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GCN : October and November 2016
38 GCN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016 • GCN.COM The Federal Communications Commission’s Auction Optimization Model promises to change the way spectrum is allocated in a broadband-hungry world There’s a lot at stake in the Federal Communications Com- mission’s two-sided incentive auction that will repurpose UHF TV broadcast spectrum for wireless telecommunica- tions. And the mathematical calculations involved are im- mense. To ensure accuracy — and make the world’s largest reverse and forward auction possible — the FCC created the Auction Optimization Model. AOM helps the FCC with repacking, the process by which the commission assigns stations a new channel in the UHF band to clear a portion for wireless licenses. Once AOM de- termines the new assignment, FCC officials know how much spectrum can be repurposed for wireless licenses that will be sold in the forward auction of the two-sided sale, FCC’s Melissa Dunford told GCN. “ The AOM solves a class of problems that is called NP- complete and is theoretically unsolvable in human time,” said Dunford, who is director of systems and math optimi- zation for FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force. “However, with a lot of dedicated servers, clever heuristics developed by the team and our novel distributed strategy, not only are we able to solve it but we are able to determine an optimal solution 97 percent of the time.” AOM has been deployed to 15 cloud-based clusters consisting of 175 large instance servers. The model has three components. The Constraint Generator converts large engineering data outputs to mathematical constraints so that it can model interference between two TV stations. Then the Clearing Target Optimization Tool’s 15 mathemati- cal optimization models repack TV stations into a reduced band while minimizing placement to channels that would interfere with future wireless licenses. Lastly, the Final Channel Assignment Tool produces the channel assignment that broadcast stations will transition to when the incentive auction ends. AOM is enabling the FCC to hold the world’s first two- sided auction, and it promises to change the way spectrum is allocated in a broadband-hungry world. — Stephanie Kanowitz current crime trends, or supporting counterterrorism or emergency management operations. HSIN Exchange now helps fusion centers address inquiries more effi- ciently while using metrics to assess and enhance their own operations. Along the way, the centers are saving time and reducing the duplication of systems and effort. Information requests used to be handled via email, but with HSIN Exchange, law enforcement officials nation- wide can access a free tool to share and track information requests through a secure and standardized template. HSIN Exchange, which was built in-house, is a model- view-controller web applica- tion that can only be accessed via HSIN using Oracle’s identity and access manage- ment suite for two-factor authentication. “Using HSIN Exchange ensures that mission-essential requests for information and associated responses are safe and secure in a trusted environment,” said Katherine Mullins, director of HSIN mis- sion integration and outreach at DHS. “Every day, agencies from federal, state, local, tribal [and] territorial [govern- ments] are looking for an- swers to huge questions,” said Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center As- sociation, in a prepared state- ment. “The HSIN Exchange tool is going to revolutionize the way those requests for information are made.” HSIN Exchange has already streamlined the process for managing information re- quests between fusion centers and will soon be expanded to include other law enforce- ment agencies, such as major city and county intelligence units. — Matt Leonard Better data fights SNAP fraud across state lines Five state health and human services agencies have deployed a joint fraud detection system that fights waste and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Fraud, waste and abuse plague the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but five state agen- cies are fighting back with a joint fraud detection system. Mississippi led Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisi- ana in working with Lex- isNexis Risk Solutions to create the National Accuracy THE BIG MATH BEHIND SPECTRUM REALLOCATION 1116gcn_032-055.indd 38 10/6/16 10:25 AM
August and September 2016
January and February 2017