WASHINGTON -- Naval Sea Systems Command will host a HACKtheMACHINE Prize Challenge this month, offering cash prizes to teams from across the country able to solve high-tech Navy challenges.
"HACKtheMACHINE is focused on three tracks this year: data science [public health related], metal 3D metal printing as it relates to shipbuilding, and maritime cybersecurity. But really, HACKtheMACHINE is about bringing innovation to the Navy through connection," said NAVSEA's Engineering Directorate Technical Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Anderson.
Anderson said the Navy sponsors of the tracks, events within the challenge, gain insights from the diverse talent pool of participants into very real world Navy challenges.
"At the same time participants learn about these exciting Navy problems and perhaps even get inspired to join the Navy team beyond HACKtheMACHINE," he said. "We want and need to attract the best talent if we want the Navy to succeed at its mission."
Registration is free for the event with up to $95,000 in prizes for winning teams. While this is primarily a virtual event, HACKtheMACHINE will be supported locally at NavalX in Alexandria, Virginia and will foster engagement between the Navy and the public and private sectors who have limited familiarity with the military and are interested in tackling the Navy's toughest challenges. Participants must register by March 22 to compete in this year's event that will take place virtually, March 23 – 26.
"HACKtheMACHINE is an opportunity to test your skills against the best in the world and problem solve for the Navy while helping to bolster our national security and defense systems," said Rear Adm. Jason Lloyd, NAVSEA's Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, Naval Engineering and Logistics. "It's our responsibility to keep the Navy's ships and systems secure from attacks from malicious actors, and events like this help keep us abreast of the level and scope of threats we're facing. This broad community truly helps enhance our combat power and meet our national defense missions."
To be placed on a team for this year's event, register at www.hackthemachine.ai/home by midnight, March 22. The competition will challenge contestants in three separate STEM disciplines: cybersecurity, data science, and 3-D manufacturing.
Track I - Maritime Cyber: Teams will compete against world-class hackers to overtake and breach the U.S. Navy's 2021 cyber games by working to hack into the Grace Maritime Cyber Testbed and attempting to crash one of the tools the Navy is considering for its cybersecurity monitoring environment. This track is a capture-the-flag style event played virtually on a full bridge navigation suite and a fly-by-wire propulsion system.
Track II - Data Science: Teams will be challenged to create algorithms that support the analysis and modeling of games derived from the COVID-19 crisis. Contestants will face challenges around spectrum labeling, rule set integration and optimizing resources. The ideas generated could directly impact preparations for future global health emergencies and pave the way for artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that enable better decision-making.
Track III - Heavy Metal: Teams will accelerate the adoption of Advanced Manufacturing using metallic 3D printing in the U.S. Navy. In the near future, and in part because of HACKtheMACHINE, metallic 3D printing capabilities will enable ships and shipyards to keep the fleet ready for tight national security timelines and replace critical components that fail while a ship is on deployment. This competition will be presented in a more closed-off environment where the participants will engage in capabilities with real-world implications that can save the Navy time and money while at sea.
At the Navy's discretion, the government may decide award a small business contract to the winner of this final track.
"HACKtheMACHINE is a great avenue for non-traditional partners, many who are small businesses," said Ms. Anne Bannister, Director of NAVSEA's Small Business Program. "NAVSEA fully recognizes the small business industrial base holds the key to technical dominance for the Warfighter, therefore we strive to improve points of entry for small businesses into the defense market," Bannister said. "Helping to get small businesses interested in partnering with NAVSEA is our goal as well as helping them maneuver from challenge to contract."
Across four days, attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from five U.S. Navy Admirals who will share insight into and analysis of the proceedings and discuss the impact the event has on America's defense systems. Admirals scheduled to appear include Lloyd; Vice Adm. William Galinis, Commander NAVSEA; Rear Adm. Seiko Okano, Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems; Rear Adm. Kurt Rothenhaus, Program Executive Officer for PEO C4I; and Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, Chief of Naval Research.
HACKtheMACHINE is led by NAVSEA with participation from Navy Air Systems Command, Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group and the U.S. Navy Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence.