TopCoder Teams with NASA and National Geographic

TopCoder is teaming up with NASA (again) to continue to accelerate the pace of space exploration. TopCoder is a crowdsourcing and open innovation platform that allows individuals or companies to post ‘contests’ for the TopCoder community to tackle. Users from around the world compete for the business – it’s a competition, only the best submission wins.

In this case, competitors will attempt to design an algorithm that can accurately and quickly identify various structures from satellite images. Instead of looking at each photo manually, which would likely take years, the algorithm automates it to a certain extent.  

This type of contest on TopCoder – an algorithm challenge – is especially interesting because it’s very easy to determine success metrics. The best algorithm submission will accomplish the task the fastest – that’s it. Speed and accuracy are the determining factors. In some TopCoder case studies, the winning submission is 100x better than the previous best attempt, which I’d call earth shattering innovation. 

Generally, determining success of an innovation is the hardest part. By again going with TopCoder as their platform of choice, NASA is validating crowdsourcing and Open Innovation as a viable approach to solving some of the world’s most complex, technical, and tedious problems.

-Chris Kluesener

TopCoder Teams with NASA and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Albert Lin to Create a Powerful Algorithm that Identifies Human-Built Structures in Genghis Khans Homeland – PR Newswire – The Sacramento Bee.

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