NASA Latest Network Algorithm Challenge
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Monday, 27 January 2014

The latest competition on topcoder is one in NASA's ongoing  Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) challenge and has $3000 in prizes. So sharpen your complex problem-solving skills.

This is the second part of a three-phase project that sets out to devise a method by which cryptographic keys can be exchanged among peers in a DTN network suffering from network connectivity disruptions and random topology changes.


Details can be found on the topcoder site which has recently been relaunched with a new logo, in which the absence of capitalization is deliberate. Following its merger with Cloudspokes, topcoder is now part of Appirio and has more than 608,000 members, but its mission remains the same:

The topcoder community gathers the world’s experts in design, development and data science to work on interesting and challenging problems for fun and reward.

The DTN Security Challenge is in topcoder's list of Open Challenges in the Development section. There are two cash prizes -  $2000 for the winner and $1000 for the runner-up - and the deadline is 00:10 EST on Monday February 3rd.

According to the contest rubric:

  • DTN is an approach to computer network architecture that seeks to address the technical issues in heterogeneous networks that may lack continuous network connectivity. Previous contests run on Topcoder have gathered and organized the information on DTNs and reduced the problem to be solved to a special form of a theoretical abstraction used in distributed computing known as the Byzantine Generals' problem.

This new contest asks you to study the output of previous contests, which is provided and to create a game plan that specifies which contests need to be run in the third and final phase of the project.

Contestants are asked to submit a document that includes the following information:

  • Suggested improvements to the project's version of the Byzantine Generals' problem that will make it easier to achieve the stated goals.
  • Remarks on how to structure the problem statement so that a solution can be obtained by the community via contests.
  • Recommendations on contests/races that will be used for preparation & testing (of the solutions).
  • An assessment of whether all the information that has been provided is sufficient to complete the project, and if not - a detailed discussion of the missing pieces which need to be filled in, either by the client or by the community via contests.

The following point is highlighted:

It is important that you demonstrate how clearly you understand the subject matter and we encourage you to, where applicable, use diagrams, pseudo-code and math to make your submission stand out.

Joining topcoder is free and you can start to enter its contests immediately.These fall into three categories: Develop; Design and Data Science and as well as cash rewards you can earn Reputation Points. New challenges are constantly added and they have scoreboards, leaderboards and discussion boards.

Registration for this DTN secuirty contest closes at 00:05 EST on Monday February 3rd - five minutes before the submission deadline. topcoderlogo

More Information

DTN Security - Contests Design

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Last Updated ( Monday, 27 January 2014 )