The Netflix Prize has generated a lot of buzz in the machine learning world. They are giving away $1 million for a 10% improvement in prediction accuracy over the Cinematch algorithm they use. The data set is just too cool. It has ~100 million movie ratings on 17,770 movies by 480,189 customers. How can a geek resist playing with that? The money is nice, but the data set is the real draw.
As of the last few days, people are making real progress. On Monday we were all in awe of a submission that was 1.79% better. As of today, there have been four better submissions. The best is 4.52% better - so we're already almost half way to the million dollar level. Follow along with the current leader here. The contest has a minimum of 3 months to run, so it won't be over soon, it wouldn't surprise me if we have a qualifying entry before then.
Of course, I can't resist working on something like this. My computer is crunching away on my solution, which will take a few more days. I'm limited most by free evening time. I can't wait to see how well my first submission will do.
I'm the "Craig Schmidt" team, or craigschmidt on the message board. I find it kind of strange that most people are using "team names" rather than their own names. A big part of why you'd do this if for egoboo, so why be anonymous?