When famous computer scientist Jim Gray went missing a few days ago, the coast guard launched a large scale search that found absolutely nothing. On Thursday, they gave up.
Then Amazon stepped in. They arranged for a satellite sweep of the area and stored the images on their S3 storage service. They then created a task on their Mechanical Turk service to allow volunteers to scan the images to look for the boat. It’s a tough task - the boat would only be about six pixels in size in an image, and there was a lot of cloud cover obscuring large parts of the area scanned. But volunteers are pouring in to help out.