University of Oulu

T. M. Getu, G. Kaddoum and M. Bennis, "Making Sense of Meaning: A Survey on Metrics for Semantic and Goal-Oriented Communication," in IEEE Access, vol. 11, pp. 45456-45492, 2023, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3269848

Making sense of meaning : a survey on metrics for semantic and goal-oriented communication

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Author: Getu, Tilahun M.1,2; Kaddoum, Georges2,3; Bennis, Mehdi4
Organizations: 1Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD, USA
2Electrical Engineering Department, École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS), Montréal, QC, Canada
3Cyber Security Systems and Applied AI Research Center, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon
4Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-18


Semantic communication (SemCom) aims to convey the meaning behind a transmitted message by transmitting only semantically-relevant information. This semantic-centric design helps to minimize power usage, bandwidth consumption, and transmission delay. SemCom and goal-oriented SemCom (or effectiveness-level SemCom) are therefore promising enablers of 6G and developing rapidly. Despite the surge in their swift development, the design, analysis, optimization, and realization of robust and intelligent SemCom as well as goal-oriented SemCom are fraught with many fundamental challenges. One of the challenges is that the lack of unified/universal metrics of SemCom and goal-oriented SemCom can stifle research progress on their respective algorithmic, theoretical, and implementation frontiers. Consequently, this survey paper documents the existing metrics– scattered in many references– of wireless SemCom, optical SemCom, quantum SemCom, and goal-oriented wireless SemCom. By doing so, this paper aims to inspire the design, analysis, and optimization of a wide variety of SemCom and goal-oriented SemCom systems. This article also stimulates the development of unified/universal performance assessment metrics of SemCom and goal-oriented SemCom, as the existing metrics are purely statistical and hardly applicable to reasoning-type tasks that constitute the heart of 6G and beyond.

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Series: IEEE access
ISSN: 2169-3536
ISSN-E: 2169-3536
ISSN-L: 2169-3536
Volume: 11
Pages: 45456 - 45492
DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3269848
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: The Tilahun M. Getu wishes to thank Dr. Hamid Gharavi (Life Fellow, IEEE) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), MD, USA, for leadership and funding support.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. For more information, see