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  • DARPA CLIQR Quest Ends

    March 16, 2012

    3 of 7 valid codes submitted 

    The dynamics of social networks have provided a platform for communication research for years. The introduction of social media channels has added an element of hyper-connectedness to that research, resulting in efforts to better understand how to leverage social media as a communication channel for timely mass information, rapid mobilization of groups, and wide-area team building.

    As part of DARPA’s research in this area, at 11:00 AM (EST) on Thursday, February 23, posters bearing the DARPA logo and a quick response (QR) code appeared in US cities. It was the launch of the Cash for Locating and Identifying Quick Response Codes (CLIQR) Quest—a prize-based challenge that sought to advance knowledge of social media and the Internet. After 18 hours, the winner had leveraged social media to find three of the seven possible codes.

    The challenge ended on March 8 with the task unmet. While all seven valid codes were found, no one entity submitted all seven.

    “Previous DARPA efforts in this research area—for example, the DARPA Network Challenge, which everyone seems to know as the Red Balloon Challenge—drove participation in the experiment,” said DARPA Deputy Director, Kaigham J. Gabriel. “That challenge began with the Agency purposefully launching a communication outreach campaign to draw attention to the experiment. With CLIQR Quest, we sought to test the opposite end of the spectrum—zero excitation through public Agency announcements.”

    “Although not all seven QR codes were submitted by a single source, analysis from the experiment should provide a baseline for further research into how information spreads through social media,” said Jay Schnitzer, office director, Defense Sciences Office, DARPA. “One thing that may be proven from the CLIQR Quest is that new and traditional media are not as separate as some believe them to be. In fact, they may be mutually supportive.”

    This leads to questions: How can explosive exponential growth in communication activities be predicted? How can network communication nodes best be identified (those nodes without which a hyper-connected communication network would not form)? How can individuals be mobilized and teams be formed to respond to disaster relief initiatives—as the CLIQR Quest attempted to do?

    “Through previous DARPA challenges, the Agency has shown the value of social media for rapid collaboration and solving difficult problems,” explained Gabriel. “And, there’s still much more to learn about the dynamics of social networks.”

    The winner of the CLIQR Quest will receive a prorated amount of the $40,000 prize for being the first to find and submit three of the seven valid challenge codes.

    Preliminary results from the DARPA CLIQR Quest are available at http://archive.darpa.mil/CLIQRQuest/.

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