Crowdsourcing Project Could Help Find Dark Matter
November 1, 2012

The Dark Matter Hunt Is On – Are You Up To The Challenge

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Elusive dark matter makes up for about 95 percent of the mass of the universe, but scientists have had a hard time finding it.

Now, researchers are inviting the public to help them in searching for one of science's biggest mysteries.

Astronomers from the University of Edinburgh have joined with crowdsourcing data science website Kaggle and Winton Capital Management to find people who are interested in taking up the challenge.

The scientists behind the contest hope that it will inspire thousands of people to use a variety of techniques to detect dark matter.

They expect the competition to attract people who solve numerical problems for a living, such as scientists, statisticians and data engineers.

They believe a solution may be found by adapting an existing problem-solving tool from a field of expertise outside astronomy.

Prizes of $12,000, $5,000, and $3,000 will be awarded to the winners of the competition, which is being provided by Winton Capital. Winton is a world leader in applying advanced scientific methods to today's finance problems in a collaborative environment that rewards innovation and robust research discoveries.

The scientists want to develop ways to analyze images of these galaxy clusters that have been taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

These techniques could be used to help astronomers better understand how the clusters have been formed, and create a map of dark matter.

Winton will be reviewing the entries and will offer interviews to the creators of those submissions they find exceptional.