MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

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MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:24 am UTC

https://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/default.aspx
https://networkchallenge.darpa.mil/darp ... er2009.pdf
PDF text in spoiler:
Spoiler:
News Release
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714
IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 5, 2009
MIT RED BALLOON TEAM WINS DARPA NETWORK CHALLENGE
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced that the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team won the $40,000 cash prize in the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that required participants to locate 10 large, red balloons at undisclosed locations across the United States. The MIT team received the prize for being the first to identify the locations of all 10 balloons.
“The Challenge has captured the imagination of people around the world, is rich with scientific intrigue, and, we hope, is part of a growing 'renaissance of wonder' throughout the nation," said DARPA director,
Dr. Regina E. Dugan. “DARPA salutes the MIT team for successfully completing this complex task less than 9 hours after balloon launch.”
DARPA announced the Network Challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of the ARPANet, pre-cursor to today’s Internet, to explore how broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools. The Challenge explores basic research issues such as mobilization, collaboration, and trust in diverse social networking constructs and could serve to fuel innovation across a wide spectrum of applications.
DARPA plans to meet with teams to review the approaches and strategies used to build networks, collect information, and participate in the Challenge.
DARPA is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD). The Agency manages and directs research and development projects for DoD and pursues research and technology where the risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances in support of military missions.
“We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic.” -- E. Merrill Root
-END-
Media with questions, contact Johanna Jones, (571) 218-4512 or johanna.jones@darpa.mil.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby tzvibish » Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:26 am UTC

This sounds like an awesome competition. I would love to see the different strategies of each team. Likely fascinating.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Josephine » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:34 am UTC

It sort of reminds me how Google is excellent at identifying the onset of epidemics.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Walter.Horvath » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:49 am UTC

nbonaparte wrote:It sort of reminds me how Google is excellent at identifying the onset of epidemics.

Like DARPA :P

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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Roĝer » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:52 pm UTC

nbonaparte wrote:It sort of reminds me how Google is excellent at identifying the onset of epidemics.


But being Google, that will not be enough for them. Soon, they will also want to predict, and later even decide the exact moment of onset of epidemics.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Dobblesworth » Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:32 pm UTC

Only 10 balloons - they should have stepped up the figure by a factor of 9.9

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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Roĝer » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:03 pm UTC

Only 10 balloons - they should have stepped up the figure by a factor of 9.9


Agree, you get 0.99 internet.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Mungo0 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:07 pm UTC

Dobblesworth wrote:Only 10 balloons - they should have stepped up the figure by a factor of 9.9


Assuming that the time taken to find the balloons would increase in a linear line, then the time taken would be approximately 89.1 hours. What fun, staying up for 3 and a bit days to win the cash prize.

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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Roĝer » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:07 pm UTC

But that is a completely implausible assumption. More balloons means that the chance that anyone sees a balloon goes up. Besides, there was a whole team on the search, not just one person who had to stay alert all that time.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Mungo0 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:But that is a completely implausible assumption. More balloons means that the chance that anyone sees a balloon goes up. Besides, there was a whole team on the search, not just one person who had to stay alert all that time.


Yeah, that's what thinking in Maths does for you. It produces implausible assumptions that common sense doesn't like.

As the spoiler'd text says,
broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools


This indicates that they may well have used Facebook, or similar social sites. If you had a large base of friends (This is assuming they were all released in one place - my school's internet won't work for the links provided, but I somehow doubt it.) then it'd be much faster than 89 hours to find. Just a matter of making sure you haven't got multiple reports for the same balloon (Or if you do, eliminating them) and that you have indeed got them all.

But I'd need details of their strategies to know for sure. Have DARPA released how the teams did it?
Last edited by Mungo0 on Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:27 pm UTC

I don't believe DARPA released details, but I know that MIT had a very smooth system going. I believe they had a number where you could directly send pictures of a balloon and your location from your phone as one system for reporting. They also had something where they paid for leads on the balloons.

The team I was helping's strategy was to call upon the power of the interwebs, and have an e-mail to send in sitings. We found 8 of them, so that's a good start.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Walter.Horvath » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

Is there any more detailed account of what it was, and where the balloons were?

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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby vslayer » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:33 pm UTC

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18235-the-pentagon-invites-you-to-play-its-red-balloon-game.html

Try this, it has a bit more detail and includes an overview of a few strategies used.

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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:46 pm UTC

The results were far less 'amazing' than my initial 'hypothesis' of how they accomplished the task.

I was envisioning Satellites with sophisticated detection software, with lasers and advanced radar technology somehow involved. And it sounds like it was more "Has anyone seen a red balloon?, If soo call MIT-8969"


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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Vaniver » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

I was envisioning robots trawling facebook and flickr and such, looking for the balloons in any photos that were uploaded. What they did sounds far more effective.

(One of the fascinating things about information glut will be historical analysis; one sci-fi short story I read a while back was centered around a character searching ancient uploaded photos to try and find pictures of a person in other people's uploaded pictures, to track their movement during a period when they didn't personally make any records.)
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Forum Viking » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:30 am UTC

I'm kind of surprised no one asked xkcd to help.
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Re: MIT team wins the DARPA challenge

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:28 pm UTC

Forum Viking wrote:I'm kind of surprised no one asked xkcd to help.


Maybe they were worried it would be slightly less distracting than asking /b/

Would you put it above one of the more scampy XKCD members to falisfy information and create an elaborate hoax?

I picture the "man in a hat" participating and what shenanigans he would cause.


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