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Make a Difference, Win Prizes in NASA's Quest for Quakes

By wwwtc In Uncategorized

Posted July 22nd, 2015

Ready to Join NASA’s Quest for Quakes?

Make a Difference and Compete for $25k in Prizes

Data scientists, it’s time to gear up for a high-stakes Marathon Match. We’re bringing you the opportunity to compete for $25k in prizes while number crunching for some truly incredible organizations. NASA, Quakefinder, Harvard Crowd Innovation Lab, and Amazon Web Services — in partnership with the topcoder community — are running a two-week Marathon Match to create an algorithm to search terabytes of data and identify electromagnetic signals that have been detected days to weeks before some moderate to large earthquakes.

Electromagnetic pulses and earthquakes

There is a long history of research into the causes of distinct ultra-low frequency (~0.01 Hz) electromagnetic signals emanating from the earth near earthquake epicenters in the weeks leading up to some moderate and large events. However, the connection between electromagnetic signals and earthquakes is still debated.

One theory suggests that fracturing rock in the earth’s crust creates an electrical charge migration (or “pulses”) that travels to the land surface. There, it manifests as a small change in the local magnetic field that is detectable with sensitive magnetometer sensors. But there are a number of natural and manmade electromagnetic signal “noise” sources, such as lightning, solar storms, electric rail, and even nearby traffic that can mask or mimic electromagnetic signals that may or may not be associated with earthquakes.

Earn cash and make a difference on a global level

This Marathon Match presents a meaningful opportunity to do work that will serve to predict precursors to devastating earthquakes. Considering tragedies like those in Nepal — an earthquake (with a magnitude of 7.8) that killed hundreds of people and caused massive damage at the country’s epicenter — there is no better time to take advantage of a life-changing competition like this. Plus, you’ll be able to test your skills against other brilliant minds within the topcoder community and compete for your share of $25k in prizes.

Registration opened on July 21st — making the problem statement and sample of the data available to see — and the two-week submission phase starts July 27th. We look forward to seeing your submissions and working toward such immense global progress.

Visit the Quest for Quakes Minisite to learn more about the project.

Registration for the contest is open – Register here.