|[April 06, 2012]
Team Led by Masdar Institute Faculty Wins International 'Tag Challenge' Competition
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates --(Business Wire)--
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent,
research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and
sustainable technologies, today announced a team of
crowd-sourcing experts led by one of its faculty has won the
international Tag Challenge competition, redefining the limits of
technology-mediated social mobilization and rapid information gathering.
The worldwide gaming challenge that has never before been attempted in
human history, opened on 31 March. The US State Department-sponsored
competition aimed to track down five 'suspects' of a jewel heist in five
different cities within 12 hours with the use of social media. The
Masdar Institute-led team - Team Crowdscanner - led by Dr. Iyad Rahwan,
Associate Professor - Computing and Information Science, in
collaboration with Dr. Manuel Cebrian, Research Scientist at University
of California, San Diego (UCSD), won the challenge by finding the three
targets in New York City, Washington DC, and Bratislava in Slovakia
within the stipulated time.
Judging from social media presence, Dr. Rahwan feels there may have been
four serious competing teams. Two other teams also found a single target
each, but Team Crowdscanner found those targets as well, and did so
earlier than others.
Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: "This is a
moment of great pride for our institution and we acknowledge the
pioneering efforts undertaken by Dr Iyad Rahwan and his team members.
The winning of the global challenge bears true testimony to the caliber
of our faculty and the project initiatives they lead internally and
externally. We believe Masdar Institute will continue to achieve more
international acclaim and we thank the country's wise leadership for
their support that enables such success."
Dr. Iyad Rahwan, Associate Professor - Computing and Information
Science, Masdar Institute, said: "We were able to succeed by leveraging
a combination of social media and traditional media, and by building up
a reputation as a credible, reliable team. We were more selective in our
social media strategy, and I believe this gave us an edge. Our victory
will surely redefine the limits of technology-medited social
mobilization with implications ranging from rapid disaster response, to
finding missing children, and many more similar applications.
"We were fascinated by the new TAG Challenge for two main reasons.
First, a lot of people wondered if the success in the DARPA Red Balloon
challenge was a lucky accident. We were determined to see if we can
indeed 'do it again'. Secondly, we realized that the TAG Challenge is
much harder. Instead of locating static, massive weather balloons, you
had to locate mobile people mixed within a crowd. We knew that, should
we win this, we would manage to raise the bar for rapid mobilization
through social media a significant notch higher."
Dr. Rahwan added: "What is the most fascinating thing about our success,
in my opinion, is the fact that none of us resides in any of the five
cities. We all coordinated everything from behind our computer screens.
This, to me, is what is special about the Internet. Our next step is to
try to reconstruct exactly how we won, and what happened on the day of
the challenge, and to learn something about what makes social media work
in such amazing ways."
Team Crowdscanner kept a similar incentive structure as in 2009 with the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Network's Red Balloon
Challenge. However, this was simplified to enable people to make more
money by either finding suspects, or recruiting the person who found the
suspects. Though the team has not yet decided on a way to divide the
prize money, it is expected along the terms already announced - US$500
for finding the suspects, and US$100 for recruiting the person who found
them. Also, anyone who recruits a person gets US$1 for the first 2,000
Dr. Cebrian was also part of the team that won the US$40,000 prize at
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Network's Red
Balloon Challenge in 2009. Earlier, Dr. Rahwan co-authored a paper with
the Red Balloon Challenge winners on their use of social networks to
mobilize people to contribute to their team's efforts. The paper was
later published in the prestigious Science journal.
Established as an ongoing collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT (News - Alert)), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to
incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to
develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its
world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to
finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change
through education and research.
About Masdar Institute
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Masdar Institute) was
established by the government of Abu Dhabi as a not-for-profit, private
graduate university to develop indigenous R&D capacity in Abu Dhabi
addressing issues of importance to the region.
In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
Masdar Institute has developed an academic and research platform that
articulates its mission and vision according to critical energy and
An important characteristic of Masdar Institute is its focus on complex
real-world problems that require a multidisciplinary approach for the
development of solutions from an integrated technology, systems and
policy perspective. This multi-interdisciplinary and integrated approach
is supported by the structure of its academic programs and by the
emphasis placed on engaging external partners from industry, government,
and other academic institutions in collaborative activities.
Masdar Institute offers degrees in:
MSc Engineering Systems and Management
MSc Computing and Information Science
MSc Materials Science and Engineering
MSc Mechanical Engineering
MSc Water and Environmental Engineering
MSc Microsystems Engineering
MSc Electrical Power Engineering
MSc Chemical Engineering
Please visit our website http://www.masdar.ac.ae/
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