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December 17, 2010 11:00 AM One Kind of Challenge…

By Daniel Luzer

An apparently anonymous group of graduate students created “The Ph.D. Challenge,” an annual contest designed to get grad students to do something original, very original:

All men and women who are currently graduate students at an accredited University or Institute of higher-learning are welcome and encouraged to participate. The idea of the PhD Challenge is to have students perform some task that the average graduate student is too timid to perform. It takes a unique caliber of student to overcome adversity and the ire of their adviser in order to complete this challenge.

There’s a different challenge every year. The task this year was to get the phrase “I smoke crack rocks” into a peer-reviewed academic paper.

The 2010 winner is Gabriel Parent, a master’s degree student in Language Technology at Carnegie Mellon University.

The phrase appeared (p. 305) in Parent’s “Toward Better Crowd Sourced Transcription: Transcription Of A Year Of The Let’s Go Bus Information System Data,” published in the December 2010 issue of Proceedings of IEEE Workshop on Spoken Language Technology.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer