Sep 5 – 9, 2023
ASU Memorial Union (2nd Floor)
US/Arizona timezone
GRCon23 will be running from Tuesday Sept 5 to Saturday Sept 9 this year.

GNU Radio 4.0: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants -- An Overview of New Features and Significant Enhancements

Sep 7, 2023, 10:00 AM
Talk GNU Radio Core Functionality Project Talk


Dr Ralph J. Steinhagen (GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH)


The upcoming GNU Radio 4.0 release (GR4) will be the latest evolution of GNU Radio, signifying a marked advancement from GNU Radio 3 and a path to long-term, broad adoption of the framework. GR4's development prioritises streamlining the codebase by removing extraneous complexities inherited from its predecessor while preserving valuable functionalities. This approach enhances the software radio platform's adaptability, flexibility, and maintainability.

The critical focus of GR4 is to maximize performance across heterogeneous platforms while lowering entry barriers for new contributors. This minimises cognitive complexity and provides a more manageable learning curve. Doing so nurtures a more inclusive ecosystem where academics, industrial partners, and students can actively contribute and innovate.

The Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), in collaboration with other entities, leverages its expertise in high-performance computing, Research Software Engineering (RSE), real-time signal processing, diagnostics, and feedback systems to introduce a transformative feature set for GR4. This work fundamentally alters the underlying runtime and development paradigm, embracing a more modern and sustainable framework that forms the core of GR4. The prioritisation of type safety underpins this work, along with reduced overhead and a more user-friendly and extensible design.

Key features of GR4 include high-performance, type-safe, lock-free IO buffers; zero runtime overhead for certain sub-graphs; portable SIMD support; and tag-based timing system integration for nanosecond-level synchronisation. Moreover, it introduces transactional settings updates, expands continuous signal processing to support synchronised packet data processing, provides cross-platform support, and offers a pluggable work scheduler architecture adaptable to different execution domains and scheduling constraints.

GNU Radio 4.0 is under pre-production testing at FAIR, involving a large-scale deployment across hundreds of nodes to verify its full-stack capabilities and resolve any teething problems. Preliminary results indicate a ten-fold improvement in throughput and runtime performance.

We invite early adopters to explore, test, and use this new version of GNU Radio. As we strive to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange across industries, academic institutions, and government organisations, we present this talk to highlight the comprehensive advantages and improvements of GR4. For anyone engaged in software radio technology, this exploration of GNU Radio 4.0 promises valuable insights.

Talk Length 30 Minutes
Link to Open Source Code

Primary authors

Mr Alexander Krimm (GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH) Derek Kozel (GNU Radio) Mr Frank Osterfeld (KDAB) Dr Ivan Čukić (KDAB) Josh Morman Dr Matthias Kretz (GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH) Dr Ralph J. Steinhagen (GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH)

Presentation materials