book, which has had a profound defining effect on me, maybe even subconsciously shaped my philosophy of life, is called: The Importance of Living written in 1937 by the Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang.

But first, let me tell you a story, maybe apocryphal, about a scholar who had thoroughly studied the Bhagavad Gita for many years, considered himself an expert, traveled far and wide delivering discourses on the teachings of the Gita and was widely acknowledged as an authority on the subject. His ultimate desire was to deliver a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita at Benares , which was the sanctum sanctorum of learning.

So he went to Benares , and impressed by the scholar’s erudition and fame, the King of Benares invited the scholar to deliver a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita in his court. All the wise men of Benares assembled to hear the Scholar, but just as he began to speak the King interrupted him and told him to read the Bhagavad Gita one more time in the evening and deliver his discourse the next day. The Scholar was furious but he had no choice but to comply with the king’s wishes.

As he read the Bhagavad Gita with full concentration in the evening, he realized some new meanings and updated his speech accordingly. Next day the same thing happened – the moment the scholar began to speak the King interrupted him and told him to read the Gita once more and then come the next day to give his lecture. And again as the Scholar read the Gita he comprehended some new wisdom – something he hadn’t perceived before. So he incorporated his new findings and proceeded to deliver his talk.

Again the same thing happened – the king interrupted him and told him to again read the Gita once more before he gave his discourse. And again the scholar discovered some new wisdom in the Gita. This cycle went on for days and days till the scholar realized how ignorant he was and how much more there was to learn from the Bhagavad Gita that he gave up the idea of delivering the discourse and decided to totally devote his entire efforts to the study of the Bhagavad Gita.

Days passed, and suddenly one morning, when the scholar was deeply immersed in his study, the King went to the scholar’s house, sat before him with folded hands and requested the scholar to enlighten him about the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.

It’s the same with any great book. Every time you read it, something new emerges, and you realize you have so much more to learn from it. I have read The Importance of Living innumerable times, again and again, with renewed pleasure, and every time I read it I imbibe a special different philosophical flavor, and grasp new wisdom, which delves on all aspects of the art of living, and I have realized that there is more significance and value in Lin Yutang’s magnum opus than I am capable of appreciating. So let me not be as presumptuous as to attempt to evaluate this classic treatise – I’ll just try to gently pilot you along in random vignettes to give you a flavor of this delightful philosophical gem.

Let’s open this delightful book to a few random pages, read some lines to give you glimpse into the wisdom on the art of living contained in this masterpiece. In the section on Leisure and Friendship are these words: “Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what the people of the world take leisurely”. Reflect on this, let these words perambulate in your mind for some time. There is nothing that man enjoys more than leisure. The highest value of time is when you are doing what you love and want to do. During leisure you are free to choose what you want to do and enjoy doing. Leisure enables you to realize the highest value of your time!

Tell me, why do you work? Is it for job satisfaction? Or is it to earn money so that you can enjoy satisfaction off the job? In fact, most of us work for our leisure, because there is nothing we enjoy more than leisure. Elaborating on a theory of leisure the book says: “Time is useful because it is not being used. Leisure is like unoccupied floor space in a room…it is that unoccupied space which makes a room habitable, as it is our leisure hours which make our life endurable”. Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.

Enunciating the distinction between Buddhism and Taoism: “The goal of the Buddhist is that he shall not want anything, while the goal of the Taoist is that he shall not be wanted at all”, the author describes the tremendous advantages of obscurity, and deduces that only he who is not wanted by the public can be a carefree individual. It is true isn’t it – only he who is a carefree individual can be a happy human being? Lin Yutang deliberates delightfully on his philosophical view: “Nothing matters to a man who says nothing matters”.

“How are we to live? How shall we enjoy life, and who can best enjoy life?” The feast of life is before us; the only question is what appetite we have for it. The appetite is vital, not the feast. This delightful treatise gives us insights on how to develop, enhance and refine our appetites in order to enjoy various facets of living. The capacity for true enjoyment comes from an inner richness in a man who loves the simple ways of life. There is always plenty of life to enjoy for a man who is determined to enjoy it.

You may find some of the author’s views a bit passĂ© – “mere relationship between man and woman is not sufficient; the relationship must result in babies, or it is incomplete” or “woman reaches her noblest status only as a mother, and that wife who by choice refuses to become a mother… loses a great part of her dignity…and stands in danger of becoming a plaything” or “a natural man loves his children, but a cultured man loves his parents” or “The art of attaining happiness consists in keeping your pleasures mild” or “It is against the will of God to eat delicate food hastily, to pass gorgeous views hurriedly, to express deep sentiments superficially, to pass a beautiful day steeped on food and drink, and to enjoy your wealth steeped in luxuries” – think about it, reflect a bit, and you may detect a iota of authenticity in these nuggets.

The book has fourteen chapters, embellished with epigrams, teaching stories, ancient wisdom and wit, on various aspects of the importance and enjoyment of living and once you start reading it this book is indeed so engrossing that it is truly unputdownable. The Importance of Loafing, The Enjoyment of the Home, Nature, Travel, Culture, The Arts of Thinking, Eating, Reading , Writing, Loving, Happiness – the range and variety of topics covered indeed make fascinating reading.

Reading is the greatest of all joys. Extolling the virtues and charm of reading, Lin Yutang says: “The man who has not the habit of reading is imprisoned in his immediate world…the reader is always carried away into a world of thought and reflection”, and on writing: “a writing is always better when it is one’s own, and a woman is always lovelier when she is somebody else’s wife”. “He who is afraid to use an ‘I’ in his writing will never make a good writer” and “anyone who reads a book with a sense of obligation does not understand the art of reading… to be thoroughly enjoyed, reading must be entirely spontaneous…you can leave the books that you don’t like alone, and let other people read them!”

The best way to read The Importance of Living is to open any page and browse whatever appeals to you, randomly, in an unstructured and haphazard manner. Think of yourself as a traveler in the philosophical or spiritual domain. The essence of travel is to have no destination.A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to; a perfect traveler does not know where he came from! A true traveler is always a vagabond – he travels to see nothing, to see nobody, with plenty of time and leisure, with the true motive to become lost and unknown.

Are you the ambitious competitive go-getter obsessed with an overpowering desire for achieving quick success – craving for power, wealth, fame, and the status and money-oriented aspects of life? Do you value material possessions more than peace of mind? Is external achievement more important than inner tranquility?

If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, then please don’t bother to read this book now, as you may be too “busy” in your own competitive rat race of your own making and probably you don’t have any time to “waste” on anything that doesn’t give you something tangible in return – a solid material ROI (Return on Investment) for investing your valuable time and effort reading this book.

But please don’t forget to read The Importance of Living after you’ve burned out, had a heart attack or suffered a nervous breakdown – when you’ll have plenty of time and, perhaps, the inclination, to reflect, contemplate, and delve more deeply upon the more intangible philosophical aspects of life – and ruminate on how you could have obviated that stressful burn-out, agonizing heart attack or traumatic nervous breakdown. Maybe then you will better understand Lin Yutang’s wisdom: “Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.”

If you are happy here and now, wherever you are, in whatever state you are, and you are truly content with what you have, you place living above thinking, and are interested in savouring the feast of life and its joys, then this witty philosophical treatise on the art of living in its entirety is the book for you.

The Importance of Living presents an uncomplicated approach to living life to its fullest in today's rapidly changing, fast paced, competitive, ambition dominated, money and status oriented, commercialized world, enabling each one of us to enjoy inner peace and happiness.

Sometimes, it is a great pity to read a good book too early in life. The first impression is the one that counts. Young people should be careful in their reading, as old people in eating their food. They should not eat too much. They should chew it well. Like you should eat gourmet food only when you are ready for it, you should read a good book only when you are ready for it. Mature wisdom cannot be appreciated until one becomes mature.

But The Importance of Living is a book for all ages. Of 1937 vintage, an ancestor and precursor of modern "self-help" books, it is a delightful philosophical treatise, which advocates a humorous and vagabond attitude towards life and deals with a variety of topics encompassing the art of living. Is such a happy and carefree philosophy of life relevant today?

Why don’t you give it a try and see for yourself! Slowly, relaxingly, thoroughly, peruse this classic masterpiece, absorb the witty wisdom, reflect, try out, practice and incorporate whatever appeals to you in your daily life, ruminate, experiment, enjoy yourself, have a laugh, change your lifestyle, enhance your quality of life, elevate your plane of living, and maybe your entire way of life may change forever.

Dear Reader, I commend this delightfully illuminating book. Though enunciated with a touch of humor, the thoughts are profound. Do get a copy of The Importance of Living and read it leisurely.

Here are the details of the book:

Published: 1937 ( New York , USA ), Indian Edition: 1960 JAICO Mumbai
ISBN: 81-7224-829

I am sure you will find a copy at your nearest bookstore or in your library. And don’t forget to tell us how you liked it, and did it change your life for the better.

And by the way,

Are you a passionate foodie?

Want to learn the ART OF EATING?

Love feasting on yummy heritage cuisine?

Craving for Foodie Adventures?

Then you must read APPETITE FOR A STROLL.Want to know more?Just click the links below:

All the Best – Do savour the feast of life to the fullest.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.