Another chance to outthink the spies

Another chance to outthink the spies

Part of the IARPA model on its forecasting contest (IARPA graphic)

WASHINGTON — The intelligence community’s research and development wing is inviting problems solvers to compete in a new forecasting challenge to predict in diverse areas from political outcomes to outbreaks of diseases.

Kickoff for the Geopolitical Forecasting Challenge is tomorrow, May 15. Solvers have the chance to win a share of $250,000 in prize money.

Sample challenge questions include “What will be the daily closing price of gold in June 2019 in USD?, Which political party will win the most seats during the Polish Parliamentary Election?, How many missile test events will North Korea conduct in August 2019?, And Will there be a locally-transmitted case of the Zika virus in Brazil in July 2019?”

It is the second such challenge offered by IARPA.

“The GF Challenge 2 offers solvers the opportunity to advance their research, contribute to global security and humanitarian activities, and enhance the science of forecasting, as part of a collaborative community,” IARPA said in a media alert.

IARPA (the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity) is the high-risk/high-payoff research wing of the various U.S. intelligence services.

“Geopolitical forecasting provides strategic advantages in maintaining global security, predicting economic trends, and directing the need for humanitarian efforts,” IARPA said. “Embracing non-traditional sources, encouraging novel approaches, and harnessing the collective community, we will increase the accuracy and accelerate the timeliness of geopolitical forecasting, while advancing the overall science of forecasting.

“This is your chance to test and showcase your forecasting methods and prove yourself against other state-of-the-art methods,” IARPA said.

Solvers will “create innovative solutions and methods to produce forecasts to a set of more than 300 questions referred to as Individual Forecasting Problems (IFPs), released regularly over the course of the nine-month Challenge,” IARPA said.

The challenge will end on November 29, 2019.

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