Sign of the times
On Friday, a coalition of four teams calling itself BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos — made up of statisticians, machine learning experts and computer engineers from America, Austria, Canada and Israel — declared that it has produced a program that improves the accuracy of the predictions by 10.05 percent.
Under the rules of the contest, Netflix said that other contestants now have 30 days to try to do even better. If they cannot, BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos will collect the $1 million.
The Netflix Prize contest has been hailed as prime example of “prize economics” and the crowdsourcing of innovation. Prize economics refers to running a contest to generate a new innovation at less cost than an in-house research and development effort, and crowd-sourcing refers to using the proverbial wisdom of crowds to accomplish a task. Netflix has said that $1 million would be a bargain price for an improved recommendation engine, which would increase customer satisfaction and generate more movie rental business.