NASA and Harvard set up software competition

US space agency NASA and Harvard University have established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which will enable software developers to compete with each other to create the best computer code for NASA systems.

The NTL provides an online virtual facility for NASA researchers with a computational or complex data processing challenge to ’order’ a solution, in the same way they would order laboratory tests or supplies.

Software developers will compete with each other to create a winning solution, as measured by internal code quality, performance against benchmarks and the ability to be integrated into NASA systems.

The competition will provide the researchers with a finished software solution at a lower cost than if they hired an individual developer team, according to the organisers.