USA — Department Joins in Call for Innovative Solutions

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2010 — The Defense Depart­ment is putting some of its most vex­ing chal­lenges on the Inter­net for the pub­lic to help solve as part of a new ini­tia­tive to invite cre­ative solu­tions to gov­ern­ment prob­lems.

Pen­ta­gon offi­cials sub­mit­ted four chal­lenges to the Challenge.gov web­site that launched today. The site, a White House ini­tia­tive admin­is­tered by the Gen­er­al Ser­vices Admin­is­tra­tion, offers mil­lions of dol­lars in prizes to those who find solu­tions to chal­lenges that span all areas of gov­ern­ment, from improv­ing health and pub­lic schools to advanc­ing sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy and the envi­ron­ment.

The administration’s chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer, Aneesh Chopra, announced the launch at the 2010 Gov 2.0 Sum­mit here today. Speak­ing along­side the administration’s chief infor­ma­tion offi­cer, Vivek Kun­dra, Chopra said the site is an exam­ple of the administration’s efforts to close the tech­nol­o­gy gap between the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, bring the two togeth­er to solve the nation’s prob­lems, and reward inno­va­tion.

“We want­ed an orga­ni­za­tion­al mod­el to take all the com­po­nents we describe to engage the Amer­i­can peo­ple in prob­lem solv­ing,” Chopra said.

Part of the rea­son for the tech­nol­o­gy gap, Chopra said, is that the pri­vate sec­tor has moved for­ward with open-archi­tec­ture Inter­net mod­els, while the gov­ern­ment has remained closed. Challenge.gov is designed for long-term suc­cess because of its “grass­roots, bot­tom-up” archi­tec­ture for invit­ing pub­lic input, he said.

Post­ed Defense Depart­ment chal­lenges include:

— A chal­lenge from the Office of Naval Research, with more than $1 mil­lion in prizes, for white papers that solve prob­lems in one of sev­en areas: enhanced per­cep­tion sys­tems for autonomous ground nav­i­ga­tion, com­pres­sive sens­ing for urban war­fare, flow noise mit­i­ga­tion by fish, chlo­rine-resis­tant sea water, reverse-osmo­sis mem­branes, mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy for high-noise assess­ments, and direct­ed ener­gy in mar­itime envi­ron­ments. Papers must be sub­mit­ted by Nov. 10.

— A chal­lenge from the Air Force, in part­ner­ship with the Defense Department’s Cyber Crime Cen­ter, to pio­neer new inves­tiga­tive tools, tech­niques and method­olo­gies. Fif­teen prizes will be award­ed. The dead­line is Nov. 2.

— A chal­lenge from the Army Research Lab to cre­ate inno­v­a­tive and inter­ac­tive solu­tions in vir­tu­al envi­ron­ments, with a focus on arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. Entries must be sub­mit­ted by Dec. 6, and prizes total $25,000.

— The Defense Department’s Tech­ni­cal Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter offers a chal­lenge for papers to be sub­mit­ted by Feb. 7 to sup­port the center’s cus­tomer needs with the use of Web 2.0 and 3.0 tech­nolo­gies, deliv­er­ing tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion to mobile devices and exper­i­ment­ing with tool suites.

Oth­er chal­lenges among more than three dozen post­ed today include:

— A NASA chal­lenge to build an air­craft that can fly 200 miles in less than two hours using the ener­gy equiv­a­lent of less than a gal­lon of gaso­line per occu­pant. The team with the best com­bi­na­tion of effi­cien­cy and speed will win $1.5 mil­lion.

— An Agri­cul­ture Depart­ment chal­lenge, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” cam­paign, to cre­ate healthy – and tasty – new recipes for school lunch­es. Win­ners in var­i­ous cat­e­gories will share $12,000 in prizes.

— The Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment and Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion Foun­da­tion are chal­leng­ing pub­lic school edu­ca­tors to iden­ti­fy their most press­ing class­room prob­lem, and pro­pose a solu­tion. More than $67,000 in prizes is avail­able.

The Challenge.gov site offers details for respond­ing to chal­lenges, and chal­lenges can be searched by top­ic or depart­ment.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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