KDnuggets : News : 2009 : n19 : item30 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >


Subject: How the Netflix Prize Was Won

By Eliot Van Buskirk, Wired, September 22, 2009

Like BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the winner of the Netflix Prize, second-place The Ensemble was an amalgam of teams which had been competing individually for the million-dollar prize. But it wasn't until leaders joined forces with also-rans that real progress was made in the contest's goal to improve the Netflix movie recommendation algorithm by 10 percent.

Besides the sheer thrill of seeing the winner place first by mere minutes after years of work, the Netflix Prize competition has proffered hard proof of a basic crowdsourcing concept: Better solutions come from unorganized people who are allowed to organize organically. But something else happened that wasn't entirely expected: Teams that had it basically wrong - but for a few good ideas - made the difference when combined with teams which had it basically right, but couldn't close the deal on their own.

The secret sauce for both BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos and The Ensemble was collaboration between diverse ideas, and not in some touchy-feely, unquantifiable, "when people work together things are better" sort of way. The top two teams beat the challenge by combining teams and their algorithms into more complex algorithms incorporating everybody's work. The more people joined, the more the resulting team’s score would increase.

Read more.

Additional for Netflix Prize links:

Netflix Prize Forum

A $1 Million Research Bargain for Netflix, and Maybe a Model for Others - NYTimes.com

Netflix Prize: Another Million at Stake - BusinessWeek

Box office boffo for brainiacs: The Netflix Prize - Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Netflix Prize: Top 10 lists galore!

The Netflix Prize Was Brilliant -- Google and Microsoft should steal the idea.

KDnuggets : News : 2009 : n19 : item30 < PREVIOUS | NEXT >

Copyright © 2009 KDnuggets.   Subscribe to KDnuggets News!