For the first time in the history of NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, the agency selected a challenge based on the work of an Israeli scientist.

Prof. Alon Peled, of the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, developed a challenge based on his new book, Traversing Digital Babel – Information, E-Government, and Exchange, and on his Public Sector Information Exchange research project, one of the leading Hebrew University projects in the field of Big Data.

“The goal of this challenge was to find a way to transform NASA’s information assets so that they are easier to discover on the Web, so that citizens, entrepreneurs, and experts working in non-space domains can discover and use them. NASA receives the solutions developed during the competition and can then use these solutions to develop better keywords to tag the Big Data information assets that it develops and releases on the Web, for the benefit of all of humanity,” said Peled.

His project is supported by a Google Faculty Research Award and received funding from Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University.

The US federal space agency sponsored the 4th Space Apps hackathon in April 2015. During the global competition, 12,780 participants developed 947 projects in 133 locations worldwide.

Forty-five software developers from the US, Italy, Macedonia, Egypt, Tunisia, Slovenia, India, and New Zealand tried to solve Peled’s challenge during the competition.