Intelligence & National Security Summit
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EPIC App Challenge

September 17-18, 2020 | National Harbor, MD
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EPIC App Challenge

EPIC App Challenge Sponsor
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The third annual EPIC App Challenge will focus on open source news and media for events across the globe that may provide viable intelligence to the US government. The top two teams will receive monetary rewards of $5k for first place and $1k for second place.

Judging takes place on Tuesday, September 15th. The winners will be announced live during the virtual Intelligence and National Security Summit, which begins Wednesday, September 16th at 1:00 pm. The challenge starts now, sign up!

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App Challenge Details

2020 EPIC App Challenge Problem Statement

The Intelligence Community (IC) needs to better communicate threats facing the public with unclassified data. The IC needs help with ensuring that collected data can be integrated with disparate data sets across multiple systems as data integration is essential to communicating national security threats to the public more effectively.

Contestants must use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify an unstructured dataset and combine it with a structured dataset to produce meaningful (unstructured data that has been labeled with relevant metadata, e.g. auto sourcing documents with citations), accurate (unstructured data that is corrected based on other datasets, e.g. fake news detector), and compliant (remove PII or sensitive information, e.g. document redaction, face blur) results. The solution must use its intelligence to go beyond basic information, work out content automatically, learn from human behavior, and make predictions and forecasts for better insights and intelligent decision making.

1. Data sets will not be provided for this contest
2. Must independently collect and use multiple different types of data, examples include:
  • Domestic and foreign news sites
  • Social Media
  • Government curated statistics
  • Academic white papers
3. Demonstrate the use of AI based cloud native tools with the end user in mind (not a product pitch)

Important Dates

1. Registration Deadline: Wednesday, July 29th at 5pm
2. App Challenge Virtual Kick Off: Wednesday, August 5th at 1pm
3. App Challenge Judging: Tuesday, September 15th at 1pm (The demo presentations and judging will be done virtually. Details will be provided prior to the event.)

Phase 1: July 29th
  • While we encourage teams to start working immediately, we will host a virtual Q&A on August 5th to answer any questions you may have. You will have until 1:00pm on Tuesday, September 15th to work on your project. Your solution should be presented as a live demo and will be presented virtually via Microsoft Teams.

Phase 2: September 15th
  • You will be assigned a 20 minute time slot on Tuesday, September 15th to present your solution to the judges. The winners will be announced live during the virtual Intelligence and National Security Summit, which begins Wednesday, September 16th at 1:00 pm.

Rules and Guidelines

1. You are allowed to use any types of tools and technology you need to use.
2. Participants can use any open data set.
3. You can use any facility you would like to work on this.
4. All code must be your own work.
5. The intent of the EPIC App Challenge is for teams to discover what can be accomplished with new and creative solutions. The presentation of capabilities that have already been developed violate the spirit of the event. However, participants may leverage existing open source libraries, databases, cloud services, snippets of code, etc.
6. All solutions must be unclassified.
7. There is a minimum of one member per team and a max of 5 members per team. (Team members do not have to belong to/work for/study at the same organization/company/school.)

Available Resources

1. Azure Subscription for each participating team limited to $2,500.
2. Access to Azure Architects for questions pertinent to Azure services and not architecting solutions.

Judging Criteria

1. Idea
  • Creativity – Is this a new way to address the problem or an innovative solution?
  • Relevance – Would it provide for the needs of an Intelligence Community or national-security customer?

2. Experience
  • Intuitiveness – Is this solution easy to use? Does the flow make sense? Is the design appealing to the eyes?
  • Value - Does it actually answer the question posed and provide a feasible solution?
  • Impact – As the solution is explored, does it provide more or less value than you initially thought?

3. Implementation
  • Feasibility – Does this app actually work? If only a prototype or proof of concept, how hard would it be to implement in real time?
  • Uniqueness – Is this an idea no one else has had? What tools did you use to make this stand out/different from other solutions?
  • Ability to be built upon – Could this solution be applied to other problems and expanded to provide more/other solutions for the customer in the future? Or is it so specific that it is only good for one thing?


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The AFCEA Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) is an association of under-40 intelligence and national security professionals focused on developing leaders, networking, and giving back to the Intelligence Community (IC). Learn more about EPIC and how to join here.