Darpa, the blue-sky agency whose most successful pipe-dreams have turned into the Internet and GPS navigation, among others, has in recent years turned to civilians for help in catalyzing new innovations.First was the Grand Challenge for driverless car design.Then came the Network Challenge that sent the socially networked searching for red weather balloons. Calls to crowdsource spy drones and combat vehicles quickly followed.Today, Darpa announced their latest mission for the mob called “Shredder Challenge”. A challenge for “computer scientists, puzzle enthusiasts and anyone else who likes solving complex problems,” to compete for a tidy $50,000 by reconstructing five shredded documents.
The Shredder Challenge is comprised of five separate puzzles in which the number of documents, the document subject matter and the method of shredding will be varied to present challenges of increasing difficulty. To complete each problem, participants must provide the answer to a puzzle embedded in the content of the reconstructed document. The goal of this challenge is to identify and assess potential capabilities that could be used by warfighters operating in war zones, but might also create vulnerabilities to sensitive information that is protected through our own shredding practices throughout the U.S. national security community.
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