The Machine Learners think that their “feature engineering” (rooting around in voluminous data) is the same as “features” in mathematically derived signal-processing algorithms. I take a lighthearted look.

One of the things the machine learners never tire of saying is that their neural-network approach to classification is superior to previous methods because, in part, those older methods use hand-crafted features. They put it in different ways, but somewhere in the introductory section of a machine-learning modulation-recognition paper (ML/MR), you’ll likely see the claim. You can look through the ML/MR papers I’ve cited in The Literature ([R133]-[R146]) if you are curious, but I’ll extract a couple here just to illustrate the idea.

What happens when a cyclostationary time-series is treated as if it were stationary?

In this post let’s consider the difference between modeling a communication signal as stationary or as cyclostationary.

There are two contexts for this kind of issue. The first is when someone recognizes that a particular signal model is cyclostationary, and then takes some action to render it stationary (sometimes called ‘stationarizing the signal’). They then proceed with their analysis or algorithm development using the stationary signal model. The second context is when someone applies stationary-signal processing to a cyclostationary signal model, either without knowing that the signal is cyclostationary, or perhaps knowing but not caring.

At the center of this topic is the difference between the mathematical object known as a random process (or stochastic process) and the mathematical object that is a single infinite-time function (or signal or time-series).

A related paper is The Literature [R68], which discusses the pitfalls of applying tools meant for stationary signals to the samples of cyclostationary signals.

What are the unique parts of the multidimensional cyclic moments and cyclic cumulants?

In this post, we continue our study of the symmetries of CSP parameters. The second-order parameters–spectral correlation and cyclic correlation–are covered in detail in the companion post, including the symmetries for ‘auto’ and ‘cross’ versions of those parameters.

Here we tackle the generalizations of cyclic correlation: cyclic temporal moments and cumulants. We’ll deal with the generalization of the spectral correlation function, the cyclic polyspectra, in a subsequent post. It is reasonable to me to focus first on the higher-order temporal parameters, because I consider the temporal parameters to be much more useful in practice than the spectral parameters.

This topic is somewhat harder and more abstract than the second-order topic, but perhaps there are bigger payoffs in algorithm development for exploiting symmetries in higher-order parameters than in second-order parameters because the parameters are multidimensional. So it could be worthwhile to sally forth.

Do we need to consider all cycle frequencies, both positive and negative? Do we need to consider all delays and frequencies in our second-order CSP parameters?

As you progress through the various stages of learning CSP (intimidation, frustration, elucidation, puzzlement, and finally smooth operation), the symmetries of the various functions come up over and over again. Exploiting symmetries can result in lower computational costs, quicker debugging, and easier mathematical development.

What exactly do we mean by ‘symmetries of parameters?’ I’m talking primarily about the evenness or oddness of the time-domain functions in the delay and cycle frequency variables and of the frequency-domain functions in the spectral frequency and cycle frequency variables. Or a generalized version of evenness/oddness, such as , where and are closely related functions. We have to consider the non-conjugate and conjugate functions separately, and we’ll also consider both the auto and cross versions of the parameters. We’ll look at higher-order cyclic moments and cumulants in a future post.

You can use this post as a resource for mathematical development because I present the symmetry equations. But also each symmetry result is illustrated using estimated parameters via the frequency smoothing method (FSM) of spectral correlation function estimation. The time-domain parameters are obtained from the inverse transforms of the FSM parameters. So you can also use this post as an extension of the second-order verification guide to ensure that your estimator works for a wide variety of input parameters.

A PSK/QAM/SQPSK data set with randomized symbol rate, inband SNR, carrier-frequency offset, and pulse roll-off.

Update September 2020. I made a mistake when I created the signal-parameter “truth” files signal_record.txt and signal_record_first_20000.txt. Like the DeepSig RML data sets that I analyzed on the CSP Blog here and here, the SNR parameter in the truth files did not match the actual SNR of the signals in the data files. I’ve updated the truth files and the links below. You can still use the original files for all other signal parameters, but the SNR parameter was in error.

Update July 2020. I originally posted signals in the posted data set. I’ve now added another for a total of signals. The original signals are contained in Batches 1-5, the additional signals in Batches 6-28. I’ve placed these additional Batches at the end of the post to preserve the original post’s content.

We learned it using abstractions involving various infinite quantities. Can a machine learn it without that advantage?

This post is just a blog post. Just some guy on the internet thinking out loud. If you have relevant thoughts or arguments you’d like to advance, please leave them in the Comments section at the end of the post.

How did this come about? Is it even interesting to ask the question? Well, it is to me. I ask it because of the current hot topic in signal processing: machine learning. And in particular, machine learning applied to modulation recognition (see here and here). The machine learners want to capitalize on the success of machine learning applied to image recognition by directly applying the same sorts of image-recognition techniques to the problem of automatic type-recognition for human-made electromagnetic waves.

The machine-learning modulation-recognition community consistently claims vastly superior performance to anything that has come before. Let’s test that.

UPDATE

I’ve decided to post the data set I discuss here to the CSP Blog for all interested parties to use. See the new post on the Data Set. If you do use it, please let me and the CSP Blog readers know how you fared with your experiments in the Comments section of either post. Thanks!

How do we efficiently estimate higher-order cyclic cumulants? The basic answer is first estimate cyclic moments, then combine using the moments-to-cumulants formula.

In this post we discuss ways of estimating -th order cyclic temporal moment and cumulant functions. Recall that for , cyclic moments and cyclic cumulants are usually identical. They differ when the signal contains one or more finite-strength additive sine-wave components. In the common case when such components are absent (as in our recurring numerical example involving rectangular-pulse BPSK), they are equal and they are also equal to the conventional cyclic autocorrelation function provided the delay vector is chosen appropriately.

The more interesting case is when the order is greater than . Most communication signal models possess odd-order moments and cumulants that are identically zero, so the first non-trivial order greater than is . Our estimation task is to estimate -th order temporal moment and cumulant functions for using a sampled-data record of length .

Gaussian and binary signals are in some sense at opposite ends of the pure-impure sine-wave spectrum.

Remember when we derived the cumulant as the solution to the pure th-order sine-wave problem? It sounded good at the time, I hope. But here I describe a curious special case where the interpretation of the cumulant as the pure component of a nonlinearly generated sine wave seems to break down.

Modulation recognition is the process of assigning one or more modulation-class labels to a provided time-series data sequence.

In this post, we start a discussion of what I consider the ultimate application of the theory of cyclostationary signals: Automatic Modulation Recognition. My relevant papers are My Papers [16,17,25,26,28,30,32,33,38,43,44]. See also my machine-learning modulation-recognition critiques by clicking on Machine Learning in the CSP Blog Categories on the right side of any post.

Higher-order statistics in the frequency domain for cyclostationary signals. As complicated as it gets at the CSP Blog.

In this post we take a first look at the spectral parameters of higher-order cyclostationarity (HOCS). In previous posts, I have introduced the topic of HOCS and have looked at the temporal parameters, such as cyclic cumulants and cyclic moments. Those temporal parameters have proven useful in modulation classification and parameter estimation settings, and will likely be an important part of my ultimate radio-frequency scene analyzer.

The spectral parameters of HOCS have not proven to be as useful as the temporal parameters unless you include the trivial case where the moment/cumulant order is equal to two. In that case, the spectral parameters reduce to the spectral correlation function, which is extremely useful in CSP (see the TDOA and signal-detection posts for examples).

PSK and QAM signals form the building blocks for a large number of practical real-world signals. Understanding their probability structure is crucial to understanding those more complicated signals.

Let’s look into the statistical properties of a class of textbook signals that encompasses digital quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), phase-shift keying (PSK), and pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM). I’ll call the class simply digital QAM (DQAM), and all of its members have an analytical-signal mathematical representation of the form

In this model, is the symbol index, is the symbol rate, is the carrier frequency (sometimes called the carrier frequency offset), is the symbol-clock phase, and is the carrier phase. The finite-energy function is the pulse function (sometimes called the pulse-shaping function). Finally, the random variable is called the symbol, and has a discrete distribution that is called the constellation.

Model (1) is a textbook signal when the sequence of symbols is independent and identically distributed (IID). This condition rules out real-world communication aids such as periodically transmitted bursts of known symbols, adaptive modulation (where the constellation may change in response to the vagaries of the propagation channel), some forms of coding, etc. Also, when the pulse function is a rectangle (with width ), the signal is even less realistic, and therefore more textbooky.

We will look at the moments and cumulants of this general model in this post. Although the model is textbook, we could use it as a building block to form more realistic, less textbooky, signal models. Then we could find the cyclostationarity of those models by applying signal-processing transformation rules that define how the cumulants of the output of a signal processor relate to those for the input.

How does the cyclostationarity of a signal change when it is subjected to common signal-processing operations like addition, multiplication, and convolution?

It is often useful to know how a signal processing operation affects the probabilistic parameters of a random signal. For example, if I know the power spectral density (PSD) of some signal , and I filter it using a linear time-invariant transformation with impulse response function , producing the output , then what is the PSD of ? This input-output relationship is well known and quite useful. The relationship is

Because the mathematical models of real-world communication signals can be constructed by subjecting idealized textbook signals to various signal-processing operations, such as filtering, it is of interest to us here at the CSP Blog to know how the spectral correlation function of the output of a signal processor is related to the spectral correlation function for the input. Similarly, we’d like to know such input-output relationships for the cyclic cumulants and the cyclic polyspectra.

Another benefit of knowing these CSP input-output relationships is that they tend to build insight into the meaning of the probabilistic parameters. For example, in the PSD input-output relationship (1), we already know that the transfer function at scales the input frequency component at by the complex number . So it makes sense that the PSD at is scaled by the squared magnitude of . If the filter transfer function is zero at , then the density of averaged power at should vanish too.

So, let’s look at this kind of relationship for CSP parameters. All of these results can be found, usually with more mathematical detail, in My Papers [6, 13].

Using complex-valued signal representations is convenient but also has complications: You have to consider all possible choices for conjugating different factors in a moment.

When we considered complex-valued signals and second-order statistics, we ended up with two kinds of parameters: non-conjugate and conjugate. So we have the non-conjugate autocorrelation, which is the expected value of the normal second-order lag product in which only one of the factors is conjugated (consistent with the normal definition of variance for complex-valued random variables),

and the conjugate autocorrelation, which is the expected value of the second-order lag product in which neither factor is conjugated

The complex-valued Fourier-series amplitudes of these functions of time are the non-conjugate and conjugate cyclic autocorrelation functions, respectively.

I never explained why both the non-conjugate and conjugate functions are needed. In this post, I rectify that omission. The reason for the many different choices of conjugated factors in higher-order cyclic moments and cumulants is also provided.

Cyclic cumulants are the amplitudes of the Fourier-series components of the time-varying cumulant function for a cyclostationary signal. They degenerate to conventional cumulants when the signal is stationary.

In this post I continue the development of the theory of higher-order cyclostationarity (My Papers [5,6]) that I began here. It is largely taken from my doctoral work (download my dissertation here).

This is a long post. To make it worthwhile, I’ve placed some movies of cyclic-cumulant estimates at the end. Or just skip to the end now if you’re impatient!

Recall that in the post introducing higher-order cyclostationarity, I mentioned that one encounters a bit of a puzzle when attempting to generalize experience with second-order cyclostationarity to higher orders. This is the puzzle of pure sine waves (My Papers [5]). Let’s look at pure and impure sine waves, and see how they lead to the probabilistic parameters widely known as cyclic cumulants.

Why do we need or care about higher-order cyclostationarity? Because second-order cyclostationarity is insufficient for our signal-processing needs in some important cases.

To contrast with HOCS, we’ll refer to second-order parameters such as the cyclic autocorrelation and the spectral correlation function as parameters of second-order cyclostationarity (SOCS).

The first question we might ask is Why do we care about HOCS? And one answer is that SOCS does not provide all the statistical information about a signal that we might need to perform some signal-processing task. There are two main limitations of SOCS that drive us to HOCS.