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Challenge <p> The ODNI-OUSD(I) Xpress Challenge: Machine Generation of Analytic Products</p>

The ODNI-OUSD(I) Xpress Challenge: Machine Generation of Analytic Products

STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 387
Posted: Apr 06 2017
Challenge ID: 9933982
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The ability to manually ingest information and produce and report useful intelligence gained from that information is used within a number of disciplines to include the business world as well as within governments worldwide. This is typically performed by analysts who must sift through vast amounts of information and generate reports containing actionable intelligence, but imagine if these reports could be generated by machines. Imagine how much time could be saved and devoted to thinking, understanding and acting on the intelligence rather than just generating it.

The Seekers, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSDI), are interested in determining just how far along we are toward achieving the goal of machine-generated finished intelligence. This Challenge will pose a representative question to be answered by respondents using a completely automated system to sift through text reports and generate a finished intelligence product. ODNI and OUSD(I) do NOT seek any rights in the systems used to generate the product and only wish to assess the state of the art in the area of machine-generated intelligence. Systems capable of winning this Challenge will be of use not just within the intelligence community, but across government agencies and the business world.

A total of $500,000 is available for awards in multiple categories, including a top award of $100,000 for the best overall submission and $30,000 in Early STEM Education awards for high school student team submissions. Subject to the availability of funds, the top overall Solvers may be invited to an ODNI-hosted Program Finale Meeting, where they will participate in an interactive gathering to share best practices, collaborate, and facilitate continuing Solver community cohesion.

This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and delivery of output from the Solver’s automated system. Solvers with the highest ranking submissions will be required to provide source code for the system to be run by the Seekers on a validation question for final validation of winners. Solvers will not be required to provide source code unless their submission is chosen for the validation stage of the Challenge.


An analytic product is generated any time a person digests information and produces a report based on that information. This occurs in businesses large and small, as well as government agencies from the federal government on down to local governments. Reports derived strictly from numerical data are now routinely generated using automated systems as simple as spreadsheet macros. Reports based on textual information, however, are much more difficult to produce.

A number of professional disciplines, to include the media, are mitigating the impact of the plethora of data generated today by tapping artificial intelligence-related technologies to automate both the compilation of this data as well as the generation of written products. It is not difficult for analysts within the Intelligence Community – whose job is to inform and warn policymakers - to envision the benefits of these technologies, once properly designed, vetted, and employed within their discipline. The ability to deliver an insightful, well written and sourced report to a policymaker – who may be facing a fast moving crisis – within hours (or less) could potentially have a major positive impact on that policymaker’s ability to mitigate the crisis.

The ODNI and OUSD(I) seek to uncover current capabilities and examine the feasibility of using natural language processing (NLP) and related artificial intelligence technologies to craft intelligence products with national security implications. This Challenge poses a representative question to be answered by respondents using an automated system of their own design. Solvers will be provided with a fixed dataset of thousands of national security-related articles and blog posts and asked to produce, using no human intervention, an intelligence product addressing the question using only the content provided. The total award pool is $500,000 with $50,000 available for the top submissions in various technical areas and $100,000 for the overall best submission. In an effort to promote early science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, a total of $30,000 in Early STEM Education awards will be made to the corresponding school for the three best performing high school student team submissions.

Final submissions to the Challenge should include the following:

  1. A detailed description of the system and how it addresses each Technical Requirement presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge. The project documentation should include a well-articulated rationale for the methods used. No proprietary information should be included in this documentation.
  2. System Output in the form of an Analytic Product produced by the automated system addressing the question posed in the Challenge.
  3. A completed Academic Institution Acknowledgement Letter if required. See Eligibility for details.

Given the uncertainty in the number of responses, all submissions will be reviewed by a team of IC analytic production experts and down-selected to the most promising 50 submissions. Additionally, all high school team submissions will be similarly reviewed and down-selected to the most promising 10 submissions.  Depending on the degree of overlap between these groups, up to 60 products will be formally evaluated based on the criteria outlined in the attached document.

All awards are contingent upon evaluation and validation of the submitted Solutions by the Seekers. During the validation period, the Seekers will validate top-scoring submissions using an additional question similar to the question posed in the Challenge.

To receive an award, Solvers will NOT have to transfer IP rights or grant a license to the Seekers – the purpose of this Challenge is to gauge how far technologies have come in solving this important problem.  With broad participation, this Challenge has the potential to provide ODNI and OUSD(I) with insights on the best next steps to stimulate research for solving this challenging problem.

Unless otherwise stated by the Solver in their submission, by making a submission to this Challenge Solver(s) are providing written consent to the Seekers to publicly disclose their identity if their submission is chosen for an award and they choose to accept the award.  Disclosure will not occur until the Challenge has been fully completed, that is, all submissions have been evaluated, rejected or accepted, and any awards have been transferred to the Solver(s). In addition, the Seekers may wish to share winning submissions and corresponding Solver information with other U.S. government agencies. Solvers may opt-out of this and request the Seekers not share their submission and information by making a written request.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on July 5, 2017.

Late submissions will not be considered.



Federal entities or Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are eligible to compete but are NOT eligible to receive a monetary award for this Challenge.

Please note that winners will have to submit an Academic Institution Acknowledgement Letter acknowledging the role of ODNI in this Challenge if you are:  (i) a U.S. Academic Institution at the high school, college, or university level, (ii) an employee of such institution who is participating on behalf of that institution, or (iii) an employee of such institution who is participating in their personal capacity if they are using the resources of such institution to respond to this Challenge. A template for this letter is included as an attachment to this Challenge and will be available after accepting the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA). Click the “View Challenge Details” button to access the CSA for details.

Early STEM Education awards are limited to U.S. based high school student teams. High school student teams must be represented by a teacher or school official and all submissions made through an InnoCentive Solver account owned by the teacher, school official, or represented high school. Early STEM Education awards will be made directly to the represented high school, and eligibility for such awards will be confirmed during the Solver verification process for winning submissions. Please note the information contained in the Detailed Description and Project Criteria sections of this Challenge is considered to be publically available and therefore exempt from the confidentiality provisions in the CSA, thus enabling teachers and school officials to share this information with their students for the purpose of participating in this Challenge.

Entities or employees of entities from the following countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions are not eligible to participate in this Challenge: Iran, Syria, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea.  In addition, individuals and entities listed on the U.S. Government’s Consolidated Screening List (available at are not eligible to participate in this Challenge.

This Challenge is open to all others (18 years of age and over) not addressed above. Only one submission per team should be submitted.



About the Seekers

This Challenge is sponsored by ODNI’s Office of the Director of Science and Technology (DS&T), in partnership with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)) and in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). DS&T leads the Intelligence Community’s (IC’s) efforts to enhance the returns on investments in technology—its mission is to deliver innovative, technology-based capabilities which solve intelligence challenges today and in the future.  OUSD(I) serves as advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for intelligence, counterintelligence, security, sensitive activities and other intelligence-related matters. AFRL is the Air Force's only organization wholly dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. 

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