DARPA unveils new contest to minimize spectrum use

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is launching a new contest to find ways of ensuring there’s enough frequencies for the ever-growing spectrum demand from wireless devices.

The Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, or SC2, will allow teams to compete to create the most spectrum efficient smart system in a realistic manner, DARPA announced Wednesday at the International Wireless Communications Expo.

Every wireless signal, from radio to mobile phones, uses a certain frequency range, a certain fraction of the spectrum. Spectrum is finite though, and as more devices ranging from refrigerators to cars depend on wireless internet access, industry could run out if more efficient ways aren’t found of utilizing spectrum resources.

“DARPA Challenges have traditionally rewarded teams that dominate their competitors, but when it comes to making the most of the electromagnetic spectrum, the team that shares most intelligently is going to win,” DARPA Microsystems Technology Office Program Manager Paul Tilghman said in the release. “We want to radically accelerate the development of machine-learning technologies and strategies that will allow on-the-fly sharing of spectrum at machine timescales.”

[Read more: Senate bill, NIST program both aim to ignite 5G networks]

SC2 will begin its three-phased contest in 2017 and end early 2020, just when wireless experts expect the new, 5G, generation of wireless networks to arrive. At the end of the challenge, finalists will compete in a live competition to find the system with the most optimized spectrum usage.

To allow participants to realistically experiment and work on the spectrum, they will create “the largest-of-its-kind wireless testbed,” named Colosseum. The testbed can simulate user-defined environments like a busy city neighborhood, according to the release.

More information about the contest will be posted on FedBizOpps.gov in the coming months.

Contact the reporter on this story via email: Jeremy.Snow@FedScoop.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyM_Snow. Sign up for the Daily Scoop — all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning — here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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challenges, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Department of Defense (DOD), Departments, emerging technology, Government IT News, Innovation, Internet of Things, mobile and wireless, Tech, telework
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