DARPA Network Challenge | Rules
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Change Summary
Section Description Date
Eligibility Text added to clarify eligibility. November 6, 2009
Participation Revised coordinate error bounds. November 13, 2009
Prizes Clarification regarding payment. November 18, 2009
Participation Clarification regarding locations. December 4, 2009

1. Introduction

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Internet, DARPA is hosting the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that will explore the role the Internet and social networking plays in the timely communication, wide area team-building and urgent mobilization required to solve broad scope, time-critical problems.


The rules apply to all participants in the DARPA Network Challenge. These rules may be updated during the course of the event, and all participants should monitor the event website, http://archive.darpa.mil/networkchallenge, for the latest information.


The rules may be modified at any time without notice. DARPA will communicate rule modifications on the event website. DARPA reserves the right to cancel this event at any time.


The DARPA Director will be the final arbiter on all aspects of this event. Decisions of the DARPA Director are final.


Nothing in these rules, to include information on the event website, may be interpreted as authorizing the incurrence of any costs, or modifying the statement of work or authorizing work outside the terms and conditions of any existing agreements or contracts with DARPA.

2. Eligibility

The DARPA Network Challenge is open to individuals of all ages irrespective of nationality or residency.


Employees of the U.S. Government including spouses and dependents for tax year 2009 are not eligible to participate. DARPA employees and DARPA support contractors and their immediate families are also not eligible to participate. Entries may be submitted by individuals only, and only individuals are eligible to win the prize. Corporations or other organizations may not submit entries.


Participants under the age of 18 are required to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian before participating in this competition. Underage participants are cautioned that activities involved in participation including interacting with others on social networking sites require the supervision of a responsible adult.


DARPA reserves the right to disqualify a participant whose actions are deemed to violate the spirit of the competition for any reason, including but not limited to, the violation of laws or regulations in the course of participation.

3. Participation

The DARPA Network Challenge is the result of section 2374a of title 10 of the United States Code, which authorizes the Secretary of Defense to award prizes in recognition of outstanding achievements in basic, advanced, and applied research, technology development, and prototype development that have the potential for application to the performance of military missions of the Department of Defense.


The challenge is to locate ten moored red weather balloons located at ten fixed locations in the continental United States. Balloons will be in readily accessible locations, visible from nearby roadways and accompanied by DARPA representatives. All balloons are scheduled to go on display at all locations at 10:00AM (ET) until approximately 4:00 PM (local time) on Saturday, December 5, 2009. Should weather or technical difficulties arise with the launch, the display will be delayed until Sunday, December 6 or later, depending on conditions. If, for any reason, the balloon is displayed in one location then moved to a second location, either location will be accepted. Entrants are required to register and submit entries on the event website. Latitudes and longitudes are entered in degree-minute-second (DDD-MM-SS) format as explained on the website. Locations must be entered with an error of less than 1.0 mile to be accepted. In the event that one or more balloons is never displayed, this fact will be noted on the event website and the rules adjusted accordingly.


By submitting an entry, a participant gives permission for his or her name and home town to be released to the media should they win the prize. DARPA claims no rights to intellectual property developed as a result of participation in this event.


DARPA will retain no record of individual entries after the event is complete, but will compute aggregate statistics. DARPA may contact individuals to discuss the means and methods used in solving the challenge.


All correspondence regarding this event should be directed to networkchallenge@darpa.mil.

4. Prizes

A single $40,000 cash prize will be awarded to the first participant to submit the correct latitude and longitude of all ten weather balloons within the contest period. Entries are accepted until noon, 12:00 PM (ET) December 14, 2009. No prize for second place will be awarded.


In the event that no entry containing ten correct locations is received during the contest period, DARPA will determine the entry with the largest number of correct entries. If the largest number is five or greater, the first entrant who submitted this number will be awarded the prize. No prize will be awarded for submission of fewer than five correct sets of locations.


DARPA will issue one check only, to a bank account specified by the individual registered on the event website (the entrant). The account need not belong to the entrant, and may belong to an employer or other organization. If the account belongs to an individual, the individual may not be ineligible to participate as an entrant in the event (e.g., a U.S. Government employee).


Tax treatment of prizes will be handled in accordance with U.S. Internal Revenue Service guidelines. The winner must provide a U.S. taxpayer identification number (e.g. a social security number or employer identification number) for the organizations or individual(s) holding the bank account in which the prize is deposited. Entrants should consult a tax advisor to ensure that winnings are handled properly and reported accurately for tax purposes.


If DARPA is unable to contact the winning entrant within 24 hours after the announcement of the winner, DARPA reserves the right to award the prize to the runner up.