Feeds

DARPA balloon-hunt compo: Stand by for skulduggery

We may never be told the winners' methods

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The DARPA Network Challenge - a race to find ten large red balloons to be flown at undisclosed locations in the USA this Saturday - is beginning to take shape, with competing teams trying to marshal the legions of crowdsourced operatives necessary for a win. Meanwhile rules and details have been modified in an attempt to prevent some of the more obvious stratagems.

The contest was announced in October to celebrate DARPA's preferred 40th-anniversary-of-the-internet date. It offers a $40k prize to the individual who can first report the locations (accurate to within a mile radius) of the ten 8-foot red balloons which DARPA will fly this Saturday throughout daylight hours. All are to be located in publicly-acessible places within view of roads or highways.

The design of the compo - limited prize money, quite small balloons, all located in areas where they will be seen by ordinary members of the US population - points to crowdsourcing/social networking as the area DARPA is interested in, and indeed the agency's chief Regina Dugan has said:

"The DARPA Network Challenge explores the unprecedented ability of the Internet to bring people together to solve tough problems.”

Various strategies for bringing people together have been proposed. Some organisers, obviously enough, have promised to share the reward with those first to report correct locations - some are even promising to take no cash for themselves, perhaps theorising that the fame of a win will be worth having on its own. Others have stated that the cash will be given to named charities, or even spent "in one way or another... to help promote peace". Others offer payouts for recruiters of spotters. Yet another team promises, if it wins, to spend the entire $40k on making a "giant flying cupcake built entirely out of balloons!"

Meanwhile DARPA has tweaked the contest rules somewhat, introducing various provisions designed to thwart some obvious ploys. Originally a location had only to be accurate to within a second of arc, meaning that each submitted entry would cover a box on the map; this has now been reduced slightly to a mile and changed to a circular radius, making it harder to reliably blanket big areas using lots of submissions. The registration and submission process has also been "designed to prevent automated approaches designed to systematically guess the correct locations", too.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.