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The Story Behind The Netflix Contest

If you have the time, take a listen to Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur’s Net @ Night podcast from last week. They had a great conversation with The Ensemble, the team who appears to have submitted the winning submission for the Netflix Prize. As they said repeatedly during the podcast, the suspense of the story is like a movie.

If you are not familiar, a few years ago Netflix announced a contest where they will award $1 Million to any individual or team who substantially improve[s] the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to love a movie based on their movie preferences. The minimum improvement in order to be considered for the grand prize is 10%.

The final results of the contest will be announced in September, once Netflix runs the algorithms of the top two submissions through a “pure” data set, in order to validate that the algorithm performance is not skewed by the data used during the contest period. Based on the final submissions, The Ensemble team has the highest improvement at 10.1%.

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