Alumni

Alumnus Keith Walker wins DARPA Shredder Challenge.

DARPA Shredder Challenge Winners

The winning team, called “All Your Shreds Are Belong To U.S”, came ahead of nearly 9,000 teams of problem solvers worldwide.

Audrey PuahJan 19, 2012
  • Print

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) laid down a challenge to computer scientists: develop software capable of piecing together documents that had been passed to a shredder. Sounds impossible, but alumnus Keith Walker's team correctly reconstructed more than 10,000 machine-shredded documents in five increasingly difficult stages to capture DARPA's $50,000 prize two days ahead of schedule.

The eight-person winning team, called "All Your Shreds Are Belong To U.S", came ahead of nearly 9,000 teams of problem solvers worldwide. Altogether, they spent about 600 hours on solving the puzzles. DARPA launched the competition in late October and announced the winner on Dec 2.

Using factors like the shape of the rip or marks on the paper, their winning algorithm automatically pieced matching scraps together. There was also an element of human intervention involved, as some solutions were tried out by hand.

Keith Walker is a Software Engineer who completed his undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics at the School of Engineering and Computer Science in 2005 and his Master of Science degree in Software Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked at two National Laboratories where he wrote nuclear weapons simulation software and motion control software for a target positioner for the world's largest laser. Keith currently works at Lockheed Martin where he wrote the software used for performing high precision fuel estimates on aging satellites. His team received the Air Force Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award for extending the life of a fleet of military satellites.