Radios are used for a wide range of tasks, from the most mundane to the most critical of communications, from garage door openers to first responders to military operations. Wireless devices often inadvertently interfere with and disrupt radio communications, and in battlefield environments adversaries may intentionally jam friendly communications. To stimulate the development of radio techniques that can overcome these impediments,
In addition to this preliminary event, the Spectrum Challenge also plans to hold a final event in
Both the preliminary and final events include two separate tournaments, each with its own goals:
* Competitive tournament: In each match, two teams battled to dominate the spectrum, with the winner being the first to transmit files of random data (or to successfully transmit the greatest proportion of the files) from a source radio to a destination radio. Teams had to evade, jam and/or operate in the presence of competitors' signals within a defined 5 MHz UHF band. This event tested conditions directly applicable to military communications, where radios must deliver high-priority data in congested and often contested electromagnetic environments. MarmotE, a team from
* Cooperative tournament: In each match, three teams worked together to share the spectrum and transmit their random data files in the shortest time. Teams could not coordinate in advance on how to share the spectrum, so they had to develop and implement algorithms that enabled their software-defined radios to communicate at a high rate while leaving spectrum for the other two teams to do the same. This event tested conditions that might be encountered during coalition operations, and also has possible future commercial applications. WSL-NEU, a team from
To help competitors see how their software compared with other teams' designs, WINLAB developed data visualization technology for
Some matches were blowouts, some were close, and others required tie-breakers. In each match, participating teams sat quietly while the other teams murmured, shouted and even cheered based on what they saw-an atmosphere similar to sports fans watching a live event.
"The insights the teams gained today should give them their 'big idea' for the finals," Yiftach Eisenberg (http: //www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/I2O/Personnel/Dr_Yiftach_Eisenberg.aspx),
"I'm impressed with the creativity, enthusiasm, and performance of the teams that we've seen here today," said DARPA Director
More information about the Spectrum Challenge is available at http: //go.usa.gov/bqQW.
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