$70,000 Atrocity Prevention Challenge Seeks Innovative Predictive Algorithms to Help Anticipate Human Rights Violations

TopCoder Partners with USAID and Humanity United - Competition Tasks Data Scientists to Develop New Statistical Analytics Solutions with the Potential to Predict Areas at Greater Risk for Genocide, Mass Rape and Ethnic Cleansing

Mar 06, 2013, 13:15 ET from TopCoder, Inc.

GLASTONBURY, Conn., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- TopCoder®, Inc., the world's largest open innovation platform and competitive community of digital creators, today announced the launch of a new predictive algorithm competition to support the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, an innovative approach to developing new ways to combat and prevent the worst human rights violations including genocide, mass rape and ethnic cleansing. Partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development and Humanity United, TopCoder is hosting a series of competitions including data discovery, data validation, algorithm development and algorithm dashboard assembly as part of the Model Challenge, which will seek predictive analytic models that can help identify community-level risk factors that make communities more or less likely to experience acts of violence. The first phase of this computational model build is the data discovery challenge, where competitors need to find and describe a freely available and clearly documented data set measuring any social, economic, or physical value which has the potential to contain statistical indicators for the occurrence of an atrocity. The data set can contain observations of one value or of several related values and may have been collected from one geographical area or from multiple areas. To register for the Data Discovery Challenge visit TopCoder Studio at:  https://studio.topcoder.com/?module=ViewContestDetails&ct=30032923

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"Clearly this type of problem has many potential humanitarian and social benefits and the ability to find the signals in data that can predict and ultimately prevent atrocities is both exciting and yet daunting at the same time," said Rob Hughes, President and COO of TopCoder, Inc. "Very often, the existing research and data will presuppose certain causations and dictate an approach which is limited in scope. At TopCoder we believe our broad community of algorithmists, mathematicians and programmers can identify new approaches to the data, and execute on those with technology."

In October 2012, USAID partnered with Humanity United to issue a Tech Challenge for atrocity Prevention in support of President Barack Obama's strategy for preventing mass atrocities and genocide. The competition series is administered through the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (COECI). The CoECI was launched to enable acceleration of US Government implementation of new models of problem solving using collaborative innovation methodologies, such as crowd sourcing and open innovation, to meet agency requirements. Led by NASA, the CoECI serves as a convening body which harnesses and redistributes the collective experience of all participating federal agencies regarding best practices in collaborative and distributed innovation.

Concurrent Challenges
The Model Challenge is to create a predictive algorithmic model to help identify community-level risk factors that make communities more or less likely to experience acts of violence. The Communicate Challenge is to create technological innovations to enable better communication with and among conflict-affected communities during a conflict. The Alert Challenge is to develop simple, affordable, trainable and scalable technologies to allow human rights organizations and others to gather more information and/or verify existing information from hard-to-access areas, including areas where government perpetrators intentionally try to prohibit outside access.

Submitted in the form of prototypes or concept papers, proposals are reviewed by a prestigious panel of judges comprised of human rights and technology experts and U.S. government leaders.

First place winners for the Model and Communicate challenges will receive $10,000, second place winners will receive $7,000 and third place winners will receive $3,000. Additional prizes will be awarded for thought Leaders on the Alert challenge. A grand total of $70,000 in prizes will be awarded across the Model Challenge series of competitions.

Learn more about the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention at http://thetechchallenge.org/. Join us for a Google+ Hangout on March 8 at 2:00 EST. Watch a short video about the challenge at http://youtu.be/6tGo867Qs2g and follow the challenge on Twitter using hashtag #genprevtech. 

TopCoder Predictive Analytics
TopCoder is a 466,000+ strong global community of data scientists and algorithm specialists who help clients collect, analyze, and mine massive amounts of structured and unstructured data for new insights. TopCoder predictive analytics capabilities help clients address challenges across the spectrum for the capture, storage, search, sharing, analysis, and visualization of Big Data. TopCoder advanced analytics capabilities are being successfully deployed in the fields of aeronautics, genomics, life sciences and healthcare, marketing, financial services, and fraud detection by a diverse range of clients including NASA, Harvard Medical School in association with Harvard's Institute of Quantitative Social Sciences and agencies throughout the U.S. government.

USAID (United States Agency for International Development) carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the U.S., and fosters good will abroad. http://www.usaid.gov/   

About Humanity United
Humanity United is a foundation dedicated to building peace and advancing human freedom. At home and in the corners of the globe where these ideals are challenged most, we lead and support efforts to lift up the voices and will of people, ensure good governance and the rule of law, engage markets and business as a force for change, and encourage the exploration of promising ideas and innovations to end conflict and slavery – all with the belief that everyone has the right to a life that is peaceful and free. http://www.humanityunited.org/

About TopCoder, Inc.
TopCoder is the world's largest open innovation platform and competitive community of digital creators with more than 466,000 members representing algorithm specialists, software developers and creative artists from over 200 countries. The TopCoder Platform and Community create digital assets including analytics, software and creative designs and solutions for a wide-ranging client base through a competitive, rigorous, standards based methodology. Combining our extremely talented community with this groundbreaking methodology results in superior outcomes for our clients. For more information about sponsoring TopCoder events and utilizing TopCoder's software services and platforms, visit www.topcoder.com.

TopCoder is a registered trademark of TopCoder, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Jim McKeown
TopCoder, Inc.

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