Researchers at NASA and Harvard University have established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which will be housed at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science under the leadership of Professor Karim R. Lakhani, who specializes in distributed innovation and crowd sourcing at the Harvard Business School. Lakhani will be working with London Business School Professor Kevin Boudreau, an expert on platform-based competition and chief economist for the NTL.

The purpose of the lab will be to design and field a competition to create the best computer code for NASA systems. Software developers will compete with each other for the prize and, upon completion of the competition, a finished software package will be delivered at a comparatively low cost. This approach is often referred to as “crowd sourcing” and, with the creation of the NTL, Lakhani, Boudreau, and others will be able to conduct research into the optimal design parameters for innovation competitions of this type, facilitating the use of these tournaments within the public and private sectors.