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DARPA Forecasting Chikungunya Challenge

TAGS:Public Good Global Health Computer Science/Information Technology Math/Statistics Life Sciences
STATUS: Awarded
POSTED: 8/15/14

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) seeks methods to accurately forecast the spread of chikungunya virus in the Caribbean, and North, Central, and South America.

This Challenge has a special award structure with awards of $150,000 and $100,000 for the top two overall Solvers and four honorable mention awards of $50,000 each. In addition, top Solvers in each Methodology Category (data, robustness, applicability, presentation, and computation) may win $10,000. The top six overall Solvers will be invited to DARPA for the Program Finale Meeting where they will participate in an interactive meeting to share best practices, collaborate, and facilitate continuing Solver community cohesion.

This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and multiple submissions of forecasts for the virus’ spread. Additionally, as a Prodigy Challenge an online leaderboard will be available to track Solver performance.

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This web site is hosted by a private entity and is not a service of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) or the Department of Defense (DoD). The solicitation and collection of your personal or individually identifiable information is subject to the host’s privacy and security policies and will not be shared with DARPA or the DoD unless you win the Challenge. Challenge winners’ personally identifiable information must be made available to DARPA in order to collect an award. Please consult the Challenge Specific Agreement.

Source: InnoCentive
Challenge ID: 9933617
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Challenge Overview

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has recently been detected in the Western Hemisphere. Previously, the virus had not been detected in the Americas for many decades. This DARPA Challenge seeks methods to forecast outbreaks and the potential spread of CHIKV throughout the Americas. This Challenge also seeks to develop forecasting capabilities for infectious diseases, with the intent of applying these capabilities to the mitigation of infectious diseases outbreaks.

There will be nine submissions to this Challenge distributed throughout the Challenge period:

  1. Methodology. An initial submission containing a detailed description of the planned data sources and model applicability and a final submission with a detailed description of the full methodology used for the forecasts are required. The initial submission must be received by September 1, 2014 in order to be eligible for points. The final submission is due February 16, 2015. Both initial and final methodology submissions should be completed, although only those submitted by the due dates will be considered for points. The project documentation should include a well-articulated rationale for the methodology and choice of data sources.
  2. Accuracy Forecasts. An initial forecast submission, due September 8, 2014, with predictions for the next six months, followed by five monthly update submissions, due on the 1st of each subsequent month, with predictions for the remaining period of the Challenge.
  3. Peak Forecasts. A forecast of Peak New Cases per Country or Territory, due October 1, 2014.

Solvers are encouraged to submit all nine deliverables outlined above. However, submissions are accepted throughout the Challenge. Late submissions will not be eligible to receive points associated with the deliverable.  Solvers will make a new submission that includes all deliverables due on a particular date rather than updating a previous submission.

Awards are contingent upon evaluation and validation of the submitted Solutions by the Seeker.

This Challenge has a special award structure with awards of $150,000 and $100,000 for 1st and 2nd place, respectively. The next four top overall Solvers will receive awards of $50,000 each. In addition to winning awards for the highest overall points, top Solvers in each Methodology Category (data, robustness, applicability, presentation, and computation) may win $10,000. The top six overall Solvers will be invited to DARPA for the Program Finale Meeting where they will participate in an interactive meeting to share best practices, collaborate, and facilitate continuing Solver community cohesion.

DARPA claims no rights to intellectual property developed by Solvers as a result of participation in the CHIKV Challenge. DARPA may negotiate a license for the use of intellectual property developed by a Solver.


The CHIKV Challenge is open to academic institution, business, or individual (18 years of age or older). A Solver may be an individual competing alone or a team representing an academic institution, business, or group of individuals. Only one submission per team per deliverable should be submitted.

Foreign Participation

Non-U.S. organizations and/or individuals may participate to the extent that such participants comply with any necessary non-disclosure agreements, security regulations, export control laws, the CHIKV Challenge Rules and other governing statutes applicable under the circumstances. Employees of foreign governments are not eligible to participate in this Challenge.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Member State Reporting Institutions

Individuals affiliated with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and its Member State Institutions that provide health surveillance data cannot participate in the Challenge in any capacity.

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)

FFRDCs are encouraged to participate in this Challenge but are not eligible to receive any prize award. In order to participate, FFRDCs must provide a letter on official letterhead from their sponsoring organization citing the specific authority establishing the FFRDC’s eligibility to participate in Government Challenges. Individuals that supported the development of the Challenge are not eligible to participate.

Other Eligibility Requirements

DARPA employees and DARPA support contactors, including spouses, dependents, and household members, are not eligible to participate in the CHIKV Challenge. Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate in the Challenge. Federal employees acting outside the scope of their employment should consult their ethics official and appropriate management before participating in the Challenge. Federal employees may provide subject matter expertise to participants so long as they grant equal opportunity for access to each participating team or individual.

Any entities and personnel funded by DARPA to support the CHIKV Challenge are not eligible to participate in the CHIKV Challenge.

About the Seeker

Since its establishment in 1958, DARPA has demonstrated time and again how thinking beyond the borders of what is generally deemed possible can yield extraordinary breakthroughs. The Agency’s mission is to foster and demonstrate revolutionary new technologies and capabilities that provide practical options for sustaining U.S. security into the future. Importantly, DARPA conceives national security broadly, and the technologies it creates frequently transition either directly or indirectly to the commercial world, where they have bolstered such critical sectors as healthcare, transportation, communications, and computing. Many of the technologies people depend on today have their origins in DARPA-funded research.

To achieve its ambitious goals, DARPA supports world-class teams of experts from academia, industry, and government laboratories, empowers them with resources, encourages them to take risks, and provides them with the flexibility to transcend conventional organizational constraints. It isn’t just established research institutions that can contribute, though. DARPA recognizes that the novel capabilities it seeks may, in many instances, emerge from novel sources—including individuals or consortia that have never contributed to government research efforts or considered how their expertise might be applied to the national security domain.

It is in recognition that extraordinary solutions can emerge from unconventional sources that DARPA periodically launches prize-based challenges—ensuring that the full diversity of America’s innovative potential is brought to bear toward the goal of achieving a better and more secure future.

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InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements. What is an RTP Challenge?

An InnoCentive RTP (Reduction to Practice) Challenge is a prototype that proves an idea, and is similar to an InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge in its high level of detail. However, an RTP requires the Solver to submit a validated solution, either in the form of original data or a physical sample. Also the Seeker is allowed to test the proposed solution.

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