Participate in the 2018 Challenge

Join an analyst team tackling four challenging intelligence-type problems over four weeks.

Australian

Organisations

are invited to enter teams

Professional
Analysts

are invited to join a team

Open to analysts working in intelligence, risk, policy, strategy, business, etc.  
Retirees also welcome.

General Public

is invited to join a team

The 2018 Challenge presents four challenging intelligence-type problems over four weeks. Teams recruited from the public will compete alongside teams from Australian organisations with intelligence functions.

An opportunity to be challenged, learn about intelligence problems and methods, and have fun.

 

About the SWARM 2018 Challenge

"SWARM is inviting organisations to contribute a team of analysts to participate in a research exercise in which each team would work on four challenging intelligence-type problems on the new SWARM platform."

The SWARM Project at the University of Melbourne is a large research effort aimed at developing new methods and tools for intelligence analysis. SWARM has major funding from IARPA, the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.

 

We are building a cloud-based platform on which analysts collaborate in teams to solve intelligence problems and produce reports displaying their reasoning. We have been beta testing for six months; this has included piloting with teams from a major intelligence organisation.

Starting June 25, SWARM will be conducting a major test of the new system. Teams of around 12 will work on four challenging intelligence-type problems using the new SWARM platform.

 

Team members would spend on average 3-4 hours per week over four weeks. Participation of team members is online, asynchronous, and anonymous.

 
 
 

Featured Articles

The Melbourne Newsroom 7 June 2018

The University of Melbourne-based SWARM Project is recruiting participants to see if using the reasoning powers of bees can produce better results than the methods often used by intelligence agencies.

Teams recruited from the general public will compete alongside professional analysts, as well as teams from Australian organisations with intelligence functions, to examine a range of fictional intelligence-type problems, such as who shot a missile or carried out a bombing.

Associate Professor Tim van Gelder, who co-leads the SWARM Project, said the key is the simultaneous exploration of many options.

A/PROF TIM VAN GELDER - Pursuit 7 June 2018

Inspired by how bees make collective decisions, researchers are exploring how crowdsourcing techniques may help intelligence analysts produce the best-reasoned analysis from the available data.

In a memorable scene in the 2012 thriller Zero Dark Thirty, the CIA Director asks his inner circle for views about the chance that Osama Bin Laden was in a particular compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

“100 per cent he’s there. OK fine, 95 per cent, because I know certainty freaks you guys out, but it’s 100,” says the film’s hero, intelligence agent Maya.

Open invitation to Analysts

Individual analysts are also invited to participate in the SWARM 2018 Challenge. SWARM will assign you to team with analysts from other organisations or recruited from other channels.

 

To quality, you'll need to have worked as an analyst in intelligence or in a closely related field such as risk analysis or strategic analysis.

 

Feedback to analysts

Individual participants will receive:

  • Scores for your reports with brief comments

  • Model reports

  • Information about your team’s performance compared with other teams

 

What happens when?

After signing up, you'll be contacted to complete an online onboarding process,
including an entry survey.

 

By the start date (Jun 25), you'll be provided information about how to join your team on SWARM.

 

You will be assigned one problem a week from June 25th to July 24th.

Professional
Analysts

are invited to join a team

Open to analysts working in intelligence, risk, policy, strategy, business, etc.  
Retirees also welcome.

 

Open invitation to the public

The public is welcome to participate in the SWARM 2018 Challenge. No qualification are required, you just need to be at least 18 years of age. SWARM will assign you to a team.

Feedback to public teams

 

You will receive:

  • Scores for your reports with brief comments

  • Model reports

  • Information about your team’s performance compared with other teams

 

What happens when?

 

After signing up, you'll be contacted to complete an online onboarding process, including an entry survey.

 

By the start date (Jun 25), you'll be provided information about how to join your team on SWARM.

 

You will be assigned one problem a week from June 27th to July 24th.

General Public

is invited to join a team

 

Open invitation to Organisations

The 2018 Challenge is open to intelligence organisations, or organisations with intelligence functions. A small number of team places are still available.

An organisation can contribute one or more teams of around 12. Alternatively, an organisation can invite their analysts to participate individually; SWARM will put these analysts into mixed teams.

Confidentiality

 

Organisational participation is entirely confidential unless the organisation chooses to disclose its involvement.  

 

Feedback to organisations

 

SWARM will provide participating organisations with:

  • A de-briefing session

  • Summary data on team activity and performance

  • Comparative/benchmarking data

  • Early access to research reports

  • Opportunity for further engagement in SWARM Project

 

Further information

For further information on what's involved, including FAQs, schedule and technical requirements, please see this PDF: SWARM 2018 Challenge FAQ (22 May)

 

For an overview of the SWARM Project, please see this PDF: SWARM Project Overview (3 May)

How to get involved​​


To get your organisation involved in the SWARM 2018 Challenge, please contact:

DR TIM VAN GELDER

Principal Researcher

E  t.gelder@unimelb.edu.au

P (03) 9035 5047