NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced on Wednesday the launch of the Big Data Challenge, a series of competitions hosted through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL).
The Big Data Challenge series will apply the process of open innovation to conceptualizing new and novel approaches to using “big data” information sets from various U.S. government agencies. This data comes from the fields of health, energy and Earth science. Competitors will be tasked with imagining analytical techniques and software tools that use big data from discrete government information domains. They will need to describe how the data may be shared as universal, cross-agency solutions that transcend the limitations of individual agencies.
“The ability to create new applications and algorithms using diverse data sets is a key element for the NTL,” said Jason Crusan, director of the Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “NASA is excited to see the results that open innovation can provide to these big data applications.”
“Big Data is characterized not only by the enormous volume or the velocity of its generation but also by the heterogeneity, diversity and complexity of the data,” said Suzi Iacono, co-chair of the interagency Big Data Senior Steering Group, a part of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program. “There are enormous opportunities to extract knowledge from these large-scale diverse data sets, and to provide powerful new approaches to drive discovery and decision-making, and to make increasingly accurate predictions. We’re excited to see what this competition will yield.”
The competition will be run by the NTL, a collaboration between NASA, Harvard University and TopCoder, a competitive community of digital creators. The TopCoder Open Innovation platform and process allows U.S. government agencies to conduct high risk/high reward challenges in an open and transparent environment with predictable cost, measurable outcomes-based results and the potential to move quickly into unanticipated directions and new areas of software technology. Registration is open through Oct. 13 for the Ideation Challenge phase, the first of four idea generation competitions in the series.