DARPA will celebrate the 40th anniversary of ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, with a network challenge this Saturday, December 5. The challenge seeks to test social networking with 10 weather balloons launched across the country. Teams will have to spot the balloons and collect the longitude and latitude of as many as possible. The first team to respond with all 10 wins the challenge and $40,000.
In the announcement of the challenge, DARPA Director Regina Dugan said, In the 40 years since this breakthrough, the Internet has become an integral part of society and the global economy. The DARPA Network Challenge explores the unprecedented ability of the Internet to bring people together to solve tough problems.
Peter Lee, director of the Transformational Convergence Technology Office at DARPA, said at MSNBC.com, “We’re learning more and more every day about social networks – how they form, how communities grow and how they change over time. It’s become a very interesting field of research … but when it’s a competition, the dynamic changes.”
With over 1000 registered teams competing in the challenge, the varying techniques on mobilization, dissemination, and collaboration are already informative though Lee told MSNBC.com that the most original ideas have probably not been revealed yet to maintain the competitive edge. Lee also expects subterfuge, deception, and information selling to show up in the competition.
Registration is still open to participate in the challenge and you can sign up here. Itll be very interesting to see all the techniques used and to see how long it takes for a team to find all 10 balloons. Well link to the announcement of the winner when it is announced.