New viewpoint and algorithms for water-filling solutions in wireless communications

Chengwen Xing, Yindi Jing, Shuai Wang, Shaodan Ma, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Water-filling solutions play an important role in the designs for wireless communications, e.g., transmit covariance matrix design. A traditional physical understanding is to use the analogy of pouring water over a pool with fluctuating bottom. Numerous variants of water-filling solutions have been discovered during the evolution of wireless networks. To obtain the solution values, iterative computations are required, even for simple cases with compact mathematical formulations. Thus, algorithm design is a key issue for the practical use of water-filling solutions, which however has been given marginal attention in the literature. Many existing algorithms are designed on a case-by-case basis for the variations of water-filling solutions and/or with complex logics. In this paper, a new viewpoint for water-filling solutions is proposed to understand the problem dynamically by considering changes in the increasing rates on different subchannels. This fresh viewpoint provides a useful mechanism and fundamental information for finding the optimization solution values. Based on this new understanding, a novel and comprehensive method for practical water-filling algorithm design is proposed, which can be used for systems with various performance metrics and power constraints, even for systems with imperfect channel state information (CSI).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8995606
Pages (from-to)1618-1634
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Index based algorithm
  • Water-filling solutions


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