A Singapore technology agency, A*STAR, has announced a global competition to develop new multimedia search technologies. Named The Star Challenge 2008, a cool US$100,000 prize is up for grabs to the winner of the competition.

The idea here is to “Develop technologies for a rich media search engine that will be smart enough to identify text, audio, and video containing any word, even if that word, or search term, has not yet been tagged in the internet material.”

Essentially, the goal is to create algorithms that can search audio and video files for specific characteristics, objects, and events at record time, despite the absence of tagged information.

The Star Challenge 2008 competition will last eight months. Registration, which ends on February 29, 2008, is open to competitors from around the world at www.thestarchallenge.sg. There will be three knockout rounds and a qualifying race for the finals, which will be held in Singapore.

The top five teams with the best search results will be flown in from any part of the world for the finals in October of 2008. The finals will be judged by a panel of renowned local and overseas professors. The finalists will race to complete four challenges, and the fastest team will take home the cash prize.