Friday, April 24, 2009

Prize Roundup - April 24, 2009

Next Up - A Look at the Next Few Weeks - Washington Post -

The Week of May 15
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy watching a rocket shoot skyward. You also don't have to travel to Florida to see a launch -- just go to Great Meadow on May 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

Students shoot for the moon in spacecraft contest - Purdue Exponent

Space exploration brought down to earth - JC Online -

While the class opted to buy a commercial rocket for its plan, everything else was designed by the class. ... "It is very realistic, and the challenges are typical of what you will be given in your work," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, who sat in for the presentation. ... Westerman expects an increase in private space travel, the kind the Google contest is promoting, to happen soon. After graduation he will work at SpaceX -- Space Exploration Technologies Corp. -- a space transportation company.

NASA, Odyssey Moon to Create Robotic Lunar Landers - GearLog

There are also more updates on the Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page, including 2 from Odyssey Moon (one including more Engineering TV Bob Richards interview video).

Human genome map for sale on eBay - CNN

Mapping a Human Genome, via an eBay Auction - New York Times (link from X PRIZE Foundation) -

Proceeds will go to the X Prize Foundation, which is offering a $10 million prize to the first group that can sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days at less than $10,000 per genome. There are 17 entrants in the X Prize contest.

TopCoder—Crowdsourcing Software Long Before Crowdsourcing Got Cool - Xconomy Boston -

The modularity of the problems is a hugely important thing,” Harvard’s Lakhani says. “Only an IBM or an Accenture or a WIPRO could come in and try to create an entire ERP system. But if you break it down into small chunks, and create mini-contests around all of these problems, then you can lower the barrier to participating, so individuals or small teams can do it.”

Another part of the “secret sauce” at TopCoder, Lakhani says, is in the way the company integrates the chunks into finished systems. Not surprisingly for a company that takes competition so seriously, this part is largely outsourced as well, through software assembly contests. The company even handles the quality-assurance phase of software development, through application testing contests and so-called “bug races” (literal races to fix small software flaws, with the winners getting $25 to $100).