A San Francisco-based team has just won the DARPA Shredder Challenge. DARPA, the government agency whose work led to the creation of the Internet, challenged the public to reconstruct five shredded documents. The winning team, called “All Your Shreds Are Belong to U.S.” completed the task in 33 days, spending nearly 600 man-hours building algorithms and piecing together more than 10,000 shreds.
9,000 teams registered to compete. The winning teams gets a $50,000 prize paid for by the U.S. Treasury.
Dan Kaufman, director, DARPA Information Innovation Office says “the most effective approaches were not purely computational or crowd-sourced, but used a combination blended with some clever detective work.”
DARPA Director Regina Dugan adds “The DARPA Shredder Challenge underscores the value of increasing the number and diversity of problem solvers. The varied methods used have potential implications for so-called ‘wicked problems,’ generally considered insolvable by conventional means, and offer the possibility of increased speed, agility and breadth in innovation.” I’ll say.
The shredder challenge also suggests just because you shred something, that doesn’t mean it can’t be put back together.
You can see the puzzle solutions and pictures of the winning submissions at www.shredderchallenge.com.