With global terrorism seemingly on the rise, the US Department of Defense has turned to crowdsourcing to speed up solutions for combatting the threat.
It has created the Laboratory Innovation Crowdsourcing portal, which allows those in the field to pose challenges to solvers across the federal government.
The portal was launched on October 8 by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).
This is not the first time to US government has used crowdsourcing to try and fight terrorism. In February, the State Department via its official blog DipNote, asked US citizens for their suggestions for combatting violent extremism.
However, this time round with this initiative, the government is using a crowd made up of experts.
The way it works is that operators identify gaps, the CTTSO poses challenges to the portal’s community, solvers propose and discussion solutions, the optimal solution is selected by the CTTSO and the solution providers are recognized.
There are currently three challenges posed on the site:
An Algorithm to Identify Material Mixtures from Raman Spectra – Raman spectroscopy is used in the field to identify bulk powders, but there is a problem when the unknown powder is a mixture. Current algorithms or systems are not proficient at identifying mixtures based on the pure components recorded in its library
Countering Violent Extremism – looking for new ways to counter terrorist narratives that are propagated through social media (a source of recruitment)
Detection of Underground Voids and Tactical Tunnels – novel methods needed to find voids or “holes” below ground, particularly those that are as deep as 100 feet. Even though current technologies are highly sophisticated, there is still a problem with being able to consistently find voids below ground.
For more details of the crowdsourcing project, watch the short video below: