NASA on October 3 announced the launch of the Big Data Challenge, a series of competitions hosted through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL). The Big Data Challenge series will apply the process of open innovation to conceptualizing novel approaches to using "big data" information sets from various U.S. governmental agencies. This data comes from the fields of health, energy, and Earth science. Competitors will be tasked with imagining analytical techniques and software tools that use big data from discrete government information domains. They will need to describe how the data may be shared as universal, cross-agency solutions that transcend the limitations of individual agencies.
The competition will be run by the NTL, which is a collaboration between NASA, Harvard University, and TopCoder, a competitive community of digital creators. The TopCoder Open Innovation platform and process allows U.S. government agencies to conduct high risk/high reward challenges in an open and transparent environment with predictable costs, measurable outcomes-based results, and the potential to move quickly into unanticipated directions of software technology. The National Science Foundation and the Energy Department are partners in the competition. Registration is open through Oct. 13 for the Ideation Challenge phase, the first of four idea generation competitions in the series. See the NASA press release and the competition details .