Every few years the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) holds a public competition to stretch the outer limits of what technology can do. Two years ago they dispersed 10 large, red weather balloons at undisclosed locations across the U.S. The celebrated 2009 DARPA Network Challenge to find the balloons was solved in just nine hours by a team from MIT. Now, Manuel Cebrian, a member of that winning team, is aiming for a repeat win – only this time, the challenge is exponentially harder.
According to Dr. Cebrian – who is now a research scientist at the University of California, San Diego – instead of just looking for 10 balloons, the new DARPA Shredder Challenge’s ultimate puzzle involves piecing together roughly 10,000 pieces of different documents that have been shredded. “This is almost certainly the most challenging puzzle ever created,” said Cebrian. “A combinatorial number of possibilities makes the problem intractable by computer algorithms alone. A combination of crowd-sourcing and advanced computer-vision algorithms is necessary. This is exactly our approach.”
Interested in participating or to learn more? Visit the UCSD Shredder Challenge Team online athttp://shredder-challenge.ucsd.edu.), or contact the UCSD team at firstname.lastname@example.org.