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MIT Red Balloon Team Wins DARPA Network Challenge


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Network Challenge locations

A team from MIT was the first to identify the locations of 10 red balloons in nine different U.S. states.

Credit: DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced that the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team won the $40,000 cash prize in the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that required participants to locate 10 large, red balloons at undisclosed locations across the United States. The MIT team received the prize for being the first to identify the locations of all 10 balloons.

"The Challenge has captured the imagination of people around the world, is rich with scientific intrigue, and, we hope, is part of a growing 'renaissance of wonder' throughout the nation," said DARPA director, Dr. Regina E. Dugan. "DARPA salutes the MIT team for successfully completing this complex task less than 9 hours after balloon launch."

DARPA announced the Network Challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of the ARPANet, pre-cursor to today's Internet, to explore how broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools. The Challenge explores basic research issues such as mobilization, collaboration, and trust in diverse social networking constructs and could serve to fuel innovation across a wide spectrum of applications.

DARPA plans to meet with teams to review the approaches and strategies used to build networks, collect information, and participate in the Challenge.

DARPA is the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The Agency manages and directs research and development projects for DoD and pursues research and technology where the risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances in support of military missions.

"We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic." — E. Merrill Root


 

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