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MIT and the DARPA Network Challenge 68

mit_team writes "As you might have heard, DARPA has announced a network challenge in the vein of the DARPA Grand Challenge. In this challenge, participants are tasked with finding 10 red weather balloons distributed throughout the continental US for 8 hours on December 5. The idea is to get this to be a crowd-sourcing kind of activity, where people will use social media tools to solve this problem. Our group, the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team, based out of the MIT Media Lab, has created a system where you get money not just for finding balloons, but for getting people to join the hunt who find the balloons, or for getting people who get people who find balloons, etc. First you have to sign up. Then you can send invitations to others to join through your own unique URL, crediting you with recruiting them. While our team is interested in winning the contest, we are also interested in studying information diffusion in social networks. Does Twitter spread information faster than blogs? Is your blog effective at spreading information? We could use your help in getting out the word. If you sign up and blog about us you will be able to see the impact that your blog has on getting out the word in real time. Win money, help science, and help charity! Kind regards, The MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team."
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MIT and the DARPA Network Challenge

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  • Re:ponzi? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:00PM (#30330398)

    Not every MLM scheme is a ponzi scheme. They do lend themselves to shadiness, but there are some distinctions (which is why Amway, or whatever they call themselves these days, doesn't get prosecuted into oblivion).

    The major distinction is, the flow of money is linked to production of something that serves a goal outside the system. In Amway's case, that would be a sale; in this case, it would be knowledge of the location of a balloon.

  • Re:Blondie (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sporkinum ( 655143 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @07:22PM (#30330616)


  • MIT versus the world (Score:5, Informative)

    by courtarro ( 786894 ) on Friday December 04, 2009 @08:31PM (#30331242) Homepage

    MIT's strategy is very interesting. Several groups (like our team []) have been forming their teams for weeks, but MIT appeared on the scene just today, and it's fascinating that they got a front-page Slashdot plug. I give them lots of credit for flooding the scene with mentions in such a short time. Whereas some teams give their winnings to charity (like ours), others entice balloon spotters with cash portions of the earnings, and MIT has decided to do a little of both.

    DARPA is the sole decider of how difficult this competition will be. Will they place the balloons in dense urban areas, or will the launch them in small rural communities?

    Best of luck to all the teams tomorrow, MIT included. I hope that the contest winner will write a paper describing their strategy, both in network-building and in launch-day data collection.

  • MIT Won (Score:2, Informative)

    by sciencewhiz ( 448595 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:41PM (#30340606)

    Congratulations to MIT for winning. []

Information is the inverse of entropy.