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If you love jigsaw puzzles and a tough challenge, you might want to help UC San Diego try to win a global competition in which players are using their computers to reassemble shredded documents and figure out a question about the information that emerges. The contest, known as the Shredder Challenge, is an effort by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to find new ways for warfighters to electronically restore documents recovered in war zones.
There are five puzzles in the contest, each exponentially harder than the previous one. A team from UCSD composed of researcher Manuel Cebrian and six graduate students is currently working on puzzle No. 3, aided by more than 2,700 people from 30 countries who've been assigned to piece together specific scraps.
DARPA has provided an incentive; it will give out up to $50,000 to the first people who successfully crack the puzzles. Using Cerbian's approach, each person will win money proportionate to the number of pieces they correctly put together, or the number of people they recruit to participate in the contest. Players will win only a small amount of money because they're working on small sections of the puzzles.
Getting people to go online to work on a common goal -- such as solving a problem -- is known as crowdsourcing. That's exactly what members of the UCSD team are now doing.
Originally posted by jburg6
The problem is that the reward is crap (at least it seems like it to me). I wonder how many man hours and resources it will take to complete all of those puzzles?? $50k is not a lot of prize money for something that could be so beneficial to the government.
Originally posted by Praetorius
reply to post by whyamIhere
Neat stuff. DARPA tends to scare me sometimes, but this isn't a bad idea at all. Never underestimate what the hive mind can accomplish.
Good article here at Cracked: 5 Mind Blowing Things Crowds Do Better Than Experts.