NASA, Harvard beam up virtual software lab

NASA furthers crowdsourcing software development techniques

NASA has teamed with Harvard University to set up a virtual lab where software programmers can compete with each other to create NASA system applications.

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According to NASA, the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) will let software developers compete to create a winning application, as measured by internal code quality, performance against benchmarks, and the ability to be integrated into NASA systems.  All member activities are tracked in real-time and performance statistics are made available for all to see. There will be a Web site that offers a town square with discussion boards to review code and a wiki to share information.

The competition will provide the researchers with a finished software solution at a lower cost than if they hired an individual developer or team, NASA stated,

Through Harvard the NTL will conduct basic research on the appropriate contest design parameters. This will enable the routine use of innovation tournaments as a problem solving approach within NASA and the public. Harvard will collaborate with TopCoder, a company that administers contests in software architecture and development, to manage and conduct the tournaments. 

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