IARPA Announces The UG2 Prize Challenge To Improve UAS Captured Imagery

What is the current state-of-the art for image restoration and enhancement applied to images acquired under less than ideal circumstances? Can the application of enhancement algorithms as a pre-processing step improve image interpretability for manual analysis or automatic visual recognition to classify scene content? The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is sponsoring the UG2Prize Challenge. This challenge seeks to answer these important questions for general applications related to computational photography and scene understanding. As a well-defined case study, the challenge aims to advance the analysis of images collected by small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) by improving image restoration and enhancement algorithm performance using the UG2 dataset that includes imagery from UAV, glider, and ground collects.

Who We Are: IARPA focuses on high-risk, high-payoff research. The UG2 Prize Challenge will engage the wider research community to advance image restoration and enhancement of low quality unconstrained imagery for computer vision applications, such as imagery captured from UAV-mounted sensors.

What We’re Doing: The challenge consists of two parts:

(1) image restoration and enhancement to improve image quality for manual inspection; and

(2) image restoration and enhancement to improve the automatic classification of objects found within individual images.

The winners of each category will be invited to present at a workshop to be held at the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Conference.

Why We’re Doing This: The advantages of conducting visual surveillance from a platform like a small UAV are clear. Man-portable systems can be launched from safe positions to penetrate difficult or dangerous terrain, acquiring hours of video without putting human lives at risk. What is unclear is how to automate the interpretation of these images — a necessary measure in the face of millions of frames from individual flights. Human analysts cannot manually sift through data of this scale for actionable intelligence information. Ideally, a computer vision system would be able to identify objects, events, and human identities of interest to analysts, surfacing valuable data out of a massive pool of largely uninteresting or irrelevant images. To build such a system, one could turn to recent machine learning breakthroughs in visual recognition, which have been enabled by access to millions of training images from the internet. However, such approaches cannot be used as off-the-shelf components to assemble the system we desire, because they do not take into account artifacts unique to the operation of the sensor and optics platform on a small UAV.

Where and When We’re Doing This: Registration to join the challenge will take place through Challenge.gov. You can find the challenge details and rules at that site. From Challenge.gov, participants will be directed to register with the University of Notre Dame, the organizer and evaluator of the challenge. Registration closes on April 1, 2018 with algorithm submission closing on April 15, 2018.

When does UG2 registration begin?January 31, 2018
Where to learn more about the challenge, including rules, criteria and
eligibility requirements:
http://www.ug2challenge.org/
Where do participants register?https://www.challenge.gov/challenge/ug2-prize-challenge/
When is the registration deadline?April 1, 2018
When is the algorithm submission deadline?April 15, 2018
When will winners be announced?May 15, 2018
When and where is the CVPR workshop?June 18, 2018 in Salt Lake City, UT

Who Should Participate? The UG2 Prize Challenge is intended for prize participants who are eligible to compete for the challenge prizes. We encourage developers of computational photography and image processing algorithms to participate, both domestic and international, from academia and industry. Other U. S. government agencies, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, University Affiliated Research Centers, or any other similar organizations that have a special relationship with the government that gives them access to privileged or proprietary information, or access to government equipment or real property, will not be eligible to participate in the prize challenge. Read the full rules and challenge eligibility details by going here: http://www.ug2challenge.org/.

Why Participate? The most successful and innovative teams will be invited to present at the CVPR 2018 workshop. Within each challenge category, the first and second place scoring algorithms will be awarded prize monies. A total of $75,000 in prizes will be awarded.

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