And no, it's not as simple as Iranian grandma carpet weavers hand-matching to reconstruct U.S. embassy materials.*
From New Scientist's One Percent blog:
The race to crack the world's hardest puzzle has finished - two days earlier than expected. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Shredder Challenge saw nearly 9,000 teams competing to reconstruct five shredded documents using a combination of computer science and jigsaw-solving skills, but one team surged ahead of the rest and were proclaimed the winners on Friday night, claiming a $50,000 prize in the process.HT: Improbable Research
The team, known as "All Your Shreds Are Belong To U.S." is made up of three programmers based in San Francisco: Otavio Good, creator of the visual translation tool Word Lens; Luke Alonso, a mobile phone software developer and Keith Walker, who works on satellite software at Lockheed-Martin.
Their winning algorithm automatically suggested matching pieces of the shredded documents based on factors such as the shape of the rip or the marks on the paper. The trio then tasked a group of friends to assemble the suggestions by hand. "Our background writing computer vision, computer graphics, and general simulation software definitely helped us," explains Good.
"All Your Shreds are Belong to U.S." had been suspected of sabotaging another team in the competition headed up by Manuel Cebrian at the University of California, San Diego, based on an email he received following the attack. He says that the attacks also originated from San Francisco and the saboteur claimed to be using computer vision software similar to that used by the winning team. "I guess we've got pretty good circumstantial evidence," says Cebrian....MORE
Documents from the U.S. Espionage Den. Published by Muslim Students Following the Line of the Iman. (1980)