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Spectrum Collaboration Challenge

The Spectrum Collaboration Challenge

The DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) is the first-of-its-kind collaborative machine-learning competition to overcome scarcity in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. Today, spectrum is managed by dividing it into rigid, exclusively licensed bands. This human-driven process is not adaptive to the dynamics of supply and demand, and thus cannot exploit the full potential capacity of the spectrum. In SC2, competitors will reimagine a new, more efficient wireless paradigm in which radio networks autonomously collaborate to dynamically determine how the spectrum should be used moment to moment.

The team whose radio design most reliably achieves successful communication in the presence of other competing radios could win as much as $3,500,000. For more information, see the About Page.


For general inquiries, please email sc2@darpa.mil

Latest Updates

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Program Manager Paul Tilghman Speaks at NIWeek 2017

Recently at NIWeek 2017, Eric Starkloff and DARPA program manager Paul Tilghman met on stage and discussed the challenges of spectral coexistence and how Darpa launched a new program called the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge to encourage teams to develop radio networks which can autonomously collaborate to thrive without spectrum allocation. As part of this, DARPA created a testbed called the “Colosseum” to emulate tens of thousands of possible interactions between hundreds of wireless communication devices in real time, using NI’s USRPs and ATCA blades.

View the full discussion here, or visit our press page for this and more news on SC2.

World’s Most Powerful Emulator of Radio-Signal Traffic Opens for Business

“Today is the grand opening of the Colosseum. We are not referring here to the storied concrete Colosseum in Rome, which was completed in 80 A.D. and remains famous for its ancient gladiatorial spectacles. We are talking here about DARPA’s Colosseum, a next-generation electronic emulator of the invisible electromagnetic world. Though it resides in a mere 30-foot by 20-foot server room on the campus of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, the Colosseum is capable of creating a much larger, and critically important wireless world. If all goes as planned during the Agency’s three-year Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2), competitors vying for $3.75 million in prize money will use the Colosseum—which today became fully accessible to them for the first time—as a world-unique testbed to create radically new paradigms for using and managing access to the electromagnetic spectrum in both military and civilian domains.

‘The Colosseum is the wireless research environment that we hope will catalyze the advent of autonomous, intelligent, and—most importantly, collaborative—radio technology, which will be essential as the population of devices linking wirelessly to each other and to the internet continues to grow exponentially,’ said SC2 program manager Paul Tilghman…”

Read DARPA’s full press release here, or visit our press page for this and more of SC2 in the news!

Let the Games Begin!

“Unveiled in March 2016, DARPA’s Spectrum Collaboration Challenge has reached an early milestone by choosing 30 contenders for the first of the three-phase competition, slated to culminate at the end of 2019 with a live match of finalists who have survived the two preliminary contests. In addition to 22 teams from academia and small and large companies, eight individuals have made it into the competition.

The Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) aims to ensure that the exponentially growing number of military and civilian wireless devices will have full access to the increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum. Competitors will reimagine spectrum access strategies and develop a new wireless paradigm in which radio networks will autonomously collaborate and reason about how to share the RF spectrum, avoid interference, and jointly exploit opportunities to achieve the most efficient use of the available spectrum…”

Read DARPA’s full press release here, or visit our press page for this and more of SC2 in the news!

DARPA SC2 Welcomes The Phase 1 Competitors

Today we’re excited to officially kickoff the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge. We’d like to welcome the 30 competitor teams participating in the first phase of SC2. The teams coming from diverse software defined radio and artificial intelligence backgrounds, are well poised to create the necessary capabilities for a new era of intelligent radios.


Team Name Home Town
Aipaca Evanston IL, USA & Hong Kong
Air Orange Syracuse NY, USA
CMU Pittsburg PA, USA
Collaborative Radio Cloud Alexandria, Egypt
Dragon Radio Philadelphia PA, USA
Entropy Lawrenceville NJ, USA
Erebus Rochester NY, USA
GatorWings Gainesville FL, USA
Georgia Tech Agile Communication Architectures Atlanta GA, USA
Hollender Santa Rosa CA, USA
IRIS San Diego CA, USA
Ligado Networks Reston VA, USA
MarmotE Nashville TN, USA
No Limit Texas Spectr’em Dallas TX, USA
Optical Spectrum Broomfield CO, USA
SCATTER Heverlee Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
SINC Los Altos CA, USA
SODIUM-24 Redmond WA, USA
SpeCOlab Boulder CO, USA
SpectrumMason Fairfax VA, USA
Strawberry Jammer Aurora CO, USA
Syncopated Ellicott City MD, USA
Andersons Cookeville TN, USA
WolfPack Raleigh NC, USA
Berkeley Bell Labs Berkley CA, USA
BAM! Wireless West Lafayette IN, USA
Spectrum Without Borders Blacksburg VA, USA
Sprite Boston MA, USA
Zylinium Gaithersburg MD, USA

DySPAN 2017 Battle of the ModRecs

Calling all modulation recognition experts: DARPA is organizing a Battle of the ModRecs Workshop, March 6-8 at DySPAN 2017.

The Battle of the ModRecs seeks to explore the field of modulation recognition to better understand how to approach these problems and, most importantly, to compare results. Data driven approaches, which have seen exponential adoption in other AI community problems, are beginning to emerge in the spectrum community.  The goal of the workshop is to spur the community to begin building and using commonly available datasets. These datasets can serve as benchmarks for open comparisons in much the same way that ImageNet and MNIST serve as benchmarks for the image recognition community.

The Battle is separated into a workshop and a live over-the-air event. The workshop will take place during the DySPAN workshop day of March 6, 2017. The Battle will take place between March 7 and 8, 2017 during the technical conference.

For those that are interested, more information and the call for papers can be found on the DySPAN website:


Note: Participation in the workshop is completely optional and is not a requirement for participation in the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge.