Grand statistical challenges seem to be all the rage nowadays. Following on the heels of the Banff Challenge (which dealt with figuring out how to set the bounds for the signal intensity that would result from the Higgs boson) comes the GREAT08 Challenge (arxiv/0802.1214) to deal with one of the major issues in observational Cosmology, the effect of dark matter. As Douglas Applegate puts it:
We are organizing a competition specifically targeting the statistics and computer science communities. The challenge is to measure cosmic shear at a level sufficient for future surveys such as the Large Synaptic Survey Telescope. Right now, we’ve stripped out most of complex observational issues leaving a pure statistical inference problem. The competition kicks off this summer, but we want to give possible participants a chance to prepare.
The website www.great08challenge.info will provide continual updates on the competition.