Coalition formation games for collaborative spectrum sensing

Walid Saad, Zhu Han, Tamer Başar, Mérouane Debbah, Are Hjørungnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Collaborative spectrum sensing (CSS) between secondary users (SUs) in cognitive networks exhibits an inherent tradeoff between minimizing the probability of missing the detection of the primary user (PU) and maintaining a reasonable false alarm probability (e.g., for maintaining good spectrum utilization). In this paper, we study the impact of this tradeoff on the network structure and the cooperative incentives of the SUs that seek to cooperate to improve their detection performance. We model the CSS problem as a nontransferable coalitional game, and we propose distributed algorithms for coalition formation (CF). First, we construct a distributed CF algorithm that allows the SUs to self-organize into disjoint coalitions while accounting for the CSS tradeoff. Then, the CF algorithm is complemented with a coalitional voting game to enable distributed CF with detection probability (CF-PD) guarantees when required by the PU. The CF-PD algorithm allows the SUs to form minimal winning coalitions (MWCs), i.e., coalitions that achieve the target detection probability with minimal costs. For both algorithms, we study and prove various properties pertaining to network structure, adaptation to mobility, and stability. Simulation results show that CF reduces the average probability of miss per SU up to 88.45%, relative to the noncooperative case, while maintaining a desired false alarm. For CF-PD, the results show that up to 87.25% of the SUs achieve the required detection probability through MWCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5607318
Pages (from-to)276-297
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Coalitional game
  • cognitive radio
  • collaborative sensing
  • game theory
  • spectrum sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Automotive Engineering


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