Friday, June 26, 2009

The $1M Netflix Prize has been won

An ensemble of methods from four teams has passed the criteria to win the Netflix Prize.

Other teams have 30 days to beat it, but, no matter what happens, the $1M prize will be claimed in the next month.

Congratulations to the winning team and all the competitors. It was a goal that some thought impossible without additional data, but remarkable persistence has proven the impossible possible.

Please see also my earlier post, "On the front lines of the Netflix Prize", which summarizes an article that describes some of the algorithms that brought the winning team to where it is now.

Update: In an extremely close finish, a different team, The Ensemble, took the prize. Remarkable not only to see another team qualify for the grand prize, but then to see BellKor beaten with only four minutes left in the contest.

Congratulations to all, especially those who shared knowledge and joined together to help the winning teams. The winners discovered a solution to a problem that many thought might never be solved.

Update: It appears it is still unclear who ultimately will be declared the winner of the $1M prize.

Update Good article on the current state of the contest in the New York Times.

Update: Adding to this, there is a colorful story about the nailbiting finish in a blog post from the Pragmatic Theory team (part of the "BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos" submission).

Update: Three months later, Netflix awards the prize to BellKor and starts a second contest.

2 comments:

Chad said...

It will be interesting to watch the dynamics of the end stage of the competition. I expect that many more teams will combine in an effort to beat out the current score by the leaders. I wonder if any other combination of teams will be able to break the 10.0 mark and threaten the current high mark.

Bob Carpenter said...

Chad was right!

I don't think the prize is won until they get over 10% reduction on the test set; what we see on the leaderboard is the development set results.