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National Science Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May I submit custom code that I have written?
A: No. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources or manpower to compile/install custom software or the time to ramp up on running your particular simulation.

Q: I have custom code that I ported to Windows, and it has a compliant Windows Install Shield, so can I submit that?
A: No. For the same reason as cited in the previous question.

Q: I have some media produced on an SGI workstation. Is that OK to submit?
A: Not if we need an SGI workstation to view it. Unless otherwise noted, we do not accept entries unless they can be reviewed in a PC environment.

Q: May I submit Photoshop or QuarkXPress files?
A: No. Please submit your images as a JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG.

Q: Is PowerPoint OK?
A: No. PowerPoint decreases image quality and is primarily used for presentation purposes.

Q: What can I submit? What kind of things would be appropriate?
A: Please review our Eligibility Criteria and Rules pages for specific information. We encourage you to submit your entry!

Q: What characterizes a winning entry?
A: Entries are scored based on visual impact, effective communication, and originality. Winning entries should also include thorough and thought provoking answers to the entry form questions. See our Judging Criteria page for more information.

Q: Can I resubmit an entry this year that didn't win last year?
A: Yes, if you have made changes to improve your entry.

Q: I am from a foreign country. Can I submit an entry?
A: Yes, this is an international competition.

Q: Do works need to be submitted in English?
A: Yes. Unfortunately, we do not have the time and resources needed to translate entries submitted in foreign languages. Videos narrated in a foreign language are acceptable if English subtitles are included.

Q: What exactly do you mean by "visualization"?
A: Entries should show and explain some aspect of the world that people don't typically see. This can be a unique viewpoint (e.g., extreme magnification), non-obvious relationships, "impossible" views (e.g., standing inside the sun), extra-sensory views (e.g., X-ray photographs of galaxies), etc.

Q: What are the file size restrictions for my entry?
A: Photographs may not exceed 10 MB. Illustrations and Posters & Graphics may not exceed 50 MB.

Q: When does the clock start for the five-minute evaluation period allowed for Video and Games & Apps entries?
A: The five minutes begin when actual game play or video viewing starts.

Q: Are multi-player game entries allowed in the Games & Apps category?
A: Yes, but only if single-player participation is also possible.

Q: What is meant by "Apps" in the Games & Apps category?
A: For the purposes of the Challenge, an "app" is software that can be installed on a device operating on the Microsoft Windows, iOS or Android platforms, such as an iPad, tablet, smart phone or personal computer.

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