All of the code we are providing (to be released September 11, 2017) will be open source, but since we are not paying you for anything you develop in November, we cannot impose any requirement to open source your code. However, we encourage you to consider contributing to the open source libraries any bug fixes or general blocks that you don’t feel need to be proprietary and could benefit the community.
All of the code that we provide will be open source and licensed under GPLv3 since it will be using GNU Radio. Interfacing with GNU Radio will have to be carefully considered.

We are also using OpenEmbedded to create the Linux distribution for the UAV’s operating system. OpenEmbedded creates a manifest file that lists all of the packages installed into the Linux distro and helps navigate how the packages are licensed. This information will help you to determine how elements of your proprietary code can interface with the system.
Yes, you can bring whatever equipment you would like to augment the hardware that we will provide. You can go to our hardware specs page to see more details on what the platform will be. You may augment both the UAV platform and the ground station. However, for flight tests, we will be requiring the standard version of the flight control software to be loaded on the vehicle platform for flight safety reasons. The Hackfest staff will use a pre-flight checklist (to be provided before the event) to make sure that the UAV system is ok for operational flight.
If your community is large enough and has the relevant expertise, consider forming a team! For skills that you may be missing, see our Teammates page to find folks looking for a team. If forming a team is not appropriate for your organization, you could consider sponsoring a team. You could do this in multiple ways. If you are local to a team, you could provide space for them to use in the months they spend preparing for the November event. Perhaps you could help to offset travel or lodging. You could also provide team shirts, or loan equipment from your labs to use in November. If there are ways you think you could be involved in the planning of the event, please reach out to
Sample exercises will not be made available. We encourage teams to prepare for the Hackfest by familiarizing themselves with the hardware platform and the software release when it is made available. In preparation for the event, teams will be able to use the provided software to autonomously control the vehicle and work on methods to make their control link robust.

The DARPA Hackfest event organizers will be providing data samples of the control link as examples.
Successful teams will most likely be comprised of diverse skill sets, with the specific constellation of skills being up to the teams to decide. However, given the short timeframe of the Hackfest, someone with some SDR experience will be helpful. The focus of the problems will be on how to manipulate the hardware using the flexible communications link, so understanding the link and how to program it will be key.
NASA will coordinate with the Hackfest organizers to determine what spectrum is available and suitable at during the Hackfest. The USRPs [link: B200mini] being used on the equipment are capable of tuning from 50 MHz to 6 GHz, and since we are flying indoors and with short, line-of-sight links, we do not expect to have any issues requiring special amplifiers or antennas.

Specializing around a set frequency should not be considered a large part of the problem. We will release the spectrum information once NASA has provided it.

The specific spectrum allocation for the Hackfest activities will be made known to the Hackfest teams, and then we will partition that spectrum between the teams. Spectrum jamming and interference by other teams is not permitted and not part of the Hackfest mission. The DARPA organizers will monitor the spectrum during flight tests to verify this. Any team caught purposefully interfering with or jamming the systems of another team will be disqualified.
No, DARPA is not providing funding for the teams to come to the Hackfest. DARPA will provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, and beverages throughout the week of the Hackfest to teams and attendees, and affordable on-campus housing will be made available to teams. Teams are encouraged to seek out sponsorships and other funding opportunities to support travel.
Nope! You only need to apply to be a part of a team working on the Missions. Coming to the Hacker Space or Speaker Series is free. You only need to register, for free, before coming to any or all of the other events that week.
There are two main reasons DARPA is running this Hackfest. The first is to prove that difficult problems can be solved quickly with the use of available tools and software, specifically the plethora of free and open source software out there. The DARPA Hackfest organizers are confident that by using common, widely adopted software for our UAV and SDR systems, it will be possible to rapidly develop solutions to new problems. Preparation for the Hackfest should therefore focus on understanding the tools and how best to use them, and not just on trying to provide a single solution to a known problem.

The second reason that DARPA is running the Hackfest is to engage in a community of smart, talented, energetic, and creative people with whom we might not have interacted before or even be aware of. DARPA is excited about expanding technological opportunities and developing new ways of tackling problems by offering catalytic events and projects that will energize the diverse talent pool out there, especially parts of that pool that have yet to work with DARPA.

At the end of the Hackfest, we hope to see new solutions to problems, better use and development of tools that expand the capabilities of everyone, and the buildup of new relationships with parts of the science, engineering, and technology community that we have not interacted with before.
Motivations for teams will vary depending on the team’s background and future plans for the work. Some teams may be motivated by the prospect of working on a difficult technical challenge, in which case pride of participation could be a sufficient reward. Some teams might envision to their participation in the Hackfest as establishing a basis for a possible future research relationship with DARPA, a potential outcome that is of interest to DARPA.

Traditionally, research organizations and companies get DARPA’s attention by responding with a whitepaper to an official request for information (RFI) or by submitting a proposal to newly announced programs. The Hackfest provides a different channel for connection: at the end of the Hackfest, teams will demonstrate their work in a review session with a number of program managers from different technical offices within DARPA. During review session, teams will have the chance to both talk about their ideas and provide live demonstrations of their work. Teams should think about the demonstrations at the end of the week as an informal, live proposal of their technology and solutions in lieu of a whitepaper.

After the Hackfest, those teams that have presented compelling solutions and want to engage with DARPA farther can consider several approaches. One possibility would be to propose a seed-level study that would probe the potential for an idea or technology to become the basis for bigger programs and/or to help further some existing DARPA effort. Any follow-on support from DARPA from this Hackfest most likely would be in that context. To help open the way to a DARPA collaboration for companies and research institutions that have not had any or much interaction with the Agency, DARPA Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) also recently issued a Commercial Performer Program Announcement (DARPA-PA-17-01) that provides a new work agreement framework. During the review sessions, teams will be welcome to discuss with the DARPA organizers other possible frameworks for collaborating with DARPA.
The DARPA Bay Area SDR Hackfest is open to all types of organizations. The intention is to develop great new technology and ideas. While we are aiming to initiate new relationships with smaller businesses that have not worked with DARPA before, good ideas can come from anywhere. So if you’re a large, medium, or small business, currently part of the defense industrial base, a research lab, a set of university students, or even a set of individuals who might want to build a startup, you are welcome to the Hackfest.
Teams can certainly have off-site resources that are ready to assist during the event and who contribute prior to the event. However, for the purposes of the application, please only list team members who plan to be on site in November. Off-site mentors and contributors can be listed as resources in the Capabilities section.
No, participation in the Teaming Workshop is in-person only. However, we are working to release info on the attendees so that teams can be formed even outside of the Workshop itself.