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Software radios have emerged in recent years, providing a level of programmability so that communications products, such as cell phones, can automatically switch from one frequency or transmission scheme to another when the primary technique is unavailable. Now that they are moving into the marketplace, a few long-term planners are already looking at the second or third generation of software radios, a concept that's known as cognitive radio. Cognitive radios are adaptive and extremely programmable, learning users' preferences and automatically adjusting to changes in the operating environment. Military researchers want the security and versatility these techniques can provide, while consumers could benefit by having cellular phones that relay the cheapest way to send a message.