AWS Official Blog

Help Find Jim Gray

by Jeff Barr | on | in Announcements | | Comments

I’m reposting this announcement from Werner’s blog in an effort to get it in front of as many people as possible:

Computer science icon Jim Gray mysteriously disappeared after a solo trip with his sail boat outside San Francisco Bay. The coast guard has been searching for 4 days but has not been able to locate anything, not even debris. On Thursday 3 private planes searched through the coastal areas and they also returned unsuccessful.

Through a major effort by many people we were able to have the Digital Globe satellite make a run over the area on Thursday morning and have the data made available publicly. We have split these images into smaller tiles that can be easily scanned visually and stored into the Amazon S3 storage service. We then created tasks for reviewing these images and loaded then into the Amazon Mechanical Turk Service.

This is where you come in. We need your help in reviewing these images to see whether you can locate Jims boat in any of these images. Please go to the Amazon Mechanical Turk site and help us find Jim Gray.

The weather conditions were not ideal as some areas were cloudy, but we can still look for him in those places where there is a somewhat clear view. We hope to get more satellite data in the coming days of a wider area. The current images are panchromatic with a 0.82m, and Jim boat would be about 6 pixels in size. Please visit the Amazon Mechanical Turk site for more details.

I have to stress that many individuals and companies are to thank for making this possible; many academics friends relentlessly worked around the clock to get access to the data, many industry friends of Jim functioned as connectors to hook up officials and individuals, and people from NASA, Digital Globe, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Amazon and others worked hard get to the data collected and available on a very short time scale. The Mechanical Turk team worked deep into the night to make this work.

Now it is your turn, go find Jim Gray.

Updates:

  1. New York Times has the back-story:: Silicon Valleys High-Tech Hunt for Colleague.
  2. Direct Link to HIT.
  3. Central tracking blog: Tenacious Search.
  4. Additional data sets will apparently be coming online via Mechanical Turk over the weekend.
  5. The new data has been loaded and you can find it here. I have also updated the links above (back to the originals :-).
  6. More of this story on TechCrunch.

— Jeff;