If there is one thing that the R&D departments of large software corporations are slowly opening up to, it's the potential of the open-source community to do good. Microsoft Research is one of the teams that has been at the forefront of this new type of thinking, making many of its projects available to the community in order to use their feedback in order to further improve utility.
The latest such project from the team is SoRa (Microsoft Research Software Radio), described by them as: "a fully programmable high-performance software radio that is capable of implementing state-of-the-art wireless technologies (Wi-Fi, LTE, MIMO, etc.). Sora is based on software running on a low-cost, commodity multi-core PC with a general purpose OS, i.e., Windows. A multi-core PC, plugged in to a PCIe radio control board, connecting to a third-party radio front-end with antenna, becomes a powerful software radio platform."
Used by over 50 universities and research institutes the world over, SoRa has won a number of academic awards since its inception, and has been used for research into TV whitespace, large scale MIMO, and distributed MIMO systems among other things. It is hoped that, by opening up access to SoRa, it will allow the software to become the most developed and advanced solution available for this kind of research, and that it will ensure its continued value well into the future.
Regarding making the move to open-source, Kun-Tan, a senior research on the project, stated on their official blog: "We believe that a fully open source Sora will better support the research community on more scientific innovation."
With more and more research being made open-source by Microsoft Research, it seems to be a mere matter of time before more projects become available to the general public for scrutiny.
SoRa is now available from GitHub for download. Will you be making use of SoRa? Let us know in the comments below.