Press Release

USPTO Launches Imaging and Text Recognition Innovation Challenge on TopCoder-Powered NASA Tournament Lab

By SpaceRef Editor
November 30, 2011
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USPTO Launches Imaging and Text Recognition Innovation Challenge on TopCoder-Powered NASA Tournament Lab

TopCoder(R), Inc., the leader in online programming competition, skills assessment and competitive software development, today announced the opening of registration for a new $50,000 contest to develop new and innovative algorithms to aid the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in patent review. Registration at is open starting tomorrow, November 30th and continues through December 5th. All interested participants need to register on the TopCoder website between November 30th and December 5th 2011 (13:00 EST). The contest itself begins on December 16 th 2011 and runs through January 16 th 2012.

About the Challenge

Software developers from around the world and the TopCoder community are invited to develop specialized algorithms to help bring the seven million patents presently in the patent archive into the digital age. The USPTO challenge requires advanced knowledge of text recognition, image analysis, and the construction of bounding boxes. For this challenge all participants will compete in teams of two, working together over the course of four weeks to develop their solutions and deliver an algorithm that automatically recognizes and classified images from patent documents. Code submissions will automatically be scored based on their accuracy in solving the problem based on test data.
Up to $50,000 in prizes will be distributed to challenge winners. As an added bonus to the cash prizes, all active competitors will be awarded a special, limited-edition, NASA Tournament Lab T-shirt.

NASA Tournament Lab

NASA and Harvard University established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) to enable software developers to compete with each other to create the best computer code for NASA systems. 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. Software developers can compete with each other to create a winning solution, as measured by internal code quality, performance against benchmarks, and the ability to be integrated into NASA systems. The competitions provide researchers with a finished software solution at a lower cost than if they hired an individual developer or team. For more information visit

About TopCoder, Inc.

TopCoder is the world’s largest competitive software development community with more than 320,000 developers representing over 200 countries. The TopCoder community builds software for a wide-ranging client base through a competitive, rigorous, standards based methodology. This methodology results in a highly consistent set of software components allowing a software-as-parts approach to application development. 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.