NASA's Throwing Buckets of Cash at Software-Fixing Coders

It's "the ultimate 'geek' dream assignment"

Flickr / Display, Graphic Design Collection

NASA is stocked with some of the brightest minds on the planet, but that doesn’t mean the space agency always has the best solutions on hand.

Looking to improve the software that runs its fluid dynamics simulations, which are used by NASA as well as other aerospace companies to help design and test new kinds of planes, engines, and spacecraft. And NASA wants you to get in on the action, in return for some cash money.

“The Ultimate ‘Geek’ Dream Assignment”

Basically, NASA is offering prizes of $15,000 and $10,000 to the best two outside contributors who can help optimize the FUN3D software and get it to run anywhere between ten and 10,000 times faster on the agency’s Pleiades supercomputer without any loss in accuracy. This new competition, called the High Performance Fast Computing Challenge, is what Doug Rohn, director of NASA’s Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program, calls “the ultimate ‘geek’ dream assignment. Helping NASA speed up its software to help advance our aviation research is a win-win for all.”

The only major requirements are that you basically need to be a U.S. citizen to compete, since FUN3D is not available to anyone outside the country; and that coders will need to be familiar with Fortran, a pretty old programming language in which FUN3D is written.

If you’re interested, hop over to this page and see if you qualify. You don’t need much apart from a sharp mind and a willingness to slog through a ton of code. Code submissions need to be in by 5 p.m. Eastern on June 29. Winners will be announced August 9.

Certainly this competition should be a lot less scatological than the last NASA contest.

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