Microsoft Research and Bing are sponsoring a contest called the Speller Challenge. The goal: create a spell checker that delivers "the most plausible spelling alternatives for each search query" and deliver the service over a RESTful API. The first prize is $10,000. Registration opens on January 17th 2011.

According to the rules:

The goal of the Speller Challenge (the "Challenge") is to build the best speller that proposes the most plausible spelling alternatives for each search query. Spellers are encouraged to take advantage of cloud computing and must be submitted to the Challenge in the form of REST-based Web Services. At the end of the challenge, the entry that you designate as your "primary entry" will be judged according to the evaluation measures described below to determine five (5) winners of the prizes described below.

The contest seems to be for students, but it is open to anyone except:

  • Entrants who are younger than 18 years of age
  • Residents of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria
  • Employees of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary
  • Persons involved in any part of the administration and execution of the competition or
  • Immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household members of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.

I hope lots of good hackers enter this, because I could always use a better spell checker.