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Subject: BellKor Pragmatic Chaos wins Netflix prize by a few minutes

Netflix awards $1M prize to improve movie picks

By BARBARA ORTUTAY (AP) NEW YORK - Netflix Inc. declared a seven-member group of researchers, scientists and engineers from around the world as winners Monday of its three-year, $1 million contest to improve its movie recommendation system by at least 10 percent.

Netflix Prize awarded to BellKor Pragmatic Chaos
The winning team - Bob Bell, Martin Chabbert, Michael Jahrer, Yehuda Koren, Martin Piotte, Andreas Töscher and Chris Volinsky - receive $1 M check

The Prize was awarded in a ceremony in New York City on September 21st, 2009. It was a close call, but BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos narrowly beat out a rival group called the Ensemble for the Netflix Prize, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company said at an awards ceremony in New York.

For those more excited by algorithms than touchdowns, following the Netflix Prize has been like the Super Bowl. And the winning method could have implications well beyond Netflix recommendations; any business that uses people's preferences to sell products could learn from the exercise.

Tens of thousands of people have pored over the problem since the contest began in October 2006. At last count, there were more than 51,000 contestants from 186 countries.

In the end, one-time rivals joined forces to form the two remaining powerhouses, BellKor and Ensemble.

...

According to Netflix's prize leaderboard, the Ensemble improved predictions for what movies people will like by 10.1 percent, while BellKor had improved predictions by 10.09 percent.

But Netflix actually had another set of data, visible only to Netflix. That one showed a 10.6 percent improvement by both teams. BellKor won because it submitted its final entry about 10 minutes before Ensemble.

Netflix is now planning a second contest - a sequel, if you will. While the first contest required contestants to improve predictions for subscribers who regularly provide ratings on movies they've watched, the second will involve those who don't rate movies often or at all

Read more about Netflix prize:

  • Netflix announcement www.netflixprize.com/community/viewtopic.php?id=1537
Read more.

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