Quite the project - the Scroll Prize

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From the website: Scroll Prize:

Resurrect an ancient library from the ashes of a volcano
Win $250,000
The Vesuvius Challenge is a machine learning and computer vision competition to read the Herculaneum Papyri.

79 AD
Mount Vesuvius erupts.
In Herculaneum, twenty meters of hot mud and ash bury an enormous villa once owned by the father-in-law of Julius Caesar. Inside, there is a vast library of papyrus scrolls.

The scrolls are carbonized by the heat of the volcanic debris. But they are also preserved. For centuries, as virtually every ancient text exposed to the air decays and disappears, the library of the Villa of the Papyri waits underground, intact.

1750 AD
A farmer discovers the buried villa.
While digging a well, an Italian farmworker encounters a marble pavement. Excavations unearth beautiful statues and frescoes – and hundreds of scrolls. Carbonized and ashen, they are extremely fragile. But the temptation to open them is great; if read, they would more than double the corpus of literature we have from antiquity.

Early attempts to open the scrolls unfortunately destroy many of them. A few are painstakingly unrolled by an Italian monk over several decades, and they are found to contain philosophical texts written in Greek. More than six hundred remain unopened and unreadable.

2015 AD
Dr. Brent Seales pioneers virtual unwrapping.
Using X-ray tomography and computer vision, a team led by Dr. Brent Seales at the University of Kentucky reads the En-Gedi scroll without opening it. Discovered in the Dead Sea region of Israel, the scroll is found to contain text from the book of Leviticus.

Basically, they are offering a very nice cash prize to people who can take the tomography data and parse the text.
One of the team members - Nat Friedman - had this to say:

Artificial Intelligence = Baby God indeed
May the Baby God smile...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on March 15, 2023 7:04 PM.

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