Daily Productive Sharing 070 - 华为的5G之路

One helpful tip per day:)

(The English version follows)

Wired 最近的报道是关于华为的 5G 之路,从理论到实践都完整地梳理了一遍,非常出彩。

Huawei is settling the score in its own way. One of the world's great technology powers, it nonetheless suffers from an inferiority complex. Despite spending billions on research and science, it can't get the respect and recognition of its Western peers. Much like China itself.

Arıkan wanted to study, and because of his excellent test scores he managed to transfer to CalTech, one of the world's top science-oriented institutions, in Pasadena, California.

Within his first few days, he was in an orientation session addressed by legendary physicist Richard Feynman. It was like being blessed by a saint.

What gripped him most was solving a challenge that Shannon himself had spelled out in his 1948 paper: how to transport accurate information at high speed while defeating the inevitable “noise”—undesirable alterations of the message—introduced in the process of moving all those bits. The problem was known as channel capacity.

Rather than advancing his field in tiny increments, he went on a monumental quest. It would be his work for the next 20 years.

Arıkan's goal was to transmit messages accurately over a noisy channel at the fastest possible speed. The key word is accurately. If you don't care about accuracy, you can send messages unfettered. But if you want the recipient to get the same data that you sent, you have to insert some redundancy into the message. That gives the recipient a way to cross-check the message to make sure it's what you sent. Inevitably, that extra cross-checking slows things down. This is known as the channel coding problem.

Arıkan's new solution was to create near-perfect channels from ordinary channels by a process he called “channel polarization.” Noise would be transferred from one channel to a copy of the same channel to create a cleaner copy and a dirtier one. After a recursive series of such steps, two sets of channels emerge, one set being extremely noisy, the other being almost noise-free.

Over the years, whenever he traveled, he would leave his unpublished manuscript in two envelopes addressed to “top colleagues whom I trusted,” with the order to mail them “if I don't come back.”

In 2013, Wen Tong asked Huawei's investment board for $600 million for 5G research. “Very simple,” Tong says. “20 minutes, and they decided.” The answer was yes, and a good deal of that money went into polar codes. After Huawei came up with software that implemented the theory, the work shifted to testing and iterating. Eventually hundreds of engineers were involved.

Today Huawei holds more than two-thirds of the polar code patent “families”—10 times as many as its nearest competitor. The general feeling in the field, Vardy said, was that Huawei “invested a lot of research time and effort into developing this idea.” It seemed “all the other companies were at least a few years behind.”

Hundt is one of a number of current and former officials alarmed that the United States has no equivalent to Huawei—that is, a major telecommunications company that both develops next-generation technology and builds it into equipment. “In Europe, they have an Ericsson. In Japan, they have companies. And in China, they have not just Huawei but also ZTE. But Huawei is the one that covers the whole range of products.”

In a preliminary round of the 5G New Radio standards process, the Chinese company Lenovo expressed its preference for LDPC, because it was a more familiar technology. That didn't last long. Lenovo changed its opinion later that year. Lenovo's founder, Liu Chuanzhi, called Ren Zhengfei to make sure that no offense was taken by the original stance. Liu and other executives even drafted an open letter that read like a forced confession. “We all agree that Chinese enterprises should be united and not be provoked by outsiders,” Liu and his colleagues wrote. “Stick to it … raise the banner of national industry, and finally defeat the international giants.”

Huawei was ecstatic. But it was not just Huawei's win; it was China's too. Finally, a Chinese company was getting respect commensurate with its increasingly dominant power in the marketplace. “Huawei-backed polar code entering the 5G standard has a symbolic meaning,” one observer told a reporter at the time. “This is the first time a Chinese company has entered a telecommunications framework agreement, winning the right to be heard.”

In his office, Arıkan scribbled equations on a large whiteboard to explain how he had achieved the Shannon limit. Afterward, we talked about Huawei. The company first contacted him in 2012. “We talked to each other, exchanged ideas,” he says. “This is the best mode of collaboration for me. I remain independent, and they do whatever they want.” He has personally taken no money from the telecom giant.

In 2011, Arıkan started his own small company and took polar codes to Qualcomm and Seagate to see if they had interest in implementing the idea. “I did prepare some slides and sent them, but none of the US companies were really interested in it,”

“Polar codes itself is not what's important,” he continued. “It is a symbol. 5G is totally different than the internet. It's like a global nervous system. Huawei is the leading company in 5G. They will be around in 10, 20, 50 years—you cannot say that about the US tech companies. In the internet era, the US produced a few trillion-dollar companies. Because of 5G, China will have 10 or more trillion-dollar companies. Huawei and China now have the lead.”

Arıkan says the experience has led him to respect Huawei—and to provide a warning to the country where he learned information theory. “I owe a lot to the US,” he says. “I give you friendly advice: You have to accept this as the new reality and deal with it accordingly.”

Huawei, 5G, and the Man Who Conquered Noise

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A recent piece from Wired introduced how Huawei transformed 5G technology from theories to products, very worth reading.

Huawei is settling the score in its own way. One of the world's great technology powers, it nonetheless suffers from an inferiority complex. Despite spending billions on research and science, it can't get the respect and recognition of its Western peers. Much like China itself.

Arıkan wanted to study, and because of his excellent test scores he managed to transfer to CalTech, one of the world's top science-oriented institutions, in Pasadena, California.

Within his first few days, he was in an orientation session addressed by legendary physicist Richard Feynman. It was like being blessed by a saint.

What gripped him most was solving a challenge that Shannon himself had spelled out in his 1948 paper: how to transport accurate information at high speed while defeating the inevitable “noise”—undesirable alterations of the message—introduced in the process of moving all those bits. The problem was known as channel capacity.

Rather than advancing his field in tiny increments, he went on a monumental quest. It would be his work for the next 20 years.

Arıkan's goal was to transmit messages accurately over a noisy channel at the fastest possible speed. The key word is accurately. If you don't care about accuracy, you can send messages unfettered. But if you want the recipient to get the same data that you sent, you have to insert some redundancy into the message. That gives the recipient a way to cross-check the message to make sure it's what you sent. Inevitably, that extra cross-checking slows things down. This is known as the channel coding problem.

Arıkan's new solution was to create near-perfect channels from ordinary channels by a process he called “channel polarization.” Noise would be transferred from one channel to a copy of the same channel to create a cleaner copy and a dirtier one. After a recursive series of such steps, two sets of channels emerge, one set being extremely noisy, the other being almost noise-free.

Over the years, whenever he traveled, he would leave his unpublished manuscript in two envelopes addressed to “top colleagues whom I trusted,” with the order to mail them “if I don't come back.”

In 2013, Wen Tong asked Huawei's investment board for $600 million for 5G research. “Very simple,” Tong says. “20 minutes, and they decided.” The answer was yes, and a good deal of that money went into polar codes. After Huawei came up with software that implemented the theory, the work shifted to testing and iterating. Eventually hundreds of engineers were involved.

Today Huawei holds more than two-thirds of the polar code patent “families”—10 times as many as its nearest competitor. The general feeling in the field, Vardy said, was that Huawei “invested a lot of research time and effort into developing this idea.” It seemed “all the other companies were at least a few years behind.”

Hundt is one of a number of current and former officials alarmed that the United States has no equivalent to Huawei—that is, a major telecommunications company that both develops next-generation technology and builds it into equipment. “In Europe, they have an Ericsson. In Japan, they have companies. And in China, they have not just Huawei but also ZTE. But Huawei is the one that covers the whole range of products.”

In a preliminary round of the 5G New Radio standards process, the Chinese company Lenovo expressed its preference for LDPC, because it was a more familiar technology. That didn't last long. Lenovo changed its opinion later that year. Lenovo's founder, Liu Chuanzhi, called Ren Zhengfei to make sure that no offense was taken by the original stance. Liu and other executives even drafted an open letter that read like a forced confession. “We all agree that Chinese enterprises should be united and not be provoked by outsiders,” Liu and his colleagues wrote. “Stick to it … raise the banner of national industry, and finally defeat the international giants.”

Huawei was ecstatic. But it was not just Huawei's win; it was China's too. Finally, a Chinese company was getting respect commensurate with its increasingly dominant power in the marketplace. “Huawei-backed polar code entering the 5G standard has a symbolic meaning,” one observer told a reporter at the time. “This is the first time a Chinese company has entered a telecommunications framework agreement, winning the right to be heard.”

In his office, Arıkan scribbled equations on a large whiteboard to explain how he had achieved the Shannon limit. Afterward, we talked about Huawei. The company first contacted him in 2012. “We talked to each other, exchanged ideas,” he says. “This is the best mode of collaboration for me. I remain independent, and they do whatever they want.” He has personally taken no money from the telecom giant.

In 2011, Arıkan started his own small company and took polar codes to Qualcomm and Seagate to see if they had interest in implementing the idea. “I did prepare some slides and sent them, but none of the US companies were really interested in it,”

“Polar codes itself is not what's important,” he continued. “It is a symbol. 5G is totally different than the internet. It's like a global nervous system. Huawei is the leading company in 5G. They will be around in 10, 20, 50 years—you cannot say that about the US tech companies. In the internet era, the US produced a few trillion-dollar companies. Because of 5G, China will have 10 or more trillion-dollar companies. Huawei and China now have the lead.”

Arıkan says the experience has led him to respect Huawei—and to provide a warning to the country where he learned information theory. “I owe a lot to the US,” he says. “I give you friendly advice: You have to accept this as the new reality and deal with it accordingly.”

Huawei, 5G, and the Man Who Conquered Noise

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