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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 using a TIFF, JPG or BMP extension.

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.

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.