The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced that the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team won the $40,000 cash prize in the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that required participants to locate 10 large, red balloons at undisclosed locations across the United States. The MIT team received the prize for being the first to identify the locations of all 10 balloons.
"DARPA salutes the MIT team for successfully completing this complex task less than 9 hours after balloon launch," said DARPA Director Regina E. Dugan.
DARPA announced the Network Challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of the ARPANet, precursor to today's Internet, to explore how broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools. The Challenge explored basic research issues such as mobilization, collaboration, and trust in diverse social networking constructs that could serve to fuel innovation across a wide spectrum of applications.
DARPA plans to meet with teams to review the approaches and strategies used to build networks, collect information, and participate in the Challenge.
DARPA is the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense. The Agency manages and directs research and development projects for the Department of Defense and pursues research and technology where the risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances in support of military missions.