Competing on Real Stuff

Interesting post from Simon St. Laurent about a recent TopCoder competition. As he says, “TopCoder runs programming contests designed to produce results for paying customers. The programming contests I joined as a kid were extremely abstract, put on by adults hoping to inspire us to learn. This approach turns competitive energy toward real problems, provided by companies who are even willing to pay for solutions.” Any philanthropists out there willing to put up the money to do this for public service software?