“The Vesuvius Challenge. Resurrect an ancient library from the ashes of a volcano. Win $250,000. The Vesuvius Challenge is a machine learning and computer vision competition to read the Herculaneum Papyri.”
“Early attempts to open the scrolls unfortunately destroy many of them. A few are painstakingly unrolled by an Italian monk over several decades, and they are found to contain philosophical texts written in Greek. More than six hundred remain unopened and unreadable.
What’s more, excavations were never completed, and many historians believe that thousands more scrolls remain underground.
Imagine the secrets of Roman and Greek philosophy, science, literature, mathematics, poetry, and politics, which are locked away in these lumps of ash, waiting to be read!”
“In early 2023 Dr. Seales’s lab achieves a breakthrough: their machine learning model successfully recognizes ink from the X-ray scans, demonstrating that it is possible to apply virtual unwrapping to the Herculaneum scrolls using the scans obtained in 2019, and even uncovering some characters in hidden layers of papyrus.
After 275 years, the ancient puzzle of the Herculaneum Papyri has been reduced to a software problem – one that you can help solve!”
Also “Contest launched to decipher Herculaneum scrolls using 3D X-ray software. Global research teams who can improve AI and accelerate decoding could win $250,000 in prizes.”