Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Making sense of big data to improve the nation’s defence, security and prosperity
- Also published by:
Dstl challenges data scientists to solve real world challenges in first public competition.
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) yesterday announced the launch of the Data Science Challenge. The challenge is designed to bring the brightest minds in data science together to solve real-world problems. The first challenges – detecting and classifying vehicles from aerial imagery and the classification of documents by themes– are now open to entrants, with each challenge boasting a total prize fund of £40,000.
The Data Science Challenge is part of a wider programme set out in the Defence Innovation Initiative that aims to build an open innovation ‘ecosystem’, harnessing the talents of individuals, academia and industry to develop new approaches to complex problems. The Data Science Challenge is piloting new ways of working including the use of crowdsourcing to engage the data science community to develop cutting edge solutions to Defence and Security problems.
The Data Science Challenge includes two distinct problems that will test the participants’ ability to mine large unstructured datasets to extract useful information:
- Safe passage: detecting and classifying vehicles in aerial imagery
Being able to automatically detect and categorise vehicles in aerial imagery will dramatically improve how quickly we can assess and identify them. This challenge asks participants to detect and classify vehicles such as buses, cars and motorbikes, from a set of aerial images.
- Growing instability: classifying crisis reports
Analysing data in documents such as media reports can provide a better understanding of a potential crisis situation, growing instability in a particular region or specific theme such as terrorism. Using news material, this challenge asks participants to predict topic tags for classifying unseen reports so that they can be used to improve awareness and understanding.
Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin MP yesterday said:
Our Innovation Initiative is about harnessing diverse and talented individuals from business, academia, and beyond to keep the UK ahead of our adversaries.
In this latest challenge, supported by our £800 million Innovation Fund, we are calling on experts to develop the latest technology to crunch big data and identify the solutions that will keep us safe.
James Srinivasan, a Principal Data Scientist at Dstl added:
Around the world, governments are using the power of data to meet many of the huge challenges that they are facing. By analysing complex, evolving information, data science can provide invaluable insight that informs how we can best respond to event.
There is real talent out there and we want to encourage the curious to experiment and learn. We are determined to push the boundaries of what can be done, and to keep striving to always be better. This is why we are launching the Data Science Challenge today.
We are keen to encourage all data scientists, not just those in the defence and security sectors, who want to rise to the challenges that we have thrown-down yesterday, to get involved.
The Data Science Challenge is sponsored by Dstl, the Government Office for Science, Secret Intelligence Service and MI5.
Participants can register as of yesterday at www.datasciencechallenge.org and have between 3 April and 11.59pm on 17 May 2017 to develop and submit their solutions. Winners from each of the challenges will be announced at the end of May 2017.
The top three entrants will receive cash prizes. The first prize is £20,000, the second placed entrant will receive £12,000 whilst the third will get £8,000.
Dstl Media Enquiries
Media enquiries 01980 952361
Out of hours 07884 732999
Latest News from
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Science enables soldiers and aircrew to partner with smart machines on Salisbury Plain24/09/2020 16:10:00
Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have been working with soldiers, aircrew and industry partners on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire in a unique experiment to see how humans and a new generation of smart machines can partner to change the way that military operations are conducted.
DASA launches search for telexistence technology24/09/2020 13:10:00
Funding available to develop capabilities to operate in hazardous environments without physically being present.
Rare Fellowship for Dstl Scientist23/09/2020 13:43:00
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the profession, Dstl’s Dr Bryn Hughes has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Science Minister at Vitae Connections Week 202016/09/2020 10:20:00
In a recorded message, Amanda Solloway recently (14 September 2020) spoke about the promoting a culture of wellbeing for researchers and improving the way we evaluate research.
Dstl SME Searchlight Announces New Webinar Programme15/09/2020 14:15:00
Air systems and policing webinars scheduled for October
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Sees Dstl’s Police Innovation28/08/2020 11:05:00
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, has visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to see the latest innovations being trialled in support of the police and judicial system.
Innovation call for technology to stop armed or violent offenders21/08/2020 11:12:00
Competition to find and develop ideas to give police more options to defuse dangerous situations and keep the public safe without resorting to lethal force.
Market exploration: robotic and autonomous systems (platooning)18/08/2020 15:22:00
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is scoping the potential for funding opportunities to develop the use of autonomy for logistic convoy operations.