The extra pat-downs passengers often have to undergo at airport security checkpoints are not only irritating to those of us not interested in having our body parts touched by strangers in public, they make the lines go slower for everyone.
What triggers those secondary pat-downs? False alarms.
A high rate of those false alarms are triggered by expensive and, evidently, not too reliable, potential-threat algorithms the Transportation Security Administration purchases from the manufacturers of airport scanners.
In an effort to fix the problem TSA has put up $1.5 in prize money to see if someone else – maybe you? – can improve the accuracy of the threat prediction algorithms.
The contest, being run in partnership with Kaggle will award eight prizes (1st prize: $500,000; 4th to 8th prize: $100,000) and to enter you’ll need to evaluate a set of body scans.
These are real body scans, from TSA volunteers, and the “images may contain sensitive content,” the rules explain. So contest participants are asked to “conduct yourself with professionalism, respect, and maturity when working with this data.”