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DTRA/SCC-WMD Announces $1 Million Algorithm Challenge Winner

Fort Belvoir, VA (PRWEB) September 23, 2013

The winner of DTRA/SCC-WMD’s most recent initiative, “The DTRA Algorithm Challenge” was recently announced by the agency. Team Huson was selected as the winner according to Col Ronald K. Hann, selection authority for the agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Directorate. He added that nearly 3,000 individual researchers across the globe submitted algorithm solutions. Team Huson members are: Daniel Huson, Benjamin Buchfink and Xie Chao.

The Algorithm Challenge was an open competition with a $1 million prize for the individual or team that developed an algorithm which can most rapidly and accurately characterize a complex clinical sample based solely on raw DNA sequence data. This particular algorithm challenge focuses on using DNA sequence data in identifying pathogens in complex mixtures from clinical samples. By using sequencing as a diagnostic tool for infectious disease, the DoD will eventually have the ability to diagnose a larger number of threats (known and unknown) than ever before.

“Team Huson’s solution to the challenge will lead to an enhancement of DTRA’s capability to diagnose and treat biothreats to the U.S. Armed Forces by giving DoD the ability to process and analyze biological sequence data rapidly in a realistic, moderate-to-low resource setting,” said Dr. Christian Whitchurch, Devices Branch Manager for DTRA’s Diagnostics, Detection and Disease Surveillance Division. “This is most likely to quickly yield a set of disruptive solutions to the threats posed by known, emerging, or engineered pathogens.”

Background on the competition, including selection criteria is available on the agency’s website at

DTRA is a combat support agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, founded in 1998, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Its mission is to safeguard the United States and her Allies from Weapons of Mass Destruction (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) and High-Yield Explosives by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate and counter the threat, and mitigate its consequences. Visit us on the Web at

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