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CHIPS Articles: DARPA Announces 2019 Spectrum Collaboration Challenge Live Finale

DARPA Announces 2019 Spectrum Collaboration Challenge Live Finale
Three-year, $3.75 million challenge to solve spectrum scarcity
By CHIPS Magazine - January 31, 2018
DARPA is entering the 2019 finale of the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) — the world’s first collaborative machine-intelligence competition to address spectrum scarcity. Through a new partnership with the GSMA, the organization that represents mobile operators worldwide, DARPA will host a live SC2 Championship event alongside the 2019 Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) annual conference and exhibition, according to a DARPA release.

The DARPA and GSMA partnership is an opportunity to display the groundbreaking SC2 technologies for the wireless telecommunications community at an accessible, public event.

The three-year SC2 competition, already in progress, aims to autonomously manage the increasingly congested electromagnetic (EM) spectrum and unlock its full potential. Through SC2, teams from across the globe are competing to develop new access strategies and wireless paradigms in which radio networks autonomously collaborate and reason about how to make the most efficient use of the spectrum.

This first-of-its-kind competition merges artificial intelligence, machine learning, and software-defined radio technology to help fundamentally rethink spectrum operations.

“The event will create a platform for the SC2 teams to present three years’ worth of innovation, addressing spectrum challenges that have plagued commercial and military communications over the past two decades,” said Paul Tilghman, DARPA program manager leading the Challenge.

“We’re excited to partner with DARPA on its Spectrum Collaboration Challenge and are thrilled they chose to hold the finals alongside Mobile World Congress Americas — the competition offers attendees additional opportunities to see innovation in action,” said Reed Peterson, Head of Mobile World Congress Americas, GSMA. “Particularly, as we enter the era of 5G and IoT, spectrum becomes even more essential in connecting billions of people and ‘things’, and we applaud DARPA’s efforts in discovering new ways to optimize spectrum usage.”

All facets of the mobile and wireless community — from large mobile operators and device manufacturers to public institutes and the military — are affected by the strain being placed on the EM spectrum as a result of the growing number of wireless-enabled devices, IoT, and beyond. “Our SC2 championship event seeks to bring together these diverse groups and excite them about a new possible future that helps autonomously expand spectrum access,” Tilghman said.

The first of SC2’s three phases concluded in an initial preliminary event on December 13, 2017, with the top-scoring teams each receiving $750,000 in prize money. The competition is now entering its second phase, where qualified teams from a new open track search will have a chance to compete alongside teams that moved on from the first phase during a second preliminary event, which will be held in December 2018.

For the SC2 Championship event in 2019, the first, second, and third place finishers will have a chance to walk away with prizes of $2 million, $1 million, and $750,000, respectively. Judges will assess competitors based on their ability to produce a radio design that can most efficiently coexist within a congested wireless communications environment.

Teams interested in qualifying for a spot in the current phase of SC2 have until April 30, 2018 to successfully complete the qualification hurdles. Additional information about the phase two hurdles and SC2 can be found at:

2019 finale of the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) logo
2019 finale of the Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (SC2) logo
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