Generally, paper shredders are very good at their job. Like humpty dumpty, those pieces of paper will never be put back together again.
But Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is now issuing a challenge to do just that: put these pieces back together again. The DARPA Shredder Challenge is offering $50,000 to anyone who can solve DARPA's five puzzles, which are composed of a number of documents of differing subject matter and differing method of shredding.
The puzzles aren't just putting shredded documents together, but the participants have to answer questions from content on the documents.
Wired has more:
The rationale behind the contest is simple: Troops often find sensitive documents in piecemeal form, rather than their entirety. Darpa’s looking for new, creative ways to reconstruct papers as quickly and effectively as possible. In particular, the agency wants to hasten manual or algorithm-assisted reconstruction, and wants to know whether “high resolution photography, communication and crowd-sourcing strategies offer unexpected advances.”
“The ability to reconstruct shredded documents will potentially yield information that may save lives or offer critical information about an adversary’s plans,” Dan Kaufman, Director of Darpa’s Information Innovation Office, said in a statement. “Currently, this process is much too slow and labor-intensive, particularly if the documents are handwritten.”
The winner of these puzzles will be announced on December 5. So, there's still time to download the puzzles and see if you can win.
[H/T Popular Science]