The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked innovators to design an algorithm that could quantitatively predict a chemical’s lowest effect level (LEL) – that’s the lowest dose at which a chemical could cause adverse effects in traditional toxicity studies. The prize competition resulted in more than 800 entries, and the winners met or exceeded the targets.
What is Harvard-NTL?
The Harvard-NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) is housed at Harvard University's Institute of Quantitative Social Science under the leadership of Professor Karim R. Lakhani, who specializes in distributed innovation and crowd sourcing at the Harvard Business School. Dr. Lakhani will be working with London Business School Professor Kevin Boudreau, Ph.D., an expert on platform-based competition and chief economist for the NTL.
The purpose of the lab is to design and field a competition to create the best computer code for NASA systems. Software developers compete with each other for the prize and, upon completion of the competition, a finished software package will be delivered at a comparatively low cost. This approach is often referred to as "crowd sourcing" and, with the creation of the Harvard-NTL, Lakhani, Boudreau, and others are able to conduct research into the optimal design parameters for innovation competitions of this type, facilitating the use of these tournaments within the public and private sectors. The Harvard-NTL also supports contests for Health and Human Services, Office of Personnel Management, USAID, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy.