Microsoft's social 'Whodunit' competition to begin in India

Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): Now researchers at Microsoft will test the power of social technologies in India through an experiment that aims to see how people will interact to solve a puzzle that relies on teamwork and cellphones.

The challenge 'Whodunit' will leverage the power of mobile phones and old-fashioned, face-to-face contact to solve a puzzle posed by a team based at Microsoft Research India in Bangalore.

At stake is a prize of 100,000 rupees, about twice the country's average annual income.

The challenge will show us how people in developing countries use technology to collaborate across long distances and in time-critical situations.

The competition, beginning on 1 February, revolves around a fictional event and a set of five clues, the who, what, where, when and why, that describe the event.

To obtain a clue, competitors have to call a number provided by Microsoft and hang up after a single ring.

This practice, which tells the recipient they have missed a call, is commonly used in India as a means of prompting someone to ring back.

A missed call to the Microsoft number triggers a text message to the caller's mobile phone that contains one of the five clues. But the system will only send one message to each phone number.

To collect the five clues needed to win, competitors will have to band together and share messages. The key to the competition is that some of the five clues will be sent out very rarely, so each team will need access to many phones to make enough calls to receive all the clues. Vaish estimates that a team will need to make about 500 calls to get the full set.

The answers must be sent by text to Microsoft.

The researchers are leaving it up to competitors to decide how to collaborate. (ANI)


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