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DARPA’s RF Channel Emulator to Support Collaborative Machine-Learning Competition

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has unveiled a radio signal traffic emulator built to simulate electromagnetic communications during DARPA’s collaborative machine-learning competition.

The Colosseum will serve as a testbed for electromagnetic systems in civilian and military domains as part of the three-year, $3.75 million Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, DARPA said Friday.

A team of engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory assembled the Colosseum using 128 National Instruments-built software-based radios and 64 field programmable gate arrays.

The system is housed inside a server room at the APL campus in Laurel, Maryland.

“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 Paul Tilghman, DARPA’s SC2 program manager.

“We are asking SC2 competitors to devise fundamentally new radio systems that can learn from each other in real-time, making the need for arduous radio specifications obsolete,” Tilghman added.

DARPA said Colosseum works to emulate tens of thousands of potential interactions among hundreds of wireless communication devices such as cell phones, internet-of-things devices and military radios.

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