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DARPA: Reconstruct Shredded Docs, Win $50K USD

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the perfect-for-our-recycled-checkbooks dept.

Encryption 209

ematic writes with a link to an interesting competition from DARPA: "The ability to reconstruct shredded documents will potentially yield information that may save lives or offer critical information about an adversary's plans. Currently, this process is much too slow and too labor-intensive, particularly if the documents are handwritten. We are looking to the Shredder Challenge to generate some leap-ahead thinking in this area. The Shredder Challenge is composed of five separate problems. The overall prize awarded depends on the number and difficulty of problems solved."

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209 comments

I think they know how to do this very well already (1, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860060)

Re:I think they know how to do this very well alre (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860078)

I don't know, I've been hitting the shredded documents with a wrench for the last 10 minutes, it doesn't seem to be working.

Re:I think they know how to do this very well alre (4, Informative)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860176)

I get this all the time. You're probably using imperial; try switching to metric.

Puny prize (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860066)

Someone with a unique way of reconstructing shredded documents can probably earn more than that in one afternoon of dumpster diving.

Re:Puny prize (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860190)

Especially if they are DARPA's dumpsters.

Re:Puny prize (4, Informative)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860238)

Well, the normal approach is to scan all the remains, calculate a checksum for the pattern along each edge, then match the checksums to reconstruct the docuement. Without crosscut shredding this is very fast and effective.

As I understand it, the government now shreds anything important (paper, hard drive, etc) down to less than 1mm on a side, so it's not such an easy problem these days - veyr many disctint pieces, and not much distinctness along the edges.

Re:Puny prize (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860666)

Some enterprising youngster will ramp up a few hundred Amazon EC2 virtual servers and crunch through it in a few minutes.

They've actually done that for years (2)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860688)

Even when I first got into the Navy (which was like 25 years ago... damn I'm old), we were using cross-cut shredders to destroy classified paperwork. These things practically turned the paper to dust - the individual pieces were like maybe 3/8" long by, I don't know, 1/32" wide? There's no freaking way you could put these back together.

And if that wasn't good enough, one ship I was on had a paper mulcher. You threw in the paper you wanted destroyed, and it ground it up with water into a sodden, pulpy gray mass. There was nothing TO put back together after this process.

This a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860104)

You've got to be kidding right?

Fall over shelf with chemicals ... (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860114)

... while being hit by lightning.

I once saw The Flash rebuild a batch of shredded files in seconds.

Shred? (4, Insightful)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860134)

Any adversary that shreds rather than incinerates critical information they don't want recovered isn't much of an adversary.

Re:Shred? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860196)

Incenerating is a notoriously poor plan - there were some great art projects made from confidential documents that were incenerated, and were carried up the chimney ony slightly burnt and found by artists.

Re:Shred? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860208)

First shredding, and then incinerating would seem fairly fool-proof though.

Re:Shred? (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860288)

> First shredding, and then incinerating would seem fairly fool-proof though.

Than drop the ashes from a plane, over the ocean, during a storm ... !

Re:Shred? (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860522)

Nuke them from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Shred? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860304)

Only if you have some way to agitate the shreddings, otherwise you'll still end up with significant amounts of non-combusted material.

Re:Shred? (1)

Greystripe (1985692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860492)

Seriously if you can't figure out how to burn paper completely or at least near enough you deserve to have someone reconstruct your sensitive papers. Granted there are lots of people who shouldn't be allowed to play w/ lighters, however these are also not the people you want taking care of sensitive information in the first place.

Re:Shred? (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860250)

Any adversary whose incineration chimney doesn't have a tight particle filter isn't much of an adversary.

Re:Shred? (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860846)

a poor half assed incineration perhaps. If by incineration you mean dumping a pile of un-shredded papers into a normal run of the mill fireplace yes. If you mean a closed stove or chamber designed for incineration with a decent filter that does not allow anything of significant size out then reconstruction is pretty much impossible.

Re:Shred? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860274)

You can sometimes recover information from incinerated documents as well. I'd reccomend both. Or maybe just not writing it down in the first place.

Re:Shred? (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860384)

Any adversary that prints out confidential information and then disposes of it in a way that even allows for the possibility of reconstructing it isn't much of an adversary.

Re:Shred? (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860808)

Unless it's only seemingly confidential and is really a stream of false information.

Re:Shred? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860462)

I think the challenge includes documents that were blown up during a battle. The adversary might not have enough time to burn or shred a document when the tanks are rolling in, but the fight itself could have the effect of shredding.

Re:Shred? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860622)

Standard US Government policy for destroying Top Secret or higher paperwork is to chemically pulp the paper. They actually reuse the pulp for pizza boxes.

Re:Shred? (1)

LeadFistExpress (2494944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860712)

Actually, the NSA shreds all the time. You can go here and look at a list of NSA approved shredders: www.nsa.gov/ia/_files/government/.../NSA_CSS-EPL-02-01.pdf.

Re:Shred? (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860722)

Well, considering that just about every major government has tried to redact a pdf by drawing black boxes over it, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that shredders are being misused too.

Re:Shred? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860838)

I did some work for a company that stores legal documents a few years ago. When things are ready for disposal, they are shredded loaded into a locked container. This container is then driven away and not unlocked until it arrives at its destination. Once there, it's emptied into a swimming pool filled with bleach. It is then removed from there and recycled. By the time it comes out of the bleach, it is small fragments of white fluff.

Couldn't be misued (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860156)

Am I the only person who thinks this will be used more oft for nefarious purposes rather than for good?

Re:nefarious purposes (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860292)

Right, the POINT of shredding documents is ... so that they cannot be looked at by anyone. It depends on your adversary. Casual ruffians might steal an untouched stack of papers thrown into the dumpster, but they won't bother with shredded stuff. If we're talking about the Big Corp level where they might actually pay a full timer to rebuild shredded stuff, then ... the smart first company would destroy the document even further. Funny thing is, a lot of shredders are pretty dumb - 8 page capacities. (Really?!)

So in my Small Town environment, I just rip my stuff into 16ths, then pour my leftover stale soda all over it.

And yeah, echoing the poster below, only $50,000, really?! For a secret that could be worth BILLIONS in intel?!

Re:nefarious purposes (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860358)

If I'm shredding something especially sensitive- I usually put the shredded paper in with the same bag as the kitty litter.

Doesn't make reassembling the documents any easier- but if any crook goes to the trouble of doing that... maybe they deserve access to my security codes.

Re:nefarious purposes (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860442)

If I'm shredding something especially sensitive- I usually put the shredded paper in with the same bag as the kitty litter.

Doesn't make reassembling the documents any easier- but if any crook goes to the trouble of doing that... maybe they deserve access to my security codes.

Not bad. I use my shred as litter for my chickens, then it goes into the garden for fertilizer.

Re:nefarious purposes (1)

heypete (60671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860496)

I figure that diluting things a bit also helps, and often shred some non-sensitive documents. When I empty the shredded paper (consisting of shredded sensitive and non-sensitive documents) into the recycling bag, I mix up the paper so pieces from the same document aren't grouped together.

Perhaps a bit overkill, but it's only a slight bit of extra work. It's also fun to feed stuff into the shredder.

Re:Couldn't be misued (1)

TxRv (1662461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860372)

Well, seeing as how the US government is known to illegally spy on its own citizens...

I think the chances of this ever being put to non-nefarious purposes are pretty slim.

Re:Couldn't be misued (2)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860976)

One person's "nefarious" is another's "good".

Talk to ze Zhermans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860160)

The stasi shredded lots and lots that they're now trying to put back together again. They've been at it quite a while, too.

Re:Talk to ze Zhermans (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860326)

Yep, the Germans have software to tackle this problem and they are still working on improving it.

So they might have a head start to winning the prize.

Re:Talk to ze Zhermans (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860394)

Yet, two decades later they still haven't reconstructed all the remaining shredded material.

Cheapasses (5, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860174)

You gotta love when someone offers a $50,000 prize for an improvement that would save them millions of dollars in labor, not to mention the value of files reconstructed that might have been ignored before it became so much easier to do.

A million dollars for improving the movie recommendations on Netflix, and $50,000 for a massive intelligence breakthrough?

Way to go, Pentagon. Way to prove that even with a defense budget of $649 billion dollars you can still be a total cheapass.

Re:Cheapasses (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860244)

Yep. Whoever solves this puzzle might want to retain copyright on their work rather than sell it for only $50,000 and then go to work for whomever DoD is planning to use this against.

Re:Cheapasses (0)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860642)

DARPA may contact registered participants to discuss the means and methods used in solving the Challenge. ....
DARPA claims no rights to intellectual property developed as a result of participation in the Challenge.

derp derp derp derp.... goverment is evil... derp derp derp... itrustno1... derp derp

Re:Cheapasses (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860268)

Well, they are spending the taxpayer dollar. Technically they have an obligation to do it as cheaply as possible. Netflix can just raise its rates, or split its service and demand more money for each, etc.

Re:Cheapasses (3)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860592)

Well, they are spending the taxpayer dollar. Technically they have an obligation to do it as cheaply as possible.

In other words, the government is obligated to obtain the shittiest services possible? Speak for yourself. Me, as a taxpayer? Fuck that. If you can't afford to do things the right way with the taxes you currently collect, you either need to cancel a lot of spending or raise taxes. "Buy crappy stuff at a discount" is not an option I find acceptable.

Re:Cheapasses (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860700)

In other words, the government is obligated to obtain the shittiest services possible?

You may not know just how right you are...

Many government agencies, from the federal down to the municipal, are actually required to accept the lowest bid. They also have no clawback provisions and no punishments for completing a project over-budget.

It doesn't take a genius to see what will go wrong, and yet they continue using this system....

Re:Cheapasses (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860772)

Are you actually part of the 53%?

Re:Cheapasses (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860290)

$50k is more appropriate for the effort required to build a better shredder that defeats whatever scheme they come up with.

Re:Cheapasses (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860594)

Maybe DARPA's purpose is to build a better shredder, and this is just a cheap way to get it tested.

Dumbasses (1, Insightful)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860354)

I know you are a 7 digit, so I shouldn't expect much, but read the fucking article. You have to submit a solution to the 'fake' challenge. This nets them no value. You don't turn in your code, or handover the process you used to solve it. At most you specify "I did this manually, automatically, or a mix". So you can win $50k for solving something, and then walk away. You can tell them to fuck off, you won't sell them your super-secret procedure no matter how much they offer you. But thanks for the 50k, kk, byebye.

Re:Dumbasses (-1, Flamebait)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860416)

Are you really one of those pretentious assholes who thinks the age of someone's user ID indicates their intelligence?

Am I also an idiot because I didn't go to Harvard?

Nevermind, I'll just get off your lawn and move on with my day.

Re:Dumbasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860556)

I know you are a 7 digit...

Would someone with a 5 digit UID please show up and tell this guy he's fucking stupid? By his own logic he'd have to agree.

Re:Dumbasses (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860652)

I know you are a 7 digit...

Would someone with a 5 digit UID please show up and tell this guy he's fucking stupid? By his own logic he'd have to agree.

There's no need for that.
You already came in and shut him the fuck up - Anonymous Coward doesn't need a low UID, because Anonymous Coward doesn't even have one.

Re:Dumbasses (3, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860878)

Anonymous Coward doesn't need a low UID, because Anonymous Coward doesn't even have one.

FYI: A.C's user id is 666

Level/Type? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860184)

And of course, no information like what type or level of shredding [wikipedia.org] that is to be reconstructed.

expensive OCR operation (1)

kolbe (320366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860204)

Almost sounds like this would require a lot of venture capital to pull off and should warrant far more than a 50k prize.

For large jobs, I can using air blowing conveyor belts to align and feed the scraps into a series of modified industrial sheet fed image scanners and allow a computer to itemize each of the images and convert them to OCR formatted files. Once completed, write a puzzle algorithm to piece them together electronically.

Re:expensive OCR operation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860402)

DARPA provides the scans.

Re:expensive OCR operation (2)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860440)

This has nothing to do with scanning the fragments. They give you a tiff, with an alpha channel, and each scrapped already pressed out and scanned into the image.

The thought being, in the field, you can get the grunts to take back the bag of shreds, lay them out in blocks, scan them, and submit the blocks to some back-end program that will do some jigsaw algo to put together pieces within the block. You'll just have to make sure each shred is surrounded by a space.

Honestly, I'm surprised some archaeological PHD hasn't already invented some system similar to this, for putting back together s broken Egyptian hieroglyph style wall writing or something.

This just a test suite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860230)

for the perfect un-deconstructible shredding algorithm I designed for DARPA for 500K.

Really good scanner (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860236)

Scan the crap out of the paper, write a fingerprint matching algorithm to line up the fibers. I've often thought if I wasn't busy with a real job, this would be fun to implement. Probably a good graduate paper too.

Re:Really good scanner (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860806)

i use gloves, monkeys, or robot hands to shred the paper and then you're done. meanwhile the guy whose system doesn't rely on fingerprints gets your $50k.

Should we really be helping them with this? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860252)

I love all the cool technical challenges DARPA comes out with, but is recovering shredded doccuments really something we should be helping the government with?

Re:Should we really be helping them with this? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860426)

Of course. It is your civic duty to do your part for The Cause, citizen. And please let us know if you see your neighbor doing anything suspicious.

Re:Should we really be helping them with this? (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860464)

It is if you want to know things like, say, someone plans to blow up another nations ambassador in your capital.

While it would be nice if all terrorist were dumb enough to leave their info on thumb drives like Osama, we have to presume many still write things down, and then tell some lackey to 'get rid of all that' with a big old shredder...

Fire (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860258)

Makes you wonder why people think shredding their documents is a good way to protect the information on them. A little time and patience can reconstruct shredded files. Fire seems like a much better way to dispose of potentially damaging hard copies of stuff. Although I'm not sure they can make burning barrels office safe.

Re:Fire (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860576)

Not a burn barrel but they could put in an incinerator. They then could get some green credentials as they would be heating their building with renewable resources.

For practically any everyday requirement (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860750)

Shredding IS a good way to protect the information. After shredding my bank statements with the cheap-ass shredder I bought at Office Depot, a bad guy would have to spend more time/money reconstructing the statement than he'd be able to extract from my bank account. And really good shredders essentially pulverize the paper - I don't think there's too much fear of being able to un-shred US gov't cross-cut shredder processed documents, for example.

FUN (2)

kodiaktau (2351664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860306)

This actually looks like a ton of fun. After looking at the basic documents they tried to put other indirection in the images like color levels that really need to be sorted before the actual shredding issue is resolved. There is a mix of up/down and useless data on the page, but the ligatures seem consistent on the images - brute force on the first page is probably the most cost effective solution - the others seem to be order of magnitude problems. The reality of this being "shredded" solution is probably a real-life problem in disguise like a transmitted scrambled image problem or connecting/stitching problem.

really? $50,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860328)

i think a 80-90% un-shreddifier would be worth more than a couple of BILLION to corporations.

wha?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860338)

so they want us to help them read all the documents we shred, specifically to prevent them from being read

makes perfect sense

That's a little... cheap (3, Insightful)

Leebert (1694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860340)

I think you'd be better off, if you were successful, to simply commercialize it. $50,000? That's like the first year's support contract on the software you'll sell them for $300,000 per seat. And since it's "enterprise" software, it doesn't even have to actually work particularly well. That's why you sell the support contracts.

Re:That's a little... cheap (2)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860510)

The 50k is prize money to reward you for trying and doing. It doesn't give them the rights to your technology. You can set whatever price you want on it. But they may now know that 20 other people came really close, and your 'super amazing proprietary' algorithm isn't all that super amazing. This gives them a better negotiating position. You may win the 50k and some other guy may end up with the contract for 10million over 3 years.

Re:That's a little... cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860572)

I have to commend you on your cynicism. I think I finally met my match.

Site down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860342)

Seems like the slashdot coverage has made the site go under

I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860382)

The solution will use a 3D printer, probably in orbit or on Mars. Because, space!

Outsource it to 30 years ago (2)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860392)

Off the top of my head, this seems very close to the techniques used for shotgun sequencing of genomic data. Lots of little strands you want to line up. Just in multiple dimensions.

sounds like we're not doing this to help anyone. (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860412)

"The ability to reconstruct shredded documents will potentially yield information that may save lives or offer critical information about an adversary's plans."
im really hard pressed to find any case in which unless I can correctly reassemble a shredded document, people will die, so lets just forget they ever said this.

I can however postulate numerous adversaries (wikileaks, bradley manning, the pirate bay, julian assange, anyone currently serving a sentence in guantanamo for possession of a casio watch) who qualify as potentially nefarious document shredders.

TL;DR: Help the government spy on its own citizens, and we'll send you enough money to pay down those intractable federally backed student loans for another year.

Re:sounds like we're not doing this to help anyone (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860562)

im really hard pressed to find any case in which unless I can correctly reassemble a shredded document, people will die

You lack imagination

Re:sounds like we're not doing this to help anyone (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860658)

Imagine you are in a bus with Sandra Bullock... or on an elevator with Keanu Reeves...

        -dZ.

seems simple enough (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860468)

Wouldn't you just place dots on a grid representing ink at the edges of any given slice and then match it within a few percentage points off against the dots along the edge of all other slices? Can I patent that and prevent the other 7 billion humans out there from using my idea for the next 20 years?

Ayotullah Project? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860474)

Remember Ayatollah Khomeini displaying documents recovered from US Embassy in Tehran? So we are finally catching up to him in vision?

Easy solution (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860482)

Don't use paper. Seriously, it's the 21st century already. Let them try reconstruction after you shredded [about.com] it.

scan, edge detect, match (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860534)

Scan all the shreds.
Encode them based on the first 0.1 mm of ink on the long edge
Compare all similar edge strings
Recombine the ID of matching strings
Done

Error correction:
If multiple edge strings match, do an OCR to see which solution fits best

Re:scan, edge detect, match (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860586)

50k is an afternoon away from you.

They even scanned all the shreds for you, so you don't even have to get up.

Re:scan, edge detect, match (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860760)

You put the "brute" in brute force.

Check out the factorial function and get back to us when you realize what it means http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factorial [wikipedia.org]

Re:scan, edge detect, match (2)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860858)

Yeah well there's a difference between theory and practice.

Actually many of the great successes of AI (and even then some would debate how great they've been) are simple-sounding in principle but tough to get right. Things like route planning (just start a directed random walk from the start and finish and explore the graph until they connect to each other), web search (just weight results by popularity/links), document search (just show anything with a partial match), OCR (just threshold the image and match pixels to a database of font characters), voice recognition (just break it up into phonemes and look it up in a pronunciation dictionary), voice synthesis (just pre-record some phonemes and stitch them together), image recognition (just tag a bunch of images and train a neural net), and so on.

They all sound simple enough. But for an actual implementation to be successful, there are tons of pitfalls and gotchas and real-world ambiguities that need to be figured out. There's then whole other layer of tweaking to get a reasonable idea to run in a reasonable amount of time: many problems can be brute-forced but people typically don't want to wait forever for the answer, so ingenious algorithms for pruning the search tree or efficiently exploring the parameter space have to be designed.

Point being, don't assume this is as easy as it sounds. If it were, then we wouldn't even be discussing it (and no one would bother using shredders).

Just send it to china (1)

goffster (1104287) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860536)

They do an awfully good job at this sort of thing.

Re:Just send it to china (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860792)

It would be funny to outsource the manual work of putting the puzzle pieces together out to China for $10k, collect the difference.

Obligatory Iran reference (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860616)

After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, they raided the U.S. embassy and CIA office. U.S. personnel shredded all the documents they could (using strip shredders), but the Iranians used rug weavers [slashdot.org] to reconstruct many of the documents [gwu.edu] , and sold them as a book. This is the reason strip shredders are rarely used nowadays.

Aside from the obvious espionage uses, this would probably also be very useful for archeology. Some of the most common archeological finds are shattered pottery with pictures or writing on them, which are near-impossible to reconstruct.

It's not about technology (1)

notatree (2038880) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860650)

This challenge is not about technology. It's all about convincing the world that our government DOESN'T know how to efficiently recover a shredded document. But I can't figure out just WHY they'd want to convince anyone of that...Oh wait - I got it! It's beca#%^$*

Documents From the U.S. Espionage Den (3, Interesting)

alanw (1822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860660)

shredderchallenge seems to be Slashdotted, so apologies if this is a dup.

During the Iran Hostage Crisis [wikipedia.org] teams of carpet weavers were recruited to piece together [gwu.edu] shredded documents. They were then published in 1982 in 54 volumes under the title "Documents From the U.S. Espionage Den" [archive.org] .

Doable (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860678)

1. Digitize the right face of the shredded stripes. You need a human or a futuristic robot.
2. Run your AI super application on your super computer to make the ends meet each other. You need a pool of humans or a futuristic robot.
3. Et-voi-la, your shredded document is back to life. And you are doomed.

They could just ask the Germans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860692)

This technology has already been researched in Germany for the reconstruction of Stasi (DDR intelligence service) files that got shredded/ripped apart/destroyed at the time of the fall of the wall. Dunno if it would exactly match the requirements of this challenge (the site is slashdotted) but this is certainly not a new idea and I'm pretty sure there's decent technology already out there.

Kinda impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860738)

Kinda impossible if the shredded docs have been moistened and blended... that's what we do where I work

Cue outrage from the document destruction business (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860784)

Yeah. Automating this process will likely just make this pointless.

Prediction: Increase in Office Incinerator Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860790)

I think I found my new KickStarter project: Office incinerators.

Burn papers, shred ashes, flush down toilet. Effectively impossible to reconstruct.

Have a cookie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860864)

Here's a cookie. Now go help us research war.

Any real-world, practical uses for DARPA's "inventions" are purely coincidental. Yes, that includes the internets.

Material from US Embassy 1979 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37860884)

Iranian Team FTW!

This is easy, I saw it on TV... (1)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37860980)

They should call up the people at CSI. They already have the tech, you put a fuzzy picture on the computer screen, say "Enhance" to it, and it shows you the original document. They just need to use whatever software those TV folks are using.

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