Our Process

Lab 41 brings experts together to collaborate on big data problems in an open and innovative environment. Working together, we expand the art of the possible and contribute our collective findings to open source.

See how it all happens!

1 2 3 4 5


First we identify a compelling project.

What makes a challenge compelling to Lab41? Close

Here’s how we select a challenge:

Matchmaking -
Lab41 really gets to know our customers’ top big data challenges – and we’re always on the lookout for academics and startups working on similar problems.

Evaluation -

Challenge ideas can come from anywhere. The Lab41 team measures each idea against a set of criteria to determine if we can make an impact.

Triage -

Before we start the work, we have to know: has somebody already solved this problem? Who, if anyone, is trying?


Time to study. What is the state of the art?

What goes into our research? Close

Here’s how we learn:


Read -
Reach out to our network of experts and scour academic journals to find out what has worked, and what has not.

Talk -

Gather all the information we can from researchers and startups that are working on similar problems and seek their advice, guidance, and participation.

Test -

Conduct initial testing and attempt to recreate results seen in the research community. Based on our findings, iron out the scope and timeline of the proposed challenge.


It’s time to put a project plan and team in place.

How do we craft our project plans? Close

Here’s what it looks like on the inside:


Scope -

Define the goals and major milestones of the challenge. Outline the types of skills we need participants to bring to the table.

Outreach -

Recruit thought leaders and subject matter experts from big data startups, academia, and industry to participate in the challenge.

Outcomes -

Figure out the best way to build and share something valuable. Outputs might include open source code, challenge briefings, articles, and interactive experiences.


Let’s get down to business.

How do we operate? Close

Here’s what it looks like when we’re churning away:


Code -

Developers rally together to architect a solution and demonstrate proof-of-concepts. We may build from an existing open source project or start our own.

Publish -

Publish our work to the Lab41 GitHub repository to share progress with the open source community and encourage further collaboration.

Iterate -

Gather and incorporate feedback from the open source community and challenge participants.


Project complete! Time to let the world know.

What do we publish? Close

Here’s how we wrap up:


Verify -

Run the code against proxy datasets and work closely with IC data scientists to ensure our work is relevant to them.

Guidance -

Work closely with those interested further prototyping or productizing our solutions. Discuss approaches and share requirements and dependencies to make the code work in different environments.

Distribution -

Lab41 shares everything on GitHub and talks it up on Gab41. Sometimes we create in browser UI instantiations of our code for people to play. We visit IC partners and brief them on our work. We host events at IQT, Lab41, and universities to show off a little bit.

Interested in participating?

Join us on any of our in progress challenges - or our next big idea!

Work With Us

Four Groups, One Mission

Lab41 is a challenge lab that brings together IQT, Startups, Academia, and Government to equip the U.S. Intelligence Community with the tools and technology insight needed to connect the dots in big data.

Come see what we’re all about.

Our Mission