Press Release

NASA Tournament Lab & TopCoder Launch Big Data Challenge Series for U.S. Government Agencies

By SpaceRef Editor
October 3, 2012
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Ideation Competitions Seek New Solutions to Integrate Information Across Fields of Health, Energy and Earth Sciences

TopCoder(R), Inc., the world’s largest competitive Community of digital creators today announced the launch of the Big Data Challenge – a series of ideation competitions hosted through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) to create mobile applications that integrate across multiple United States agencies data repositories related to the field of health, energy and earth sciences. Competitors will be tasked with imagining tools and techniques that find new value hidden in discrete government information domains and then describing how they may be shared as universal, cross-agency solutions that transcend the limitations of individual silos. Registration is open today through 10/13/2012 for the Ideation Challenge phase, the first of four idea generation competitions in the series. For full competition details and registration visit:

Sponsored by the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program, (NITRD), the Big Data Challenge series is a partnership between NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DoE), TopCoder and Harvard Business School. The goal of the series is to apply the process of Open Innovation (OI) to conceptualizing novel approaches to extracting value from the huge information sets residing in various agency silos and delivering impactful value while remaining consistent with individual agency missions.

The opportunity to contribute to a matter of national importance draws many individuals and teams from diverse fields within the general public, so beyond cash prizes are the rewards of peer recognition and the satisfaction that comes with making a real impact on a significant challenge. The TopCoder Open Innovation platform and process allows U.S. government agencies to conduct high risk/high reward challenges in an open and transparent environment with predictable cost, measurable outcomes-based results and the potential to move quickly into unanticipated directions and new areas of software technology. Big data is a term applied to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target currently ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set.

“The TopCoder platform for Open Innovation is the most sophisticated platform of its kind available today in the digital space,” said Rob Hughes, President and COO of TopCoder, Inc. “Matched with the power and talent of the TopCoder Community, we look forward to seeing new value created out of existing government big data that will manifest itself in new tools and services for both American consumers and industry.”

The TopCoder platform supports the entire end-to-end digital creation lifecycle – from idea conception to implementation and support through a true collaborative open innovation model. Almost any type of content, application, algorithm or digital asset can be built entirely through the platform – whether a standalone mobile app through to enhancements or additions to large, existing enterprise systems to the development of entirely new cloud based offerings for customers to testing and support through small enhancements and bug fixes. All areas of digital creation are covered through one easy to use cloud based Innovation as a Platform (IaaP) offering accessing TopCoder’s renowned community of over 425,000 members – from business analysis to creative asset creation, analytics and sophisticated processes for API, software design and development as well as digital content.

About NASA Tournament Lab

NASA and Harvard University have established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which with the enabling capabilities of the TopCoder community allow for competitions to create the most innovative, most efficient, and most optimized solutions for specific, real-world challenges being faced by NASA researchers. The NTL provides an online virtual facility for NASA researchers with a computational or complex data processing challenge to “order” a solution, just like they would order laboratory tests or supplies. Learn more at the official NTL Website.


The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program is the Nation’s primary source of Federally funded revolutionary breakthroughs in advanced information technologies such as computing, networking, and software. A unique collaboration of Federal research and development agencies, the NITRD Program seeks to:

* Provide research and development foundations for assuring continued U.S. technological leadership in advanced networking, computing systems, software, and associated information technologies

* Provide research and development foundations for meeting the needs of the Federal government for advanced networking, computing systems, software, and associated information technologies

* Accelerate development and deployment of these technologies in order to maintain world leadership in science and engineering; enhance national defense and national and homeland security; improve U.S. productivity and competitiveness and promote long-term economic growth; improve the health of the U.S. citizenry; protect the environment; improve education, training, and lifelong learning; and improve the quality of life.

The NITRD Program stems from the High-Performance Computing (HPC) Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-194) as amended by the Next Generation Internet Research Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-305). These laws authorize Federal agencies to set goals, prioritize their investments, and coordinate their activities in networking and information technology research and development.

About TopCoder, Inc.

TopCoder is the world’s largest Open Innovation Community of digital creators with more than 425,000 members representing algorithmists, software developers and creative artists from over 200 countries. The TopCoder Open Innovation Community creates digital assets including analytics, software and creative designs and solutions for a wide-ranging client base through a competitive, rigorous, standards based methodology. Combined with our extremely talented community this groundbreaking methodology results in superior outcomes for our clients. For more information about sponsoring TopCoder events and utilizing TopCoder’s software services and platforms, visit TopCoder is a registered trademark of TopCoder, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Jim McKeown
TopCoder, Inc.
SOURCE TopCoder, Inc.

SpaceRef staff editor.