Call for participation: Microsoft Research India presents “The Whodunit? Challenge”

Rajan Vaish, UC Santa Cruz/ Microsoft Research India
Aditya Vashistha, Microsoft Research India
Bill Thies, Microsoft Research India
Ed Cutrell, Microsoft Research India

We’ve seen that social networks can mobilize people in rich countries, but how can people mobilize in environments lacking widespread Internet access?  To understand how people will collaborate in an era of varied ICTs, where countries like India have huge mobile phone penetration; Microsoft Research India will launch the Whodunit? Challenge on February 1st, 2013. The challenge is an India wide social gaming competition that awards 1 Lakh Rupees to the winner.

The Whodunit? Challenge


The goal of the contest? To use your mobile phone to crack a fictional mystery case! The winner must discover five clues — Who, What, Where, When and Why — surrounding a mysterious event. To receive a clue, simply give a missed call to the contest phone number, 02653090663.Sound too easy? There’s a catch! Some clues are harder to find than others, and only one clue will be sent to a given phone number. Thus, to win the contest, you will have to work as a team. The more people on your team, the better your chances of gathering all five clues!The first person to solve the case — by reporting all five clues — will be declared the winner. To report and verify a clue, send it via SMS to 09243316009. So, get working on building your teams now. May the best detectives win!

Inspired by the DARPA Network Challenge, this project tries to understand how people in the developing countries harness ICTs and social computation to collaborate across geographically dispersed population and solve time critical problems. The challenge further tries to explore the role of pervasiveness of mobile phones, regional language constrains and how the winning team designs its incentive model. Please read the official rules before participating.

For more information, please see The Whodunit? Challenge website or contact us at Feel free to comment below to discuss the challenge.

About the author

Rajan Vaish

Rajan is a 2nd year CS PhD student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interest includes HCI, Crowdsourcing, Social Computing and ICTD. In past he has worked for Microsoft Research India, Accenture Technology Labs, Google SoC, OpenStreetMap Foundation and One Laptop per Child. He can be reached via email at

View all posts