United States Government Selects TopCoder to be Hub of Center for Excellence
Center of Excellence for Open Innovation Expands NASA Tournament Lab Reach and Opens Power of the TopCoder Community to All Federal Agencies and Departments
GLASTONBURY, Conn., Jan. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — TopCoder®, Inc., the leader in online programming competition, skills assessment and competitive software development, today announced that the company in partnership with NASA and the Harvard Business School is establishing a distributed Center of Excellence for Open Innovation to address the collaboration and innovation needs and challenges of the United States Government and to implement new acquisition models that affect every aspect of Government processes—from funding to acquisition, contracts, and reporting. The Center of Excellence is envisioned as a Government-led activity to unify the efforts of multiple U.S. Government Agencies working to implement new distributed innovation acquisition models with the prime objectives of educating and evangelizing U.S. Government agencies on the power of open innovation, providing program implementation guidance to those agencies and showing measurable impact of the program success. At the request of the Administration, NASA is expanding the TopCoder powered NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) program to provide access to the same high level of Community expertise to all federal agencies and departments.
Initial project applications for the Center of Excellence platform will include:
- Expansion of the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL): the online virtual pilot for NASA researchers to actively engage an existing and growing online community of algorithm experts who are motivated to solve their computation problems. The Center of Excellence support will capture NASA researcher’s needs, construct challenges, conduct tournaments, and use internal and external measures to judge the impact of the solution on NASA’s needs. The effort also provides integration support to integrate solutions for NASA researchers;
- Providing assistance to help agencies and departments construct challenges and conduct tournaments to identify new approaches to supplying high-quality solutions, using internal and external measures to judge the national impact on operational efficiency.
“The NTL program has proven the model’s success in delivering results, in some cases at an impressive level,” said Jason Crusan, Chief Technologist for Space Operations at NASA. “With the establishment of the Center for Excellence, we have now opened this long-term pilot to provide guidance to selected agencies on all aspects of implementing open innovation initiatives, from problem definition, to incentive design, to post-submission evaluation of solutions.”
The NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) program has already shown significant returns in its 24 month pilot trial including:
- An optimization competition to develop a software algorithm to recommend the ideal components of a space medical kit for manned space missions. The ten day competition involved more than 400 participants and garnered nearly 6,000 code submissions. The winning solution performs kit optimization in 30 seconds compared to NASA’s previous best known solution, a 360X performance improvement. Total cost: $25,000 and six passes to attend a Shuttle launch;
- A planetary data ideation challenge to generate ideas for visualizations, analysis tools, educational applications and mash-ups from the agency’s rich and deep Planetary Data System databases produced 35 unique idea submissions from 212 participants over the course of two weeks. NASA paid $3,250 for 5 valuable ideas with the winning concept “just the outside of the box thinking “that NASA was hoping to achieve.
TopCoder, NASA and Harvard Business School have created a virtual platform environment in which government clients can use communities to conceptualize, build and manage real digital solutions and realize faster turnaround, higher quality and greater ROI.
The groundbreaking TopCoder process adopts a highly “adaptive” approach to product development that allows continual evolvement through process in the entire software development life cycle.
“The Center of Excellence represents a fundamental shift in the way government actors can manage innovation,” said Jack Hughes, co-founder and Chairman of TopCoder, Inc. “Rethinking how to attract, motivate and manage knowledge workers both within agencies and in external communities will yield huge dividends in terms of new and better ideas, greater efficiency of existing resources and strategic advantage in the changing global landscape.”