Netflix $1m Prize Winners Announced And New $1m Challenge Called Out

Posted: Sep 21 2009, 10:34am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 4:22pm CDT, in Technology News


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Netflix announces the winners of the $1 million Netflix Prize and kicks of new challenge that also has a $1 million cash prize.

Since the launch of the Netflix Prize in 2006 40,000 teams from 186 countries have submitted their solutions to achieve the competition's goal of a 10 percent improvement over the accuracy of the Netflix movie recommendation system.
The team "BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos," the merging of three teams that had previously competed against one another in the contest, received the $1 million Netflix Prize in an award ceremony hosted here today by Netflix Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt.

The winning team is comprised of software and electrical engineers, statisticians and machine learning researchers from Austria, Canada, Israel and the United States. All seven team members - Bob Bell, Martin Chabbert, Michael Jahrer, Yehuda Koren, Martin Piotte, Andreas Toscher and Chris Volinsky - attended the awards ceremony. It was the first time all seven had met one another in person. How the $1 million is split is to be determined by the team.

The new Netflix Prize 2:
While the first Netflix Prize solved the tough challenge of accurately predicting movie enjoyment by Netflix members who have provided ratings on an average of 50 or more other movies, Netflix Prize 2 focuses on the much harder problem of predicting movie enjoyment by members who don't rate movies often, or at all, by taking advantage of demographic and behavioral data carrying implicit signals about the individuals' taste profiles. As with the first Netflix Prize, the sequel will also be an open competition with winning teams owning their solution to license to Netflix and other companies. Success in this problem will enable businesses to deliver superior service to new customers much sooner in their lifecycle, without requiring or waiting for the customer to provide the rich data points that underpinned the first Netflix Prize.

The new data set, providing more than 100 million data points, will include, among other things, information about renters' ages, genders, ZIP codes, genre ratings and previously chosen movies. As with the first Netflix Prize, all data provided is anonymous and cannot be associated with a specific Netflix member.

Unlike the first challenge, this contest has no specific accuracy target. In fact, Netflix said today that the company and the judges have little idea how far the world's foremost experts can push this data to derive useful predictions. Instead, $500,000 will be awarded to the team judged to be leading after six months and an additional $500,000 will be given to the team in the lead at the 18-month mark, when the contest is wrapped up. Once again, Netflix will require the winning team to publish its methods.

More details in this Netflix announcement. Happy coding!

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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