U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

Calling All Coders: Help Advance America’s Ocean Power Industry

December 11, 2013

With more than 50% of the nation’s population living within 50 miles of coastlines, we have vast potential to provide clean, renewable electricity to communities and cities across the United States using marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies.

To help this emerging industry develop new models and tools that improve the design, development, and optimization of MHK devices, the Energy Department's Water Power Program kicked off the Open-WARP (Open Wave Analysis and Response Program) Challenge. A collaboration with NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) and Harvard Business School, Open-WARP is a software coding competition that will draw on the expertise of members of TopCoder , one of the world’s largest community of programmers, to develop a computational model for calculating the response of a wave energy converter (WEC) device to waves with given heights and periods.

With support from the Energy Department, TopCoder will run Open-WARP, which consists of a series of contests broken up into two phases and four milestones that will enable hydrodynamics and device components to be simulated in separate modules. Coders can win cash prizes for each of the different milestones. In the challenge, coders can show off their skills in several topic areas including conceptualization and data analysis.

The winning Open-WARP code will become a part of Wave Energy Converter Simulation (WEC-Sim), an open-source software package that will simulate the performance of WEC designs in generating electric power.  Engineers are currently developing the software at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

WEC-Sim and Open-WARP will help the MHK industry by accelerating the development, analysis and certification of WEC system designs. Open-source WEC-Sim models will also allow developers to create advanced concept designs at lower cost and enable developers to easily modify code to meet their specific modeling needs. The WEC-Sim project, launched by the Department’s Water Power Program last year, aims to develop these simulation tools to address analytical and modeling gaps in the WEC research and development community.

To register for Open-WARP and learn more about the challenge, go to topcoder.com/doe