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VAST Challenge 2012


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The VAST Challenge is now closed to submissions! Thank you to all who participated. Also, the VAST Challenge will be open to all conference attendees. So come out and see us in Seattle in October.

You've asked us for "big data" challenges in the past; so we're giving you big data to work on. This year’s VAST Challenge focuses on visual analytics applications for both large scale situation analysis and cyber security. We have two mini-challenges to test your analytical skills and confound your visual analytics applications.

In the first mini-challenge, (the imaginary) BankWorld's largest financial institution, the (fictitious) Bank of Money needs your best situation awareness visualizations to understand the health of its global corporate network. But how do you visualize data out of a network containing nearly a million computers in a way that you can perceive its state and identify problems?

In the second mini-challenge, unusual events are occurring in one of the Bank of Money's regional offices. Some of them may very well wreak havoc across the institution if they turn out to be malicious. What are these unusual events? And if you were in charge of computer security, what actions should be taken to safeguard the network and quite possibly save the Bank of Money from disaster? (Participants from last year's VAST challenge may find their firewall and IDS log analysis tools useful for this challenge as well!)

Data for Mini-Challenge 1 and 2 are now available. For more information, please contact vast_challenge at visweek.org

We encourage participation by individuals and teams in industry and academia. Creative approaches to visual analytics are encouraged.


Important Dates

  • Deadline: July 9, 2012
  • Notification: August 10, 2012

Contest Chairs

  • Kris Cook, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Georges Grinstein, University of Massachusetts-Lowell
  • Mark Whiting, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

New to VAST Challenges?

The datasets used for these challenges are synthetic: that is, they are a blend of computer- and human-generated data. We will include all information necessary to form working hypotheses for the purpose of these challenges. No external data is needed to successfully perform the analysis. Be aware that using additional non-provided data may skew an otherwise successful solution. Read more...

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Past Challenges

Past challenges and other test datasets are available from the Visual Analytics Benchmark Repository.

New This Year

  • There are two mini-challenges and no Grand Challenge.
  • There are slightly different definitions of "Short Answer" and "Detailed Answer" from previous years. Please read these new definitions in the "New to VAST" section if you have participated in previous challenges and have worked under the old definitions.
  • The data is very large. Please plan carefully for downloading and storage of the data files (particularly Mini-Challenge 1).
  • Mini-Challenge 1 is a large data visualization challenge. Anyone should find this challenge easy to understand, even without network security expertise.
  • In Mini-Challenge 2, it helps to have some network security experience, but this is not required. We encourage you to team with a colleague with cyber security expertise if you would like to get a greater understanding of the data.

Challenge Descriptions

The setting for the 2012 VAST Challenges is BankWorld, a planet much like Earth, but with a very different geography. In fact, for this Challenge, we are dealing with one large land mass containing several different nation-states.

The most important organization on BankWorld is the Bank of Money (BOM). BOM has many offices of various sizes across BankWorld. Each of these offices has many computers active throughout the day. In fact, we are dealing with about 1,000,000 machines.

The Mini-Challenges ask you to address two general problems using a visual analytics approach. First, how do you achieve cyber situation awareness across the entire enterprise with such a large number of systems? Second, when something does go awry, can you identify it and the steps needed to resolve the problem? Read more...

VAST Challenge Workshop

There will be a workshop at the VAST 2012 Conference where contest organizers, participants, and conference attendees can come together to review and discuss this year's Challenge. Typically, the workshop includes presentations by participant about their submissions, invited speakers, panel discussions, and other activities. Read more...



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Page last modified on Monday, July 16, 2012

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