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Crowdsourcing Innovative New Defence Technologies

Dstl announces an innovative competition to crowdsource solutions to improve satellite imaging.

The project has the potential to identify solutions which will greatly improve satellite intelligence gathering and analysis capability.
The project has the potential to identify solutions which will greatly improve satellite intelligence gathering and analysis capability. Copyright DigitalGlobe

In a UK first, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has announced that it is working with Kaggle, the world’s largest data science competition community, to source innovative solutions to help intelligence analysts evaluate information more quickly, accurately and effectively. The competition, with a prize fund of $100,000, is seeking to identify novel methods to evaluate large, complex data sets.

Dstl has challenged users to develop an algorithm or software that will automatically detect and identify objects in satellite images. The challenge is to correctly identify and categorise up to 10 features and objects, such as cars, trees and buildings in a variety of environments.  The project has the potential to identify solutions which will greatly improve satellite intelligence gathering and analysis capability.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:

The UK must innovate to stay ahead, while developing the ability to harness entrepreneurship quickly and affordably, wherever it emerges.

This kind of joint crowdsourcing project is precisely what the Ministry of Defence’s new Innovation Initiative aims to encourage: strengthening and streamlining collaboration with both new and established partners.

The MOD’s new Innovation Fund of around £800 million over ten years will support fresh and innovative ideas from across and beyond the Defence sector. With a rising Defence budget, and a £178 billion equipment plan, our commitment to innovation and collaboration will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain.

Entries will be submitted online and will be scored immediately. The results will be summarised on a live leader board. The best three entries will receive a share of the $100,000 prize fund. The first prize is $50,000, the second $30,000 and third $20,000. The competition will run until 7 March 2017 and the winner will be announced on 14 March 2017.

Commenting on the competition, Dstl’s Phil Gibson said:

This is a new and innovative way to reach out to a huge community of data scientists who would not ordinarily work with Dstl.  We are really excited to be working with Kaggle and their community of ‘Kagglers’ with their well-deserved reputation for exciting, innovative and thought provoking solutions.

Kaggle has successfully run over 200 data science competitions. With over 750,000 registered users across 194 countries it is the largest and most diverse data science community in the world. 

Further details, including the full terms and conditions can be found here.

Published 17 December 2016
Last updated 22 December 2016 + show all updates
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