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DTRA/SCC-WMD Announces $1 Million Algorithm Challenge
Date:12/13/2012

Fort Belvoir, VA (PRWEB) December 13, 2012

Nuclear warheads are not the only weapons of mass destruction threatening the United States and her allies. Because nuclear weapons require sophisticated technologies and elements difficult to obtain, the nation’s adversaries may find chemical and biological weapons easier to procure.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency/U.S. STRATCOM Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (DTRA/SCC-WMD) is working hard to protect American warfighters and our allies from threats posed by chemical and biological weapons by innovating new technologies to detect chem/bio threats.

DTRA/SCC-WMD’s most recent initiative is “The DTRA Algorithm Challenge” – an open competition with a $1 million prize for the individual or team that develops an algorithm which can most rapidly and accurately characterize a complex clinical sample based solely on raw DNA sequence data.

“The Algorithm Challenge will lead to an enhancement of DTRA’s capability to diagnose and treat biothreats to the U.S. Armed Forces by giving DoD the ability to process and analyze biological sequence data rapidly in a realistic, moderate-to-low resource setting,” said Dr. Christian Whitchurch, Devices Branch Manager for DTRA’s Diagnostics, Detection and Disease Surveillance Division. “DTRA believes an open innovation development strategy is most likely to quickly yield a set of disruptive solutions to the threats posed by known, emerging, or engineered pathogens.”

This particular algorithm challenge focuses on using DNA sequence data in identifying pathogens in complex mixtures from clinical samples. By using sequencing as a diagnostic tool for infectious disease, the DoD will eventually have the ability to diagnose a larger number of threats (known and unknown) than ever before.

The Challenge winner will be whichever individual- or team-developed algorithm that best meets the following criteri
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