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.


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.