Derrick Harris of GigaOM reports that NASA has launched a series of Big Data challenges aimed at finding innovative solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing Big Data problems. He writes, “Some of the U.S. government’s most research-intensive agencies want your help to come up with better ways to analyze their expansive data sets. NASA, along with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, launched a competition on TopCoder called the Big Data Challenge series. Essentially, it’s a competition to crowdsource a solution to the very big problem of fragmented and incompatible federal data.”

He goes on, “The first contest in the series involves answering a question, albeit a difficult one. From the contest page: ‘How can we make heterogeneous (dissimilar and incompatible) data sets homogeneous (uniformly accessible, compatible, able to be grouped and/or matched) so usable information can be extracted? How can information then be converted into real knowledge that can inform critical decisions and solve societal challenges?’”

Harris notes, “The registration deadline for the first contest is Oct. 13, and the submission deadline is Oct. 19. The 1st place prize is $1,000. Later contests will focus on more domain-specific fields such as energy, health care and earth science. Although the possibility of influencing big data strategies within some of the country’s most advanced agencies might be novel, crowdsourcing solutions to these types of difficult problems is becoming rather common.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy NASA