Date of Award

Fall 2017

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Nicholas J. Kirasch

Second Advisor

W.Thomas Miller III

Third Advisor

Andrew L. Kun


Signal analysis is key to extracting information buried in noise. The decomposition of signal is a data analysis tool for determining the underlying physical components of a processed data set. However, conventional signal decomposition approaches such as wavelet analysis, Wagner-Ville, and various short-time Fourier spectrograms are inadequate to process real world signals. Moreover, most of the given techniques require \emph{a prior} knowledge of the processed signal, to select the proper decomposition basis, which makes them improper for a wide range of practical applications. Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) is a non-parametric and adaptive basis driver that is capable of breaking-down non-linear, non-stationary signals into an intrinsic and finite components called Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMF). In addition, EMD approximates a dyadic filter that isolates high frequency components, e.g. noise, in higher index IMFs. Despite of being widely used in different applications, EMD is an ad hoc solution. The adaptive performance of EMD comes at the expense of formulating a theoretical base. Therefore, numerical analysis is usually adopted in literature to interpret the behavior.

This dissertation involves investigating statistical properties of EMD and utilizing the outcome to enhance the performance of signal de-noising and spectrum sensing systems. The novel contributions can be broadly summarized in three categories: a statistical analysis of the probability distributions of the IMFs and a suggestion of Generalized Gaussian distribution (GGD) as a best fit distribution; a de-noising scheme based on a null-hypothesis of IMFs utilizing the unique filter behavior of EMD; and a novel noise estimation approach that is used to shift semi-blind spectrum sensing techniques into fully-blind ones based on the first IMF. These contributions are justified statistically and analytically and include comparison with other state of art techniques.