DARPA Spectrum Challenge

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The DARPA Spectrum Challenge was a competition held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to demonstrate a radio protocol that can best use a given communication channel in the presence of other dynamic users and interfering signals.

The challenge was not focused on developing new radio hardware, but instead was targeted at finding strategies for guaranteeing successful communication in the presence of other radios that may have conflicting co-existence objectives. The challenge entailed head-to-head competitions between each team's radio protocol and an opponent's in a structured wireless testbed environment, known as ORBIT, that is maintained by the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) at Rutgers University.

The challenge awarded first place teams in the September 2013 preliminary event, and first and second place teams in the March 2014 final event with cash prizes totaling $200,000. Each event consisted of a Competitive and Cooperative Tournament.[1][2][3]

Qualifying teams[edit]

Out of the 90 teams that registered for the Spectrum Challenge, the top 18 teams were selected to compete in the preliminary and final event:[4]

Team name Affiliation Location Qualification ranking Tournament winnings
Purdue Purdue University, Raytheon BBN West Lafayette, Indiana 1 $0
Efficient Spectrum Individuals Centreville, Virginia 2 $75,000
1st place final competitive
2nd place final cooperative
WSL-NEU Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts 3 $25,000
1st place preliminary cooperative
MarmotE Vanderbilt University, ISIS Nashville, Tennessee 5 $25,000
1st place preliminary competitive
Gator Wings University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 6 $0
Spartans San Jose State University San Jose, California 7 $0
RxTx Individuals San Diego, California 8 $0
VT-Hume Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia 9 $0
wasabi Individual Seattle, Washington 10 $0
VT CogRad Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia 11 $0
The Orange Wireless Warriors Syracuse University Syracuse, New York 12 $0
Wireless Infidels Polytechnic Institute of NYU Brooklyn, New York 13 $0
Georgia Tech Research Institute Georgia Tech Research Institute Atlanta, Georgia 14 $25,000
2nd place final competitive
Wildcats Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois 15 $0
Notre Spectrum Notre Dame University South Bend, Indiana Competitive Mode Wildcard Winner $0
KPE Individuals Albuquerque, New Mexico Cooperative Mode Wildcard Winner $0
Tennessee Tech Telecom Tennessee Technological University Cookeville, Tennessee Overall Average Score Wildcard Winner $50,000
1st place final cooperative
Buzz Radio Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Georgia 2nd place overall average score wildcard winner $0


  1. ^ "DARPA Spectrum Challenge". Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "SPECTRUM CHALLENGE FINAL EVENT HELPS PAVE THE WAY FOR MORE ROBUST, RESILIENT AND RELIABLE RADIO COMMUNICATIONS" (Press release). Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. April 2, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "Radio Wrestlers Fight It Out at the DARPA Spectrum Challenge". IEEE Spectrum. April 9, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  4. ^ "DARPA Spectrum Challenge Teams". Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.