08 December 2009

99 Red Balloons (er, it's actually 10)

How did I not hear about this sooner?

On Saturday, 5 Dec, DARPA launched a contest in which they placed 10 red weather balloons at locations across the country. If you're the first one to submit the lat & long of all 10, you get $40,000. That's right, 40-grand just for finding 10 red balloons. Dude!

The catch is that submissions are due by 14 Dec - that's a little over a week to criss-cross the whole country and find these balloons. The idea is that you can't do it yourself. DARPA is trying to explore the impact of social networking and cross-country collaboration in the field of information collection. Which means whoever wins will probably have to share that $40K, but it's still a nice chunk of change.

It's always fun and fascinating to see what DARPA is up to.

2 comments:

Mark said...

Cool... but looks like the Dec 14th due date was waaaay more time than needed. A team from MIT won on Dec 5th: https://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/darpanetworkchallengewinner2009.pdf

Actually, it looks like the balloons were only displayed for about 6 hours on Dec 5th. Total. I wonder how many minutes they took to find all the balloons?

The Dan Ward said...

Hey, thanks for the follow-up, Marko! I figured this challenge would be won pretty quickly, but wow that's fast.